Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Warlord of Mars #5

BAD THING: It just hit me how very slow-paced this book is. Really, not much has changed in the last few issues regarding John Carter's position as a warlord/prisoner of the green Martians. While I think the pace would suit a true graphic novel adaptation of the original stories, it seems very drawn out for a monthly periodical comic.

GOOD THING: Thankfully, there is a lot of good drama and sword-and-sorcery style romance here. And while the pacing is sedate, it still manages not to be dull.

The Final Verdict: A good book, but I think I'll be picking it up in TP format from now on. Amazingly, I have the patience to wait for a complete book but not for the next month's issue given the leisurely pacing from chapter to chapter.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Knight And Squire #6

GOOD THING: Things do come to a head in this issue, as The Joker starts trying to take out as many British superheroes as possible - preferably in ways relating to their superheroic identity, such as choking a superheroic teacher to death with chalk or nailing a cat-themed hero to a hot tin roof.

BAD THING: The ending is a bit predictable and the twist as to how the heroes stop The Joker is rather obvious.

The Final Verdict: A fiitting end to the series, if a tad anti-climactic in the final chapter. Still, I'd love to see more of Cornell's original British heroes, though!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About The Guild: Tink One-Shot

BAD THING: Day dances along a fine line here with the story here and I don't think she's entirely successful. The point of The Guild comics so far has been to give us a greater glimpse at the lives of our protagonists when they aren't playing the game or talking to their fellow guild members. With the first Guild series - which mostly focused on Codex - and the Vork one-shot, I think she did a good job. The problem is that the character of Tink is meant to be totally unsympathetic. So how do we explore her background and motivations while still remaining true to the character?

We don't. Instead of getting any real insight into Tink's character or background, we find out that she's a habitual liar who has purposely been feeding different information to her fellow guild members and the only real humor to be found here (unless you enjoy watching Tink being rude to people who don't deserve it for some reason) lies in just how outrageous her lies are and that the rest of the cast buys them hook, line and sinker.

GOOD THING: Once you get past the fact that the story is devoted to a manipulative, anti-social bitch who is meant to be totally unlikeable... it really isn't that bad.

And it really is funny in an ironic way that the one member of The Guild who would seem to defy most of the physical stereotypes about on-line gamers (male, unattractive, overweight or just plain weird) exemplifies, all of the negative emotional stereotypes regarding on-line gamers (anti-social, loner, sociopath).

The Final Verdict: A good read, provided you have no expectations of a sympathetic heroine or any real insight into her character past "wicked bitch".

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Darkwing Duck #10

BAD THING: To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "Stupid Sexy Furries!"

Okay, this isn't really a bad thing. Lord knows this isn't the first time there's been a sexualized animal character in a Disney product. But DAMN! Not since Maid Marian in Disney's Robin Hood has a cartoon character been more likely to drive young fanboys into an alternative lifestyle.

Incidentally, anyone else like the irony of a fox being employed by an agency that is mostly run by intelligent chickens and ducks? I smell double-crossing double-agent!

GOOD THING: I can forgive the thought of a thousand young furries being born as a result of this comic for this scene alone.

The Muddlefoots - Drake Mallard's wholesome next-door-neighboors, degenerating into Lovecraftian hellspawn.

Comics are awesome, aren't they? :)

The Final Verdict: Easily the best book for kids on the market today. Assuming you don't mind your children being turned into furries or fans of psychodramatic horror. :)

Wonder Woman's New Costume.... Looking Better?!?

SOURCE: Latest WONDER WOMAN TV Series Set Pics Reveal Changes to the Heroine's Costume

A LiveJournal outage this morning kept me from breaking this news. Still, five things worth noting about the costume as we see it in these photos and live footage.

1. The pants are no longer plastic.
2. The pants are a brighter shade of blue, which shows off the stars on the side better.
3. The corset appears to have been modified somewhat, so the cleavage is less obvious and - more importantly - so Wonder Woman can actually run in it.
4. The boots are red, which is a nod to tradition I'm rather happy about.
5. The boots are NOT stiletto heels, which is a hell of a lot more practical. Indeed, they look quite sensible for someone who plans to do a lot of running.

