Love of Comics & Graphic Novels! All About Comics! <![CDATA[ Learn to Accept The Things You Can't Change...Have Courage to Change The Things You Can...]]> ....and Have the Wisdom to Know the Difference.

Sometimes I feel glad that I watch a movie with my glass half full. I did not read the comic crossover series “Flashpoint” written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Andy Kubert and so it is with this half empty glass that I went into the DCAU animated direct-to-video movie “Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox”. I was very impressed with the DCAU animated production “The Dark Knight Returns” and so it is with this optimistic mindset that I come to into this latest animated feature featuring the Justice League. Readers of the source material would no doubt know what this story is all about, and to those who didn’t read it, it may come as a treat.


Barry Allen (aka. The Flash, voiced by Justin Chambers) had just been done visiting his mother’s grave, who has been killed many years ago due to a home invasion gone horribly wrong when he receives a call that the “Flash Museum” in Central city is being looted. After a hard fought battle with his deadliest enemies led by the Reverse-Flash (C. Thomas Howell) , Flash wins the day with the assistance of the Justice League. The next day, Barry wakes up to find that everything around him had changed. His mother is alive, he is no longer married to Iris (Jennifer Hale), and the amazons are at war with Atlantis. This war threatens the safety of the world. What had gone so wrong that this world is now so different and even deadlier than before? Barry must team up with what remains of this imperiled world to try to save it. A very different Batman (Kevin McKidd) and a much more powerful Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan) are ready to take on the challenge along with Barry. But are they already too late?



One of the things that made this film interesting is the way the screenplay was able to slowly reveal with a very meticulous hand just what had changed and what had stayed the same. Its structure was quite successful in generating suspense that I was kept on my toes as to how, why and what had caused all these climactic changes. Much of the plot revolves around the Flash and his quest to find out the truth in order to correct it. Along the way, he finds what had changed and admittedly some of these time-related changes can feel rather unsettling. Bruce Wayne is dead, and Thomas Wayne took on the mantle of the Bat. Martha Wayne is the Joker. Aquaman (Cary Elwes) and Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) are mortal enemies. Death stroke (Ron Perlman) and Luthor (Steve Blum) are two of the good guys, while other supposed bad guys such as Captain Cold and Clayface worked for the government. Black Manta and Ocean Master as members of Aquaman’s army? I would not even tell you just how Superman (Sam Daly) fits into all of this.

This world feels a lot darker and perhaps even more cruel than what was Barry’s real world. Some of the changes were definitely meant to create a reaction from its viewer and it succeeds. This alternate world reveals a side to the heroes that may have not been seen before, as some of them were willing to maim, murder and perhaps even torture. While most of its brutality happens off camera, the effects were still strongly felt. I mean, I never I would ever see the day when an animated film would show Wonder Woman murdering Steve Trevor (James Patrick Stewart) but this animated film went there. This is also a story about a war, and the steps taken by Atlantis and the Amazons were something that can seen as ‘magic against super-science’. There were a few morality issues presented in its screenplay, and just how fragile the human psyche can be.




No doubt there was a lot of characters in this film, and while all of them proved significant, they all served to develop this new Batman and a Flash misplaced in a different timeline. There is a different kind of tragedy that confronted the main protagonists, and while they are different, they are the same. They both seek to restore the time stream, for reasons of their own. Of course, it would be rather hard to condense all the details of the source material in an 81 minute film, but for what it is worth, I thought it made the correct moves to get its core narrative across. The tragedy and hope that exudes from its core plot were strong enough to immerse me, and while the screenplay could’ve used some smoothing over (there were some plot holes), the good areas of its script outweighed the weak points. The structure of the screenplay helped it along, as it was able to give focus to the strongest areas, while keeping the weaker ones at bay with some nifty editing.

The fights in the film were pretty gritty, at times brutal and maybe even bloody. This is a war after all, and both sides suffer heavy casualties. Once the movie reaches its final act, it comes out with all guns blazing. Highlights would be the Aquaman and Wonder Woman fight, the Captain Thunder-Wonder Woman fight and I did enjoy the encounter between Flash and Professor Zoom. This is a much meaner, older Batman who uses a gun (he is a father who lost his child), and while his methods were arguably different, he is the same skilled tactician as ever. The spirit of the character may have been the strongest thing in its narrative. Batman is a tragic figure, and so, he mostly took over the core plot. There is something that kind of felt more like a “Greek tragedy” with the Aquaman-Diana dynamic, and it also elevated the stakes to a level that I could buy into.



I did have some issues with the character designs at first, but I know Andy Kubert’s art; as much as it tried to mimic, it felt a little too much on the anime side. Not to say that it didn’t work, because it did, visuals and the merging of CGI layout went well with the traditional animation. I quickly got over it, and found myself being taken by its battle scenes. The voice acting were pretty capable, as Kevin Conroy even returned to voice Bruce Wayne. There were times that I did notice that the emotions and facial expressions weren’t as strong as I would’ve hoped for, but the key scenes were what truly carried the rest of the film.

I am guessing that the series probably had a lot more details to its narrative and I am sure there were differences in its narrative for storytelling purposes. I do have to admit that seeing this film may have made me want to purchase the trade paperback. “Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox” is a strong animated feature that managed to sell its narrative, generate thrills and suspense when needed, and even made the correct moves in tragic dramatic scenes. It is a success; so I guess the DCAU animated universe isn’t really missing Bruce Timm. Highly Recommended. [4 Out of 5 Stars]

       ]]> Wed, 31 Jul 2013 06:02:44 +0000
<![CDATA[ Human Emotions and Adamantium Rage]]> The Last Stand”. It spawned a reboot, a spin-off titled “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and now 2013 finds Hugh Jackman reprising his role for the 6th time (remember he had a brief cameo in “First Class”) as everyone’s favorite mutant in director James Mangold’s “The Wolverine”. The Marvel character created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein and John Romita Sr. has indeed come a long way, and it is to be argued that he is fast becoming one of the most over-exposed characters in movies and comic books. But hey, Hollywood likes him since he is an easy money-grab. And for what it is worth, “The Wolverine” is better than the previous film and is better than the shameless box-office hit “Iron Man 3”.

                     Hugh Jackman as Logan in "The Wolverine."

While “X-Men Origins: The Wolverine“ was a prequel to the “X-trilogy”, “The Wolverine” can be seen as a direct sequel to “The Last Stand”. Lonely, heartbroken and upset over Jean Grey’s death, Logan (Hugh Jackman) retreats to the mountains where he shares a cave with a huge grizzly bear. Logan is satisfied in being left alone, but something from his past had come a-calling. A young woman named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) had arrived at the behest of Yashida, a man whom Logan had saved from the atom bomb explosion during world war II. Reluctant, yet somehow feeling a sense of responsibility, Logan arrives in Tokyo to say his farewells to the dying Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), not knowing that the Japanese billionaire has plans of his own. Now Logan must face the threat of a woman called Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) without his healing powers and protect a woman named Mariko (Tao Okamoto).

