Buffy season 8: #25 review

May 27, 2009


Doug Petrie wrote some of the best episodes of “Buffy” including “This Year’s Girl” “End of Days” and the unforgettable Faith-centric episodes of the third season. He’s also written Buffy comics for Dark Horse in the past so I was pretty confident he would deliver a good story this month.

Even though this comic focuses on finally wrapping up the subplot of Dawn’s magical transformations, this one-shot doesn’t advance the Twilight subplot, nor any of the major story elements as the comic book is coming to the end of season 8’s projected 40 issue run. This would be OK with me because the show was structured pretty similarly with stand alone episodes which served as breathers to the main drama intensifying in the main portions of the season, except this was the fifth stand-alone story in a row! The natives are getting restless and talks of dropping the book have started to crop up on some internet boards. Despite this, Buffy and Dark Horse continue to consistently crack the top 10 in sales along with the big two.

As far as stand-alone issues go, this was a pretty good one. Only Buffy could get away with such creepy and unusual story elements such as the Thricewise demon and the tiny porcelain people.

There are some funny story bits in the comic, as usual Xander gets the best lines, but somehow they don’t pack the usual wallop that the writing had been infused with up to this point or in the early issues. Maybe it has something to do with Joss writing the characters he knows so well, or maybe the luster of having Buffy in a new medium has worn off a little, it’s hard to say, but most likely it’s just the aftermath of a good one-shot that is more than filler, a well crafted comic that’s also a good interlude to the impending resolution of the season 8 storyline. The comic’s main flaw seems to be in a rushed conclusion which wraps up to conveniently quickly for my taste.

Whatever the case, the artwork by Georges Jeanty continues to superbly complement whichever writer is on the book each month. This comic was so much better than the inconsistent Harmony issues which came before it, but it would be nice to see some old characters return.

Retro-review: Kick Ass #6

May 24, 2009

kickass006_covdw-100OK, due to school and work, I got my hands on this very late so most of you have probably read it, but for those who never did, you are missing out on one of the best books currently on the stands. The dialogue alone as written by Mark Milllar is clever and funny, even if every other word is the f-word or a curse word. What makes it funny are the allusions to comics and if you read comic books on a regular basis, you will get more than a chuckle from the dialogue in this book.

Besides, how can anyone resist finding out the secret origin of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl? Even Kick Ass himself is excited to be involved in a plot ripped straight out of conventional comics: Secret identities, scary bad guys and top-secret headquarters. Super-hero team ups are a staple going back to the golden age, but Millar and Romita Jr. turn that convention on its head and that is what makes “Kick-Ass” so much fun to read every single time. Big Daddy is an obvious spoof of the Punisher with a twist as Hit-Girl is his little girl trained for murder and mayhem.

This is probably the tamest and less violent edition of this comic, Millar and Romita Jr. tone the violence way down in order to focus on exposition and to relate the origin of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl told from Hit-Girl’s point of view.  Romita Jr’s artwork, as always is terrific and almost worth the $3 cover price all by itself.

The only bad thing about this book is that it routinely ships out late, but usually the wait is worth it. If only Romita and Millar could get it out on schedule without sacrificing the quality, we’d all be happy campers.

hump day musings: the chess axiom

May 13, 2009

I had forgotten that there is a very important axiom by which I try to live life: chess pieces are better than people. This is because, unless you maneuver them to a square where they will be captured, or misuse them, your chess pieces will never let you down. Your queen will always fight for you. A knight always behaves like a knight, you can always expect it to go in the same direction and behave a certain way on the chess board. Not so for people, people will always without a doubt, end up ultimately disappointing you. This is because they are human, they can’t help it, they are genetically bred to make mistakes. It is in the inherent nature of the human being to act in an unpredictable fashion.A friend of mine once told me that as we get older, people move in and out of our lives. People we make connections with at work, school or wherever for short and extended periods of time will move in and out of our lives. So what is the point of trying to make a connection with someone when they can be suddenly uprooted? Oh yea thanks to social networking sites and email, our world is getting smaller and we can always keep in touch with people, but that isn’t the same as the day to day interaction with someone. I remember also a guy who made it his policy not to get involved emotionally. I suppose there are a lot of people who guard themselves that way. It is a sort of human castling maneuver to insolate themselves from harm. I remember sitting at a bar with this guy once and a girl I knew who was interested in him trying all kinds of things to get his attention. No matter how hard she tried, he would not give her the time of day. I thought it was fascinating to watch this interaction take place in front of my very eyes. Is it faulty memory, or do I really remember being at some park while this girl did everything short of somersaults to get this guy’s attention and he just sat there stoic, drinking his beer. Brilliant! I thought at the time. I guess my point is that people will ultimately always end up disappointing you and chess is my metaphor for guarding against this. Chess pieces are better than people in this regard, it may not work for you, you might have something else that you may substitute, but it sure has worked for me in the past

Star Trek on the big screen

May 9, 2009

the cast of new star trek film

the cast of new star trek film

I remember how excited I got when I first heard the new Trek movie was going to be a prequel, then I was disappointed when the writer’s strike moved the release of the film from X-Mas to late Spring early summer. But now, the movie is finally out. My friend Adam said that there are nerds and there are geeks, it’s probably very geeky and unpopular to admit loving Star Trek, but I do, so I don’t care.
I literally jumped out of my seat at the theaters when I first saw the trailer for this film.

The Star Trek universe as created by Gene Roddenberry represents an ideal to so many people, the promise of great future for mankind, it celebrates humanity’s unrelenting spirit of exploration and has always taught us that persistence and hard work will always yield good results.

In short, there are many positive values represented by Starfleet’s officers and that is why I am so happy that this franchise has been rebooted and that the Enterprise is boldly going where no man has gone before right into the new century. As I left the newsroom at Cal Poly after getting this weekend’s photo assignment, promotional material for the film was strewn about all over the editorial copy desk, no doubt a result of the preview afforded to the newspaper staff for the latest edition, so I snagged a few bumper stickers and a mini poster to take home with me. I probably wont get a chance to see the film until tomorrow at the earliest, but I can’t wait.

No Doubt comes back!!!

May 3, 2009

They are one of my favorite bands ever and they played in NY city on May 1 in the Today Show’s summer concert series.
Here’s a short, short interview they did in the green room for that performance:
and Gwen’s still got it!!!