Color me optimistic that this show will be able to find a happy medium between the die-hard Wonder Woman fans and David Kelley's usual audience. At the very least, it looks like they're willing to at least pretend to care about what the fans think, which is a step-up from a lot of superhero projects.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So what did I do at All-Con this past weekend?

First, the inspiration.

Next, the preliminary step.

And finally, the dream made reality.

Photoshopping by Yours Truly.
Special Thanks To Neither Noir for the amazing pictures!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Our First Look At The New Wonder Woman Actress In Costume

SOURCE: Holy @#$%, It's the New TV Wonder Woman

Okay - is it just me or does this costume look uncomfortably like one of the many plastic "sexy" superheroine outfits they sell at Halloween?

I'm just saying!

Shia LaBeouf wants to play Arseface in Preacher movie.

... and I don't have a problem with that.

SOURCE: D.J. Caruso Talks ‘Preacher,’ Mentions Chris Pine, Shia LaBeouf and Alex Pettyfer Are Interested

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Starman, how can you possibly approve of Shia LeBeouf being connected to yet another geeky franchise? Do you not despise The Beef like all other folk of good virtue? Does your soul not weep that the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are determined to turn this simpering idiot man-child into the next great action hero?"

Of course I do. And that is why I want to see him play Arseface. Because...

1. If he has two pounds of make-up on his face, I probably won't have the urge to punch his stupid face the whole time he's on screen.

2. If his mouth is obscured, I won't be able to hear his whiny "no, no, no" spiel as he runs about helplessly while all the other characters are being awesome.

3. There's a fair chance that if they were to make a Preacher movie that was allowed to include Arseface, they'd have to show the incident in which he became Arseface. And I am highly in favor of letting Shia LeBeouf be in a movie so long as he is shot in the face at point-blank range at some point during said movie.

Friday, March 18, 2011

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doctor Who (2011) #2

GOOD THING: This issue does give us a genuinely original plot idea. As far as I know, The Doctor has never gotten involved in the case of Jack The Ripper in any story in ANY medium. And it is an idea that is long overdue, in my opinion, give the prominence of both figures in the British zeitgeist.

BAD THING: There is no way to sugarcoat this, so I shan't bother - the artwork in this book is AWFUL. Simply awful. There are no circumstances under which it is acceptable for Amy Pond to look like Rocky from Mask

I can understand that they were going for a certain dark, moody style with this art. And for the first few pages it looks good. But at about the mid-point of the story, it seems like artist Richard Rayner began rushing his work. Admittedly, I'm just guessing on this point, but apparently he had some trouble finishing the pages as TWO MORE artists were brought in to finish the last three pages of the book!

The Final Verdict: Good story, which gives us a new twist on the classic Jack The Ripper mystery by bringing in The Doctor as an investigator. Sadly, the artwork is nowhere near as good as the writing. Many pages in the middle of the book look like they were made by an artist who was behind on his deadline and the last three pages (created by two different artists!) are not much better.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Birds Of Prey #10

GOOD THING: Not surprisingly, The Death Of Oracle is a metaphorical death. That still doesn't stop the final pages from being powerful ones, as Barbara Gordon explains her revised role in the war on crime and a thinning of the ranks of her agents. And worry not Cassandra Cain fans - she is accounted for.

BAD THING: Inaki Miranda is a fine artist, but I think this cartoony style isn't well suited toward Birds Of Prey. At the very least, it is ill-suited to this darker, more serious story and the direction that Gail Simone seems to be moving.

And if the art MUST be cartoony, he should see little blackbirds - not stars!

The Final Verdict: Some overly cartoonish artwork can't spoil the stirring conclusion to this story nor spoil the excitement for the coming new era of Birds Of Prey!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Conan: The Road Of Kings #3

GOOD THING: This is easily the best single Conan story I've seen in a while. The art problems in past issues with Conan's profile changing from panel to panel are absent. Story-wise, there's a perfect mix of treacherous drama and dark comedy, coupled with the high adventure you'd expect in a Conan tale. And for you Howard purists who don't like pastiches, know that this story draws heavily upon REH's own Rogues In The House and seems like a natural sequel to that tale, as Conan calls upon an old partner in crime.