                  Hugh Jackman as Logan in "The Wolverine."

                 Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper in "The Wolverine."

Comic Book fans would easily recognize the references to Wolverine’s time in Tokyo and they would indeed be excited to see familiar characters such Mariko (too bad there is no Matsuo), Yukio and Kenuichio Harada (played by Will Yun Lee, who really should be the Silver Samurai). Much of the film’s core plot relies on their development and their relationship to Logan. Despite the fact that there were some minor changes to their characters (Yukio looked like a character ripped from anime) I thought that the changes were competent as it made the story much more fleshed out and was able to stand even as its own. Yes, this may be a sequel to the “X-trilogy” and to the first Wolverine movie, but it manages to create a more ‘humanized’ Wolverine than what was presented before. Of course there were plot approaches that they had to create in order to make the connection to the X-films (Jean Grey played by Famke Janssen for instance) and while I did not like some moves made in the script, I thought as a whole, it connected well in telling its story.

Most of the film’s central focus were in Logan’s interactions with Yukio and Mariko. They proved significant in the development of Logan as a person and just how he sees this world. Hugh Jackman may or may not be the ideal “Wolverine” (the comic character is a lot shorter), but he does a good job in his portrayal anyway. He was able to express the right emotions and mood for the way his character was developed. Yes, I did have some issues with him being so ‘hung up’ with Jean but it served to be the main core of his character that what made him, I was able to buy into what was sold in the script. Mariko is an honorable young woman who has the strength to carry on her family’s honor, and it was easy to see just how Logan becomes taken by her. Okamoto was charming, elegant and classy with her portrayal and she was the Mariko that I could’ve easily imagined. Fukushima may feel more like a young Yukio, but she certainly had the personality to be female martial artist. I do have to say that she connected well with Jackman, as the two bonded to form a chemistry. Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai) may have limited screen time, but his screen presence made the Logan-Shingen encounter an essential part of its narrative. There is a lot of emotions involved in the screenplay, and while some of them may be the kind of cliché we’ve come to expect, they were presented well because of the performances.

Rila Fukushima as Yukio in "The Wolverine." Hugh Jackman as Logan in "The Wolverine."

The film does pick up with the action, as Logan does engage in a lot of fights. While I thought some areas in the script were questionable (such as with the characteristics of adamantium and how his claws can pop out without injury to himself), the director does manage to keep my brain with some real good shots of the fight sequences. With Logan’s healing factor on the fritz, it was easy to generate a form of suspense as he engages his opponents. He gets shot, cut and even fell how many times, and despite his momentary handicap, the man keeps going (there is also more blood here than in the previous film). The fight scene on top of Japan’s Bullet train was a good exercise in how to shoot an action scene and the scene in the small town with all the ninjas looked ripped from the comic books. The director also manages to mix in some good subtle humor along with its gritty tempo, but the humor never threatened to take over the film. Now, as much as I enjoyed the fights, I thought the climactic battle with a certain armored suit was a little too weak. Yeah, while there was no mention of the name “Silver Samurai”, I wasn’t too fond of the way the character was treated (it did have nods to the 2nd one), but hey, at least it wasn’t a disgrace.

                     Tao Okamoto as Mariko and Hugh Jackman as Logan in "The Wolverine."

“The Wolverine” is a fun summer action flick. While it may not have the things I wanted to see, I thought the screenplay made good use of the good stuff, and whatever flaws it had, I was able to look pass them. Perhaps I was just glad that they did not botch this project (there were development issues in its production). James Mangold may be no Darren Aronofsky but I thought he did a good job directing this film. The film is also brisk in pacing that I barely felt its runtime and that is a good thing. Jackman may be a little too tall to play our favorite mutant, but he does a good job with the title role. “The Wolverine” may be another “2013’s comic book adaptation” but at least, it is not one of the bad ones that it gets a recommendation from me. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Note: It also has a very worthwhile end credits scene.

Poster art for "The Wolverine." Teaser poster for "The Wolverine."
 ]]> Sun, 28 Jul 2013 02:53:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Wolverine is my favorite movie going experience of the year so far.]]> The Wolverine is easily one of the best films of the year.   This film centers around Logan trying to protect the grand daughter of a friend that he knew in Japan during World War II.  This film also shows Logan being stripped of his powers of regeneration and facing his mortality.  Logan still possesses metal claws that he uses well to clash with ninjas.  Logan also uses his claws to humanely end the life of a bear, an animal, that is badly hurt by the hands of hunters.  This film features an dramatic battle on the top of a bullet train.   it contains another great battle between Logan and a  giant silver robot.  

The Wolverine features the beautiful Japanese actress Tao Okamoto.  She plays Mariko, the woman  that Logan is trying to protect from the evil yakuza and other villains.    I don't see Asian women too often in popular American movies, so I really commend the  director, James Mangold, for casting this lovely woman as the  female lead.  There is also another Japanese woman who can look in the future and see what happens to people. 

Marco Beltrani lends his talents by composing  one hour of instrumental music to this film.  His music really adds to the enjoyment of the film.   There are pulsating instrumental pieces like "Sword Of Vengeance",  "Logan's Run", "Funeral Fight" and "Bullet Train".  These instrumental pieces had me on the edge of my seat throughout the film.  I love the drums and bells and other percussion instruments on these four compositions.   Beltrani expands my vocabulary with the piece entitled "Threnody For Nagasaki".  I learned that a threnody is a mournful poem.  I am a huge fan of poetry.  I will use this word when I am reading poetry next time with my friends. This piece features mostly violins and bass.  This music is used in the beginning of the film, where Nagasaki is being bombed in World War II.   I am surprised to learn that New South Wales in Australia substituted for Japan in the film.  The Wolverine is my favorite movie going experience of the year.

]]> Sat, 27 Jul 2013 09:38:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ Monsters University is a funny animated film that celebrates the differences of all creatures.]]>
The musical compositions on this score are great. My favorite piece is the composition entitled "The Scare Games". This piece celebrates the spirit and excitement of competition the scare games. I love the drums and overall musical arrangement of this six minute piece. "Monsters University" is the only music with vocals. This is a great college fight song. It is performed by what sounds like a choir of singers. Randy Newman makes feel a sense of pride for an animated university I love the piece "Wasted Potential". It features soothing piano playing. "Scare Pig" is a fast paced piece with a rock edge. "Rise and Shine" is definitely a piece that will get out of bed. I am going to put this piece on my Ipod. It will help me get up in the morning. "Sulley" is a piece with a carefree easy going tone. This forty-eight second piece really embodies the character of Sulley. The brief accordion playing on the piece entitled "Oozma Kappa" lifts my spirit and make me feel good."Roar" is the only musical contribution from someone other than Randy Newman. It is a dance track from a band called Swedish House Mafia. This piece has a pulsating up tempo beat that I really like. "Field Trip" is a piece that captures the peril that can be experienced in a field trip. This piece makes me feel tense and excited. Mike and Sulley is a warm hearted piece that captures the friendship between Mike and Sulley. I love this musical score from Randy Newman very much.   Monsters University is a funny and touching animated film.]]> Sun, 23 Jun 2013 01:09:53 +0000
<![CDATA[ It's a Mixed Bag (3.5)]]>
The Iron Man movies have never been about deep characterization, though, and there are some things about the attempts in Iron Man 3 that are so bothersome that they distract from the movies. 

