Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marvel Needs to Offer Free Plastic Trinkets With It's Books Sometimes!

Seriously, I rarely by singular issues of DC stuff. But when the dude at the comic shop said, "Hey, get an issue of Green Lantern and get a Power Ring. Get the new issue of The Flash and get his ring!"

I shelled out a decent portion of what little cash I had to get those damn rings. If only DC will do the same for Legion of Superheroes. I'd totally love a Legion Flight Ring. I'd be able to go as Booster Gold for Halloween this year instead of my, admittedly shitty, Jamie Madrox getup. Not like anyone would know who I was supposed to be still. Point is, I want a Legion Ring and I want people to read more. 

I think I'm "gonna" give myself a little roundup of Jeph Loeb's latest stuff. In particular, Ultimate Comics: X and Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates. I'll start with the former. There will totally be spoilers for these two if anyone's wondering. 

Ultimate X is very much the newer iteration of Ultimate X-Men. Y'know, since the poorly-recieved Ultimatum killed off much of the cast of both X-Men and every other Ultimate book (Save Ultimate Spider-Man characters. Marvel knew it didn't want to cancel and kill off most of the cast of it's only strong-selling Ultimate title.) Ultimatum, and it's predecessor Ultimates 3, weren't well-recieved. I've said that already, I just wanted to make it obvious that I didn't like those two entries. The casts were terribly out of character, the look of the characters was all wrong and it just seemed like an excuse for a bunch of gruesome deaths. A snuff comic, if there is such a thing.

Ultimate X however, is surprisingly good. Aside from one awful page in issue 1 (I can see where James got his claws and all, but the metal? Really? C'mon, you can do better.), this has been a good read. It's got great art courtesy of Arthur Adams and it seems that Loeb has actually decided to acknowledge some of the history of the comic series he's writing for. Which, is what he should have done in the first place, but still. 

The basic premise is this: The late Wolverine's son, Jimmy Hudson, starts to notice he's different. He's a mutant who inherited his father's healing factor, bone claws and animal senses. The metal on his claws may be some kind of trait he inherited from his unknown mother. He's informed of his lineage by Kitty Pride, as per Logan's request. 

Later on, Jean Grey changes her name to Karen Grant. She dies her hair black and brainwashes the people around her into thinking she's lived in this town for three years instead of three days. Just as her boyfriend is about to propose to her, Sabertooth and Mystique show up and kill him and attempt to take her away. She fights back, they flee and she mindwipes everyone around her... again. She returns to her apartment, distraught, and finds Jimmy in there. 

As I said, it's not bad. Not much has happened so far. I'm honestly more excited about this because it looks like (judging from the teaser image) that Bruce Banner's gonna appear in it at some point. Or some kind of Hulk will at least. I'm kinda curious as to what ol' Doc Banner's been up to since, you know, a bunch of his colleagues died. 

The art for this series is good too. I don't think Art Adams can do bad work, you know? It's got a nice kind of sketchy, messy look to it. In a good way.

As for his New Ultimates? Aside from making Iron Man's armor look exactly like his normal 616 version, I have no complaints visually. Frank Cho makes everyone look great. And as per usual, he puts more work into the women than he does the men. But he also made sure everyone in this looked evocative of their looks in the previous Ultimates series. Ultimate Cap looks like Ultimate Cap, Ultimate Thor looks like Ultimate Thor and so on. Point is, Cho knows how the damn characters are supposed to act.

He even addresses the one thing I thought was weird when I read the initial preview: Why is Son of Satan acting agains S.H.I.E.L.D. when he himself is an agent? Because of Loki, that's why. I have no idea who the Hell Zarda is though. Seriously. So far, she seems to be there just to add to the busty women quota that this book seems to have. 

It's nice to see the Ultimate Defenders get some powers though. I'm gonna miss Luke Cage's vaguely Village People-style look. And I do look forward to the explanation for all of the Defenders' powers, Valkyrie included. I know Loki factors in here somewhere, but still. It's only one issue in right now, so once again, I'm reserving judgement until something actually happens. 

All in all, Loeb's not doing bad. I'd still like to know who the Hell Red Hulk is, but I can forgive him on the grounds that I don't much care for anything Hulk-related at this point. Once Deadpool became a Hulk, I stopped caring. But I don't think he was responsible for that one. 