BAD THING: Much as I do love the sight of a buxom redhead, this opening page seems a bit gratuitous. Also... "shake those things?" Really Roy? You couldn't have thought of some bit of acceptable language or slang to use here?

The Final Verdict: Easily the best single-issue Conan story in some time. This is a fine issue to jump in on, even though it is a part of a larger epic. They don't make them like this anymore and more is the pity.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spidey Super Theater Stories: The Cartoon!

SOURCE: Spidey Super Theater Stories: The Cartoon

In a related story, Julie Taymor has definitely left Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as of yesterday. This is a VERY BAD SIGN given that the show was meant to open next week and opening night has been pushed back - for the sixth time - to June!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Red Sonja #55

BAD THING: Artist Patrick Berkenkotter doesn't seem to understand how breasts work.

Take note, young artists! With some exceptions, most garments which cover the female chest are intended to do more than cover the nipple area - they also SUPPORT the weight of the breast. This is even more important for your more top-heavy women, such as Red Sonja.

I mention this because - granting that a chainmail bikini is a very impractical outfit 9 times out of 10 - the chainmail bikini as drawn here is even worse, providing no support to the underside of the breast at all. One might think Berkenkotter drew a nude figure first and then just started drawing chain-links over the figure until it had achieved whatever the editor considered "decently clothed".

In fairness, he's hardly the first artist to work on Red Sonja to have this problem but his artwork is particular noteworthy for creating a Red Sonja who somehow looks emaciated AND overly-muscled, depending on the panel!

GOOD THING: At least Eric Trautmann's still on hand to provide us with a good story, as Sonja thinks back on her fallen comrades and experiences a rare moment of self doubt regarding her ability to command. It's uncertain just when this adventure takes place but this could be a way of explaining just how Sonja went from leading armies in her youth to becoming a lone thief/sword for hire.

The Final Verdict: A good character-building story for Sonja, betrayed by some rather horrid artwork by an artist who manages the neat trick of creating a Sonja who alternates between being scary thin and overly muscular... often on the same page!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern #63

GOOD THING: This issue delves into the origins of The Guardians and the background of Krona, revealing that it was Krona who first created the Green Lantern ring... apparently over the objections of the other Guardians.

BAD THING: I'm not sure how to feel about the other major revelation - that Krona was directly responsible for the incident in Sector 666 which showed the instability of the robotic Manhunters whom The Guardians used as a police force before the creation of The Green Lantern Corps. While it does quite a bit to show just how far over the line Krona had gone at this point, it also takes undue responsibility off the shoulders of The Guardians.

The Final Verdict: A brilliant issue which explores the lore of the Green Lanterns as only Geoff Johns can look at comic book history.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Darkwing Duck Annual #1

GOOD THING: The main story continues the plot from the main books regarding the escape of Quackerjack - the Joker to Darkwing Duck's Batman - and continues to chronicle his downward spiral from a wacky prankster to a downright dangerous madman.

BAD THING: The back-up story in this annual seems like an afterthought compared to the first one. It isn't really bad but some of the visual storytelling from panel-to-panel seems a bit off. And the plot, involving a time-traveling turtle, is a little too generic superhero compared to the generally original stories we see in a Darkwing Duck tale.

The Final Verdict: A good issue though the back-up story is a little flat compared to the main feature. Still, if you like the Darkwing Duck cartoon, you'll like this comic!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Secret Six #31

BAD THING: I'm going to have to listen to countless Gail Simone haters on the Internet for the next month scream bloody murder about how she's a huge hypocrite for devoting a storyline toward someone's love interest being imperiled. Never mind that said hyper-conservative "I can change her into a decent woman" nutjob is going after Liana because she's a lesbian and a stripper - NOT because she's romantically involved with the protagonist.

GOOD THING: I just love seeing Ragdoll - RAGDOLL, of all people - playing the moral superiority card on Scandal Savage and calling her out on replacing the woman she claims to love with a look-alike she claims to love, but doesn't seem to spend any time with apart from when they're having sex and spending all this time sitting on an item that COULD bring Knockout back to life and get her out of Hell.