The story here is that a year after saving New York alongside The Avengers, Tony is now a man who seems to suffer from PTSD about it, can't sleep and often has a hard time opening up to friends and family who are constantly worried about him.  All the while, an incident from a New Year's Eve Party in 1999 has come back to bite him in the ass when he realizes that a terrorist by the name of Mandarin is responsible for a series of bombings... but there's never a trace of the weapon itself when the bombing is done.  The plot itself is actually not bad.  There's some mystery here, and watching Tony Stark put it all together is pretty fun, despite the fact that the film is constantly making sure you are one step ahead of him.  This sort of makes any revelations Tony comes to or any so called "plot twist" pretty damn obvious.  If you're surprised by anything that happens in Iron Man 3 it is because you expected it to somehow defy your expectations.  All the twists are pretty predictable because the movie is constantly telegraphing itself. 

That's not where Iron Man 3 stumbles.  I mean, the first Iron Man did the same thing and that movie was fantastic.  Again, nothing in that movie defied expectations.  Nothing in that movie was unpredictable and nothing in that movie made you think, "I didn't see that coming."  Iron Man 3, like the other two has the villain up front.  What the problem is here, is the same problem the other two had.  The villains are nothing more than cartoon character cutouts that we just accept are bad because the movie tells us they're bad guys.  In the case of Iron Man 3 it's that someone really messed up and has to cover their ass.  Although the plot eventually is more convoluted than that, there is a point where you're asking yourself WHY are the bad guys doing what they're doing?  This isn't like say... The Dark Knight Trilogy where it's a constant battle of ideas, will and philosophy.  The bad guys aren't trying to prove a point and sharing a different idealistic outlook than Tony Stark.  These guys very much want a piece of Stark but at some point I'm always trying to figure out what the point of the bad guys doing the things they do is.  Again, there's no real deep characterization of Iron Man's villains and I'm actually okay with this.  Not every film has to be some deep, meaningful endeavor.  However, the fact that the villains almost never seem to have much they're going for is pretty telling.  In the first film, for instance, Stane gets a hold of a big Iron Man suit and goes about wreaking destruction because... well, just because.  We understand he wants to take over Stark industries and get Stark out of the picture but I just didn't understand why destroying a city was necessary or anything like that. 

There was something arresting about the first Iron Man that made it pretty easy to ignore this, but Iron Man 3 is a little harder to be kind to in this regard.  Sure Tony Stark is still a pretty decent character on his own, but the villains here are pretty boring.  Guy Pearce is pretty darn charming as Killian, but he fails to be interesting.  Because again, his plans and motivation are pretty paper thin.  As I said, it builds on top of something else and a master plan that is hatched by a character that... literally doesn't do anything.  See this is why it's pretty predictable.  If this is a spoiler for you I'm sorry, but one of the films twists is that The Mandarin isn't the mastermind.  And really, you should figure this out pretty damn quickly because when has terrorism ever been Stark's enemy?  In the first two films, for instance the villains of Stark have been businessmen and politicians.  Did you really think they'd change everything up now?  Ben Kingsley as Mandarin is perhaps the most arresting part of the whole damn thing as he's a really good character, but also a pretty useless one.

The more I thought about it, the more the film just simply doesn't make sense from the character standpoint.  Tony Stark is another such example.  He suffers from PTSD, but the film fails in a lot of ways to make this meaningful.  In fact, a lot of it is there just to say to you, "The Avengers sure was awesome wasn't it?"  And granted, The Avengers was a good movie, but for the love of God why does Iron Man 3 feel the constant need to remind me.  Moments like, "Can we talk about New York?" or Stark having nightmares only sound good on paper, but in execution it's pretty damn pale.  Stark has seen things and been in a wormhole, sure, but in The Avengers this had no real impact on him.  Even when told things like, "You're nothing without your suit," in The Avengers he kept that cocky attitude because his intellect was so strong.  And then here he's suddenly... bothered by all this.  Just suddenly bothered.  The Tony Stark here is at odds with the Tony Stark you saw in The Avengers.  He was literally the star of the show.  The one everyone gathered around in the movie.  Why is it that he now feels insignificant?  Why is it now that he feels like, "If I didn't have the suit, what would I be to them?"  I get it, Thor is a God, Captain America is a Super Solider and the Hulk is a big hulking beast... all of them have something that makes them more than just men but supernatural.  But Tony Stark didn't care about that before.  Wasn't bothered by it before and, if memory serves me right, knew about quite a bit of it before The Avengers.  It makes little sense that suddenly he feels inadequate now.  As for the PTSD it never actually seems to hinder him.  Sometimes he has an anxiety attack, but it's not like these attacks ever come in the middle of battle.  It's not like these attacks hinder him in any way.

And then there's Pepper Pots, the atypical damsel in distress who has always been something of an annoying character because it has commonly been shown that this is all she can really do.  But getting beyond that, she's pretty much put into the stereotypical Marvel Role of being the woman who wonders why her goddamn super hero boyfriend doesn't have time for her.  And then quickly becomes the damsel in distress before another "shocking twist," (he said sarcastically) allows her to be more than the sum of her parts in the climax, but this sort of makes you think about the final moments of Iron Man 2 where everything was exploding.  The films climax is so over the top and ridiculous it makes the Avengers and Transformers look idealistic by comparison.  In short, it's got lots of explosions and really cool things happening but... this sort of makes it boring after a while.  There's lots of Iron Man suits flying around and you may see some really cool ones but at some point you realize that's all they're there for is to look cool.  There's lots of explosions going on but then I kept wondering what's the whole context.  I get it's a summer blockbuster and we like to see things go boom in those, but Iron Man, alongside The Dark Knight in 2008 showed that they don't HAVE to be meaningless explosions.  It comes off as pretty cheesy here.  And this brings about my continued disdain for Marvel's "ragdoll physics."  They're terrible.  At some point during the climax I was suddenly no longer engrossed and was reminded I was watching a movie.  Not because of how unreal it was, but because at some point I just wasn't feeling anything anymore.  Tony has to save Pepper and the President and I just didn't care anymore.  And when the "big twist" with Pepper happens I kept wondering to myself... "Was I supposed to care she could've died?"  It's Iron Man... they don't take the risks of actually killing or even really putting it's characters in any real danger.  Remember how we all thought, "Holy crap they killed the love interest!" in The Dark Knight?  No one ever does that in Super Hero movies much.  Mary Jane is always saved.  Lois Lane is somehow brought back from the dead in the most ridiculous manner imaginable.  All told, Iron Man 3 seems to think it's trying to make us worry but this isn't the case.  It's so formulaic about what it does that when it actually delivers on the expectations my only thought can be "This is absurdity on a whole new level."

