Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cable #150, New Comic Content Wednesdays

Written by: Ed Brisson
Artist: Jon Malin
Publisher: Marvel Comics, December 2017

Back in the 90s he was in a very famous TV show, His name is Nathan Summers, don't act like you don't know.  Apparently Cable is back, this is most likely tied to his upcoming appearance in a theater near you, but don't look a gift Horsman in the mouth, right.  This is listed as #150 but they are picking up the numbering in a creative way.  I believe this series starts at #147.

The lenticular cover almost made me leave it on the shelf.  Thanks to #movetheneedle and youtuber Diversity in Comics to get me to look past the cover on this one.  The art on the cover is fine, it is the lenticularness that messes it up.  It doesn't quite work right with the shifting images. 

You don't have to worry about any previous issues with this comic, you can jump into the story right here if you want.  The story is simple: Cable is exploring a temporal anomaly.  Yep, he is a time cop.  It is well written and easy to follow.  If you don't know about cable, there are a couple of pages at the end that breaks down who he is. 

The artwork is great. This feels like one of those late 80's early 90's books with stylized art. I mean, Shatterstar looks like he could be torn directly from the pages of a Jim Lee book.  I like how Cable's eyes are kept in shadow it does a lot to darken the bright comic panels and set the tone for the book.  I also love the work on Selene.  You immediately know that she is evil, but you really wouldn't mind being seduced by her.  She might be a vampire of sorts, but you would totally take the chance.  Come on Cable, take the chance. 

Overall it was a good book.  It flowed well, was not bogged down anywhere and looked great.  If you enjoy the character of Cable or are just interested in the upcoming Deadpool movie, give it a shot and let me know what you think.  If you have any recommendations for other titles, let me know in the comments.  #movetheneedle

Monday, February 12, 2018

What happened between me and comics: a love story

You never forget your first love.  For me it all started with the stack of old comics under the coffee table and Saturday mornings watching Spiderman and friends.  Loved watching the reruns of Superfriends and Christeropher Reeves' Superman.  The incredible Hulk was a family favorite.  But these things were just puppy love.

X-Men on Fox changed my world.  It was awesome.  I didn't have a local comic shop but there was a drug store that had the spinny rack of comics.  I would mow yards and collect cans in order to by my next months issues.  I enjoyed my Uncanny X-men, but couldn't live without my Spider-man 2099 and Generation X.  You see, these comics launched at that pivotal time when I was really getting into it.  I was there from the beginning with these titles. 

Peter David wrote Spider-man 2099 at the time and he really made the character similar yet distinct from the original spider-man.  I later followed him over to his run on Supergirl.  I don't think you can go wrong with a Peter David Story.  Rick Leonardi's art was a perfect match and really popped off the page.  His design has lasted through the years and is a huge factor in the staying power of the character twenty years after the comic was originally cancelled.

Generation X was built to play off of the popularity of the character Jubilee.  She was an out front character in the animated series and Marvel thought she would do well in her own team.  A pattern that they used successfully with Kitty Pryde/Illyana Rasputin in The New Mutants.  Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo hit homeruns with this comic.  I felt that it spoke to me and my generation in a way that Uncanny or adjectiveless x-men did not. 

I got a job in high school and spent a majority of my check on comics, and I continued after high school to drop in every Wednesday for new comic book day.  I had found local comic shops and could spend hours inside talking about my love for comics with the people that worked there and other customers.  I subscribed to Wizard Magazine and read it from cover to cover.  I learned so much about the history of comics.  One of my college papers was on the comics code. 

Then I got married and had kids.  Goodbye comics.  Then my kids learned to read and I introduced them to Bone and teen titans go (my little pony and Manga for the younger one).  My kids know that Jean Grey is the Phoenix, that Kitty Pryde is Jewish, and that there is a Green Lantern that is a planet.  They know that Wade Wilson is the more popular ripoff/satire of Slade Wilson.  The have watched the entire run of the X-Men and seen every recent comic movie with the exception of Deadpool. 

