Month: August 2014

Comic Book Movie Review – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sin-City-A-Dame-to-Kill-For-teaser-posterDirected by Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller

Written by Frank Miller

Mickey Rourke as Marv
Jessica Alba as Nancy Callahan
Josh Brolin as Dwight McCarthy
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny
Eva Green as Ava LordRosario Dawson as Gail
Bruce Willis as John Hartigan
Powers Boothe as Senator Roark
Dennis Haysbert as Manute

If you read any type of entertainment news, you probably know that it was not a good opening weekend for the new Sin City movie. Bomb would be an accurate description of how the movie did.  I went to see a 3:00 showing on Saturday, and there were only 3 other people in the theater.  2 of those people were with me.  Amusingly, the other person used to work with one of the friends that saw it with me.  So, what happened?  (more…)


Chuck Austen’s X-Men: Day of the Atom

After a brief respite to push out Grant Morrison’s ideas, New X-Men has been switched back to its original Adjectiveless form for the ReLoad and Chuck Austen’s mess has been pushed over, giving hope that Uncanny could eventually get some of its long-gone prestige under Chris Claremont.

teamTook Place In
X-Men #157-160

Team Line-Up
Havok (Leader), Iceman, Wolverine, Juggernaut, Polaris, Gambit, Rogue

Others You Should Be Aware Of
Jay Guthrie, Sammy the Fish Boy, Nurse Annie, The Rest of the X-Men, I guess

In case you had forgotten (and I know it’s been a while), we last left our heroes in Kentucky in which Archangel and Husk finally got their act together and Austen having assembled his 10-man roster, was seemingly ready to push on.

Well, none of that really matters here, because five of his roster – Archangel, Husk, Jubilee, Nightcrawler and Northstar – are no longer on his team. The biggest factor here is the loss of Archangel and Husk who were pretty much his most-used characters. They and Nightcrawler were lost to Chris Claremont, though Archangel and Husk would not reappear for nearly a year. Nightcrawler would join up with the former X-Treme lineup, giving him a much better place alongside Storm, Rachel Summers and Wolverine for that old-school Claremont vibe. And no demon-Pope/dissolving wafer plots. Good for him.

Austen didn’t get left empty-handed, though. I suppose in exchange for the characters he gave up, he is given Rogue and Gambit from Claremont, and if you read X-Treme at all, you know that Claremont giving up Rogue was probably a really big deal. Unfortunately, she’s left in an odd position here. Through the latter half of X-Treme both Rogue and Gambit were powerless, using their wits and physical traits to stay relevant to the team. At the end of the book, Sage and Rogue had some kind of weird tryst arranged to restore Gambit’s powers (please don’t ask), but Rogue was still powerless. As this story opens, she seems to have regained her absorption abilities, but none of the other half-billion that she had during Claremont’s use of her.

I mention this because when I first bought this story a decade ago, no one really knew what she could or couldn’t do. There was no storyline mention of her having any kind of powers, and the art kind of positioned her like Salvador Larroca had no idea what she could or couldn’t do. I was writing for the now-defunct Mutatis Mutandis at the time and I recall having discussions on the boards where we debated the matter. It ends up being no flight, no strength, no invulnerability, though during her own solo book at the time she eventually permanently gets Sunfire’s powers. Again, less said the better.

Other than that, all Austen pieces remain in play. Sammy the Fishboy is back at the school (with his mother, even, for some reason), Josh Guthrie from She Lies With Angels is showing up (he’ll become a cast member of New X-Men: Academy X), and Nurse Annie and her boy Carter is still manning the coolest hangout in the school – the infirmary. Got it? Let’s begin.


Anyone see Ninja Turtles?

So, did any of you, our loyal readers, see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this weekend?  Did any of you contribute to the $65 million dollars that the movie made this weekend?  Did any of you that saw it actually enjoy it?