All told, however, it's still quite enjoyable.  I know I've been hard on the damn thing, but it's still a pretty fun and enjoyable movie.  The comedy hits all the right notes... although to be fair, a lot of it clashes with the tone.  This is another problem movies from the Marvel universe are beginning to have.  They're funny, but they don't always work with their comedy.  In The Avengers it was nearly perfect.  The balance in tone.  In Iron Man 3, as with The Amazing Spider-Man (even though that's owned by Sony, at the moment), a lot of the comedy tends to get in the way of all the serious stuff.  Unlike The Amazing Spider-Man, however, Iron Man 3 isn't constantly saying, "Okay, we need to be serious here."  Iron Man 3 is fully self aware of how bombastic and non-sensical it is.  This is going to make some people love it and others roll their eyes.  So while the tone clashes from time to time, at least Iron Man 3 isn't saying "We're real serious shit, here!"  The Amazing Spider-Man is constantly trying to tell you it's a grown up, but Iron Man 3 is mostly out to have some fun.  And for the most part it succeeds. 

Despite it's shortcomings in character and plot, Robert Downey Jr. is still a treat as Tony Stark, and there are laughs to be had all around.   The fact that so many keep wanting movies to go darker and grittier is a fairly strange to me.  Certainly Iron Man 3 screws up in the character department, but it's not because the characters aren't dark and brooding or because they don't suffer from issues.  It's because they want to try this approach with characters that aren't suited for it.  Remember, Batman Begins was meticulous at letting you know Bruce Wayne was a hurt and tortured soul.  Iron Man isn't like that.  Tony Stark isn't like that.  He has no qualms revealing that he IS Iron Man.  He knows how good he is and he doesn't have a dark past.  He's not a tortured soul.  He was a man who was free to be that.  He has his demons (alcoholism, an ego as big as Jupiter, etc.) but he was never portrayed as this dark brooding dude out of the gate.  I think that's more a strength in Iron Man than a detraction... but some would disagree.  This is why the fun loving tone of Iron Man is actually not so bad.  The Dark Knight Trilogy is meant to be a dark, brooding and gothic thing.  It presents itself as such right out of the gate.  But Iron Man has never been this, in terms of film... and I think it's a bad idea for them to start now.  Why should we have to see Tony suffer from PTSD in the manner which he does if it fails to be meaningful?  It seems like Iron Man is trying to reach when it never had to in the first place.  What's wrong with a cocky bastard of a main character?  It's certainly a welcome change to the dark brooding tortured souls that have become overdone as of late.

But I digress.  Iron Man 3 is enjoyable, I'm just annoyed that they're constantly trying to reach higher and keep trying to make it about something when it doesn't particularly have to be.  Iron Man has had quite a few themes in there.  Often playing on our Post 9/11 fears or showing us the pros and cons of capitalism (if you want to go that far).  But deep characterization isn't something Iron Man really has to tackle.  There's no real need for Iron Man to go there and in the moments when Iron Man 3 does... it's pretty annoying.  When it steps back and let's go it's a pretty fun movie.  Watching Tony Stark fight baddies without his suit is one of the more exciting moments in the film.  There are some really good action set pieces here, one liners etc.  Overall Iron Man 3 is a good movie.  It's just filled with boring characters.  A bad guy who we just accept is bad and evil because the movie tells us to.  And a hero who they give a case of PTSD to and then... forget that he has it at some point (seriously, it's as though they realized, "This is stupid," and then tosses it... it's never resolved or anything).  But mostly it's fun.  I was a little annoyed with their constant references to The Avengers and their, "Hey, remember, that movie was awesome!" sort of stuff, but I was quite glad to know that they didn't just pretend it didn't happen in the realm of Iron Man.  But when they finally stop with it they have no problem just cutting lose and having some fun.  Nearly everything in the middle of the film is wholesome fun and brilliant.  It's just too bad that it's sandwiched between a boring beginning and an obnoxious climax.]]> Tue, 4 Jun 2013 05:01:16 +0000
<![CDATA[Kick-Ass (movie) Quick Tip by Legalisel0ve]]> Mon, 3 Jun 2013 20:08:32 +0000 <![CDATA[ A Cheap "Shellhead" Play on Comedy and Action]]> first movie lacked ambition and did not take any risks, the screenplay and the direction was steady and was able to capitalize on its strengths rather than its weaknesses. It made the comic books come alive even in a rather underwhelming manner. The second movie proved to be a mere launch pad for the upcoming “Avengers” movie during that time. The first sequel was louder and proved to be a more effects-laden popcorn affair than actually trying to expand on the essence of the character. This second sequel now comes with a different director in Shane Black (who debuted as director in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and wrote “The Long Kiss Goodnight”). It manages to maintain that energy vital to an action movie, something the first sequel struggled with; but it may prove to be a lot disappointing to comic book fans.

This is the super-hero movie about comedic “Karma”…

                   A scene from "Iron Man 3."

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a man suffering from past events in New York (as chronicled in “The Avengers”), that he barely sleeps and he uses his time to create more armored suits, which creates friction between him and his girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who also serves as the head of his company. Tony’s friend, James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is now wearing the “war machine” suit that he had designed as an employee of the government who is now called “Iron Patriot”. When terrorists have surfaced headed up by the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who has taken responsibility for a string of bombings, Stark has become more personally involved as it seems as if someone from his past had come back to haunt him….

                    Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in "Iron Man 3."

                    Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man in "Iron Man 3."

I am really uncertain as to how to begin this review. “Iron Man 3” is a film that is definitely entertaining and fun to watch as it boasts of an energetic momentum that is somewhat to be expected of super-hero movies. It is a movie made by Hollywood to attract mainstream fans and is a solid summer blockbuster. Much as I thought that the film maintained its forward momentum, I do feel that while it was entertaining, it entertains for the wrong reasons. The dry humor while timed impeccably and the way it approached the presentation of its main antagonists just caused the movie to fully lose the essence of the source material. I understood that the screenplay wanted to do some misdirection, and it does try to deliver a twist, but for me it did feel a little cheap.

Let’s go forward with the positives first. Robert Downey Jr. was in familiar ground in his portrayal, that he presents his character with the utmost of ease. He is charming and funnier as ever, and it was nice to see him operate without an armor. The screenplay has some witty dialogue that would undoubtedly make one crack a laugh, and the timing can be perfect. The film also has nods to the comic book, “Advanced Idea Mechanics” and “Extremis” all play a part in its storyline, and it manages to link the storyline to past movies. I do think the screenplay did a good move in mentioning the past events in “Avengers”, as it gave the plot a needed feeling of continuity with the previous films in the Marvel comics franchise. Guy Pearce was also quite effective with the way he played Aldrich Killian. His was a portrayal that made the villain quite convincing as someone who had a grudge against Stark. Rebecca Hall’s Maya Hansen was beautiful and despite her character being a little underwritten, her interplay into the script was quite competent.