The Final Verdict: One of the best books on the market and easily the best title centered on a team of villains.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Comic Book Comics #5

GOOD THING: After a lengthy break between issues, Comic Book Comics finally returns, teaching us the history of comics in a funny fashion.

BAD THING: Out of all of the aspects of comic history they could have tackled... why creator's rights? Don't get me wrong - the battles fought by the likes of Siegel, Shuster, Kirby and Robinson were an important step in changing the industry. But it's not that humorous. This whole section also seems needlessly antagonistic to Stan Lee, who is used as a symbol for Marvel Comics here even though I don't believe was part of Marvel management at the time most of these battles were taking place.

The Final Verdict: I'm glad to see it back but I'm sorry to say that a good portion of this issue just isn't funny and is pretty damned dull.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Queen Sonja #13

GOOD THING: This story gives us a new origin for Sonja's infamous chainmail bikini armor and it is, out of all the tales we've been given, probably the most plausible. While a part of me finds it hard to believe that Sonja would continue to wear what was meant to be a slave's garments as armor (even in tribute to her fallen first-love) I can't deny that the story is compelling and certainly makes a good deal more sense than her finding the odd armor in an old tomb (the Cross Plains Comics origin given in their only Red Sonja book) or continuing to wear the costume given to her by a king who sought to put her in his harem (i.e. The Marvel origin).

BAD THING: The artwork is as bad as ever, being sketchy and oddly inked.

The Final Verdict: As before, a good story with bad artwork.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Kull: The Hate Witch #4

GOOD THING: The story of Kull's hunting down the witch that has tormented him since childhood comes to a satisfying conclusion, with the writing and artwork living up to the standard thus far.

BAD THING: The entire plot thread involving the attempted coup and what Kull's court is doing while he is away hunting the witch is completely pointless and almost entirely resolved off-panel. Better that it had not been included that it should however briefly distract away from the meat of the tale.

The Final Verdict: An epic conclusion to a wonderful mini-series, marred only by a subplot that was ultimately unneeded.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Warlord of Mars #4

BAD THING: Quite a bit of the artwork is over-inked and over-shadowed.

GOOD THING: After three-issues of cheesecake covers featuring her, the Martian warrior princess Dejah Thoris finally enters the action.

The Final Verdict: If you like Pulp Comics, you'll love Warlord of Mars!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel #1

GOOD THING: A new mini-series from the writing and art team that worked on the late Conan The Cimmerian title together for two years, adapting one of Robert E. Howard's most beloved stories? What's not to like?

BAD THING: The only flaw this story really has is that Truman chose to use a framing device to tell it. While it makes sense for the story to be related in this way - with Conan, as an elder king, dictating the tale to a scribe for a history of his adventures - I fear this might be a bit anti-climactic to those readers who haven't read the original story.

Of course, we know that Conan will survive the events that he is describing. We know that he survives the dangers of his youth and becomes King of Aquilonia by his own hand. And while it is still possible to add drama into the tales of Conan's adventures in spite of this fact, it does spoil the tension a bit to have the final cliffhanger of the book be Conan facing down a giant snake when we already know he lives.

The Final Verdict: It's Tim Truman and Tomas Giorello, together again, adapting one of Robert E. Howard's best Conan stories. Despite my grousing about already knowing how it is, I must say this is an enjoyable issue and a must-read mini-series. Newbies to Conan will get a lot more out of it than us old-timers, though.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Arrow #9

BAD THING: The sudden appearance of the Phantom Stranger at the end of last issue is COMPLETELY POINTLESS. Nothing changes as a result of him being there. He shows up, says something about how things are getting bad but he can't help. And then he buggers off. Ollie even hangs a lampshade on it!

GOOD THING: Thankfully, Krul DOES do something with his cameo characters from last issue, with Poison Ivy being on hand to determine that The Demon Etrigan is doing something unnatural to the forest. Which is kind of a no-duh given what we know about what is going on in the forest that she doesn't, but it's still nice to see that Chekov's Gun being fired.

The Final Verdict: A filler issue in which nothing much happens that couldn't have happened in a few pages last issue. At least the artwork is nice and there's some well-blocked fight-scenes worthy of Mike Grell himself. That doesn't save this issue from feeling like padding for the Trade Paperback.