Monday, July 30, 2007


Recent Comics I Have Read

Amazons Attack #4: Okay, I can't really decide if I like this or not. Started out strong, with fairly good (if overly bright) artwork, but now the storyline has become a muddled, Marvel-style "crossover event" where it's impossible to keep the action straight without buying 10 other books per month, and I'm not willing to do that.

New Avengers #32: Still not sold on Yu's artwork, though I remain a fan of Bendis' snappy dialogue. I always thought the Skrulls were fairly stupid as far as Evil Alien Invaders go, though this plot is more in keeping with their distant cousins twice removed, the Dire Wraiths of Rom fame.

Birds of Prey #108: Good artwork, good story, though the ending was a trifle schmaltzy and deus ex heroine. The "old rival from the past that we've never heard of now coming back into our life" bit? Tha's old, man.

Detective Comics #834: The unsatisfying end to an unsatisfying Zatanna team-up (and why is her hat suddenly way too small for her?)

Green Arrow Year One #1: Eh, I suppose it was inevitable that GA's origin would have to get updated, but I will miss him as a cranky, aging hippy ("Goddam fascist sons of bitches!"). Definitely NOT a fan of the "Jock" art.

Invincible #43: Nice "between adventures" story centered on Mark deciding that college maybe isn't really worth the hassle, and the Immortal having a crisis.

Justice League of America #11: What could have been a nice, self-contained story focused on two of the members without their own books (Vixen and Red Arrow) and what it must be like for heroes who can't fly through the Sun is spoiled by having Vixen (previously established as a tough, smart hero on her own) turn into a crybaby on the edge of a nervous breakdown. If Meltzer is going to put Vixen through a personal crisis, could we at least have some lead up to it?

Justice Society of America #7: The new Commander/Citizen Steel is basically rather callously manipulated into a new heroic identity by the JSA. I did really like Superman chowing down on sloppy joes and one of those tiny little cardboard cartoons of milk you get in elementary school, however. Also, the Tau of Wildcat: "Fists are nature's problem solvers." And Power Girl is shaping up to be a pretty good leader.

Ms. Marvel #17: I continue to really like this book. Good wrap-up to the AIM/Modok story arc. The plotting is good, dialogue is crisp, and the artwork is very good, even if Carol Danvers looks to be barely old enough to drink.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007



Transformers. Surprisingly good, actually. Part by-the-numbers action flick, part Army recruiting film. Shia LaBeouf channels John Cusack (he even looks like him about twenty years ago). Jon Voight channels Donald Rumsfeld. Rachel Taylor is the obligatory, impossibly-hot computer hacker genius, with Anthony Anderson as her comic-relief sidekick in sequences that have a distinct Independence Day feel to them. Megan Fox is the obligatory ultra-hot love interest who obligatorily has more to her than meets the eye. Josh Duhamel is the male supermodel who seems to have accidentally wandered into the Army. Well-paced, though I actually preferred the lead-up in the first part. Excellent, though claustrophobic, battle scenes. Almost enough to make adults forget it's based on a crappy cartoon show based on cheesy toys.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007


Recent Comics I Have Read

Amazons Attack #3: Eh, I think I've had my fill of War on Terror metaphors. Art is better than the writing.

The Mighty Avengers #3: Okay, the thought balloons are annoying. Stop them immediately. Ultron is well-presented and more interesting this time than in previous "DIE FLESHLINGS!" incarnations. Curious to see how all this ties into the Civil War.

The New Avengers #31: No thought balloons makes me happy. Still unsure Yu's art. The flashforwards and flashbacks have stopped, which is good because they had lost their charm. And Elektra is a Skrull? Hwah?

Birds of Prey #107: Pretty good art, nice characterizations. Gail Simone knows, loves and respects her characters and it shows. Anyone who can make Catman seem cool...Features yet another annoying resurrection, but by this point I'm pretty numb to it.

Detective Comics #833: Dumb villain with a lame surprise (and what? Batman is suddenly paralyzed or something?), unconvincing interaction between the Batman and Zatanna (and btw is there anyone in the DCU Bruce Wayne didn't meet as a boy?). Artwork seems a little less stiff this time, though I preferred Zatanna's more recent Goth look.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #43: Interesting art, good dialogue. The whole "Reed Richards screwed up" thing is getting old. Movie tie-in, obviously.

Green Arrow #75: Good fight, though the ending is silly. I like it when Ollie gets to stick it to the man.

Justice League of America #10: Story silly; cover abominable. Sorry, I just don't like Michael Turner; his women are so distorted as to be repulsive, not sexy (Suspension of Disbelief demonstrates how the original sketch was even more freakishly, infantile-fetish distorted). And this story was just stupid. Meltzer obviously has a thing for dork Silver Age Legion tales and he fanboys all over this arc to prove it. Feh.

Justice Society of America #6: Tie-in to the ludicrous Lightning Arc in JLA, only with somewhat better writing and worse art (although Power Girl actually looks like she has a spine and is more than just a life-support system for ginormous boobs).

Noble Causes #30: Art continues to improve. Good soapy story, though I would've liked to have seen the actual trial of Rusty.

Ultimate Vision #4: Gah-Lak-Tus comes across as much more powerful in this one module than it did in the entire mini-series devoted to the entire planet-sized behemoth. Good art, good story, but I wish Vision didn't look like C-3PO as a stripper.

Wonder Woman #10: I think Jodi Picoult has a good handle on WW and I like the way she is presented here, particularly her internal conflicts. Pretty decent art by Paco Diaz.

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Star Trek: Ex Machina

Star Trek: Ex Machina by Christopher L. Bennett. Set immediately after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this novel revisits the world-ship Yonada from the TOS Episode "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky." Pluses: manages to work in some good commentary on religion, faith, politics and terrorism in the finest Star Trek tradition, and also some subtle criticism of Gene Roddenberry's atheist, communist utopia of the future.
Minuses: Bennett's writing style is a little creaky and he shows a fanboy's annoying tendency to drop in little references to damn near every Star Trek movie and series, plus a number of novels, in a glaring "look how clever I am" fashion (he lays them all out for you at his web-site). Also, he seems to have a hard time capturing the personalities of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, possibly because he spends too much time cramming in too many supporting characters who are fleshed-out in exhausting detail, even though their backgrounds and personalities do little if anything to advance the plot, not to mention trying to work in a life-altering moment of realization for almost all of the original TOS cast. Bennett obviously knows and loves his source material, but he needs to damp it down somewhat and focus more on the craft of writing than in trying to demonstrate his encyclopedic knowledge of Trek trivia.

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