Looking at my friends list on Facebook over the weekend, I was surprised by how many of my friends not only saw the movie, but actually enjoyed it.  Words like “amazing” and “fun” were used.  In fact, I didn’t see anyone on my friends list that saw the movie and didn’t like it. 

I was perplexed.  I wanted to comment, “wow, they should have put scenes from the actual movie into the preview,” but I didn’t.  I wasn’t feeling that cynical.  I checked out Rotten Tomatoes, thinking that maybe the movie ended up not being the train wreck that it looked like.  Well, it currently has a 20% rating, so that doesn’t seem to be the case.  But I still found myself momentarily wavering on my decision to not see the movie in theaters.  But then I saw more commercials for it, and that moment faded.  (more…)

Chuck Austen’s X-Men: Bright New Mourning

Still in epilogue mode so we have another two-issue wrap-up.

newxmen156Took Place In
New X-Men #155-156

Team Line-Up
Cyclops (leader), Beast, Emma Frost

Others You Should Be Aware Of
The Stepford Cuckoos (Phoebe, Celeste, Mindee)

In a Nutshell
Cyclops and Beast go looking through the ruins of the X-Mansion for Cassandra Nova then give up because Beast is mad that Cyclops has hooked up with Emma Frost immediately after burying his wife.  They then rescue Emma and the Stepford Cuckoos from a burning building.

Grant Morrison’s New X-Men has ended, yet there’s still a couple issues before the ReLoad of Joss Whedon in which our beloved Chuck Austen helms X-Men (minus the New), so the New X-Men title gets an epilogue (another one) with the only two issues of New not written by Morrison. Much like Of Darkest Nights, this serves as a follow-up not to Austen’s own stories over in Uncanny, but rather Morrison’s own New X-Men story. Of Darkest Nights got away with it by using Polaris, Charles Xavier and Wolverine, all prominently featured in Austen’s run. Bright New Mourning instead uses Morrison’s characters, which ends up being a problem.

You see, despite being heralded as one of the greatest X-Men runs ever, Morrison’s New X-Men can get a tad confusing if you’re not really paying attention. I’m still not sure I quite understand whatever the hell Sublime was, and he’s showing up in recent comics. There’s a lot of stuff that Morrison tossed in that might have taken an extra read or two to really nail down, and it seems like Chuck Austen simply didn’t understand, or didn’t bother to figure it out. That’s okay – you’d assume there were editors to help out, right?

If you believe that one, then you haven’t been following our Chuck Austen adventure thus far.


Nostalgia is a funny thing

Time can do funny things to memories.  Think back to some of your favorite cartoons and shows from when you were a kid.  You remember them as being pretty good, I would imagine.  Especially if you haven’t watched them recently, but odds are, they’re not nearly as good as you remember them.

Now calm down, there are some shows that have held up over time.  Batman The Animated Series comes to mind.  That is something I can watch now, and enjoy it as much as I did when it first aired.  I’m not talking about shows like that.  I’m talking about stuff like He-man, Transformers, and Voltron, to name a few.

Seriously, have you tried watching those shows recently?  I have, and it was brutal.  Several years ago, I saw that Voltron was being released on DVD, and “awesome, I love Voltron.”  My purchasing stopped at volume 1.  It was brutal.  It wasn’t at all like I remember it being.  It’s not that show had changed, it was that I had changed.  I was 20 years older.  I could no longer be entertained by the simple thought of a giant robot fighting giant monsters. 

The same thing happened with Transformers.  Netflix has Gen 1 streaming, and I tried watching some episodes.  It was rough.  You notice how poor the animation is, you notice how terrible the writing is.  The best part about it is making fun of how bad it truly is.  Years ago, my parents got me a “best” of He-man DVD that I still haven’t watched because I prefer my memories to the reality of the show.  (more…)

Chuck Austen’s X-Men: Of Darkest Nights

A quick note before we begin.  The remaining chapters of Chuck Austen’s X-Men have been COMPLETED.  As in written (with images) and ready to post.  That means no more delays in further updates – there will be two updates next week and then the final chapter and a wrap-up the following week.  Thanks for sticking with it – it’ll be worth it!


