Category Archive: Reviews

Reviews of all kinds

Aug 12 2015

Supergirl: Way of the World

This short collection about the cousin of Superman, mainly written by Kelley Puckett, and mainly focusing on her efforts to save a child from dying of cancer is really unimpressive. Yes, Supergirl is the hottest woman in existence, with the most rocking abs ever (and isn’t she underage? and doesn’t that make you feel kind of scummy?), but the stories lack excitement and, while not actively bad, there is simply nothing to recommend it. Supergirl

Aug 11 2015

John Wick

Neo, sorry, John Wick is a retired super assassin, who gets pulled back in after idiot mobsters pull a home invasion on him. The entire movie is simply shoot ‘em up, so if that’s what you are looking for, great, otherwise forget it.

Aug 10 2015

Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller vol 2

I jumped to reading this Daredevil collection written and drawn by the once not crazy Miller after only a few pages of the first volume since it was so painfully filled with tropes I thought I would vomit. This one is much better as it has significantly less and it introduces Miller’s Elektra character and the storyline involving her ties to the blind vigilante, Daredevil, the ruthless mob leader, The Kingpin, and the sociopath killer, Bullseye. I like how the work for hire that Miller did (thus giving him no rights to it) is called visionary, since Marvel comics doesn’t seem to have any vision these past decades, nor do they seem interested in having any. The other ironic thing is that the Elektra storyline is not very long and not all that great. Ok, it’s a ninja chick, which is pretty hot, but literary within seconds of meeting her, Daredevil reveals all his secrets for no reason, and  isn’t it shocking that someone named Elektra would be obsessed with her father? Sadly, the comic, for all its value at the time, doesn’t hold up well with the passage of time. 

Aug 09 2015

Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D – Brian Michael Bendis

Although rather slow-moving, and focusing on a C level character, Spider-Woman, this was the most I enjoyed one of Bendis’s comics in a long time. It starts in the aftermath of the Skrull invasion, wherein Jessica Drew is having a pity party over the fact that she was raised a Hydra agent and was replaced by the Skrull leader and now she is sad. She is approached by a secret organization that will give her the means and legitimacy to hunt and kill Skrulls and the like. What made this good was the fact that it focused on one character (for the most part)–and a woman at that–and her adventure and issues with being part of this secret organization: S.W.O.R.D. Alex Maleev’s art has much to be desired; I’m not interested in this watercolor/ photorealism, and you can distinctly see the New York City cops’ uniforms in the far off Southeast Asian country that was pointlessly the setting of the story. Yes, there could’ve been more action, but I’m very grateful the weren’t pages of monologues as I’ve seen Bendis do before. If there is more of the series I would read it. Spider-woman

Aug 08 2015

Onslaught: Unleashed – Sean McKeever

I haven’t read much of McKeever’s works, but what I have I’ve greatly enjoyed, therefore I assumed I would like this as well. Boy was I wrong. Admittedly, I had no idea who Onslaught was (apparently some bullshit with Prof. X and Magneto merging into one superpowered evil mutant; there’s some info in the back of the book, but I don’t want to have to read the book, to realize there’s information I needed for the beginning of the book), but when you toss a dozen characters together you really can’t give any of them much depth, and the plot was simply throw everything at the bad guy and when that doesn’t work do it again. There were individual scenes that appeared to end abruptly, as if some of the writing was edited out, which just indicated to me that the whole thing needed to be heavily edited again. Filipe Andrade’s art was interesting, but his elongated, angular style will not be for everyone. Bottom line: this was sadly disappointing with no real purpose or meaning in the Marvel universe. onslaught

Aug 08 2015

Zizek!

If you are interested in the Slovenian philosopher, Zizek, then this documentary is only sort of for you. While it attempts to enlighten viewers about the personality, ideas, and background about this contemporary thinker, the end result is a rather boring collection of clips, including such pointless ones of him appearing to be naked under the covers in bed (is this the director’s way of saying they had sex?). It does little for those with any knowledge of Zizek, and will not interest those who know nothing. zizek!

Aug 07 2015

Thor: First Thunder – Bryan J.L. Glass

I’m really like the idea a retelling the Marvel Thor origin and keeping true to the original events. However, I really dislike this comic. I found Tan Eng Huat’s art off-putting (something about the perspectives just rubs me the wrong way) and I’m not sure what Glass was trying to do with the story. I was really looking forward to having the Norse god Thor fight the alien rock creatures and deal with being in the body of the crippled Dr. Don Blake, but the focus revolves too much around daddy issues, Blake’s inability to have a relationship (yes he has a bum leg, but he’s a gorgeous doctor and no one can be blind enough to miss Nurse Foster throwing herself at him), and the potentially awesome Loki, god of mischief, not really being very interesting.

