Saturday, September 29, 2007


So, a while back I had heard about this strange animated French movie called Renaissance. I was recently able to pick up a copy from Netflix.

It blew me away.

A combination of motion capture and CG animation, this movie at times made me think of Sin City. Except, it is nothing like that movie.

The story is about a cop looking for a kidnapped scientist. The missing woman works for a corporation named Avalon, which virtually runs Paris of 2054 (the setting of the movie). The movie has a very noir feel to it, aided by the unique animation style. As the entire movie was filmed with motion capture techniques and real actors, then animated over, it has a very organic and realistic feel. At the same time, the animation was completely black and white (not even using grayscale shades), making it almost surreal in look. To be honest, this took a little adjusting to get used to. Once I was into it, though, there was very little that took me out of the film.

I really much suggest this film to anyone who likes unique films or a good old fashioned noir thriller.

I would say more about this, but I have comics to read and review.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Heavy load

So, here they are, the most recent reviews I have got to offer.

Stormwatch post Human Division 11: After the destruction of the bar last issue, the team is pretty messed up. Concussions, rebar through legs, and one alien-hybrid killing machine makes for a bad day. Lucky for the team, the monstrosity is in love with one of the other team members, and saves the day. There is a bit of intrigue with the teams families being threatened, until the actual treat is made more clear. Bye bye police station.

The Walking Dead 42: Wow, what an issue. Carol dies in the horrible way you expect from a suicidal-turned-zombie. The seeming tension with Herschel and Andrea over her friendship with Tyreese is resolved before it is even begun. More plans to defend against the nearby town, using a guard tower manned by Andrea and a layer of zombies outside the gates. Then the shit hits the fan when the nearby townsfolk invade. In tanks.

The Un-Men 2: I have no idea what the hell is going on here, but I like it.

Fables 65: The journey of Flycatcher seems to be at an end when he reaches his homelands. Bluebeard and Shere Khan are up to no good, still. We learn that the entire conflict is really more of a game of chess played out between the Adversary and Frau Totenkinder. Conflict on many fronts looms.

Jack of the Fables 14: The beginning of the true origin of Jack. Maybe. More stuff dealing with Kevin, who appears to be more powerful and less human than we were initially led to believe. I was also expecting him to be more Fable aligned than Golden Boughs. Babe steals the show with his rich fantasy life again. Enough so that I read his one page before reading the comic itself, again as I read the issue, and a third time just because it was that good.

Booster Gold 2:Rip Hunter finds trouble. Supernova causes trouble. Booster Gold is the reason Guy Gardener was not Green Lantern and also the reason Sinestro came up with the Sinestro Corps. Great way to play with continuity.

Green Lantern 23: More Sinestro Corps. Hal's ring runs out of juice, so he steals a bunch of Qwardian ones to use in the interim. Ion is freed, and Parallax seems to break Guy's neck (though he is better soon after). The Sinestro Corps attacks Earth and the Guardians lift the lethal force restriction.

Countdown to Adventure 1: Dude, Starfire is hot. Buddy Baker is not very bright, missing his son's obvious crush on her, and his wife's obvious discomfort with her. Adam Strange gets pink slipped, and replaced with a fucking psychopath. This will not end well. The history of the Forerunners is actually kind of cool. Definitely something I like there. Looking forward to another issue, if only for the Nazi Justice League bit.

Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer 1: This was utter crap. A shame, too, since it involves a character I sort of like now (Jason Todd) and the Wildstorm universe. *sigh* What a waste.

Suicide Squad 1: As with all things comics and cool, I missed out on this back in the day. All I know of the team I learned from one of the greatest minds in comics blogdom. That said, I think this will make me hunt down old issues of the original series so I can get acquainted with the cool. Must read it all.

Marvel Adventures Hulk 3: Hulk is captured by Hulkbusters. Rick Jones saves him, and Radioactive Man as well. They hang out, with Radioactive Man siphoning gamma radiation from Bruce to keep hum human. Then the shit hits the fan and Rick has to coerce the Hulk into staying mad (like that's all that hard). In the end, we are back to the status quo. All in all, a fun read.

X-Man Emperor Vulcan 1: We catch up with the team that stayed behind in Shi'ar space. They try to make a surprise attack on Vulcan and the rest of the Shi'ar Empire, but are summarily defeated. Then some new alien race appears that seem the hate the Shi'ar more than anyone else does. Interesting, and fun to see some of these character playing off each other.