Took Place In

Uncanny X-Men #442-443

Team Line-Up
Juggernaut, Polaris, Wolverine

Others You Should Be Aware Of
Emma Frost, Professor X, She-Hulk, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch

In a Nutshell
Professor X takes the body of the slain Magneto back to Genosha and has a philosophical debate with Polaris while Wolverine tears down buildings.

Before we begin, I have to give a little bit of defense to our favorite writer, Chuck Austen. 2004 was a big transitional time for the X-Men. At the time, there were three X-Men books – one was considered the “flagship”, which carried the MAIN X-Men story – while the other two were basically secondary books for characters to appear who weren’t being used in the main book. And Wolverine of course, because Wolverine. The flagship book would get all the Wizard attention (remember Wizard?) while the secondary books were kind of left to their own, hoping that no one would notice. For X-Treme X-Men, it gave Chris Claremont room to do whatever he wanted, because he’s Chris Claremont and damn it, he earned it. As for Uncanny, Chuck Austen did…well, we’ve learned what Chuck Austen did.

But come 2004, suddenly the flagship hit a transitional period. Grant Morrison finished up his epic in New X-Men and headed off for the Distinguished Competition, and fanboy messiah Joss Whedon was set to come in and start his epic in the newly launched Astonishing X-Men – back when jumping on points were actually jumping on points. In the meantime, the rest of the X-Books got shuffled a bit. Both Uncanny and New had decently high numbers (back when that mattered) so X-Treme X-Men was ended and Claremont was brought back over and given Uncanny, which from a sales point made a lot of sense – Chris Claremont back in the book that he built. Glory. Chuck Austen was in turn pushed over to Morrison’s old title, given back it’s original name of simply “X-Men”. So all was good in the world. Whedon manned the flagship, and the others kept going.

Well, except that there was a two month gap between Morrison’s last issue and the big relaunch. That meant nothing for X-Treme X-Men – all it had to do was wrap up and get ready to jump. But for Uncanny and New X-Men, that meant two months of treading water, not able to start new stories because RELAUNCH. So in Marvel’s epic wisdom, they decided to give both books to Chuck Austen and said “do something for an epilogue”. But it wasn’t an epilogue to his own stories – no funeral for the Cabots to be seen. Instead, he got hampered with writing an epilogue to Grant Morrison’s finale of Planet X. (We’re going to ignore Here Comes Tomorrow). That meant Magneto and Phoenix dead, Charles Xavier leaving the school, and the school in ruins.

That by itself wasn’t too bad, but any X-fan worth their mettle is probably aware of the shenanigans that took place just after Morrison left Marvel. The entire run of Morrison’s X-Men had been the infiltration of Magneto into the X-Men following the destruction of Genosha. Then the climax hits and everyone’s mind is blown and we’re left with the aftermath…and Marvel decides “Nope, it was not actually Magneto” and brings him back a couple months later, with Professor X seemingly having known the entire time. It was a horrendous mess, and it hampered any kind of story dealing with it, because if Professor X knew, why would he be going through these motions here?

So in Chuck’s defense, that’s not his fault. This will also come up when we get to the return of Xorn. But enough of that. We’re not here to defend – we’re here to ridicule. So let’s go!


The epic of Uncanny Avengers

I haven’t said much about Uncanny Avengers through my inconsistent reviews of the X-Books mainly because I got lost in the story and waited for it to finish so I could read the whole thing through.  Usually I don’t do this – I’ll read an issue and then flip back if I need a reminder, but the just-ended story in this book finished an 18 issue story.  Seriously, the story that wrapped in issue 22 started back in issue 5.  I suppose you could say that it was actually three stories – Apocalypse Twins, Ragnarok Now and Avenge the Earth – but it certainly reads as one big story.  One really good big story.


Thoughts on the whole thing after the jump, and as all my review-ish ramblings, there will be SPOILERS if you haven’t read it.