Stay tuned next week for my ass-punching review of Iron Man 2!


Sunday, April 18, 2010


First off, a review of Kick-Ass. 

This is a movie based on a comic that will appeal more to the non-comic book reading audience. It's kind of insulting to readers of comics at times (Much like the original comic of Kick-Ass and Wanted were), but it's not a bad film at all. It's excessively violent, got some memorable dialogue and has good acting. 

Nicolas Cage was this film's star. Not Chloe Mortez (Is that how you spell her name?), or Mintz-Plasse or the kid who played Kick-Ass. Nicolas Cage doing an Adam West impression every time he was in costume was the best part of this film. He stole every scene he was there in my opinion. Except that last part where you couldn't understand what he was saying. 

Now, the film does change some things from the graphic novel. Big Daddy's backstory, Dave's relationship with his love interest and the final fight scene. But aside from Big Daddy not being an obsessed nerd like Kick-Ass, all the changes work better for the film. 

Now, I'm not gonna say this was the best movie based on a comic. Or even my favorite. But it was really freaking good. Surprisingly so. Certainly better than Wanted. Not quite as awesome as Superman II or Iron Man though.

I'm giving it a B+. 


Next up is Spider-Man: The Short Halloween. A humorous stroy by SNL members Seth Myers and Bill Hader with art by Kevin Maguire. It's hilarious. Maguire's art and unique facial expressions made me think I was reading JLI again. 

For those who don't know of it, it's about a case of mistaken identity. A drunk partygoer dressed as Spider-Man on Halloween is mistaken for the real Wall-Crawler by a team of D-List supervillains called "The Furious Five". The members are Mr. Think, think poor man's Leader. Gossip Girl, a girl covered in mouths that constantly bitch and whine and bite. The Haymaker, a man who controls hay. Fumes, a guy who controls gases or something. And then there's Badger Teeth. Hader described him as a "dime-store Wolverine". That's about as apt as any description gets. 

Meanwhile, Spidey was taken by the drunk dude's friends and assaulted by fellow partygoers that his "impostor" had messed with earlier. 

This story was great, but, well, short. If this was two or three issues, it would've rocked. It was just a bit too rushed and the new villains weren't given enough time. Now, I got it in the TPB version and it was just an OK collection. It came with The Short Halloween and some other stories from Spider-Man Family. The Spider-Ham ones aren't so good. Neither are the ones with Aunt may as Spider-Ma'am. The  rest are very good though. Especially the one about Peter attempting to be a crime scene photographer and the one where he first learns that Harry's back. 

All in all, I give this a A-. No more Spider-Ma'am and Spider-Ham please. 


Bonus review: In Odd We Trust, by Dean Koontz and Queenie Chan. 

First off, I love the Odd Thomas books. It's currently my favorite books series. I'm told a movie is being made, but I think a television series would work much better. Anyways....

The art: Chan drew the stuff. It's not bad, it's just got that plain, faux-manga look to it. It ranges from being really detailed to being so bland it's almost not there. It seems to get better as it goes on though. Her drawing of a Mustang looks nothing like a Mustang though.

Story: It's a prequel, so you get to see more of Odd's lost love, Stormy Llewellyn. It's about a child who's killed and Odd must try to prevent more deaths. The humor and style he has in the novels carries over well. The villain isn't nearly as imposing or creepy as Fungus Man (I can't remember his name), Datura, Brother John or the group from Odd Hours. Would've been nice to see some bodachs or maybe one of the adventures that Odd always references. 

I give this one a solid B. Decent, but progressively better art, OK story, but good dialogue. This is more of a "check-out from the library" than a "buy".



Thursday, April 15, 2010


Let's Merchandise!

I’m a cheapskate and a plastic addict, so where better to go of an afternoon than Poundland, those hallowed halls of cheapness? Similar to American dollar stores, everything costs just one pound! Wow! Sadly, this isn’t always amazing value. While picking up some truly heinous Transformers Micromaster ripoffs, I also grabbed this guy…

Now, I have absolutely no clue what this particular Gundam is. Frankly, he looks a bit made up, though there’s something vaguely G in its’ design (the ears? The head crest?) He’s obviously 00-inspired, though, as you can see from its’ chest jewel and surrounding sections…
Well, that’s what an average Gundam ‘fan’ (if they can call themselves that) would think, but we’d all recognise it as Gundam WINNER from the 1999 one-off 20th Anniversary OVA. The colour scheme selected is impeccable, that of the WINNER Unit 2, using effective red, green and blue motifs, with some silver paint apps. There are also the traditional Katoki-level decal details, with his distinctive wrist designs all decals.