                     Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin in "Iron Man 3."

                    Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in "Iron Man 3."

I do have to kind of wonder how the characters of Ellen Brandt (from Man-Thing, played by Stephanie Szostak) and Eric Savin (nods from “Civil War“, played by James Badge Dale) managed to get injected into the script, since they were actual characters from other books. I know they were probably attempts to give further nods to Marvel comics, and I could buy into them. The powers of the bad guys were all loosely based on the Extremis virus that made them seem like an “avatar of the Mandarin”. Cheadle’s role was also well connected into the script. I do have to admit, that despite some flaws, the screenplay was pretty solid in generating energy and comedy.

The special effects were as good as in the first two films. The action was fast, explosive and quite inventive in some areas. There was one really good scene with the rescue in Air Force One. I did also like the idea of the use of the Iron Man armory (references to the Hulkbuster armor, Stealth armor, Modular Armor etc.) into the screenplay as they served some sort of a remote armor. The designs of the new remote/modular armor mimicked the designs of the Mark 37 (Bleeding Edge armor) although it was reversed in color scheme. The use of this armor gave Downey the right timing for bits of comedy (but a little misplaced at times).

                     Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man in "Iron Man 3."

                     Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man in "Iron Man 3."

Now if you noticed, I did say the word ‘comedy’ a little too often. Yes, it was well timed in the majority of the scenes, but after the 2nd act, it overstayed its welcome. I mean, I am all for a little wit and humor here and there, but when it comes to get serious, get serious. The film felt really cartoonish. I also had issues with the film’s overabundance in characters. The young boy (Ty Simpkins) was totally unnecessary and could have just as well been edited out (is this Disney's idea?). The film could’ve used about 10-15 minutes trimmed from its screen time. The biggest blunder that the film had done was after the big twist about the “Mandarin” character was revealed. After that scene, I was barely able to stay focused with the film, as it shamelessly insulted one of Shellhead’s foremost villains. The Mandarin should be someone who represented ‘anti-technology’ and was the one villain who was the exact opposite of Stark. I do not want to spoil this, but 'think' what was done with “Lex Luthor” in the “Superman” films and Bane in "Batman and Robin". It was an affront to the essence of the character. To make matters worst, the marketing people even plugged the Mandarin as a focus in its trailers to try to do a 'shock' twist. It was a very cheap move in my view.

                      A scene from "Iron Man 3."

So I guess while “Iron Man 3” was entertaining, I thought it was entertaining for the wrong reasons. For the commercial movie fan and children, I think it would deliver. It was brisk and loud, clever in some areas, and even had the sense to elaborate just “who or what is an Iron Man?”. I just had major issues with the way it was executed. It paid too much attention to the comedic side of the script, and did not generate any suspense despite its terrorism undertones. It felt like an animated film for kids, clever and yet underwhelming; which is surprising as to how it tried to incorporate real world events such as terrorism into its screenplay. I really did not like the way it handled the character of the Mandarin, but I guess that is just the “Iron Man” comic book fan in me. I guess we all “create our own demons” in comedy.  I think Shane Black saw a little too much of the kiddie show and not enough of the source material that this film would only be good as a RENTAL. [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

                      Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in "Iron Man 3."

Poster art for "Iron Man 3 3D." Poster art for "Iron Man 3 3D."
 ]]> Sun, 5 May 2013 04:23:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ We are our own demons]]> The promotion about Iron Man 3 was all over town way before the movie hits the theater. It's been long since I looked forward to a new movie, not even for Oblivion which I watched last week. That didn't motivate me to write a review about it as I believed someone on Lunch will surely do so. Oblivion was more of an anti-climax kind of movie for me, despite it was starring Tom Cruise! To give it justice, I did feel it had a good start with a forward looking mystery to solve. But, somewhere in the middle of it, one simply lose interest and that's probably its own downfall. It was just old story with a new packaging...
Now, lets get back to Iron Man 3. Even though I am not a comic fan, never was, I do enjoy movies on comics. Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man, you name it, I have seen a great many.
So, it's quite difficult to get excited over these movies, is it not? 
Surprisingly, I still look forward to each and everyone of them. Trying to find out the "twists" in each one and for most part, they have yet disappoint!

Iron Man 3 comes with all the expected heroism and special effects... with a little more. I was pleasantly surprised by a touch of humor as well as friendship (with a child, for that matter) in it. Not to mention not just 3 Iron Men but lots of them. It just seems we all can fit into the suit when the circumstance is right! That's a fantasy turning reality for all the kids out there as well as some adults who still have certain childlike aspects in them. 
That's what is so fun about Iron Man 3. The spirit to save others can never die while the evil people are just intelligent people who have lost their ways along the path. While Americans face terrorism of different kinds (some of which are just manipulations by the "experts" or real brains behind the system) it is imperative that we the human race have a hero out there to save the day! This movie explores that so well! It is a case of the enemy can destroy the symbol but they can never destroy the spirit of the good! 

Last and not least, have a laugh... things are not always the way it looked or seemed!
I'll definitely recommend it to my American friend and make sure he takes his teenage son to watch this highly entertaining movie this weekend!!!

High Five!
]]> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 08:55:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Iron Man 3 (2013 film) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 07:50:41 +0000 <![CDATA[Captain America Vol. 5: Civil War Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 01:29:50 +0000 <![CDATA[ GOOD CIVIL WAR BOOK]]>


Is there any comic fan out there that is not a fan of Cap, or at least been one at one time. Well for any one that had been a fan leading up to this story which of course was "Civil War" then I am sure you will agree with the next sentence. Captain America only had one choice in this war and it made perfect sense for him to go against the government here. You see I had an argument with a friend recently in which he thought Cap was going against being the perfect solider for America for taking the side he did. I tried to explain to him he was being the perfect solider for America in his choice, he believes in freedom. Freedom is something this nation is supposed to believe in; therefore it made sense to me. Any way this book contains Captain America 22-24 and Winter Solider - Winter Kills.

You see that debate plus the excellent review from Madpenguin made me want to read this again. The story although in Cap's book mainly follows Sharon Carter also known as Agent 13. She is torn between the man she loves and her job, a job that at one time they were both playing for. Now she disagrees with Cap and his stance on the Superhero Registration Act. Does she follow orders and help bring the man she loves down or does she follow her heart. Also in the background The Winter Solider is working for the supposedly dead Nick Fury. And are the Red Skull and Dr Doom working together, these are all things you will read about here.

This is the kind of story that really keeps you interested or at least it did to me, it was just enough "Civil War" and just enough character development. The way Sharon is torn and the back story involved adds so much to the tale. I have to credit writer Ed Brubaker with this as he actually takes the time to let the story flow. Then of course there is Mike Perkins art work which fits the mood of the story perfectly. Very much so when we get to The Winter Soldier's story "Winter Kills". This of course is an excellent add-on here that has many a guest appearance. I will not spoil it for you but the ending is really great.

