Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Archive for June, 2010

Wonder Woman Gets A New Costume

Ladies and Gentlemen, The 90's Have Returned

So, Jim Lee apparently designed this new look for Wonder Woman, which is essentially a cross between 90’s Superboy, Black Canary and Wonder Girl. I will say that Wonder Woman has been needing a redesign for a long, LONG time, but I’m not sure if adding a leather jacket and a choker is the sort of thing I had in mind. I mean, isn’t she supposed to be a princess from a mythical island paradise? Does leather jacket and choker scream royalty to anyone? It’s like they wanted to replace “your highness” with “yes, mistress.” Which, as anyone who has seen my multiple bondage-themed posts knows I wouldn’t have a problem with, especially given Diana’s s&m filled background, however there seems to be a tone clash with what I know about the modern Wonder Woman and her place in the DCU versus her essentially looking here like Black Canary switched places with Diana. Dinanah Prance is what I will call her. Because I can mash up words with the best of them.

This simply reminds me of a friend who always referred to the Catwoman redesign from a few years back that he claimed to be under the direction of Jim Lee. In reality that was a Darwyn Cooke design. I informed him that Jim Lee, capable artist that he may be, couldn’t have come up with such an effective, utilitarian costume if he’d had a Liefeld gun to his head. The way the whip wrapped around her waistline to double as a belt was a tiny stylistic touch that seemed like something that had real-world value. Jim Lee designs are all about flair and style. Hence, leather jacket + choker.

At least they gave her some pants. I mean, come on. You know she’s been wanting to wear pants since she passed a pair of blue jeans in a window the first day she got off of the island.

Advertisements

Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

I feel like these won’t be up to snuff. I’ve been off my game for the last few days, more focused on my novel than the content of the site, sad to say. I know it’s horribly short-sighted of me considering that the novel is in no way a sure thing whereas this site seems to have a dedicated audience if our recent web-numbers mean anything at all. (Hint, they don’t)

So here we go.

ARRIVALS 6-23-2010
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #635 GRIM 3.99
AVENGERS #2 HA 3.99
BATMAN RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #3 (OF 6) 3.99
COVER RUN THE DC COMICS ART OF ADAM HUGHES HC 39.99
DETECTIVE COMICS #866 3.99
FANTASTIC FOUR #580 HA 2.99
FRANKEN-CASTLE #18 2.99
GREEN ARROW #1 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 3.99
HERALDS #4 (OF 5) 2.99
HULK #23 WWHS 4.99
IRON MAN LEGACY #3 2.99
JURASSIC PARK REDEMPTION #1 3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE GENERATION LOST #4 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 2.99
POWER GIRL #13 2.99
SEA BEAR & GRIZZLY SHARK #1 4.99
SUPERGIRL #53 2.99
SUPERMAN #700 (NOTE PRICE) 4.99
THUNDERBOLTS #145 HA 2.99
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS 2 #4 3.99
WOLVERINE WEAPON X #14 3.99
X-FACTOR #206 XSC 2.99
X-MEN LEGACY #237 XSC 2.99
ZATANNA #2 2.99


GREEN ARROW # 1

I was so wary when I bought this title. I got the distinct feeling that it was going to be just downright abysmal. It had every indicator that it would be. In the wake of what’s going down with Arsenal, which may be the absolute worst storyline/title that DC has published in years, I expected to be equally disappointed in the new Green Arrow title. Despite the fact that I have every issue of Green Arrow from the moment Mike Grell took over the character to the end of the last series, I was seriously considering skipping it this time around because I didn’t have much faith that I would get my money’s worth.

The first issue was largely an exercise in getting people caught up, with Green Arrow telling a would-be victim everything the reader needs to know in order to jump aboard. It feels a little bit like a drag considering that I have been following Green Arrow for a while, but I suppose DC figured this new direction would hook a couple of new readers and they’d need the recap. Still, it could have been done a lot better without seeming like we were being led by the nose.

