I famously defended Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen when it was released, mainly because I felt that the critics were being too harsh on it. Was it a good movie? Fuck no. Let’s not even try to defend it as being a good movie. The film had exactly two moments in its runtime that worked on any level for me and those were Optimus’ fight in the forest and Shia LaBeouf making fun of the frat-bros with the tight shirts. That was about it. Megan Fox, who was ever so gorgeous in the first one, was given more words and thus made insufferable. This was coupled with the sad fact that she seemingly ruined her face through cosmetic wizardry between the first and second films. The juvenile humor was overbearing and the action scenes were a total clusterfuck. It was like the cinematic equivalent of the Super 8 train wreck; it went on for far too long and there were lots of explosions.
But Michael Bay and company seemed to recognize this. I think they lost sight of what people wanted in a live-action Transformers film and this time around they set out to build it from the ground up to please people who were turned off by the second installment. The juvenile humor that turned many people off isn’t gone, it’s just handled by far better actors. John Malkovich can do whatever the fuck he wants and make it work. That’s in the bible. Throw in a manic Ken Jeong and you’ve got perfection. And you know what, Shia LaBeouf has a manic energy that makes him uniquely likeable. There’s a reason Spielberg latched onto him all those years ago. He really acquits himself well in this installment.
Then there’s the Megan Fox replacement, plucked from the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalog, the lady who Jason Statham gets to throw it in on a regular basis, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Damn does the girl look good in this movie. I mean, Michael Bay knows how to make her look the the epitome of the perfect woman every second she’s on screen. What’s even more surprising is that she handles her character with more believability than Megan Fox ever managed to, and I don’t think this woman had ever attempted to be pretty and speak at the same time before Michael Bay called “action.” I know it was a major point of contention in online discussion whether Michael Bay chose her for her looks alone, but never during the course of the film does she not pull her own weight. Granted she’s not given a whole lot to do, but she doesn’t have the dry line reading that you would expect. Perhaps she just hits the middle ground that is left while everyone else is so busy chewing scenery. Because Malkovich, Turturro, and McDormand leave bite marks with their performances. Don’t let me make you think that’s a negative, because in a film like this everyone needs to go big or go home.
The film is all about going big, but not in the manner that ROTF did. The threat is larger but it’s handled with a much finer touch. The climax of part two was an unmitigated disaster that was essentially too chaotic to understand. At no point in Dark of the Moon do you lose track of who is fighting who. There is little explanation given for why certain characters arrive or who they are aside from casual namedropping, but by the third film in the series you can imagine a lot happens in between the installments and just ride it out. This isn’t high art. It’s a movie about robots fighting robots with humans caught in the middle and the last hour of this film is simply stunning in its magnitude and carnage. It pushes the boundaries of the pg-13 rating with the amount of brutality thrown around. I may sound dramatic when I say that but when these robots get ripped apart there is blood being shed. Literally, I don’t remember that happening in other installments but when characters die here they’re dripping blood and crying in agony. The robot on human violence is abundant if not particularly gory. Michael Bay did a very good job of making the tension of an alien invasion feel very, very real in that last hour of non-stop action.
I must say that major props must be given to the crew for giving the series a sense of closure at the end of this film as well. I will not spoil the major deaths but let’s just say that it would be hard for a fourth film to occur with some major players being taken off the board in a pretty definitive fashion. The script had a sense of determination in that regard that I think comes from a new writing team following Orci & Kurtzman’s exit. There is a definite shift in the handling of character death here from the casual dismissal of Jazz’ fate in the first film, I can say that much.
All in all it’s one of the best tentpole summer releases you could hope for. It has the epic scale that Green Lantern wishes it had achieved and those let down by Revenge of the Fallen will be pleased that a balance has been struck between the first and second films to provide a more balanced and enjoyable Transformers film.
