Thursday, February 28, 2008

Comic Review: Shadow Hunter #1

So one of my new comics this week was none other than a title created by a former porn star. I am by no means a fan of Jenna Jameson’s *ahem* “body of work”, but I am a fan of Christina Z. Christina wrote the first forty or so issues of Witchblade, and I followed that series for quite awhile. So I figured I would give her new title, Shadow Hunter, from Virgin Comics, a try.

Now Virgin produces one book I really enjoy in Snakewoman and another I thought was decidedly above average in 7 Brothers. While this one tries to riff off the same vibe as those two titles, Shadow Hunter falls slightly short. The story’s not bad: a girl sees visions over her everyday life and as the story progresses she learns that they are more than visions; she has actually tapped in to some kind of second dimension of strange creatures and such. All this is brought beautifully to life by one of Virgin’s true artistic discovers, Mukesh Singh. Say anything about the rest of the book, but Singh’s art is beyond gorgeous.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t quite live up to the art. It isn’t outright bad, but it is terribly cluttered. I can tell there was a lot of small characters and plot points in Jameson’s original idea. Even with 32 pages of story in issue one, you still don’t get a good feel about what’s going on. Sure our heroine sees things over reality, and she seems to have some kind of sword thingy she can manifest, but outside that we get introduced to about a half dozen characters without any idea of who most of them are or why they are here.

Like Witchblade, this book has the potential to combine story and art in to a solid package. It’s just not quite there yet.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Comic Reviews: Hack/Slash, Invincible, Ultimates

re: hack/slash 9

I honestly don’t know why everyone isn’t buying this book. Easily one of the best comics coming out of the “indies” these days. Tim Seeley’s scripts are always excellent and the art has been top notch since issue one. I find the art particularly interesting, as though there is a certain level of cheesecake, it has been drawn by a female artist in all but one issue. Both Emily Stone and Rebekah Isaacs have done superb work on this series. I am amazed that they haven’t been snatched up by one of the big two like Stefano Caselli before them.

Anyway, the latest issue finished up the three chapter “Tub Club” story arc. Easily the most risqué issue so far, I quite enjoyed the interplay between the government agents, the slasher, and our heroes. All good stuff. I am wondering how much longer we can keep maiming the leads though without them being permanently altered in a negative way.

Sadly, I don’t have any hot pictures from myself or my wife to tie in to this missive. No one would want to see me in a corset anyway.

Re: Invincible 48

Ah, this issue reminds me of the good old days. So often I see books that try to hearken back to the days of 70’s Marvel and random guest spots, but I haven’t seen it done this well in quite a while. I love seeing the appearances of all of Kirkman’s other characters, and Ottley’s visuals on the Dynamo 5 are quite stunning. Wolf-Man looks even better than he does in his own book. But what the hell is wrong with Dragon’s head though?

As always, another good Invinci-read. Keep up the good work and I’ll keep reading.

Re: Ultimates 3 #3

I don’t quite understand the hate for this book so far. It does seem a bit slow moving for only being five issues, especially when compared to the slam-bang, blockbuster style of Millar and Hitch. But I think Jeph Loeb is ably putting together his own take on the Avengers mythos quite well. He has combined the classic Avengers concepts with the New Avengers to give the Ultimates his own special flare. I’m still not sure how I feel about the Ultimate Black Panther, he seems like a bland knockoff of Snake-Eyes so far. We’ll see though how the book goes. I pray we do get a cohesive ending to the five issues however. If this book proves to only be a five issue prologue to Loeb’s Ultimatum saga, not even the Madureira art will keep me from giving it an ill review.

Anyway, it’s not going to crack the internet in half or anything, but Ultimates 3 is still a good read. I recommend it, and trust me, I don’t do that often for mainstream superhero books.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Comic Review: Grendel Behold the Devil #4

Yeah, so we’re half way through this series and I’m still not quite sure what to think about it. I’m enjoying it don’t get me wrong, but I am not sure if I find it necessary. It seems to me to be more cashing in on the popularity of Hunter Rose more than it is anyway moving forward either the story or concept of Grendel. Admittedly, I’m a latecomer to Hunter; my first exposure to the Grendel mythos was Warchild (when I was almost certainly too young to be reading said book). I’ve since read pretty much the entire Grendel saga except for a stray Christina Spar issue or two. But something just doesn’t feel the same with this one.

Still, we’re only half way through, and Wagner’s swerved me with way better second halves of his work before, especially with his Batman work. Lord knows if it’s Matt so I will buy it. Hell, I’m planning on buying a freaking Madame Xanadu series now. Anyway, here’s hoping for a strong finish for Behold the Devil, and maybe some Mage 3 next year!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Comic Review: GØDLAND 21

It took what seemed like a year (and probably was close to it), but it’s good to see GØDLAND finally moving forward again. I sincerely love this book and its Starlin or Englehart-esque vibe. But the wait between issues has been ridiculous at times.