The new villain who takes control of Ollie’s old company is actually a pretty cool looking figure, she has a graceful mystery to her presence that makes her seem like less of a throwaway villain than other new arrivals, and thank god she’s not another archer (that we know of) because that’s just getting old.

The teaser reel at the end of the book that shows us where the book is headed helps to keep me interested, because it promises a few interesting possibilities. I’m not likely to drop the book as I’m a completist when it comes to Ollie, but I won’t regret my decision to stick around if things stay mostly as they are here.


JURASSIC PARK # 1

Man, this thing is a mess. The story is bland and overly familiar, and the art looks like amateur hour. Nostalgia aside, there is no reason for this book to exist because there is nothing to salvage it when it comes to quality. I imagine some people who are really die hard fans of the franchise will stick around to see its completion, but I would have to be handed this book for free the next go-around to read issue two. I really wish I could say more about the book, but it was so mediocre that while reading it, nothing sunk in except how much I disliked it. I even like the second and third films, so it’s not like I’m holding it to any high standard. It’s just not a very good book, and it really could have been. I don’t think anyone will dispute that. It’s just a mess of an issue that turned me off nearly immediately.


POWER GIRL # 13

Everyone here is probably well acquainted with my eternal love for Power Girl. I think she’s an underrated character who gets shoehorned into a stereotype because of the size of her bazongas. Everyone knows the story where she was supposedly drawn with bigger knockers every month back when she first debuted just to see how far they could go with it before someone noticed.

The thing is, as Jimmy Palmiotti (friend of the site, natch), Justin Gray and Amanda Conner can attest, you can squeeze some great stories out of her if you’re willing to think outside of the box and go places that aren’t readily visited by the majority of the characters in the mainstream. Power Girl operated for twelve months as the most legitimately fun book on the stands with some of the best expressive artwork this side of Kevin Maguire. It was earnest and endearing and I never wanted it to end.

Unfortunately it had to.

Now Judd Winick has taken over the writing duties while new artist Sami Basri has the unenviable task of following Amanda Conner. How do they do? I would put their efforts at “admirable.” Judd Winick does a good job of handling the tone set down by the previous team, but has to work in the events of Generation Lost, so things take a turn toward the more standard superhero fare. It feels kind of like a mash-up of the previous issues of Power Girl with a hint of Sterling Gates’ Supergirl work during the big crossover.

I think that Winick would have done better if he’d kept Generation Lost separate from the Power Girl ongoing, just as the previous team kept Power Girl separate from her interactions with the JSA. I understand the reasoning behind the move, but from a storytelling standpoint it feels like it’s trying too hard to fit into an overall continuity and not concerned with growing organically.

As far as the art is concerned, Basri does a good job but there are instances where it seems like there are three different renditions of Power Girl throughout the book where she doesn’t look like the same person. I think when the artist gets a better grasp of the character, those little nitpicks will slip away.

I just hope that Winick can manage writing the book without fretting over making the character “integral” to the overall scheme of the DCU, because crossovers kill interesting titles. It becomes less about the character and more about the universe and frankly I don’t want that to happen here.


SEA BEAR AND GRIZZLY SHARK

Uh, yeah. I don’t know what to think about this one. Well, I know what I think about it. I just don’t know what to think about my liking it. There is no setup, it’s just a dive-in and go with the flow sort of book. Like it’s an issue of a series that already has four issues on the rack and this is just the next one in the series. There is no rational explaination or origin given for these characters, and nothing makes any real sense but the artwork is genuinely amazing and I don’t think I’ve cough-laughed the way I did with this book in a long time. I mean, a lot of this book caught me off guard and I didn’t know what to think. I can’t really recommend it for general audiences but if you’re looking for dumb violent “WTF” style stuff, this is definitely worth a look.



SUPERMAN # 700

There has been a lot said about Stracynski’s arrival to the Superman title. Everyone by now knows the premise that Superman will be walking across America trying to reconnect with the people he’s supposed to protect. What I’m wondering is if this little pseudo-art vanity project will end up like Brian Azzarello’s run from a few years back that everyone dismisses as pretentious garbage. I suppose it would be worse if it were happening in Action comics, because I don’t know how much Action you can get out of a brisk jog, but considering that it’s been a while since Superman even appeared in his own book, I don’t know if Superman going through a pseudo Kung Fu “walk the earth” trek is really what we need right now.