According to Deadline, Megan Fox will not be returning for the next installment of the Transformers. I guess spending the last year badmouthing Michael Bay and starring in a series of box office flops made it real hard to find a reason to keep her around when you could find any number of equally attractive actresses who would love a chunk of that spotlight without giving the production team half of the grief.
In fact, this article will now simply be pictures of women who I would rather see running around in tight jeans and low cut tops while Robots make explosions in the background and everyone in the theater wonders what the living hell is going on.
Choice # 1 – Alison Brie
In her interview that accompanied the above interview, she talked about her college sex experiences with multiple partners and lady on lady mouth sucking. Which….yeah, let’s just say she’d be more than adequate a replacement for the faux-hypersexualized Fox, who could say the same shit and just come off as dirty, wheras Ms. Brie just seems like she knows what she’s doing. Like some sort of sex doctor.
Also…check out this gif from Community.
Yeah…you get the idea.
Choice # 2 – Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Also soon to be known as EVERYBODY’S secret crush after Scott Pilgrim hits theaters in August. I’ve had a thing for her since I saw her in Live Free or Die Hard playing Bruce Willis’ daughter. And then in that cheerleader outfit from Grindhouse.
Yeah, Quentin Tarantino f##king gets me.
CHOICE # 3 – A Giant Clump of Dirt
Still cleaner than Megan Fox, and judging by Jennifer’s Body and the trailer for Jonah Hex, probably more talented in the acting department as well. Though I’ve yet to see the dirt’s screen test, so I won’t make any definitive statements…
Maybe I should just commit to doing these on Friday so they’ll technically be up on time. I doubt that’d work, as eventually I’d be moving to Saturday to force an adherance to the deadline and that would just be sad. So as it stands, these are a day late. So sue me, but don’t, because I’m broke.
ADVENTURE COMICS #9 3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #627 2.99
BLACKEST NIGHT #8 3.99
DARK WOLVERINE #84 SIEGE 2.99
DETECTIVE COMICS #863 3.99
FANTASTIC FOUR #577 2.99
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #10 2.99
HACK SLASH SERIES #30 3.5
NEW MUTANTS #11 SIEGE 2.99
TRANSFORMERS ONGOING #5 3.99
WONDER WOMAN #42 2.99
X-MEN SECOND COMING #1 XSC 3.99
As you can see, it was kind of a short week, so I’m going to focus my energy on a select few titles, hoping to really drive my point home if possible.
Finally this mother-trucker comes to a conclusion. I haven’t been the biggest proponent of this title, as I think that trying to shoehorn it into the company wide crossover niche has destroyed any and all subtlety and nuance that could have been present were it done as a crossover event in the GL books the way Sinestro Corps War was done.
I’m sure those who have liked the book so far will go absolutely apeshit over this issue as well. I mean, it’s got everything that they expect out of the event in great quantity, so why wouldn’t they love it. For those of us who have been along for the ride wondering if the bizarre plot twists and deviations from established characterization would somehow make sense when the arc came to a close, unfortunately we get no such payoff.
I think that is my problem with this whole event. I know Geoff Johns can write the hell out of Green Lantern. The monthly title has consistently shown that from the very moment he relaunched it with that shiny # 1 a few years back. That much is not up for debate, he’ll be seen as the definitive Green Lantern writer of the last twenty-five years hands down, simply because he’s elevated the character to a place where he’s more of a flagship character than Superman, if you look at sales and interest.
The problem with Blackest Night is that it tries to use the elements that make Geoff Johns such a good writer but the end product is rushed and mangled due to the restraints of containing the bulk of the story to a single book. It’s the same problem that happened back with Infinite Crisis. If you read the collected edition of that book, nothing makes any sense because key bits are in other books. The same thing feels like it happened here. I feel like with a book like this, cohesion is key, and they could have either made GL and GLC official parts of the story, and allowed Geoff to weave the narrative across the mini-series as well as the two ongoings, thus giving the narrative some space to breathe and flow organically.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. With this issue, I feel like everything was abrupt and oddly presented, and aside from the “wow factor” that comes with some amazing spash page and a few resurrected heroes, the final issue, much like the rest of the series, seems to fall just a little bit flat.