I do recommend this book especially if you are a fan of any involved from characters to the creators. This may feel like Cap is a supporting character but it is a great addition to the "Civil War" story and more importantly to Cap's story. It may or may not be a must read for some depending on what you personally think but it is still very recommendable. Pick it up if you get the chance, it is a very good book.]]> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 01:28:46 +0000
<![CDATA[Justice League/Aquaman: Throne of Atlantis [The New 52] Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> While I still believe that crossovers are shameless money grabs, "Throne of Atlantis" has renewed my belief that crossovers can be rewarding when done right. Fresh from the New 52's flagship title and the most innovative comic series that ever came from the New 52 line, Aquaman is now cool!

A war between Atlantis and the Surface world has broken out and only the Justice League has any hope of breaking it off. But just which side is Aquaman on?

Read Full review here

]]> Thu, 7 Mar 2013 04:07:44 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Triumphant Adaptation of Frank Miller's Critically Acclaimed Comic Mini-Series]]> here) of their adaptation a few months ago, that I could safely say that it may be one of the most successful animated adaptations of an actual comic book storyline. Everyone should take note here on out, (and Bruce Timm should keep it up), that an adaptation of a major comic book/graphic novel need not be changed for anything, and that such adaptations should not be limited to a mere 70-90 minutes.


Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” had been adapted into two chapters totaling over two and half hours. Where part one ended with the end of the mutant criminal gang, part two begins with the Batman (Peter Weller) with a new Robin by his side in the person of Carrie Kelley (Ariel Winter) as he had finally reclaimed Gotham. Having even also inspired a new “sons of Batman” group, much to the dismay of new police commissioner Ellen Yindel (Maria Canals Barrera) that she had issued an arrest warrant for him. Batman’s re-emergence has also led to the return of his long-time nemesis, the Joker (Michael Emerson). The clown prince of crime intends to take down the Batman with a diabolical scheme that would end their war. To make matters worst, the media and public opinion are at odds more than ever with the need for a masked vigilante, that the government itself, also under fire due to the cold war, is about to send its greatest weapon, Superman (Mark Valley) to neutralize this problem. Bruce Wayne must call on some old allies in order to fight off this new enemy…or is it an old, dearest friend?



Director Jay Oliva had already set the groundwork, the tempo and the mood with the first chapter, all that is left is to wrap things up and make sure part two concludes with an epic resolution to Frank Miller’s comic book saga. He makes no attempts in making major changes, and with this, the end product is just exceptional. True, Oliva and screen writer Bob Goodman made some minor deviations to the source material for pacing and editing purposes, but never have a seen an animated film truly capture the essence of the source material. Yes, I missed the inner monologue that gave Miller’s storyline a noirish, moody and dark atmosphere that made it come alive, but I have to admit, this was as good as adaptations can go. The narrative was kept fully intact that I was certainly very pleased to see just how faithful this animated film was.

The moral stances of vigilantism, does a masked vigilante do more harm than good? If so, has the world stooped to being such a hellhole that only someone who does not answer to anyone could stand up for what is right? This is all about the Batman and what he stands for, and they all lead up to several climactic encounters. All the major themes of Miller’s creation are intact; public opinion of such actions, a possible nuclear annihilation, the how and why people become so divided that they become blinded when the truth is in front of them, and of course, the end game between two men of different principles, the Dark Knight clashes with the Man of Steel. Goodman preserves the original flow of its source material, and he hits the film's messages home without being preachy.




Of course, any comic book adaptations should have several shots that emulate the comic book panel to animated screen shot and this second part has plenty to spare; Superman‘s iconic pose, the nuclear winter and the final scene with Batman and Joker--they just looked as if ‘ripped from the comic book‘. I did miss the news reels of “faster than a speeding bullet”, “more powerful than a locomotive” while Big Blue went to do his ‘thing’. I guess if the film had made a minor mistake, is that it did not strongly resonate several things such as how “Superman is top secret” and how things have indeed changed in this world during the Reagan administration and the cold war. Miller had some very powerful yet subtle touches that Goodman just couldn't properly express through his script, but they were minor details that I chose to ignore, as long as the main core of its premise was intact. Oliver Queen (Robin Atkin Downes) and Selina Kyle (Tress MacNeille) made very significant appearances to add dramatic impact while Jim Meskimen plays the president who has the best ‘interests’ of a country in mind. It is all about ‘public opinion’ and how such things can often contradict what is right, as with Miller’s writing, Goodman and Oliva does manage to give us a peek as to how super-heroes could be seen in the real world.

“The Dark Knight Returns” (both chapters) may arguably have the best animation work that the Warner bros. animation studios had ever done. The Character designs mimicked the look and feel of Miller’s work, as it took the viewer in a wild ride of this Gotham city. It was fast, fierce and intense as you could certainly feel each explosion, fights and fall have emotional content to make an exclamation point in its narrative. I loved the way that the movie showed Batman’s physical ‘aged’ condition, as he sometimes looked sluggish and slow, and yet he always maintained that spirit which made him become Gotham’s savior. The characters also breathe and this gives them a feeling of solidity. The animation may be simple, but its rendition was complex as it manages each frame, motion and even color to convey the mood and emotions of each scene.



This film also takes the ‘PG-13’ rating to its limits as it gave all the violence and brutality it could muster. The suspense and intensity never lost a step and the fights were bloody and brutal as Batman took on the Joker. I have to say, it never relented on delivering the insanity and the homicidal tendencies of the Joker, it bordered on disturbing, as he ran around an amusement with a sharp batarang on one eye while he shoots down whomever he saw. The battle with the Big Red ‘S’ and Bats felt a little longer than what was in the comic series, but it just made it even more significant to the drama which was unraveling before my eyes. I may even say that “The Dark Knight Returns” would not be a film meant to be seen by kids as the themes, and the violence may never truly be understood by an innocent mind.


“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”, parts one and two are animated masterpieces that I could name them as two (one as a whole) of the essential films about the Dark Knight. It even challenges “Mask of the Phantasm’s” claim to the throne as the best Batman movie but since that was an original creation, while this was a direct adaptation, it may win by a quarter of a point. As a two-part animated movie-experiment, I would say Bruce Timm and company had succeeded in bringing Miller’s acclaimed series to life. And I am not a fan of Bruce Timm, that is until now. I hope Timm continues such adaptations and I would be eager to collect such superb animated movies.

Highly Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]




 ]]> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 04:15:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ Frank Miller's Critically Acclaimed Graphic Novel Comes to Life in Animated Form!]]> Batman Year One” saw a direct to video movie adaptation, fans knew that a movie adaptation of Miller‘s much hailed “The Dark Knight Returns” graphic novel was indeed coming. After all, “Year One” was Batman’s Alpha, and so a story can never be complete without an Omega. Warner Bros. animation is the one studio with the right stuff to bring the celebrated graphic novel come alive into the screen, and I have to say, director Jay Oliva and screenwriter Bob Goodman made a very credible adaptation of the source material, even with some minor changes to the style, tempo and mood, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1” is one exciting film that proved to be just as gripping and fun as Frank Miller’s graphic novel.


