Monday, July 1, 2002

The Mount - The Delayed Column

I'm going to keep things short this month, folks. You see, I don't have much time to write my usual long-winded rants about what books are good or bad this month.

I've had a lot of things going on in my life that have made putting aside time for writing difficult as well as reading as many comics as I usually do. This is ironic considering the main reason for my time being limited: I got a full-time job working in my local comic book store!

I have also been cast in a play, for the first time in a long while. And more impressively, it is paid acting work! This means that I have quite a bit more money than I've had in recent memory. This also means that there are five days a week where I spend 14 hours working on stage and rebagging comics in a climate-controlled warehouse.

Regardless, I have had a few thoughts upon many things comics and fandom related these past few months that I haven't managed to share with you. With that in mind, please enjoy my (rather short) collection of delayed thoughts upon our world, that did not quite merit a full column.

1) The New Hawkman Book

I had planned to review the new Hawkman book by Geoff Johns for the Hawkman issue- but with the first story arc being 4 issues long and issue 2 having barely been out a week when the Hawkman issue went to press... I thought it best to wait things out to get a better feel for things.

If you're a regular fan of JSA, you know the plot by now as this book is spinning out of a subplot of that book. An Egyptian prince cursed to live throughout time has returned to Earth in the form of a man named Carter Hall. Reclaiming the power of flight from his mix of Egyptian and Thangarian technology and is currently trying to rebuild his life and win the heart of his reincarnated bride, who now lives in the body of her grandniece, Kendra Sanders. This is easier said than done as Kendra doesn't believe in the prophecies that say Carter and she are soulmates destined to be together for all time.

Sadly, I don't have a much better feel after four issues than I did after two. The opening plot doesn't really introduce us to the characters that much and assumes that we've all been reading JSA. The plot is engaging but doesn't really do anything. Then again, with a Johns/Robinson plot, it could take years for things to fully boil to a head, as in Starman.

The writing is superb but I admit a bias in that I am a big fan of Johns' work on JSA and Flash. And of course Unca Stars is a sucker for anything James Robinson helped plot. But the artwork, while good, doesn't really stand out as anything special.

I'll give it a few more issues, if only for the new plot that has Oliver Queen murdering the idle rich in the streets of Hawkman's new hometown (Think Opal City meets New Orleans.) But for right now, don't bother flying with this one unless you're a die-hard fan of Hawkman, Hawkgirl or the writers involved.

2.) GL 150, Last Month and GL Secret Files #3

For the record, GL Secret Files #3 did not answer any questions about Kyle's dad raised in last month's Mount. But it did have a very good Jade story and the first glimpse of Radu in years, so go ahead and read it.

3.) Summer Movies

This is quickly becoming the summer of geek cinema and Unca Stars has managed to drag his tired carcass into the theater a few times and not fallen asleep (though Episode 2 did try me).

SPIDER-MAN: Why haven't you seen this movie yet?!?! Sam Raimi did it right, for once. The actors are all perfectly cast. The special effects are amazing. And the only flaw to the movie (aside from the Goblin costume covering up Willem Dafoe's expressive face) is that it isn't long enough! Holds a place in my personal Top 5 Best Movies Ever.

Best part of the movie is the key themes and scenes that it shares with the other "greatest superhero movie ever made": Superman. Think about it...

  • Both heroes lose their adopted fathers (both played by Oscar winning actors, no less) after receiving a message about using their abilities to help others. They use their powers as a means of impressing others but then find their own abilities useless in saving their adopted father.
  • Both heroes are guided in life by their father's words after death (in Kal-El's case, quite literally)
  • Both heroes save their love interest from death by falling.
  • Both heroes are asked to join their archenemy and threatened with death when they refuse.
  • Both heroes are forced to choose between saving the woman they love and innocent lives, but manage to do both.

EPISODE 2: Not as bad as Episode 1, but that's not saying much. It pleases me though, that Jar Jar Binks will go down in the history of "a galaxy far far away" as being the Neville Chamberland of the early Republic.

The movie looks cool. No doubt! But it's just like eating cheesecake: satisfying, but empty calories. Style without substance.

Honestly, this movie would have been a lot better if we'd cut the romance down a half-hour or so. All of Anakin Skywalker's romantic talk sounds either really creepy (the lines about loving her at first sight) or really fake (the line about hating beaches because they aren't smooth... "like you".)

On the bright side, we finally know where Luke got his whinny streak from. Maybe he'll grow out of it and can do it without the benefit of animatronic body armor.

SCOOBY DOO: The dog looks fake, the dog looks fake, the dog looks fake, the dog looks fake!

They didn't even try to make the dog look real. It looks fake. Fake!

Okay, now that this has been said- the movie is actually pretty good. With one exception, all the actors do their characters perfectly. Buffy is a good Daphne. The woman playing Velma does well. And Matthew Lillard is scary in how well he brings Shaggy to life.

But Freddie Prinze Jr. does the impossible. A dumb, shallow jock in real life, he proves unable to play a blond, dumb shallow jock, even with the excellent writing of James Gunn (who wrote another favorite of mine, The Specials) behind him. And lest you think I confuse the character and the actor, check out his recent comments in an interview about the Spider-Man movie...

"Tobey did an okay job, but I would have played Spider-man different. You know, not made him such a geek."

Freddie, for totally missing the point, you win the first ever "The Mount Lifetime Achievement Award For Gross Stupidity Unbecoming A Human Being". Congratulations.

If you can manage to ignore the fake, fake, fake computer graphics and the even faker acting, then you might enjoy this movie. It achieves a nice mix of cartoon jokes, sight gags, in-jokes, fart jokes for the kids (gods help us) and yes, even subtle stoner humor for those who worship Shaggy as a burnout icon.

That's all for now kids. But Unca Stars promises he'll have more comics for you to dig through next time.

But until next time, may your clerks be friendly and your comics unbent. And give some thanks to those clerks the next time you're in the store. They deserve it. And I'm not just saying that cause I am one now.

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