November 29, 2007

Hope you all had a great thanksgiving holiday. I have been neglecting my blogging duties, mostly due to the fact I have been swamped with work and homework. I am so glad this fall academic season is almost over. What was I up to over thanksgiving break? I went to visit my friend Watchara and some out of town friends after my turkey dinner with the family.

I also covered possibly my last prep football game this season (Whittier Christian went down to Calvary Murietta) in a 2nd round CIF playoff game. This was one of the tightest games I’ve watched all season, unfortunately I was too busy up in the press box jotting down the furious action in the 4th quarter to enjoy it. With the article, I have now been published in all 3 area papers: the Tribune, the Star News and the Whittier Daily News.

Also, I covered a basketball game for Citrus over the holiday weekend. It’s crazy, I signed up hoping to shoot photos for the magazine, but thus far most of my shots have ended up in the newspaper. They are very selective though, I must have shot more than 100 pics that day, but they only printed one. At least it was a nice one.

SBC recently sent me pdfs. of The Goon Chinatown and of World War Hulk Aftersmash, so as soon as I find time to read them, I will post some mini reviews.

Carry on!

No Future For You (part 3)

November 17, 2007


Brian K. Vaughan resumes his “No Future For You” story arc this issue as a logical extension to the season seven TV finale “Chosen” by expanding the premise that “…Every girl in the world who might be a Slayer will be a slayer” as Buffy herself said.

What happens when Slayers go rogue? This question is answered as Faith, once a rogue Slayer herself, is dispatched to take care of Gigi, the loose cannon in the new Slayer globe spanning arsenal, presumably not the only one, but albeit the most pressing matter to a Watcher’s Council now headed by Giles.

This of course leads to a delicious character study of Faith, or rather an extension of that character which was so clearly defined in the television series and which was one of the most compelling re-occurring characters created by Whedon, being much more than a foil to Buffy.

Yet, even Faith can see that Gigi’s plan is seriously flawed and impractical, especially if she is planning to get through Buffy to elevate her status among weaker girls, whose leadership she views as akin to some power hungry dictator’s reign.

Vaughan gets Faith’s character and does a masterful job of bringing forth the pathos in her personality, unlike Buffy, Faith’s a product of her environment, street wise and battled hardened, the perfect Slayer to go on a covert mission the council wouldn’t want to dirty their hands with.

The big problem is Faith is damaged goods and as such, she responds to emotional attachments and pampering. It started with Mayor Wilkins and it continues here. In probably the best scene in the comic, Faith tries to counsel Gigi’s total trust of Roden, but Gigi’s unwavering trust of the latter has convinced her he’s not being manipulative, which is of course the case. Faith is less naive in these matters and she tries to warn Gigi, but the younger Slayer hasn’t been used by men as much and is blinded by visions of power.

The inevitable battle between the two Slayers happens when Roden teleports Buffy into their domain and it takes Buffy some time to realize what’s going down. It’s interesting to see how Buffy recovers in mid-battle and once she gets the upper hand, her sense of righting injustices perpetrated against the other Slayers almost leads her to punishing Gigi, but how far should she have gone had Faith not intervened? It’s an interesting but disturbing case of role reversals. Here, it’s faith being the moral level headed Slayer.

Buffy doesn’t ever think clearly when it comes to Faith, while she often thought of her in a maternal, even big sister type way, Buffy once empathized with Faith because following Kendra’s murder, only she knew what it was like to carry the “burden” of Slayerdom, but of course, that is no longer the case. Buffy jumps to conclusions and that leads to another epic fight with Faith. While the issue’s requisite cliffhanger is interesting, it may not be as satisfying as Buffy’s confrontation with her watcher in which she will undoubtedly grill Giles for sending Faith on a covert mission.

While Jeanty’s artwork on the title hasn’t taken a dip in quality, especially when it comes to rendering almost photo realistic shots of Faith, the same can’t be said about the entire enterprise. For once I didn’t like the original cover, omitting such details as Faith’s distinguishable tattoo.

Vaughan’s writing does seem to dip a little in comparison to Whedon’s arcs which were replete with revelations, re-introductions of classic Buffy characters and new complications. He still manages to nail the characterizations and adds enough chuckles to balance an action heavy issue. Even Faith’s choice of moniker (she goes by the codename Hope) alludes to her sense of alienation and longing, a credit to the writer’s faithful adaptation of the character.

There’s also something completely gratifying about Willow and Buffy planning the fortification of the castle which serves to remind the reader that this isn’t Sunnydale. Far from it, the question of the Slayer traditions versus the “real” world which was a big thematic slant for season 4 of the program takes a graver moral turn here.

This issue also seems a bit more accessible to new readers, but Buffy viewers will still get the most enjoyment out of season eight “in jokes” and allusions to the TV drama, and that is as is should be.

Comic geekly weekly

November 14, 2007

Check this out and tell me what you think, it’s our first:

Aquaman creator off to the big Atlantis in the sky

November 10, 2007

justiceleagueaquaman.jpgThat’s right boys and girls, the blogs and news sites this week were full of info on the passing of Aquaman co-creator Paul Norris. Norris created the sea king along with DC writer/editor Mort Weisinger during the golden age of comics. Aquaman has been a long running character along with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others in the Justice League. However, the version of the character most people remember is the green and orange clad underwater hero who was often seen riding a sea horse on the cheesy cartoons of the 60s.