The New Avengers 34: After a night alone, the team all come back together and let Doctor Strange cast a spell revealing their true natures. Luke Cage is pretty much himself, though more retro in look. Jessica Jones wants to be a superhero again. Iron Fist is his legacy. Spider-Man wishes to be himself, before the bit. Echo wants to be Daredevil. Hawkeye/Ronin wishes to be Captain America. Doctor Strange wishes to be a surgeon again. Wolverine, late tot he party, is apparently a samurai. Not a Skrull in the bunch. The team decide to say screw the danger and alert the other Avengers team of the danger. Instead, they see a lot of symbiotes running amok int he city. Also, Wolverine's junk is shot off.

X-Factor 23: We learn how crazy Quicksilver has become, which is a little scary really. Layla Miller is confused, which is more scary. Monet and Siryn get the kids they were after, which appears to be a set up. Finally, Josef Huber is a badass mofo.

Nova 6: Stuff happens. Nothing that really impressed of disgusted me enough to write about. Plus, I am getting tired of writing and want my dinner. HAH!

Ultimate Power 7: After who knows how long of a delay, we finally get another issue of this one. I still want to know where Doom came from, since I thought he was on Zombie Earth. Spider-man thinks Doom is responsible for the mess. Emil Burbank admits to Reed that he is responsible for the mess. Hulk is about to be brought into play. The original Squadron Supreme makes an appearance, just to make this more of a mess.

Ultimate X-Men 86: Stryfe seems to be up to something, but what is it? Psyloke is Bishop's future wife? Pyro is a spy, but already uncovered as such? Best part is Wolverine and Storm taking down the Sentinels.

Ultimate Spider-Man 113: All that needs to be said is that Norman Osborne is one crafty bastard...and not nearly as crazy as we thought.

With that out of the way, I invite you back Thursday(ish) when I will give you last weeks and this weeks comics. Together, for the first time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Catch Up Reviews, Part 3: The Marvelous

Now for the final installment.

Marvel Adventures Iron Man 4: Well, this book is getting better, isn't it? Spymaster taking over Iron Man's suit as an excuse for Justin Hammer to take over Stark International. A rather robust plot, and handled well in this issue. This is a story that other comics would have had take at least 3 issues.

Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four 27: I'm a sucker for a story involving the Inhumans. This one was no exception. Human Torch meeting the family of a mysterious girl he meets, who turns out to be Crystal of the Inhumans. Between the Fantastic Four pretending to be more normal, and the Inhumans acting suspicious, this is bound to turn into a standard classic marvel meeting of two teams. That being a good old fashioned brawl. Of course things are all worked out in the end, but while the fighting is going on it is crazy.

Marvel Adventures Avengers 15: Starting with a fight against sentient trees and ending with a feast in Valhalla. What more could you want from a comic? How about a smiting song? Hells yeah. We all need more smiting songs.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man 31: Spider-Man is jealous of the Human Torch. Human Torch visits Spider-Man's school. Chaos ensures when Pyro takes control of Human Torch. Situation(s) resolved. Standard stuff, with a few great Pater David lines in there for added measure.

The Order 2: Britney Spears/Paris Hilton hybrid character turned superhero is the focus of this issue. The team fights a bunch of Soviet super-soldiers who failed to notice the Cold War is over. We learn that the former team were fired for drinking not because they drank so much as that the alcohol counteracted their powers. Nice touch there. But, really, the best part of this issue can be summed up as such: "Oh my God, y'all! I'm fightin' a bear! Seriously, y'all, I'm punchin' a bear in the face! What the hay is going on?"

Thunderbolts 116: God but I hate this team of assholes. I miss the old team I never read about. Last issue I was sure was the beginning of a new era of bringing back the old team. It still might have been, but not yet. Instead we get threatening to feed people to Venom and Penance kicking someones ass after stabbing himself with a pen. The introduction of Mindwave was cool. The "Who wants to be Captain America" reality show was tasteless, and completely something I would expect to see on television. Ick.

The Immortal Iron Fist 8: Fuck yeah! This comic just gets better and better. The story of how Wendell Rand came to K'un-Lun. A bit of backstory on the Seven Cities of Heaven and how they come together for this tournament. A nice build to what promises to be a spine shattering story of martial arts. Best thing yet, the match-ups are all listed at the end, so we know what to expect for the first rounds.

Avengers: The Initiative 5: What is up with every comic needing to bring together a team of black ops hardasses to be all dark and hardass-y?While I love the way things are shaping up for Trauma, I don't like how some of this comic is going. The whole using the New Warriors as a pejorative annoys me still. Having Henry Peter Gyrich in charge of this stuff is also not the best of choices. But, the recruits are rather enjoyable to follow around. The MVP mystery is bound to return once the World War Hulk stuff calms down (I hope). Mutant Zero is intriguing me greatly. So, overall I guess I still like this one.