I can see why though. Tom Scioli’s art has evolved issue by issue. His females finally look female (my only real complaint ever about his work), and his layouts are strengthening. I sense a lot of Peter Laird in his current work, especially Laird’s own Kirby-influenced Stupid Heroes. I don’t know if is purposeful or coincidental, but I for one love it.

Joe Casey is (almost) always on the ball with his writing, and this issue was no exception. I especially appreciate the density that came with this issue. Some issues I have devoured in five minutes or less, which seems odd for the cosmic being-style storyline, but not this one. Most of the book was six to nine panel grids. I know a lot of folks love the whole modern, manga-style three or four panel layout, but give me a big, dense book like this for my $2.99, and I’m a happy reader.

As a side note, I want to also say great work on both Scioli and Casey’s contributions to the Next Issue Project. I especially enjoyed Scioli’s take on classic space opera storytelling, even if it was quite tongue in cheek.

Anyway, here’s hoping for many more issues to come of this great project. And please, please, please, keep it coming at an almost monthly pace. I hate having to wait months between my tastes of cosmic goodness.

Back in action

So, yeah, I suck. I admit it. Here’s the thing. Life has been throwing shit at me left and right for what seems like weeks. Now, I guess what I really should be doing is blog about it, but I just don’t have it in me sometimes.

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve put over $800 in to the car. Income tax return? What income tax return? Seriously though, most of the return went under our hood, with the final part magically blossoming in to this laptop I am typing on today. Yes, despite the crap with my car, I did manage to eak out a new computer between phase one ($600 alternator and battery) and phase two ($200 new belt on the engine). Economically, I am going to feel the pinch of this beauty over the next month or six weeks, but I will maintain through March with just a slice of bread and an ounce of water, approximately. And I still have Girl Scouts to pay for from my daughter.

Speaking of the rug rat, Hannah has been down with a nasty virus all weekend. Gloria finally succumbed and took her to the Urgent Care today, and $15 later they informed us to just keep a close eye on the kid’s fever and keep doing what we were doing. At least it’s not pneumonia like I worried it might be.

Now that I have this handy portable device and it will be with me at my glorious job that gives me ever so much reading time, I plan on starting to blog more with reviews of various comics, books, DVDs, games, movies, TV shows, etcetera.

The first, for GØDLAND #21, should be right above this one.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sammy Chan and Jule Styne must die!

Unfortunately, they probably already are. If only the minds behind Let It Snow had realized what they were saying...

Eastern Iowa is more of a winter wasteland than a wonderland. Already haven received literally feet of snow in December and January, we have already been buried in a few inches today, with more to come tonight and tomorrow morning. This is kind of how I imagine hell to be...

My winter funk has been sort of assuaged by the massive stack of comics I purchased at Half Price Books and Alter Ego recently. Woohoo for after Christmas sales!

Now if only the Super Tuesday coverage could end...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The right team won

So I am by no means any kind of football analyst, but having watched the Super Bowl this year I can’t help but think the New York Giants win was perfect.

They didn’t have a perfect season and they weren’t the best put together team money could buy. But they were a team with heart and fire and they pulled out a win against what some have called “the greatest team in NFL history”. I personally call them cheaters (their video-taping on the sidelines earlier this season) and crybabies (especially when it comes to whiny challenges made to the refs). Well New England, you may have had a “perfect” regular season, but that doesn’t matter a lick if you cannot win the big one.

So congratulations are in order for New York and even though they beat my Super Bowl favorites (Green Bay), I have to say you deserve it. The better team truly did win.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Back on track

All right, after a less than stellar January I am trying to get my writing, my reading, my blogging, and my life back on track. Everything has pretty much settled here again (thankfully) so the time should be fine for it.

Anyone who read Timeline this last week should be happy to know that the story’s conclusion will be coming on Wednesday as I wrap it up. Living Legends will come the next week, and Epsilon the week after that. I am a busy sort...

You know what true evil is: the Wrestler application on Facebook. I could suck up hours playing this thing, but thankfully I can limit the number of matches I fight at once.

Anyway, I am working on a bevy of projects: Epsilon, Living Legends, Charon, Champion City, the next Timeline story, and Arc. And all may fall by the way side for a few weeks if I can score a top 10 spot in the Shadowline Superheroine contest. Fingers are crossed until Monday.

That is it for now. Back soon, I promise. Really.