Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Come for the sandwiches, stay for the rambling!

Wow, did I ever get a ton of hits off that sandwich post. Thanks for the link, Mike! Maybe I accidentally tapped into a previously underserved niche with that at-the-time throwaway post. Maybe I've somehow managed to invent the Sandwich Blogosphere, and the world is at last bowing down before my marvelousness!

Doubtful. Oh, well. Here are some thoughts on some comics (most of which may seem a bit old, since I get the bulk of my comics monthly from DCBS, but whatever, they're new to me), a book, and a movie:

Jonah Hex #10 – Practically the same story for the tenth time, and yeah, that’s getting a little old, but that Phil Noto artwork made it easy for me to forgive. And I hear he’s doing more down the line, so that’s something to look forward to.

Marvel Team Up #23 – The artwork in the first half of the book was kind of awful, but the Wolverine/May Parker scene was pretty funny, as was the punchline from Jarvis. The actual continuation of the Freedom Ring story felt kind of padded, though, just to keep the book moving until the series conclusion in issue 25. And now, knowing how issue 24 ends, I’m left liking this particular storyline even less. Just remember, Marvel isn’t afraid of gay characters, and they’ll kill ‘em off by the truckload just to prove it! Oy.

Nextwave: Agents of HATE #7 – Still the best book Marvel publishes by a factor of about 1 gajillion. A Dormammu stand-in (from the Dank Dimension, no less) working his magic in return for cash and a few of the Suicide Girls? That had me laughing out loud. And this book also shows the sort of clout Warren Ellis must have at the House of Ideas these days, since he can have characters talk about Captain America being a gay icon without someone else immediately killing off Cap as a result (see above). Although we don’t really know how Civil War ends yet, do we? Hmm…

Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule #1 – Exactly the same product as this year’s Buzzboy Free Comic Book Day issue, except with an awesome Mike Wieringo cover. But I like the Buzzboy comics a whole damn lot, so I’ll gladly throw down the money to support this. It helps that it’s a fun book, too. If mainstream superhero comics have you down, you’d do well to pick up this or either of the two trade paperback collections. Now if issue 2 would finally ship, I’d be a happy camper.

Agents of Atlas #1 – Ordered this on a whim (and because DCBS charged 75 cents for it), and I enjoyed it quite a bit. For one thing, that issue of What If with the 1950s Avengers always was one of my favorite issues of that series, so it was nice to see the band get back together. Also, talking gorilla with a machine gun. And a robot. I’m not made of stone. Fun read, though I’ll probably wait for the trade to read the rest.

All Star Superman #5 – Not as good as the Jimmy Olsen story from last issue, but still pretty amazingly good. I thoroughly enjoyed Morrison’s very Maggin-esque take on Luthor – that he views himself as the universe’s equal-but-opposite reaction to Superman’s every action, and how as a result, he reflects this philosophy in every aspect of his life – and it just goes to further prove my theory that Morrison is the new Maggin (or that Maggin was the old Morrison… take your pick). Maybe this book isn’t the life-changing experience other bloggers claim it to be, but it’s still one of the two best takes on Superman in the last decade at least (the other being Kurt Busiek’s Superman: Secret Identity, for those of you playing along at home), and Fun Comics to boot. And I loves me some Fun Comics.

Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon #1 – Real Saturday matinee stuff here – female aviator becomes wrapped up in an adventure to prevent Nazis from getting a very familiar artifact that will allow them access to the secrets of the Hollow Earth and gain the upper hand in not only the coming second world war, but also in the war of black magic vs. white magic. Essentially Tomb Raiders of the Lost Maltese Falcon, complete with a Peter Lorre cameo. Won’t change your life, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Plus, you’re getting two issues for the price of one – the first issue, originally released by the failed Speakeasy Press, and what would have been the complete second issue.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #21 – Still my favorite DC book that isn’t All Star Superman. I don’t know what else I can say about this book that I haven’t said a billion times before, except that the Dream Girl story took a twist I wasn’t quite expecting in this issue. So I guess that’s something new, huh? Anyway, yeah, good book. Read it.

Trials of Shazam #1 – I actually didn’t hate this. I was kind of expecting to, and I didn’t, so I was pretty surprised by that. I still don’t know if this is going to end up being the Captain Marvel I’m going to want to read about, but at least the start wasn’t total crap. So, you know, there’s that. I don’t see myself picking this up monthly, though. But we’ll see.

Detective Comics #823 – I’ve liked the Paul Dini run so far, but I’m not exactly loving it. It’s growing on me, though. I think it’s the hint of a Riddler storyline running through these supposedly standalone issues that’s got me interested. Eddie always was my favorite Bat villain, and any decent use of him is okay by me. Anyway, a decent enough (if slight) Poison Ivy story here, if you can get past the rushed resolution and the 90s-flavored art that allowed Ivy to manage all those only-in-comics (and maybe adult entertainment) poses that somehow showcase her boobs and her ass at the same time. I wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t.

"Step Right Up: I’m Gonna Scare the Pants Off America" by William Castle – The autobiography of one of Hollywood’s greatest showmen. Castle directed and/or produced some of the most famous horror films of the 50s and 60s, including The Tingler, The House on Haunted Hill, and Thirteen Ghosts, and would receive his greatest acclaim by producing Rosemary’s Baby (the film, not the actual baby). He’s probably best known for the gimmicks he used to promote his earlier films, though, including Emergo (a skeleton that flew from the screen and over the audience on a wire), the Punishment Poll (to determine the end of a movie), insurance policies against death by fright, and most famous of all, Percepto, a device wired to theater seats that gave small electric shocks to people’s backsides during The Tingler. A quick and fun read, as the bios of Hollywood’s more unusual and quirky players always tend to be. Castle truly loved working in the film industry (and his enthusiasm shows), and though he frequently admitted that he never understood why audiences would line up just to be scared on purpose, he always seemed to enjoy giving them exactly what they wanted.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla – Pretty no-frills as movie titles go, even by Godzilla movie standards, but that’s exactly what you get here. Godzilla attacks Japan (shocking, I know), so the Japanese government sets out to create a weapon capable of actually defeating the beastie. Enter Kiryu, a giant robot version of Godzilla (only ever jokingly called Mechagodzilla in the movie) powered by the DNA of the original Godzilla (the one killed at the end of the 1954 movie… don’t ask me to explain the continuity, just accept it and move on). And, of course, they fight, and a lot of miniature buildings get smashed. But since this is 2002 movie, the effects are all pretty decent. All in all, it’s a good time – the parts with the human characters aren’t terribly boring, the monster fights are fun, and you don’t ever see the strings. So for a Godzilla movie, that’s a pretty optimal experience. Not as good as Godzilla: Final Wars (the Citizen Kane, or even the Grand Illusion, of Japanese monster films, I say), but still worth checking out.

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