Ultimate Fantastic Four 45: As with much of Mike Carey's writing with this series, strange but good. Next issue will be better, as this was mostly just wondering how the Fantastic Four could have forgotten themselves.

Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch: Been so lng since I read this one, I don't remember much. Hot witches. Young Wanda. Crazy Egyptian wizards. More framing story. Sister Grimm is the one I look forward to the most. Next issue.

Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK's Eleven 3: The team finall makes their attempt at stealing the hypernova. Everythign goes well at first, with each team member doing exactly what they need to do. Then things start to go wrong. living Laser almost forgets his humanity. The Spot abandons the team, stranfding them inside the Infinicide. Puma has his totem repossessed. The Spot is double-crossed. Then the whole thing explodes on them.

Annihilation: Conquest Starlord 2: Dirty Dozen in space makes thier way toward the eventual goal of this mission. Along the way Captain Universe and Deathcry have some issues. Then she dies. Groot looks like he's probably a goner as well. As long as we don't lose anyone else (except maybe Bug), we will not have any problems with this so far.

Annihilation: Conquest & Wraith 3: The story reaches the breakign poitn when Wraith decides to fight back, finally. Ronan allows the Phallanx to take him over finally. Next issue this mini ends, and I suspect we will see a big fight between Ronan and Wraith.

So, anyhow, that it for the catching up. Chack back in a few days for last week's comics.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Catch Up Reviews, Part 2: The Dread Competitor

In which we examine the comics offerings of one half of the "Big Two."

Teen Titans Go! 46: Another issue with some continuity tying it with others. Also ties with the actual show, which I don't see as often in these. As usual, the chibi bits along the margins are freaking adorable. My only real complaint is that Madame Rouge was a very lousy spy in this, making lots of obvious slip ups (like the knowing what pizza was and such). She is supposed to be experienced at this, and among the best. She would not be likely to make such simple mistakes. On the other hand, Blackfire was great in her denial of any knowledge. Still a good read.

Justice League Unlimited 37: I loved the beginning, with the Spectre trashing a prison. Turing Superman into glass was awesome. Turning Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter into candles was even better. As was pointed out on another blog, a particularly ironic and painful punishment for those two. This middle bit got a bit confusing. Not in the "I have no idea what is happening" way, but in the "I have no idea why this is happening" way. Then end was quite good, though.

The Spirit 9: Holy wow. For a series that is pretty much a lot of "done in one" stories, this one was quite good for setting up future developments. El Morte is totally badass, and his origin is quite awesome as well. The more I read this series, the more I want to go back and find the original stories to get more acquainted with the character as a whole.

Green Lantern Corps 15:Damn, this art is fantastic. This Sinestro Corps use of Ranx (who I had to look up online, as I have never read an actual Green Lantern story, not counting some Alan Moore stuff, before this crossover) to fuck Mogo up is pretty sweet...and nasty. I am loving this stuff.

Infinity Inc. 1: Natasha's dream is freaky. Not unexpected, given what she went thorough in 52. That Dale kid is both sad and scary at the same time. I am loving him already, if he remains/becomes a villain. I am also really intrigued by Gerome's duplicate and Natasha's...whatever the hell happened.

Metal Men 2: This jumping back and forth is really making it hard for me to follow this comic. Not that I mind too much. I am still loving ever page. The science lesson was totally fun, and from what I understand a very original Metal men thing. The last page with the Death metal men was funny on many levels, and total cool.

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen 1: This suffered from a bit of a poor layout. There were things happening that were not immediately apparent to me until explained later. Like that whole Hunger thing. I didn't get that the soldiers and guards were trying to eat each other. I just saw Batman and Superman kicking their asses for some reason. Only after the fight did I understand, and only from the dialogue. Still and interesting enough idea that I will continue reading.

Teen Titans 50: The flashbacks to memories of Kid Flash/Impulse were all quite fun. Great insight into a great character. I am wondering if the writers will either cover the story about why Ravager acts like such a slut, or will maybe stop. She's a good enough character without having to try to get with every guy in the book. The part with Wally's letter to Barry about becoming a real hero was heartwarming. The Blue Beetle crossover was fun, except I liked it better in the actual Blue Beetle comics. Robin seems like an asshole in this version of it, while in the other comic he was more of a helpful potential mentor. Finally, the return of the future Titans is a dream come true for me. That was the arc that got me into this series to begin with. Plus, the fact that the two adult Titans to show themselves at them end are the two dead Titans is just...evil.