Gotham City, 10 years after the last known sighting of the Dark Knight. The city had changed but stayed more or less the same. Crime had taken a turn for something different and yet the same, as the city is once again gripped by crime. Bruce Wayne (Peter Weller) has retired as the Batman and he has become close friends with Commissioner Gordon (David Selby). But something is clawing its way out from inside Wayne, as something would not stay put. Constantly reminded of his parents’ murder and the death of his former partner Jason Todd, Wayne must once again take up the mantle of the Bat, and face the threat of a supposedly rehabilitated Harvey Dent (Wade Williams) and the new threat of a criminal gang called the Mutants. And then, there is a new “Robin” (Ariel Winter) back in town…




Part one of the “Dark Knight Returns” covers the graphic novel from its beginning up to the final confrontation with the mutant gang leader (Gary Anthony Williams). I know the tale of Batman’s Omega is one lengthy premise that I was glad to see that the producers seemed to have made every effort to keep the film as close to the source material as possible. I know fans of the graphic novel would probably complain about the lack of the monologue that steadily captures the mood and the state of mind that lies within Wayne, and I would agree. But sometimes, we do have to remember that this film is rated “PG-13” and having a limited 75 minute runtime (part two is going to be 95 minutes), and being as such, some variations and differences to the graphic novel is to be expected for pacing purposes. However, much of the key dialogue remained from the source material remained intact, some had been altered for a more dramatic and cinematic touch, but nevertheless, the film captures the essence of Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns”.


Readers of the graphic novel would know exactly how the plot of part one would play out. The screenplay touches on the political and social state of the country, as a means to express the effects of a vigilante who dresses up as a Bat. The much debated “Batman” may indeed be a force for justice but does he attract as much danger as he eliminates? These are the things that made Miller’s work phenomenal, and while the film does not dwell too much on its social and political commentaries, it does keep the importance of such themes alive with the addition of TV shows with Lana Lang (played by Paget Brewster) as a defender of vigilantism and a psychiatrist (Michael McKean) who is the anti-Batman. I feel that the spirit of the characters that made the graphic novel so successful may have been a little watered down in the case of Harvey Dent, but it was necessary to keep the film on point with the mutant gang which part one does mean to take into its central focus as a manifestation of the ‘old meeting the new’.

This is a very different Batman after all. An aged Batman is a meaner, smarter and even more ruthless than his younger counterpart. Tempered and hardened by more guilt and pain, Wayne was a Batman who seemed to want to prove something to himself. The voice-acting by Peter Weller as the aging vigilante was fantastic; it was exactly how I would imagine Batman/Wayne to sound like. I also enjoyed the exchanges between Gordon and Capt. Ellen Yindel, as it spoke volumes to the film’s themes; just what is a vigilante and is there a need for one? I know, it may be too soon to say, but the subplot with Carrie Kelley does need further development into its script, and I can see it as an opportunity to maybe improve on the original material.

The animation and set pieces were done in a manner that it mimicked the art of the source material. I was in awe as to how the direction followed certain areas that feel as if it had been lifted off the graphic novel. From the re-emergence of the Bat against the underworld, to the scenes of the news reels, to the assault on the mutant gang, up to the final encounter, the scenes captured the drama of the struggles and the sheer thrills that came with each scene. For an animated film, it was pretty violent and went into as much blood and brutality as it could muster into a PG-13 film. I just loved that final encounter with the mutant gang leader. While I did miss the moody and gritty monologue that made the graphic novel its thoughtful, brooding drama and 'noirish' feel; I thought the direction still was still able to capture the suspense as I found myself immersed into each scene.

I did notice several inspirations and influences from Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”, not in a narrative sense, but more in the manner it had been paced and edited to deliver a cinematic experience. Most notably the soundtrack, which sounded like a throwback to Nolan’s “Batman” films. The touches were noticeably “Nolan-esque” as the film tried to emulate a more realistic, gritty and darker tone while staying true to the layouts of the source material. Let’s be honest here, graphic novels are a different medium, and sometimes, changes need to be made to make for a more thrilling movie adaptation. I know it seems as if this film’s focus is more on the action and Wayne’s state of mind, while the graphic novel centered more on the political and social arena, and yet, both carry the same core premise and themes. This is just an observation, regardless, both mediums came with an gripping and powerful narrative. I would say that this adaptation is about 95 % faithful to the material.

I am curious as to how part two would adapt the political landscape (seeing as the graphic novel was set during the Reagan administration), it would be real interesting as to how director Jay Oliva would handle this (including a very liberal Oliver Queen). Fans of the graphic novel would know just what is to come, the Joker rising and the encounter with the man with the big red “S”. I am not sure, the graphic novel went a little over-the-top around those areas, and I kind of enjoyed this rendition of the graphic novel turned film. Here’s hoping that the DCU filmmakers does not disappoint, and they can keep it up since I am all in for “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns- Part Two” (click on link to see review of Part two)

Highly Recommended! [4 ½ Out of 5 Stars]


]]> Wed, 26 Sep 2012 05:52:14 +0000
<![CDATA[Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga Epic, Book 3 Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Wed, 28 Mar 2012 05:40:23 +0000 <![CDATA[ LOVE IT EVEN STILL]]>


Any and every one that knows me or has read my stuff knows how big a fan I am of "The Clone Saga", the Scarlet Spider, and Ben Reilly over all. This was a crazy time for me in my life and this was one of the main things that helped me get through all of that. That of course is explained in my review of volume one of this series. Still this volume has some very interesting stories in it, some major while others are not. Still to me they are all great in my opinion as nothing disappoints in this, much like the other two volumes. Now I am sure some of you may disagree but to each his own, I LOVE IT.

This wonderful volume collects Amazing Spider-Man 400-401, Amazing Spider-Man Super Special 1, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 222-224, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special 1, Spider-Man 57-58, Spider-Man: The Clone Journal, Spider-Man Super Special 1, Spider-Man Unlimited 9, Web of Spider-Man 123-124, Web of Spider-Man Super Special 1, and of course Venom Super Special 1. If you are looking at that and thinking that is a lot, well you are right. But for a nut like me [who owns each of these separately as well] I love it. Still for anyone who loves comics it is a great deal, remember that you don't have to read it all at once.

We start things out with "The Clone Journal" which is basically a catch up reading guide to all things that have happened prior to this volume. Next up we get the "Players and Pawns" storyline which picks up where "Smoke & Mirrors" had left us with Kaine going through the ruble, what is he looking for? This story also introduces a new clone or is it the real deal Peter Parker? Also The Jackal is back in action and I love how strong they made this guy look. During this era The Jackal was not just another villain to eventually be beat, he literally was a dangerous opponent to all three Parker brothers. Also this story is a bit darker especially the first half of the story, from look, feel, to over all story.