But, I have not been able to "get them into comics."  The reason is that there aren't any stories or characters that speak to them.  I have tried and the best success I have gotten is with G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel. I read it myself and enjoyed it until it got to the Civil War II storyline.  We tried squirrel girl, nope, we tried Spider Gwen, nope.  Silk, nope (this one was okay, I thought), we tried Captain Marvel (vol 1 is horrible, I don't know about the rest) , and recently we tried America (almost unreadable). 

I guess comics will just be my thing, I am glad that my kids have an appreciation for some of the classic storylines, but sad that they never found their "me book" or "me character."  The comics industry is struggling and this is why.  My generation is still out there and we still love comics, but the characters that we love have been transformed into something else and pushed aside.  I understand that this was an effort to get younger audiences on board.  What happened was that my characters, as I loved them, disappeared and where replaced with characters that my
children's generation just doesn't care about.  So comics not only failed to get new readers, it lost a bunch of existing ones.  In a panic, they started forcing events, because events got press and led to a temporary spike in sales at the expense of pissing off people that aren't already collecting every book.  Then putting a $5 price tag on the things.

I want to still love comics, but at the current price point, I can't justify following more than one or two titles.  A big crossover event where there are 12 books involved  equates to $55 extra for however many months of the event.  That is insane and just not going to happen.  Comics is competing for my entertainment dollar and $55 is 5 months of Netflix or Hulu where I have a plethora of movies and entire TV series.  I can get 8-9 paperbacks that provide many hours of enjoyment.  I can get 5 months of moviepass that allows me to see one movie a day in theaters (including the newest comic book movie).  For the monthly price an event comic will cost me, I can get Netflix, Hulu, Movie Pass, and some paperback novels.  Comics doesn't stand a chance. 

So I still want to support the industry but can't spend unlimited dollars on it. What can I do.  How can we all help each other.  Well we can #movetheneedle.  If you buy and like a book, let people know on social media.  Tag it with #movetheneedle so others know that they are getting something quality.  I know this idea comes from my generation and currently points to books that people in my generation would like, but I have found with my children that great storylines with well developed characters destroy a generational divide.  A lot of the comics I was bringing home to them hoping to gain their interests were not great and sometimes not good at all.  I was shopping blind.  #movetheneedle prevents that, and if you tag the comic companies it gives them a metric that they otherwise wouldn't see.

 Comics readers will continue buying a comic for several months after it starts getting bad, but #movetheneedle will show them what the fans like in real time.  "whao what happened to super-lad and dog-wonder, sales went down over the past six months, oh look at this, it stopped moving the needle in August.  Isn't that when we started the planet under water storyline that is set to go on for the next year, maybe we should wrap that up." Or, the S-Men comic was doing great, but sales are down, we stopped moving the needle during the S-verse crossover that lasted 3 months, it looks like people just stopped reading when that happened and didn't come back, maybe these events are spiking short term sales, but hurting our long term sales. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 spoiler free review

I fell asleep.  In the theater, at 1pm, after a full nights sleep, I fell asleep.  I have watched and enjoyed the original film.  The original film was visually stunning and the first movie representation of cyberpunk that was ever filmed. 

This movie was also very beautiful.  Vast colorful landscapes of ruined cities or a metropolis. 

I woke up, the music was loud and I feel it was meant to be unsettling. So when I fell asleep, I didn't stay asleep long before I was jolted awake.  But I would eventually start to doze again.  Maybe they did that on purpose.  In test screenings people had to have been drifting off and the director just had the sound engineers pump up the volume in certain spots to get people paying attention again.

The story just wasn't captivating.  Every aspect of it has been done before in a more fluid and coherent fashion.  The visuals themselves aren't even groundbreaking, sure it is a beautiful movie but is that any different than Interstellar, Oblivion, After Earth (shudder).  Without a compelling narrative, pretty isn't enough.  I understood Ks motivations, but not the motivations of others that set him on his path.  We are told that new replicants are needed in large numbers and a new way has to be devised to produce them more quickly almost in the same breath as the character orders replicants killed.  The twist was obvious to me, not the reveal, but the twist. 

Overall, this movie makes the ultimate movie sin.  It is boring.  It might be an amazing film, but I am not a film person.  I like movies.  As a movie I enjoyed the Netflix original The Babysitter, that I had just watched prior to going to the theater, much more than Blade Runner.  I realize they are different genres, but one entertained while the other put me to sleep. 