Batman Detective Comics 836: Only one thing to say here. Scarecrow is my new favorite Batman villain. Damn.

And with that, we are done with this section of reviews. Come back later for the final installment.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Catch Up Reviews, Part I: The Others

In which we review the non Marvel/DC titles from weeks past.

The Weapon 3: Pretty much just one huge fight. Nice use of a volcanic steam vent to defeat the bad guy. During the flashback story bit, i almost felt like the Lin Kuei were not so bad after all. Then they acted like douchebags again. Looking forward to the last issue, while at the same time not wanting this to end. I would read this as an ongoing, if it managed to keep up the cool pace.

The Walking Dead 40 & 41: A baby is born. A leg is lost. More preparations for the inevitable showdown between the prison crew and the nearby town of survivors. Carol proves just how fuckign nuts she is, while the new doctor's great idea sort of backfires. As usual, greeat stuff.

Crossing Midnight 10: This issue totally squicks me out. The date girl thing is creepy in and of itself, and more so for the end page talking about how it is a real phnomena. It is nice to see the return of the mortal half of our twins (I can never remember their names). A bit of the spirit realm to continue on that half of the story, but a focus on more mundane things. Excpet for the crazy cool killings and stuff.

The Exterminators 21: What nees to be said? Totally fucked up in a cool way. Next issue will be scary crazy.

Faker 3: After this issue, I feel like I may be starting to understand a bit of what is going on. Which means I am likely all wrong, but whatever. Still a fun read and I can't wait for more.

So ends part one of our epic trilogy. Come back later for the rest.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Less-Than-Glorious Return

Coming of the last few weeks. A saga in three parts.

Coming next...the Fool sleeps.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

10 Character Meme

You can blame Kalinara for this one. She tagged everybody.

First, select your ten fictional characters (from any medium) by whichever method you like best. Then answer the questions below.

Since this is a comics blog, I am going to alter this slightly and only pick comic characters. That will make this more...intertesting, I think. You know what, we are going to go one step further. As I love Marvel's original 2099 comics, we are going all 2099.

1) Spider-Man 2099
2) Metalhead (X-Men 2099)
3) Punisher 2099
4) Meanstreak (X-Men 2099)
5) Cerebra (X-Men 2099)
6) Bloodhawk (X-Men 2099)
7) Fearmaster (Punisher 2099 villain)
8) Junkpile (X-Men 2099 villain)
9) Skullfire (X-Men 2099)
10) Mutagen (Spider-Man 2099 villain)

1. Divide the list up by even and odd. Which group of five would make a better Five Man Band (like a Power Rangers team)? Who would you slot in each position: Leader, Lancer (second-in-command), Big Guy, Smart Guy, The Chick? If you think the team would be improved by swapping one character between the even and odd groups, which ones would you switch?

Team Odd: Spider-Man 2099, Punisher 2099, Cerebra, Fearmaster, Skullfire
Team Even: Metalhead, Meanstreak, Bloodhawk, Junkpile, Mutagen

Of the two teams, I think Team Odd would function better. Team Even is more of a brute squad. Lots of heavy hitters without any real leadership.

Leaders: Cerebra/Junkpile
Lancers: Punisher/Metalhead
Big Guys: Skullfire/Bloodhawk
Smart Guys: Spider-Man/Meanstreak
Chicks (by default): Fearmaster/Mutagen

I suppose I could switch up the roles to put Punisher in lead so my only female can be the chick, which would put Skullfire as lancer and Fearmaster as the big guy. Which almost works. If I was to swap out Fearmaster for Mutagen, that alternate layout would look as such...

Leader: Punisher
Lancer: Skullfire
Big Guy: Mutagen
Smart Guy: Spider-Man
Chick: Cerebra

Which, really, makes for quite a decent team.

2. Gender-swap 2, 8 & 10. Which character would have the most change in their story arc? Which the least? Would any of these characters have to have a complete personality change to be believable as the opposite sex?

Gender Swapping: Metalhead, Junkpile, Mutagen

I see Mutagen being the most likely to have this happen. What with the instant evolution to cope with threats, it is plausible for this to happen anyhow.

Metalhead would also work well as a woman. He was a fairly nurtiring character, and his mutant ability to take on the properties of metals he touched coupled with his musical carreer would not require any real alterations to the character. Othewr than a slight wardrobe change to make him/her more age appropriate.

So, that leaves Junkpile as the most difficult to change. I suppose his aggressive nature would require a little bit of a tweak to tone down so that (s)he is not viewed as a raging bitch instead of just an asshole. Really, though, even this character's story arc would not require much change. I could see a sort of love interest in Xian with a hatread/jealousy angle with Cerebra though.