I think that the War of the Supermen story was really well done and it had the sort of epic edge-of-your-seat stakes that I require from a Superman story. I doubt I’m going to get that in Stracynski’s run. I don’t doubt that it will be well written, because when he’s not hamstrung by editorial mandate, JMS can crank out some good stories. He knows how to write characters to thei strength and I don’t doubt that we’ll get some interesting moments out of this story arc. What I’m afraid of is when it fails to generate interest and gets cut short because editorial wants to see a bump in numbers but modern comic readers don’t have the patience for a slow burn anymore.

All I’m saying is  that it’s off to a decent start, and it has a good chance to be something really great, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t seem like it’s not going to end well. No matter what happens.

*******************************************************************

So there you go. Next week I’ll try to have these up in a more timely fashion. But, I’ve said that before and you get where I’m going with this.


Happy Birthday Joss Whedon

Pull My Finger

Today is Joss Whedon’s birthday. We here at Comics Con Queso wis him well, and look forward to the next time he will make us cry like little bitches at the death of a beloved character.


Film Review – Toy Story 3

Man, I feel so old when I think about how much has happened in the time between the release of the original Toy Story and the arrival of the third film in theaters. I mean, I’m a young guy. I’m not even twenty-five yet. But the fact that it’s been fifteen years since the first film hit theaters weighs heavy on me. Mainly because I can’t remember much about that portion of my childhood. I was transitioning into middle school a year down the line and priorities seemed to shift. I do remember that Toy Story was an inspiring movie for me. It was so new and I hadn’t ever seen anything like it. 3D prior to that point had been mostly hideous. Looking back on it now, it’s amazing how far we’ve come in the quality of animation. It’s the same sort of gulf that there was between the 3D at the time and what Pixar brought us with Toy Story the first time around.

Toy Story 3 feels like something just as new and fresh as the original was fifteen years ago. Not because of the story or the characters, but because the first time around Pixar was clearly aiming the film at the hearts of the young. It worked. I still count the first film as one of my childhood favorites. This time around, they’re aiming at the same demographic but fifteen years older. This film is made, undoubtedly, for the kids who are no longer kids. The themes of growing up and transitioning into a world where we have to leave our childhood behind is one that everybody who saw the original has now gone through. Just as we could relate back in 1995 to the wonder of getting that cool new toy, in 2010 we can relate to wondering if we can bring ourselves to part with them.

The majority of the film takes place at the Sunnyside Daycare center, where the toys are donated in the wake of Andy leaving for college. And they soon come to realise that it’s not enough to just be played with, there has to be a connection. A special bond between the toy and the child. I know I had a favorite toy when I was a kid. I can easily relate to what’s put up on the screen here. I’m not so sure that younger kids will entirely embrace the message because the nature of kids toys have changed. Electronic gaming is skewing younger and younger and the imaginative world-building on display in the film’s intro where the toys interact in an elaborate scenario dreampt up in the mind of an innocent child might not be as widespread as it was when I was younger. I don’t know for sure, as I have yet to take the plunge of breeding my own offspring yet.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends get married and have kids. I’m all too familiar with the message Pixar is sending with this one. I think it connects with me emotionally because of it. The kids will like the film because it’s got amazingly crafted action scenes and it plays out, like all of Pixar’s films, as a legitimitely good film in addition to being an animated feature. It’s how they manage to get films like Up! nominated for best picture awards. They know how to make a good film. The daycare being treated like a prison, and the detail taken to play with well established “escape film” tropes serves to make the film enjoyable in what can almost be seen as a reversal of the second film. Only, with the third film, the action and the pacing is done, in my opinion at least, with much more skill and finesse.