Thor

Aug 06 2015

To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful – Shane Koyczan

Anything that will help lessen the amount of bullying that takes place, tormenting so many children’s lives, sounds good to me, but having a spoken word poem, illustrated by far too many artists, put into comic book form may not have the same impact as the original. I’m very glad that the poem has moved so many, I just don’t really see who this book is for. I suppose it might give inspiration and hope to those that are bullied or enlighten parents and educators, but will it be read by and effect those doing the bullying? I’m not convinced those people will seek out this book. I suppose I just have to hope for the best. To this day

Aug 05 2015

Last Days in Vietnam

An incredibly powerful documentary examining the fall of South Vietnam in 1975 and the inaction of many and the actions of a few to get those that helped America during our horrific conflict there out of the country so that they would not face almost certain death. This poignant film is all the more so considering how many we are or will be leaving behind since exiting Iraq and Afghanistan. Powerful stuff. Last days in Vietnam

Aug 04 2015

Seabiscuit

This is the story about an abused horse that is too small for racing, a down and out kid too big to be a jockey, a horse trainer who is too old, and a very rich horse owner who is trying to get over the death of his son (and has a ridiculous generosity with his money). I’m assuming most of the story is true, and I kind of don’t want to know which parts, if any, are fabricated, as it really is a nicely done feel good movie that parallels well with the needs of the nation coming out of the depression that is its setting. seabiscuit

Aug 03 2015

Over Easy – Mimi Pond

This is a very strong tale, done in sketchy light blue, about a wannabe artist, who, after being forced out of college due to finances, takes a job in a diner. It is the late 70s in San Francisco and the characters are, to say the least, rather colorful. Drugs, sex and a hodgepodge of musical and artistic styles all come together for the backdrop of this tale of daily life. It is a long work, and even then feels rushed at times, with a variety of people all thrown together, so at times it may be difficult to keep track of who is who (and especially of who is having sex with who), and while I understand why it ended on a somewhat upbeat, if unfinished, note, I would’ve liked to see more of a conclusion, as, let’s face it, we are talking about a very specific moment in time. But I suppose it would leave things with too much of a downer, so perhaps it is best we have what we have. Definitely worth reading. over easy

Aug 02 2015

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The first half hour of the second part of the conclusion of the movies about the boy wizard, Harry Potter, and his fight against the forces of darkness is largely a mess. It moves slowly, like the first installment, and at the same time is jumpy. If you have someone’s wand and can use it as ID, why not show it? How did Luna get into Hogwarts when the main group had such an impossible time doing so? How many items are we looking for again? At the same time a lot of the character development and screen time is also lost. Thank goodness the movie has as many of the flaws as the book. Around the 40 minute mark things pick up and, honestly, you might just want to start watching this movie at that point (and skip the first entirely). If you do, you might find the experience more enjoyable. For the record: I still am concerned that kids will plow through the books/movies without actually growing up with them, Luna is the Lily to my Severus, and Neville is truly the character that develops and grows more than anyone else in the series. Like the book, the movie may not be the most enjoyable conclusion to what is arguably a generation shaping phenomenon, but it is a satisfying one, and perhaps that was the best we could have hoped for. Goodbye, Harry Potter; “the boy that lived” did so more than most of us.

Aug 01 2015

Nathan Hale’s Hazadous Tales: The Underground Abductor – Nathan Hale

I greatly enjoy these tales ostensibly told by America’s first spy, who shares the name of the author, who, just prior to his execution, is able to recount tales throughout American history. And recount them he does, mainly geared towards a young adult audience but I like them just fine. This one is about the escaped slave Harriet Tubman (as she would name herself) and her amazingly adventurous life shuttling slaves to freedom. Plenty of stuff I never learned in school, this is perhaps one of my favorite in the series so far. underground abductor

Jul 30 2015

State of Play

I had never heard of this movie, or perhaps I simply blocked it out, as it is far too filled with pretty people, but I greatly enjoyed it. Two reporters (well, one’s a blogger) are trying to unravel a mystery of a government intern suicide/murder, and what, if any, it has to do with a government probe of what amounts to the privatization of military forces (Think Blackwater). I was very impressed with the relationships between characters, commentary on the state of newspapers, and the fact that there was no gratuitous violence, only subtle romance, and no big action shoot them up scenes. Then again, perhaps that’s exactly what killed the movie and made it so I never heard of it. state of play