3. Compare the matchups of 1 & 8 and 5 & 9. (Ignore canon sexual preferences for the moment.) Which couple would be more compatible? Which couple would be more plausible to people from either principal's home culture?

Spider-Man 2099 loves Junkpile?
Cerebra loves Skullfire?

There is no consideration here. Cerebra/Skullfire would be quite workable. Both mutants. Male/female preferenced maintained (despite instructions to the contrary). Plus, Skullfire like the stronger women. Granted, he was more into physical strength and dangerous fun, but Cerebra has a bit of a wild side to her that needs letting out. I also think she would be good for him to calm his own impulses down a bit.

4. Your team is 3, 4 & 9. The mission consists of a social challenge, a mental challenge and a physical challenge. Which team member do you assign to each challenge?

The Team: Punisher 2099, Meanstreak, Skullfire

Punisher has to do the physical challenge, because it is all he would be capable of doing. He's not really a thinker or a social expert. Meanstreak, bieng a scientist by nature, would hav to handle the mental challenge. So, Skullfire is left to deal with the social challenge. As long as this takes place before he went all crazy after the Theater of Pain, he coudl handle that just fine.

5. 7 becomes 1's boss for a week in some plausible fashion. How's their working relationship?

Spider-Man 2099 working for Fearmaster.

Oddly enough, in general terms, this actually is canon. Fearmaster is a head of an Alchemax subsidiary and Spider-Man works for them. I see the working relationship being strained. Miguel (Spider-Man) is a bit of a trouble employee, not really liking the way Alchemax does things, as well as moonlighting as a thorn in the corporation's side. Fearmaster is a sadistic bastard who likes to use his alien hand to mess people up. Not the healthiest of workign relationships.

6. 2 finds him/her/itself inserted into 6's continuity. As far as anyone other than 2 or 6 is concerned, they've always been there. What role would 2 be presumed to have had in 6's story, and could they fit in without going wonky?

Metalhead and Bloodhawk for this one.

No need to answer. They are from the same continuity already. Hell, they are technically teammates.

7. 3 and 5 get three wishes. The catch is that they have to agree on all three wishes before they get the benefits of any of them. What three wishes would they make?

Punisher 2099 and Cerebra share some wishes.

The way I see it, they would end up only able to agree on one thing. They want a stop to crime. They have no actual common ground on methods, but that much they would agree on. Probably would go something like this.

Wish One: See each other's perspectives.
Wish Two: End to crime/corruption
Wish Three: Held for further use.

8. 1 and 2 are brainwashed by a one-time artifact that works even on people immune to mind control to attack and kill 4. They keep their normal personality, skills and competence level, except any Code vs. Killing has been turned off. Can 4 survive? How?

Spider-Man 2099 and Metalhead try to kill Meanstreak.

Meanstreak has a chance, but only if he can figure out what is happening before the others get him. He's fast enough to evade any capture, but Spider-Man is probably just as smart (if not smarter) than Henri (Meanstreak). With Eddie (Metalhead) in there, the whole betrayal of friendship is an issue. I think in the big picture, Meanstreak will evade them for a while but end up dead.

9. 6, 7, 9 & 10 must help an orphanage full of small and depressed children have a merry Christmas. Who does what, knowing that at the very least the kids will be expecting a visit from Santa?

Bloodhawk, Fearmaster, Skullfire, and Mutagen do Christmas.

Fearmaster, in an uncharacteristic fit of altruism, would be able to make the presents. And good ones at that. Solid gold or diamond toys. Healing the sick kids. Other cool stuff like that.

Bloodhawk woudl likely be the one to deliver the presents, and maybe take the kids flying. He would have some difficluty just because of his appearance, though.

Skullfire totally gets to light the tree. Maybe entertain the kids a bit.

Mutagen would have to take the santa role. Again, with his evolutionary powers I imagine he could find a way to do the Santa thing. Fearmaster may even be able to help with that alien magic hand of his.

10. 3 and 8 are challenged to circumnavigate the Earth in eighty days or less, using only forms of transportation invented before 1900. Can they do it, or will they be fatally distracted by sidequests or their own personality conflicts?

Punisher 2099 and Junkpile do an old school road trip.

They have no chance. They would be too distracted with fighting. Either each other or just about anyone they meet along the way. It is funny how the two S.H.I.E.L.D. 2099 guys end up together like that, though. Probably Doom's doing.

The End

Anyone who reads this and cares to be tagged, go for it.