Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Four #4 - A Review

The battle between Rene Montoya and Superman continues, promising dire consequences for both Superman's Regime and Batman's Resistance. Meanwhile, the gods of Ancient Greece watch the Earth and plot. For the time may be right for the gods of old to return and claim their dominion over the Earth...

Mike S. Miller's artwork for this issue is amazing.  Not only are his action sequences laid out incredibly well but his command of facial expressions is impressive.  The sequence near the end in which Clark and Bruce - not Superman and Batman - face each other seems all the more powerful for the emotion Miller displays so perfectly.

Brian Buccellato's script, too, is worthy of note.  This is an emotional chapter, to put it mildly, yet all of the characters seem true to form despite this being a highly unusual circumstance for all involved. For a brief moment, we see the World's Finest heroes again, as it seems a crack has broken in the wall between them... only for the cement of distrust to plug the hole again.  Powerful stuff!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Arrow: Season 2.5 #20 - A Review

Oliver Queen has recovered the Mirakuru cure but the madman Caleb Green is still at large. Luckily, Green's obsessive need for revenge won't allow him to stay hidden for long. Unluckily, he chooses to reveal himself in the most unexpected way possible - as an old schoolmate pumping Laurel Lance for information on where Oliver is now. Meanwhile, Quentin Lance returns to work only to be surprised by an unexpected bit of good fortune.

This latest issue is lacking in action but Marc Guggenheim creates an interesting narrative in spite of that fact. It's always nice to see Quentin snarking it up. And it's gratifying - given how much of a sideshow her storylines was during Season 3 - to see Laurel being made an active part of the proceedings in this issue. If only she'd been included in things like this on the show, her transformation into Black Canary might not have seemed so forced and rushed.

Speaking of rushed, Joe Bennet's pencils for this issue are not up to his usual standard. There's a clear example of panel recycling at one point and some of his faces seem a bit off.  It's not as bad as some but it's still far below par compared to the work we usually see on this series.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Random Thoughts On Mad Max: Fury Road

It's been a week since Mad Max: Fury Road came out, and I think I can safely assume most of you have seen the movie and that we can now have a discussion about it.  So here are some random thoughts - some serious and others not - that occurred to me during the movie and over the past week.

In case you haven't seen it yet, SPOILERS AHEAD!

1.  There's an academic paper just waiting to be written contrasting this movie with Hell Comes To Frogtown. Both deal with a common theme of women being oppressed though HCTF has more comedic irony. Also, Rowdy Roddy Piper.

2. I love the drum-line vehicle. I want to stat this for Pathfinder and create the most awesome bard ever.

3. I can see why the MRA's hated this movie as it preaches radical feminist ideas like women shouldn't be forced into sexual slavery.

4. More impressively, it depicts the escaping brides taking an active role in their own emancipation rather than waiting for a man to rescue them.

5. For that matter, the movie shows that men are victimized by macho cultures too. Consider Nux and his treatment throughout the movie.

6. For all the talk about how feminist this movie is, I've heard precious little talk about how it also features protagonists with physical disabilities - both Furiosa with her arm and Nux with his anemia.

7. The movie is action-packed but also contains a surprisingly amount of artful symbolism. For instance, do you think it's a coincidence that it is the pregnant bride that gives Max water?  Fertility offering the symbol of life itself?

8. Texans and Californians make a lot of jokes about one another but we are united in one thing - making jokes about how Fury Road resembles our states.

Why Fury Road Is Like California - desert wasteland where everyone is dependent on social welfare.

Why Fury Road Is Like Texas - ruled over by violent fanatics who worship guns and oil.

9. Do you think there's a chance the delays in Fallout 4 have just been an excuse to buy time so they could wait for this to come out and then start adding new features/DLC based on it?

10. For that matter, how long before the modding community creates new material based on this for Fallout New Vegas?

Starman Plays Discworld - A Let's Play Adventure - Part Eight

In which we take to the streets of Ankh-Morpork to learn what makes a hero, though the odds of us succeeding are a million to one.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rick and Morty #2 - A Review

Having been convicted of interfering with the intergalactic stock market (as well as destroying several alternate universes in the process among a host of other charges), Rick and Morty have been condemned to the Clackspire Labyrinth!  Meanwhile, back on Earth, the rest of the Sanchez family is conflicted.... about how to best make use of the space where Morty's room and Rick's lab were. Oh, and Jerry selling out his own son and father-in-law to the time cops. But mostly the space thing.

The script by Zac Gorman perfectly captures the feeling of the show. The humor is as twisted as ever, yet there's a few honestly touching character moments.  Well, as touching as it can get given that Rick seems to be the only member of Morty's family who gives a damn about him on any level. Which says a lot given that Rick is willing to pimp Morty out to save his own ass.

It's a bit hard for me to appraise the artwork of this issue. It somehow seems insulting to say that C.J. Cannon and Marc Ellerby perfectly emulate the look of the show. Then again, given how many adaptation comics fail to do that, perhaps that praise isn't as faint as I fear it is.  The artwork looks good, in any case.