Friday, May 26, 2006

Marvel Annihilation: Update

Marvel's secondary Summer event is now a few issues into each miniseries' run, so I thought it'd be a good idea to reassess my views on the books.

As expected, Annihilation: Nova is pretty much the book to beat in this group. It's actually one of the best books I'm reading right now, not just from Marvel, but from any publisher.

Wow. Nova is one of my favorite comics. That just feels weird to admit.

If anything, the second issue actually improves on the first, supplying another couple of interesting character dynamics with the addition of Drax the Destroyer and his little Earth girl companion. The writing is snappy, and the art is just terrific. I'm really grokking on this book, and would gladly buy an ongoing or follow the creative team to a new book.

Annihilation: Super-Skrull is a good read as well. I was very skeptical about this one. I mean, the Super-Skrull? He's got to be one of the goofiest characters to come out of the House of Ideas. He looks like Ultra the Multi Alien's brother-in-law, fer cripe's sake. Still, it's a pretty bouncy, light outerspace book, and certainly satisfies on that level.

Confession: I have never, ever enjoyed a Silver Surfer story. He seems to me to be the ultimate Stan Lee creation. He simply cannot be written without being overwritten. His overriding angst and flowery speech patterns have the same effect as an prescription sleep aid on me. He is possibly the most boring Marvel character I have ever encountered. There's plenty that are lamer or goofier, but as we all know, the greatest crime in super-heroics is to be boring. Which he is. (Although he is certainly goofy as well) I'd rather read a Razorback story than a Silver Surfer story.

As for Annihilation: SIlver Surfer? Well, it's a typical Silver Surfer story, which means I didn't like it. Huh, that was pretty easy.

And then there's Annihilation: Ronan. I've only read the first issue, but it didn't really resonate. I don't really have any knowledge of the character before this mini, and I'm still not sure I have a handle on who he is. I think I had him mixed up with one of the Celestials, a group of characters that I have only previously seen in the Marvel Handbooks. The book itself is kind of boring, so it's going to have to get a thumbs down from me.

All in all, this "Event" is batting .500 with me, which is actually pretty good for a group of miniseries, and is downright spectacular for a group of Marvel comics. Nova is great, Super-Skrull is fun, but Silver Surfer and Ronan are kind of drag.

Note to Marvel. Nova monthly. Dan Abnett. Kev Walker. Money in the bank.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kicking and Screaming - Criterion Details!

The Criterion website has finally released info on their upcoming release of Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming, which is, by chance, my absolute favorite movie. It looks to be another high-quality presentation from the good people at Criterion. Still no commentary from Baumbach, but that wasn't really very likely considering the lack of such on his recent The Squid and the Whale dvd. Lots of good stuff on K&S, though, including copious interviews with Baumbach and cast members, as well as some deleted scenes.

I really couldn't be more stoked. It's nice to get exactly what you want, even if it takes a bit longer than you would have liked. I really recommend anyone who hasn't seen it make a note to check it out when released. There's no date listed, but hopefully they're still planning on releasing it sometime this summer. [edit: the site lists August, so... yay!]

(I love you, Criterion.)

Oh, the details are also out for Dazed and Confused, which looks great as well.

Anyone??? Bueller???

I'm not dead, although when I was doubled over with crippling gallstone pain a month or so back I sure felt like death was imminent at times. Things have been hectic, but I think I'm back on track, so you can expect a return to my previous level of sporadic posting.


Oh, and Waiting... was just terrible. Watched it yesterday. Save yourself the pain.

Teen Titans #37 - The Tipping Point?

I like the current Teen Titans book. I have affection for most of the characters, and I find the plots to be, for the most part, a lot of fun. That said, I am on the verge of dropping the book altogether.

The reason is the art.

I don't know a lot about Tony Daniel. I think he was responsible for the art in Darkchylde, which was an Image book about a girl with thong underwear, if memory serves. What I do know, however, is that the Image/Maximum/Avatar art style is really pulling me out of this book. This is a book completely drenched in DC history, using characters from all over the DCU. It is not a book "to teh extreem!"

It's a fun, soap-operatic book that needs a lighter touch on art, in my opinion. Mike McKone was the initial artist on the title before Marvel sniped him, and he was a great fit for the book. The skinny, sketchy characters populating the books at present just don't mesh well with the storylines. Teen Titans require an artist who can effectively show fluidity, from Robin's smooth acrobatics to the almost cartoonish appearance of Beast Boy's green animal incarnations.

Daniel is a good artist, if not entirely to my taste, but his style of rendering and figure work just aren't suited for this book. I feel like a jerk for dissing his work, but it is really turning me away from Teen Titans.

I'm more of a writer's comic-fan, and I can't even remember the last time I found the art on a comic so distracting. I really might drop the book, which would suck, because I think that Teen Titans is one of the books that has made the best use of the whole One Year Later concept.

I hope DC finds a book that is a better fit for Daniel's art, and I hope Teen Titans gets a clean-line artist like McKone or Alan Davis. This whole thing is likely just a reflection of my unrealistic desire to have Alan Davis pencil every book DC is currently pencilling. Except the Seven Soldiers books. The art in those was the s**t.

Friday, May 05, 2006

New Prisoner Series?

Hmm... not sure if this is a good idea or not. Remaking one of the seminal 60s Brit series is a tricky proposition. The original is so linked with Patrick McGoohan, who not only starred but also wrote and directed several episodes, hat it might be difficult for a new actor to establish himself in the role.

Still, the original Prisoner was a long time ago, and many younger viewers won't have any familiarity with the source material, meaning the show could do well with the Lost crowd. Plus, Christopher Eccleston is an interesting actor.