A good deal of chatter has gone on as to whether the film is necessary. Sequels by nature are a bit of a beast. They’re really only there for financial gain in the eyes of most. Here, at least we get a little bit of emotional closure for those of us who grew up with this as a childhood gem. And in that closure, we get a sort of passing of the torch to a new generation who, should Pixar choose to make another film down the line, can look back to this film with the same reverence that I do for the original.

Pixar doesn’t do bad movies, folks. Unless you count Cars, but let’s not mince words here. Just go with it.


Green Hornet – Official Trailer

I’m liking what I see. It’s probably a little more comedic than some people would have wanted but Kato looks like a certifiable badass and Christoph mother-effing Waltz is playing the villain. So I’m on board.


Happy Father’s Day

I could have gone with a Batman “Dead parents” joke but we’re classier than that around here. You’re welcome.


Film Review – Jonah Hex

Here’s a caveat that I feel needs to be introduced early on into the review before I really get into the meat and potatoes of the critique; I enjoy bad movies. My taste is somewhat questionable because I love stuff that ranges from high art to utter dreck. That having been said, even a bad movie has to have certain things going for it that transcend whatever it is that makes the mainstream reject it in the first place and therefore allow it to meet the criteria of ironic enjoyment. There are unending caches of horror films that are only enjoyable because of their incompetent nature. How many people watch the films of Ed Wood simply because of how shoddy they were? There’s nothing wrong with a good bad movie.

Jonah Hex was never going to be high art. We were lucky enough to get a Batman film that saw itself as a finely crafted film first and a comic adaptation second, that used up all the good will we were gonna get for a long while. The off-kilter characters that don’t have a mainstream following, ie. Jonah Hex, The Spirit, etc. are going to have trouble being taken seriously by anybody but the die-hard fans. The studios don’t understand them, the mainstream audience doesn’t understand them and more often than not, the people working on the film don’t understand them.

With Jonah Hex, we get a film that has production values that frankly seem a bit out of place when it comes to what’s put on screen. The environments and set pieces, when not underlit in times of darkness, are all vibrant and don’t look like cheap shoddily built props. The movie doesn’t look like it was shot by amateurs and so the film looks good. My contention is that it really looks too good.

The story and the broadside anti-subtlety of the actors performing their parts make me feel like they should have shot this thing and made it look like a straight-up spaghetti western in the style of Django or A Fistful of Dollars. I think if the producers of the film had tried to go for more camp they might have picked up more people coming in to see the film. Though most people won’t admit it, everybody enjoys a bad movie now and again. The problem was that everyone went into this film with their serious face on and rather than coming off as fun it tends to seem like a missed opportunity. Josh Brolin brings a lot of gritty charm to Jonah but everyone else, aside from maybe Michael Fassbender, just seem to be going through the motions. Imagine if Malkovich could have really poured on the ham. What if we could have gotten another Con-Air style performance out of him?

Even the supernatural elements wouldn’t have seemed so out of place if the tone of the film hadn’t been so serious. The best thing that could have happened to this movie would have been a direct edict to go over-the-top with no restriction and they really should have kept the previously rumoured “zombie confederate army” plotline that got mentioned so much in the early stages of development. Hex talking to the dead would have made a lot more sense if the central plot of the film revolved around the resurrection of the dead. Instead he has supernatural powers for no real reason and Turnbull wants to blow up Washington with a cannon that shoots Dragon Balls.

I actually enjoyed the movie, I thought it was a pretty middle-of-the road actioner and that Josh Brolin did a damn fine job as Hex.  But it really is a silly little movie that is hampered by it’s reluctance to admit its own ridiculousness. I won’t bother mentioning the plot holes, or the choppy storytelling, or Megan Fox’s accent. Those things are self evident. I’m just saddened that we couldn’t have gotten something unique and special out of Jonah Hex. Instead we get a spiritual cousin to Will Smiths’ Wild Wild West. The tone is almost identical. The “wtf” factor of the villain’s plan is almost identical, and neither of them seemed to care much about catering to the hopes of the original fans.

I won’t say that I hated it, but I won’t admit it wasn’t a dissapointment either.