Time for another x-event. It’s been a while since Messiah Complex, but a lot has happened since then and it feels like it’s all been leading to this. I have to say that I wish it would have gotten here sooner because so much of the X-books in the last few years has felt like repeated filler. Like they were treading water getting ready for this event. Does it measure up?
I think my main problem with the book had to do with Finch’s art, which compared to his prior work on New Avengers and Moon Knight looks like it was just plain rushed. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks he made the art so shoddy as a middle finger to Marvel as he hopped on the bus over to DC, but I think most of it was honestly a stylistic choice, though one that I don’t agree with.
I’ve been reading the x-books up to this point and I still didn’t quite get parts of the book. I didn’t know who the hell the smiley faced mercenaries were, and the reveal at the end didn’t seem like much of a shocker having read the X-Force series.
Maybe it’s just off to a slow start, as I wasn’t impressed, but things need to pick up soon if this is going to measure up to Messiah Complex, as I straight up loved that crossover.
That’s it for this week. Next week should be a bigger week, and I’ll hopefully have the reviews up on an actual Thursday this time around. Until then…
Hey, guess what? I read some books! Just like last week? Aren’t I unpredictable? But seriously folks, I got my books yesterday, though about six hours later than usual so I actually stayed up late reading comic books to ensure that I would be able to get this post up in a reasonably timely manner. You guys should send me a gift basket.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #622 GNTLT 3.99
AVENGERS INITIATIVE #33 SIEGE 2.99
BATMAN AND ROBIN #9 2.99
BLACK LANTERN GREEN ARROW #30 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 3.99
BLACKEST NIGHT #7 3.99
BLACKEST NIGHT JSA #3 (OF 3) 2.99
CAPTAIN SWING #1 (OF 4) 3.99
CHOKER #1 (MR) 3.99
DARK WOLVERINE #83 SIEGE 2.99
DEADPOOL #20 2.99
FALL OF HULKS RED HULK #2 (OF 4) FOH 3.99
FANTASTIC FOUR #576 2.99
GI JOE TP VOL 02 19.99
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #9 2.99
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #36 (C: 1-0-0) 2.99
MS MARVEL #50 3.99
NEW AVENGERS #62 SIEGE 3.99
SUPERMAN #697 2.99
THOR #607 SIEGE 2.99
TRANSFORMERS ONGOING #4 3.99
WONDER WOMAN #41 2.99
X-FACTOR #202 2.99
X-MEN LEGACY #233 XN 2.99
That’s a pretty healthy haul. So what did I think?
For the last few week’s I’ve really been boosting up ASM as a book. I think it’s been consistantly good and that the naysayers have been blinded by their own biases. This issue however is a bit of a mixed bag, in that the lead story with Morbius is actually quite fun if a tad on the light side, not actually being full length and thus appearing somewhat rushed, while the second story with Flash Thompson is just sort of a discombobulated mess.
I am willing to bet that the secondary tale is in there because they need to quickly set up Flash’s new status quo for when he inevitably comes back into the fold of the supporting cast on a regular basis. It feels like the writing team’s attempt to get us re-aquainted with Flash and let us know that by featuring him in such a beefy role in what amounts to a backup story, he must be important enough to care about. Continuity wise, at least.
Like I said, the issue is a mixed bag, but it’s only a slight hiccup in the road as far as I’m concerned, because it’s a one-off story meant to act as an interlude anyhow. I don’t blame them for trying to cram some exposition in there that might have gotten cut short if it were rammed into an ongoing storyline. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…Amazing Spider-Man.
It’s like Sin City meets Blade Runner with enough of the classic Marlowe noir not to feel cheap. Choker is Ben McCool’s debut creator-owned story and damned if he didn’t knock it out of the park with this first issue. The dialogue is crisp and feels as solid as noir dialogue can, which admittedly can sometimes come off as really cheesy. Remember Frank Miller’s script for The Spirit? Yeah, it’s nothing like that.