Kids probably won't like it and it has sex scenes and shows bewbs.  scfi violence.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Best Scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Drax looks out over the tranquil landscape and in an uncharacteristically calm manner states that it reminds him of taking his daughter to the lake.  Mantis wanting to share this happy memory that can calm the usually boisterous Drax, reaches out and touches his arm.  She then breaks down in tears. 

Drax was being played as comic relief in this movie to the point that you had forgotten his back story and may have felt that he had too.  It turns out that he hadn't and the revelation that such a happy memory is tinged with unbearable pain reveals a lot of depth about his character.  He failed his family.  They are dead because of him.  He may carry himself as a bumbling idiot but he is driven to make amends for  this failure.  Maybe to even prevent it from happening to others.  His boisterousness is possibly just him putting on a mask to hide the pain that he still feels inside. 

It would have been so easy for this scene to have been cut.  To leave Drax as just this lummox and comic relief.  We know from this scene that Drax remembers and that he will protect his new family to prevent what happened to his old family.  This scene says so much with very little dialog.  

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

DC owes their TV success to Buffy

DC has had a pretty good success with their super hero TV shows in spite of underwhelming showings in the box office.   How do they hit that teen-twenty-something market so effectively?  Well they recreate Buffy in every show. 
Buffy had her Scooby team.   Every successful DC show has replicated this formula.  It might not be obvious unless you watch the shows back to back to back though.  After watching Smallville, Arrow, and The Flash, you can turn on Supergirl and wonder, "who is the character that is actually a wolf in sheep's clothing. 

"Oh, they just have a team dynamic and this is true of every show," you might say. Yes, to a degree.  All of these shoes have the same characters mapped out.  Hacker/science (admittedly, almost all of the Flash characters fall under this heading), comic relief, wise mentor, not quite good/evil character, and somewhere along the line another super friend to come to help when chips are down.  This is exactly the Buffy formula, I think it might be the first time this formula is used on TV.  It is a slight tweak to the actual Scooby gang (from Scooby-do). 
Other pieces of the formula include Monster of the week with big bad theme throughout season.  Special circumstance that creates all the evil they are to fight/most villains have a common background/origin. 
It really is a can't miss formula and only becomes obvious when you have three shows on one network using it at the same time under the banner of an expanded universe.

If you like the DC shows and have not seen Buffy, I suggest that you check it out.  While the DC shows are arguably good, Buffy was great (for the most part) and really pretty revolutionary in some episodes. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man spoiler free movie review

Behold, in the year of our lord 2015 a hero will emerge that may at first go unnoticed because of his stature.  Word will spread of his deeds and his renown will grow!

Saw Ant-Man this weekend.  Let me tell you, it was great.  I think I enjoyed it more than age of Ultron.  It just hit the right note.  I am not a huge Ant-Man comics fan.  I did read the Scott Lang origin story and an issue where he gets a job working for Tony Stark.  Classic Ant-Man was never really my thing, though.  I worried about Marvel's ability to put up a hero that would be believable in a battle against super-powered opponents.  I saw the movie because I trust Marvel.  They have not abused that trust to this point. 

This movie should have come out on Father's Day weekend as Fatherhood is a huge theme in this movie.  It covers absent fathers, distant fathers, step fathers, father figures, and redemption.  I think it handles the relationships pretty realistically, even in the context of and separated from realism, comic book universe. 

The action was amazing. They really surprised me with how they handled the fight choreography and the use of Ant-Man's powers.  They managed to make the combatants in the fight completely serious and still infuse humor into the fight scenes.  In the climactic fight scene you don't get the Spider-man, I am not really taking this seriously, banter (that is fine for Spidey, it his thing).  The characters are fighting and it feels like a fight,  hate on one side, and a defensive attitude on the other, lightened up by secondary scenes and plays on setting.  This created the perfect tone. 

Go see this movie, heck, take your dad to see this movie, you both will enjoy it immensely.  If you don't have a dad, take someone else's.  My girls took me, and the movie was all the better for it.