The WINNER is actually just as amazing as he looks. While he weighs nothing- some of Bandai’s amazing engineering at work- he does come with two (three?) accessories he can use, as we saw in the FOREVER WINNING Artbook. First up is the beam rifle. Generic, seen it all before, but rendered in that amazing Ishimoto Green that the designer’s so well known for. We also have his shield, which has a couple of stickers to add to the immense detail on this premium piece. There’s also his head fin, which wasn’t in his head in the packaging- allowing you to recreate Victor’s epic I AM A GUNDAM WITHOUT A FIN speech, and has a revised Anaheim Electronics logo on its’ head, a simple A.

What’s pretty cool is that there are also ports in his arms, so you can mount the shield to the arm, just like in the Gundam WINNER light novels! And, uh, you can also put his gun there.

Of course, the metafictional nature of the WINNER (along with the whole universe of the UC1337 WINNER Project manga) wouldn’t be complete without his finisher, the BURNIN HEARTO, which is activated by pressing the red button on his back, and looking away from the dangerously powerful beam. The metafictional element? First opening of 0083- THE WINNER- has the singer proclaiming she has a burning heart. Makes total sense, right? Anyway, for some reason, I doubt this went through official EU toy safety checks…

But it’s the packaging that really allows this guy to join the same leagues as Kamen Gundam Freedom Knight and Astro Plan. Well, maybe not those two, but it’s still pretty impressive.

We have the Gundam Meisters, the BURNING WINNER logo, three of the 1/100 main Gundam kits from 00, Avalanche Exia art, some information about WINNER’s abilities, instructions for the Burning Heart (it can be turned OFF and NO) and… what’s this?

GOD AND PEOPLE ORGANISATION? Uh, okay. That’s a pretty… interesting interpretation of Celestial Being, as you’d actually have to watch an episode of Gundam 00, translate what you felt about CB in a pithy comment into Chinese, then translate it back.

So, there we have the true WINNER. He may not be the biggest, or the heaviest, or the most articulated… or actually anything good at all, but he’s pretty cool. And I am so going to use him in Gundam-based arguments.

Next time on Let's Merchandise!: Bad Taste? Well, Tomino doesn't seem to hate this one too much.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hm... I've Bought Nothing Awful This Time. Let's Revisit.... THE 90'S!!

Yeah, this week... I haven't purchased any old movies/games/anime/anything that sucks.

So.... Let's go back on a magical journey and go over my $2.00 copy of Cybuster Vol. 5. Now, this anime sucks. It's got a great theme song though.

It's about Ken Ando who works for the DC. Their job is to clean Tokyo. But, a weird Robot called Cybuster keeps showing up and attacking their robots.

Some stuff happens and Cybuster's pilot, Masaki decides to let Ken have Cybuster. I can't remember which robot Masaki takes, but I'm pretty sure it was Zamzeed. I would go back and watch it, but I can't stomach this thing.

Now, this anime is based on an awesome game called The Lord of Elemental. For whatever reason, the plot of that game was just too cool (Or maybe too much like Dunbine in terms of setup) to use. So, they decided to make a new one with weird versions of the characters and mecha.

Like, it's really weird when they fight the Granzon.... and it looks more like Megatron or something.

And the dub..... If I never hear "ELEMENTAL ROBOT WARRIOR GODS" again... I would die happy. But... they said that every time they talked about one of the Elemental Lords.

I mean, normally dubs use words/terms that are smaller/easier to say. Not huge-ass phrases that are used every damn time someone mentions Cybuster.

The thing is, if they had made an actual Cybuster anime, it would've been awesome. I would've loved to see all the characters and the memorable scenes drawn in that same look all 90s anime seem to have would've been great. It would have been a great part of my childhood.  But no, I play the ROM of the game, find out there's an anime of it and it hurts me. Like a knife covered in razors, it hurts me.


I'm out of material today.