I’ve admitted that I’m not normally a fan of Ben Templesmith. His artwork is hard to critique because any complaints can be attributed to his wanting to add a sense of style. And luckily, in the case of this book, the style works. Whereas I felt it actually hindered the story in something like 30 Days of Night, here it feels like any other type of art style would have seemed…off.
Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. I’m always telling people that there’s great new stuff out there and this is no exception. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you pass it up.
Speaking of original material, fuck you Warren Ellis. How the living hell do you manage to crank out so many titles in such short periods of time, and all of them be thoroughly entertaining? Where is your off month? When do I get to read something from you that sucks. That would be a surprise. I would actually be shocked if I picked up an Ellis book and didn’t like it. The man has such a vivid sense of world-building and setting that he could tell an infinite number of stories simply by interchanging the characters and plots from his different endeavors into each other’s locales. In this case, we get a pre-industrial revolution London in the time of the formation of the Metropolitan Police (aka the “Met”) and a mysterious steampunk villain(?) who fires electric bullets and cavorts around town in a flying airship.
Once again, fuck you Warren Ellis. You creative prick.
It pains me to say that reading this final issue of Ms. Marvel, I understand why it’s going away. When your grand finale is so astoundingly anti-climactic that it makes the reader’s chest hurt, you probably should thank your lucky stars that you made it to issue 50. Now, I’ve followed this title since # 1, and I’ve tried to get people on board, because I think that it’s been a really damn good title for the majority of the run. But I see the final arc as sort of a missed opportunity. It seemed…I guess rushed is as good a word as any. Like this is all Brian Reed could come up with because the weight of delivering a final issue was weighing on him so heavily.
The backup story is passable. I’m not a big Noh Varr fan, so it didn’t speak to me on any real level. But something tells me that what happened there will come into play whenever they decide to focus a little more on that character. At least when that happens I’ll be prepared.
Overall, this would have been a fine issue were it not the grand finale. In that sense, it feels like a bit of a misfire.
It’s an extended Power Girl cameo, how the hell do you think I felt about it?
And that’s it for this week, join us next time when I aim to be even more passive aggressive.
Every week I plan to bring you my personal reviews of the week’s releases, hopefully in a timely manner. This would be easier if Marvel and DC still sent out those preview copies a week ahead of time but those are a distant memory, like good hip-hop.
THE PULL LIST:
ACTION COMICS #885 3.99
ADVENTURE COMICS #6 3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #617 3.99
ANGEL #29 3.99
AVP THREE WORLD WAR #1 (OF 6) 3.50
BATGIRL #6 2.99
BATMAN #695 2.99
BLACK WIDOW DEADLY ORIGIN #3 (OF 4) 3.99
BOOSTER GOLD #28 3.99
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #31 2.99
CATWOMAN #83 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 2.99
CONAN THE CIMMERIAN WEIGHT OF CROWN ONE SHOT 3.50
DIE HARD YEAR ONE #4 3.99
FEARLESS DAWN #2 (OF 4) 2.95
GREEN ARROW BLACK CANARY #28 3.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #22 2.99
MARVELS PROJECT #5 (OF 8 ) 3.99
NATION X #2 (OF 4) 3.99
PSYLOCKE #3 (OF 4) 3.99
PUNISHERMAX #3 (MR) 3.99
RED HERRING #6 (OF 6) 2.99
SECRET SIX (BLACKEST NIGHT) #17 2.99
SWORD (MARVEL) #3 2.99
TITANS #21 2.99
TRANSFORMERS ONGOING #3 3.99
UNWRITTEN #9 (MR) 2.9
Here begins another chapter in the “Gauntlet” arc of Amazing Spider-Man, detailing one of the viallians who I felt should have been included in the film series somewhow (and hopefully will be when this reboot gets going), the Rhino. Why do I like the Rhino? Because he’s got that classic element of emotional scarring through physical trauma that I like my villains to have. (See also Two-Face, Killer Croc, etc.)