Jul 29 2015

Ant-Man: Prelude

In preparation for the movie launch, Marvel comics has a collection of several Ant-Man comics, a couple of which are supposed to relate, probably tangentially, to the movie. Personally, I like Ant-Man, I just think there’s something really cool about being ridiculously small, having all your natural strengths, controlling those annoying bugs, and popping in and out of places. Additionally, I think the original Ant-Man is pretty awesome as he’s a super scientist. This collection, however, isn’t particularly thrilling, and focuses on the new Ant-Man, who was some reformed criminal with an engineering degree or something. I hope the movie is a lot better than this collection. Ant-man

Jul 28 2015

In Real Life – Cory Doctorow

Anda, a somewhat average, nerdy, girl joins an online gaming group, but the sword and sorcery adventures quickly change as she’s confronted by realities she did not see or foresee. Doctorow brings us a comic that tries to open us up to a world where economics and gaming go hand-in-hand, remind us of the political life we are used to is very different just about everywhere else, and everywhere else is exactly where the Internet links us. There is a lot to like about this comic, as it can make us very aware of realities that most people would never imagine. My problems with it are that too much is trying to be done in very broad superficial strokes. Issues like female empowerment, female body issues, workers rights, child labor, bullying, the dangers of the online world, and school clicks (even gamers have hierarchies), are all touched on but not often developed. It is a good young adult book with very cute art by Jen Wang. In Real Life

Jul 27 2015

X-Factor: Happenings in Vegas – Peter David

I used to love Peter David’s writing and saw this as an opportunity to see what was going on in the world of mutants. The main story line had promise, wherein the mutant investigators get involved in some Norse god shenanigans that eventually takes them to Las Vegas, and there’s even a side story of interest where a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress turns out to be suffering from something else entirely. However, everything else about this comic was pretty awful. There’s easily a dozen characters who I know nothing about (in terms of powers, personalities, background, motivations, etc. (and some of the characters I even know, so go figure)) even after reading the collection, lots of plot threads that made me feel completely lost and without motivation to try to find out what was going on, there were a few jokes none of which were funny in the slightest, and the art was so typically everyone is beautiful and all the women have ridiculously impossible bodies that I was simply bored and couldn’t wait to be done. What a disappointment. X-Factor

Jul 26 2015

Kolchak Tales: Monsters Among us!

I only saw maybe a half dozen of the original show, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, or as I called it: The Cheese Stalker as it was so silly only seeing them years after the X-Files, which was inspired by it (I can only imagine how much more dated it is now). But the show was inspirational for its time, recounting the tales of a reporter who always stumbles upon supernatural happenings that he never can get published, so I’m glad to see it back, albeit in comic book form. This collection of two stories about a zombie attack and a monster sighting and the truth behind it, by Christopher Mills and David Michelinie, respectively, aren’t exactly great, but they do capture some of the zaniness of the show and were a lot of fun (I especially liked how Mills has Kolchak dictating his report  into a recorder on a plane full of people who slowly get wrapped up and horrified by his tale). I’d like to see more. Kolchak

Jul 25 2015

Cowboys & Aliens

How did this get pitched? “Ok, so we got this cowboy, and he has this weird tech device on his wrist, but he doesn’t know what it is ’cause he has amnesia, right? and these aliens–space ones that is–are abducting people, and every single cliche you could think of is part of the plot, and despite the action it’s all really boring!” “Hmmmm, but does it make any sense?” “None!” “Then let’s make a movie.” If the comic this is based on is only partially this bad, the books need to be burned.

Jul 24 2015

Pithy Seedy Pulpy Juicy – Hilary B. Price

Perhaps this would be better recognizable if titled Rhymes With Orange as that is the title of the strips that make up this gag collection. In fact, it is a collection of 11 Rhymes With Orange books. The comic is a fairly typical gag strip with cute, if not detailed, art and often clever and even funny jokes. Still, it is a lot of the same style of comics in one collection and I could only deal so much with the self annotations Price adds (sometimes interestingly when discussing artistic inspiration, sometimes pointlessly when discussing how that specific joke was inspired) to just about every strip. Much better to just read a couple of these a week. rhymes with orange

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