I'll be keeping my eyes open for this series. It's going to be a six-parter, scheduled to air next Spring.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Annihilation: A Marvel Mega-Event I'm Digging On

I swear to God, I'm just as surprised as you. I thought House of M was el stinko. Civil War looks to be an overblown mess from the lead-ins I've read so far. I think the last Marvel Mega-Event that I've actually enjoyed was The Evolutionary War. And that was because I was young and dumb. It isn't, in fact, any good at all.

And yet, despite my best intentions... despite my amazingly high initial level of non-interest in every character involved in this story... I can't help thinking Annihilation is boss.

I've only read the Prologue issue and Nova #1, but I can already tell that the puppetmaster behind this particular multi-part story actually seems to have a direct, linear story that he wants to tell. Keith Giffen ,you have made me anticipate a Marvel Event, and for that I'm not quite sure whether to thank you.

I really believe that the Nova character is going to come out of this story revitalized and full of heat. I'm not sure if there's already talk of a regular series in the near future, but it certainly wouldn't come as a surprise. Yes, Nova is basically Peter Parker in the Green Lantern Corps... but damnit, that's not a bad concept to hang a character on.

I think the greatest asset this story has is that it is, as far as I know, staying the hell out of regular series and confining itself to the related miniseries (Nova, Silver Surfer, Super Skrull and Ronan). This gives the story clear structure, and makes coordination between books an infinitely simpler prospect.

Marvel has also put great writers and artists on the books. It seems simple, but a lot of times the creative teams on big event books aren't up to the task. Hot writers with hotshot attitudes maybe find it a bit difficult to work under the confines of somebody else's game plan. And the best artists for some books aren't necessarily the "Artists of the Minute". Sometimes a book requires a very specific type of art style, one that might not even be en vogue at the moment. The art on Prologue and especially Nova was close to perfect. Kev Walker has a very Giffen-esque quality to his work, which is an artstyle I've always liked.

I'm not a "cosmic" guy. I'm certainly not a Marvel guy. But this story has got my attention, and that says a lot for the strength of its execution. If the other minis' first issues can hold up to the high quality set by Annihilation: Nova #1, I'm in for the long haul. And it looks like it might be a pretty nice ride.

And hey, maybe if this little event book sells decent numbers, we can hope for Marvel to take notice, and stop cramming "concept books" that fall apart in the execution down our throats.

Marvel can be proud of Annihilation. That can't be said for a lot of the marquee books that come out of the House of Ideas. And I think Marvel should be encouraging the development of more projects like Annihilation. Not that anyone's asking me. But they should. Oh yes, they should.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Oh god, the pain....

I am currently experiencing "Spider-Man trapped under massive machinery" level pain in my lower back as a result of the bane to every 30-year-old man's physical well-being, unsafe lifting. Last night, I found myself unable to sleep while laying perfectly motionless on my back, so I am running on virtually no sleep. It's truly a miserable state of affairs.

I mean, I just turned 30 like two weeks ago, and my body has already decided to begin the decomposition process? Nuts to you, lower back. I think you suck. I'ma gonna do nothin' but lie on the couch and watch Mystery Science Theatre when I get home from work.

Oh, and down Robaxacet like M&Ms. Yum yum.

Friday, April 14, 2006

My First Comic

Hmmm... First Comic Week, eh?

It was actually pretty hard to remember what my first comic was. I can't give 100% assurance that this was in fact my very first comic, but it's certainly the first one I remember owning. And actually, considering how confusing I must have found it, I'm surprised I kept reading them. The comic? Legion of Super-Heroes #295.

Wow. This is one strange comic. I notice, upon rereading it, that it's a fill-in issue, with the always-satisfying Keith Giffen only pencilling the framing sequence, and Howard Bender working on the bulk of the issue. I guess Timber Wolf is trying to decide whether to leave the Legion with Light Lass for some reason, and his buddy Blok decides that the best way to help him figure it out is to force him to watch a completely unrelated holotape of an early LSH adventure. Blok is kind of a dick, it seems. I think he just doesn't like to watch tv alone.

So, they watch the tape, and it's this convoluted story that tries to explain why there aren't any Green Lanterns in the future. Only there are. And one of them is Universo, who I had never heard of, but is apparently a big deal (from the looks of him, I guessed that he was a pirate or something). Blok figures this out, but then decides not to tell anybody, either because he figures if it was true they'd already know, or because there's no reason anybody would give a rat's ass.

Oh, and Cosmic Boy is a sadistic sumbitch, that's for sure. Geez, that bug looks pretty juicy, eh?

Anyways, in the end Timber Wolf decides to stay, and gets dumped by his girlfriend. You know, the Giffen run on LSH is one of my favorite runs of any comic, but this fill-in issue is a stinker. I'm glad I didn't make any decisions about comic reading based on this issue alone, because then this blog would be about woodcarving or clog dancing or something.

I must have been a weird kid, because despite the lameness of this comic, I read it until it just about fell apart.

So, there you have it: Jhunt's first comic. A fill-in right in the middle of one of comicbookdom's seminal runs. Nice job, moron. If I had just started a month earlier, I'd be talking about the conclusion to The Great Darkness Saga, possibly the greatest story-arc in Legion history. Nuts.

Related Posts:
Everybody Loves the Giff

Monday, April 10, 2006

Missing In Action

Just a quick note... so busy. So very, very busy. We moved back into the condo on Friday, and Tam and I have been opening boxes ever since. So many boxes...

The dark side of being an avid reader is that the sheer amount of books I've accumalated is a bit staggering. And they all need to be reshelved.

We're making fair progress, and I am hopeful that we'll be back to normal within a day or two.

And at that time, I should have both the time and energy to begin blogging again with some semblance of regularity.