Here we see Rhino doing the whole “I’m a good guy because I found a woman” routine and we’re introduced to a new character taking up the Rhino moniker. How many of the original Spider-Man rogues are actually the people they were when they debuted nowdays? Kraven and Scorpion have been replaced by younger more female-type persons, the new Vulture spits acid blood or something like that, now the Rhino is getting an overhaul. I’m not complaining, though. When it comes to the stories presented, if you’d been beaten up by Spider-Man for years you would likely abdicate your cirminal moniker too. The old guard fading away is a big part of what makes certain stories work. By progessing the villains, you progress your hero by proxy. It works.
The main story here is a bit hollow, aside from the fun interplay between Peter and Norah, there’s not much meat to the story. It’s clearly a setup for what will follow in subsequent issues. Even the advancement of Rhino as a character isn’t truly fleshed out until a very well done backup story after the main meat n’ potatoes of the lead-in.
Again, I seem to like where all this is going, and I attribute that mostly to Joe Kelly who is an underappreciated writer in many ways, but I think my feelings toward this issue will be altered one way or the other by how it is followed up down the line.
I’m going to try not to review books, such as this one, that are in the middle of an ongoing arc if I can avoid it. That having been said, I think this issue finally revealed what I’ve been feeling about the “Dick as Bats” experiment and made me grasp what had only been an inkling until reading a few panels presented here; I forgot that Bruce was gone.
Tony Daniel has been doing something that seems to counter-act what Morrison has been doing in “Batman & Robin.” Whereas that book works off of the relation between Damien and Dick and how both are coming to terms with Bruce Wayne’s absence, the main Bat book goes long stretches where Batman is doing his thing and the inner voice of the character is 100% identical to Bruce, generally speaking. It feels as if Daniel is writing Bruce Wayne as Batman and then out of nowhere we are reminded that it’s not Bruce.
Part of me thinks it’s written this way to make the reader accept Dick as the subsitute, leaving the reader in a comfort zone and not changing the tone of the character in any major way. Another part of me thinks that Daniel is not as experienced a writer as he is an artist, and therefore has trouble writing discernable voices for multiple characters. He doesn’t write Dick in the suit, he writes the suit, so to speak.
The book itself feels like a book out of the 80′s or 90′s. It’s very self contained to it’s own universe and almost a slave to it’s own past. The art is solid, which I attribute to Daniel basically writing to his own strengths, seeing how he’s handling the art along with the scripting. It’s refreshing to read a fairly straight-forward Batman narrative again, even if we know that it’s techically just filler until Morrison pulls Bruce out of the past and re-inserts him into the now.
Why are you not reading this? It’s such a great book. I know a few people must have been suckered in during that Blackest Night crossover, but that’s just not enough. This book craves attention. Just like Booster himself, this book is constantly seeking validation. It shouldn’t, because it’s just plain good and that should stand for itself, but everyone should read this book at least once.
This issue is a great place to start. It’s a good jumping on point, with Booster and his sister delivering a nicely done exposition dump and getting everyone back up to speed. The story centers around the “if you travel to the past you can’t change anything” device and takes a look at how, if given the opportunity, such things might play out in the DCU. In this case, it’s trying to avoid the Cyborg Superman Coast City disaster. With time travel being a regular staple of the DC universe, it’s suprising that we don’t see more stories centered around the government or certain heroes trying to go back and reverse history. I mean, Superman flew around the world so fast he turned back time in the original Superman film, so it’s not like it hasn’t been thought of, but Booster Gold seems to be the only series that bothers to look at certain angles of the time-travel element.
I think that’s what I’ve been liking so much about this book. Aside from the Blackest Night tie-in, the book completely covers its own little niche of the DCU that nobody else tramples on and the book acknowleges and presents a reasoning for occupying that very same niche. It’s clever writing at its best and the fact that it makes logical sense is refreshing, especially given what goes on in certain parts of the DC publishing web.