His look was radically altered in the comics where he lost one of his hands during Peter David’s run on the title and it was copied on the successful Justice League Unlimited cartoons. This is the version of Aquaman I prefer, befitting his royal stature as king of the seven seas.

One interesting historical note: The character Namor the submariner is often thought of by people who don’t know any better as a rip off of Aquaman, but actually Namor predates Aquaman, though the latter may be more popular due to his many appearances in various Hana Barbara cartoons. submariner-sm3.jpg

According to his bio, a versitile and gifted artist, Norris also drew such major characters as Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Sandman, Secret Agent X-9, Magnus, Robot Fighter, Jungle Jim and – most notably – Brick Bradford, an assignment he maintained for 35 years. He continued to draw and make convention appearances in comic cons until recently. May he rest in peace and for his contributions to comics lore, I thank him.


Super Monday

November 6, 2007


This is super Monday. Meaning that I will do mini reviews of a lot of the current comics featuring Superman. That worked well with halloween horror so I guess I am trying a “theme” again. Today’s theme is the last son of Krypton and the comics he starts in.

First up is Superman #667. I like the cover, it’s got a lot of nice action and I like the pose of the monster being slugged by Supes. Supes doesn’t look like himself though, he’s got kind of a weird facial expression. I like what Jesus Merino and Carlos Pacheco did with the artwork here. Subjekt 17 looks menacing enough and the panels depicting the big brawl between Superman and the monster were really good.
I didn’t care as much for the story. Superman is almost godlike in his powers and it takes a lot to challenge him so he’s forever thrust into impossible situations and he goes up against cosmic threats all the time. However, Arion is a boring adversary. Apparently he tries to convince Superman that a big disaster is coming for mankind and it’s all his fault because he is unleashing a lot of forces which set this whole impending doom in motion. It’s an intriguing premise but unless the payoff is coming soon, I will soon grow tired of the whole arc.

Next is Action Comics #856 which continues Richard Donner’s and Eric Powell’s “Escape From Bizarro World” storyline. I missed the issue before this one, but a quick internet recap brought me up to speed. I can’t imagine an artist better suited for this type of story than Powell. I love reading “The Goon” and his style is perfect for Bizarro world. The story is simple but some story elements we haven’t seen before are introduced such as Superman being affected by the Bizarro world’s blue sun and a new generation gets to be enthralled by the weirdness of a Bizarro world. I wish Donner and Powell could stay on this title on a permanent basis.

Finally there is JLA #13. I am clearly enjoying this series more now that Brad Meltzer has handed off the writing chores to Dwayne McDuffie. There are some very nice character moments in this issue as the JLA squares off against the Injustice League of America which is comprised of such regulars as Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, the Joker and many others. Superman’s conversation with Mari was especially well written.

What I didn’t like about this issue is that Dr. Light makes an appearance and an allusion to his raping Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis is made. I didn’t agree with the editorial decision to include such an adult theme into a comic book which was read by a lot of youngsters, even if DC made that whole series more adult oriented. I know the intent was to make these villains seem like a real threat instead of the stale caricatures they sometimes become, but I don’t think something that graphic was needed outside of a Vertigo line, even if it was handled off panel. At any rate, this comic is full of the whimsy and sense of fun rarely found in modern comics, it’s almost like an homage to the silver age comics of yesteryear with a modern artistic bent to them. I just hate that they are so short and am not crazy about the current lineup.

Well that’s all for now. Let me know what you think and what you’re reading

Halloween reviews

November 1, 2007

redsnow01-1.jpgHappy halloween one and all, in honor of the day I present a couple of mini reviews of two of my favorite horror based comics. Long ago, comics used to get made about movies. For example, Marvel’s Star Wars comics based on the Lucas blockbuster and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Ever since Superman the movie, it’s the other way around. Movies are based on comics, some recent examples include Ghostworld, X-Men, Spiderman, Hellboy and 30 Days of Nights.

I haven’t seen the film but it is based on Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith’s brilliant premise about a town being over run by vampires in the month long nights of the artic circle. This comic from IDW may have single handedly revitalized the stale horror comic genre and with good reason, Templesmith’s painted artistic work is a visual feast. Recently, IDW has released “Red Snow” based on the same idea but set in world war 2. Vampires in the second world war are not new, since they are immortal they have been seen in this era before in other media such as a notable episode of Angel and in some novels that I have read, but Templesmith still manages to make this comic appealing and suspenseful.

walkingdead16.jpgI am not sure if the latest issue of The Walking Dead (#43) from Image comics qualifies as a horror comic. I mean, sure it is set in a world where zombies have infested the planet (or maybe just the state of Georgia, not sure) but the biggest horror found within the pages of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s excellent comic has to be the return of the governor, a sadistic and ruthless opponent who is bent on exacting revenge on the survivors including Michonne who tortured him to death after the former savagely raped her.

Holy shit! Even though this is mostly a flashback comic, this was still one great read from the governor’s weird and twisted love for his daughter turned zombie to the anticipation building by the invasion of the governor’s troops of the prison where Rick and the others reside. My one problem with the comic was that it was unrealistic that the governor would have survived, especially after being treated by Bob who was a field medic seemingly a million years ago. This book was still rivetting and one of the best currently on the stands. Maybe they will make a “The Walking Dead” black and white movie soon.