I think out of all the resurrected titles that came about because of Blackest Night, Catwoman was the one I was most looking forward to. I was terribly disapointed when they cancelled the book in the first place. Seriously, it was a solid book and it didn’t need to go away. I love Gotham City Sirens, and that has helped to lessen the blow but crowding the book with three leads makes it hard to really focus on any one character’s needed arcs. It’s almost as if that book was meant to introduce a new status quo in a manner that we all slowly forget what came before and only focus on the current developments.
Resurrecting the Catwoman title proper, allowed the reader to get a little closure in regard to the Black Mask murder storyline that pretty much dangled after the cancellation of Selina’s title. This book puts the endpiece on that particular storyline and organically presents a followup that can be built upon in “Sirens” down the line.
While the Blackest Night banner seems to indicate a quick cash-grab in bringing books like Catwoman back, the content and the fact that it is used to further the development of the character and put old business to bed justifies their existence.
There are Nazis. And I don’t really understand much else. Part of me wants to peg this book as a sort of T&A throwaway book but, there’s not actually much T&A on display. It’s really just an oddball fun book that isn’t too deep or well constructed, but it’s a fun read in the end and considering I only picked up the first issue because the cover looked interesting and I’ll buy anything with Nazi’s as the villain (see also Hellboy) I can’t complain too heavily about what’s presented between the covers.
I recently named Fraction’s “World’s Most Wanted” arc one of my favorites of 2009. He’s still continuing that with the “Stark Disassembled” arc here, but I can’t help but have flashbacks to that season of The Sopranos where Tony was in a coma and we spent so much time in a dream world that interest soon started to dwindle.
That isn’t a problem here, because now Doctor Strange is here and Doctor Strange is awesome.
I predict that the end of this arc will make me do a little fanboy squeal but if I do I won’t tell you about it because I’d like to retain some of my objective dignity, of which I have very little.
Jubilee. That is all you need to know.
Holy fuckshit Jason Aaron is impressing me left and right. His Weapon X book is the best Wolverine in years and now we get a Punisher story that lives up to the legacy that Garth Ennis left with “Welcome Back Frank” without completely aping everything that Ennis did with the character.
The smartest thing Aaron has done is focus more on the Kingpin than on Frank Castle. We’ve seen everything in Frank’s arsenal, honestly. But this new Kingpin is an unknown entity. By establishing this new character and framing the development through the lens of the Punisher and the thugs on the street, we are left wondering if this Kingpin is going to wind up like the rest of the Punisher’s rogues and be dead by the end of the arc or if we’ll finally get another recurring villain worth getting excited over. Ennis gave us Barracuda and The Russian, it seems like Aaron is trying to do the same thing with the Kingpin, and give us a new recurring foe who isn’t named Jigsaw.
This book is everything you could wan’t in a Punisher story. It also has saggy old lady tits, though I’m not sure if that counts for the book or against it.
Ultra Magnus is a dick and a half. Seriously, the guy is so oblivious to his own dickishness that he makes Silver-Age Superman look like a cognitive genius. I’m not exactly sure what continuity this book follows, considering that I haven’t read a Transformers comic in ages, but if there’s one thing that all of them share it is that Ultra Magnus is a total douchebag and he doesn’t even know it. Also Hot Rod.
This book is frustating for me in that I feel as if nothing seems to happen in any of the issues until the final page. It’s like 31 pages of filler and then shocking cliffhanger. It is already getting tiresome. That having been said, I like the angle they’re playing where the Autobots and Decepticons put aside their differences out of a shared sense of nihilistic apathy/exhaustion. It’s basically as if both camps said “screw it,what else is on TV?” It’s different, at least to me, and story structure aside, I want to see where it leads.
And that wraps it up for this week’s reviews. I would like to finish the post with something witty but I really want to finish watching LOST on bluray, so that isn’t gonna be happening.