Next up we get the five part "Planet of the Symbiotes" which in my opinion was a great story and very fun to read. Not only did it have my boy Scarlet alongside Spidey but also Venom, Carnage, and well a whole race of symbiotes were along for the ride as well. The story follows Eddie Brock and his quest to find out if it is he or his other that makes all the violent decisions. In wanting to find this out they split for a time, this causes his other to cry out in agony of being not wanted by Eddie. In doing so his shriek can be heard and felt by his own race, and they come knocking on planet Earth. This is a fun story in that the threat is so great that not only does Spidey team with Venom and his clone but the clone teams with venom. All those who have read all the series thus far will get what I am saying there. Add in every ones favorite psychopath from Marvel Carnage and you add a whole new level of fun. Now I personally love this story and find the whole mall part to be excellent and straight out of a horror movie. In fact that is how I read this entire story, as a horror story it just adds to my enjoyment.

Next up is the excellent "Death in the Family" story line with "The Gift" and "Circle of Life", this was a major event in the Spideyverse and these stories are very emotional and are very well done, both written and drawn to perfection. Easily this could be some of the best reading in this collection, be sure to check this out. Also I still have my Amazing Spider-Man 400 and I still love the cover, same for the beginning of our next story starting with Spider-Man 57, and Spectacular Spider-Man 223 excellent covers. You really won't get what I mean from the cover layouts here but those who own them know what I mean. Any way our next storyline is "Aftershock" picking up where the last left off. Here Peter has been arrested and sits in jail while his pregnant wife is home worrying. And of course Kaine is out as his Scarlet Spider who wants desperately to help MJ, but will she let Ben? And while Traveller and Scrier are still lurking about at this point it is The Jackal who is the most interesting, ask Carnage and Shriek.

Finally we come to the excellent "Mark of Kaine" storyline that follows Kaine and his visions of MJ dead and his quest to keep her alive. Although she doesn't know that plus the other Peter Parker is back and town and he really wants his life back. He will go through Kaine, Ben, and even the newly incarcerated Peter to get it back. This could be the best storyline over all here besides the two "Death on the Family" outings. This story has a really dark feel to it which makes it even more cinematic, well at least until the last issue. I love the emotions that pour through from each character in this story line. Kaine is completely misunderstood in his quest to help MJ, she has to deal with Kaine, Ben and of course the new Peter, not to mention her husband is in jail. Ben wants only to help but is pitted against a man that seems to always have his number and faces what he has to do to help Peter. Peter obviously is in jail for a crime he did not do and now MJ is missing thanks to a mad man. Then of course there is the new Peter who goes through so much in such a short time you actually feel for this guy, even after everything he ends up doing.

This all leads into the final issue of this story and things go from dark and in depth storytelling to straight forward action. If it is action you are looking then this is the issue for you. The newly formed Sinister Seven consisting of Hobgoblin, Mysterio, Vulture, Electro, Shocker, Beetle, and Scorpia are all up in arms over the new kid on town, Kaine. Seems after the deaths of Doc Ock and The Grim Hunter these guys think Kaine me after any one of them next. So begins the operation Kaine Killer and this one is full of action. After this you get the pin up prints that were offered at the back of this issue originally.

I truly love everything about The Clone Saga and everything after until .... Well that comes later on. I do highly recommend all of these books from original printings all the way to these TPB's. Ben has always been and will always be the most interesting character ever in the Spideyverse to me. I have stated before in my other reviews why and I still believe them to be true. So check out these stories and decide for yourself how you feel about them. Honestly and hardcore comic reader or should I say Spider-Man reader should have read or needs to read all of these stories.

]]> Wed, 28 Mar 2012 05:39:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Amory Wars AKA What Coheed & Cambria are really singing about...I think]]> What did you like best about this comic or movie?
What I like best about this comic really depends on the issue.  The one things that are consistently fantastic in this comic are:
1.  The set designs are quite good, especially when it comes to the space settings
2. The action scenes are simply great, always fast paced and exciting 

Action? Adventure? Boring?

Plot Summery: (As described by wikipedia...yes I am that lazy)
The Amory Wars is set in Heaven's Fence, a collection of 78 planets held in place by interconnecting beams of energy, known as the Keywork. The first half of the story narrates Coheed Kilgannon and Cambria Kilgannon's struggle against Wilhelm Ryan, the Supreme Tri-Mage (later referred to as the Archmage). The second half of the story focuses on the heroic journey of their son, messianic Claudio Kilgannon. Over the course of the story, Claudio assumes the mantle of The Crowing, foretold savior of Heaven's Fence. In the end, he will face the Archmage, absolute ruler of Heaven's Fence and the one ultimately responsible for the death of Claudio's family.

The Amory Wars is an incredibly fast paced epic spanning from the dawning of our protagonist Claudio powers and eventual transition into The Crowing, an ultimate warrior in this universe; and yes I do realize that having the name of the ultimate warrior being The Crowing sounds very forced and just strange.  However, while the initial concept sounds very exciting, the execution comes across as very confusing as so many subjects are thrown at you all at once.  In the first issue we are introduced to another galaxy, an entire society, vaguely described super powers based on genetic splicing, a tense family dynamic, all of which the writer, Claudio Sanchez, expects you to just accept.  It maybe interesting but there is so much to take it

Who published the comic? Artist, Writer?
Writer & Creator: Claudio Sanchez (Of Coheed & Cambria fame Side Note: Listen to Coheed & Cambria, they are an incredibly talented progessive rock band)
Artist(s): Gus Vasquez later to be replaced by Chris Miller
Published: Image Comics

What's the bottom line? Recommended? Forget it?
It's very hard to describe whether I like or dislike this comic.  While there are many fantastic concepts and unique is absolutely a word to describe this, there are also many convoluted parts and much of the dialogue is completely groan worthy.  However, the more time I've given this comic, the more interesting it becomes.  While the initial start up is very shaky when it comes to dialogue and art, there is something that constantly drew me in.  As time went on the universe is more and more fleshed out and Sanchez's writing has improved dramatically.  I'll admit I am still reading the series so a final verdict is still to be seen.  For now though I would only recommend for the fans of the "Sci-Fi Fantasy" genre such as Dune, but still give it a shot, but try not to give up at first.

]]> Tue, 27 Mar 2012 05:28:21 +0000
<![CDATA[Have A "Super" St. Patrick's Day!]]>
I will be in Biloxi, MS on St. Patrick's Day working at CoastCon, the oldest and largest science fiction/comic/popular culture convention in the state of Mississippi as a representative of BayouCon, a convention for which I am the vice president.

Each year CoastCon picks a specific theme to celebrate for the duration of the event.  The settled upon theme is then represented in the form of the convention's mascot, Herbie Crab, who has been everything from a robot to a zombie crab.  This year's theme is superheroes, and the convention's tagline for the upcoming event is "The Dark Crab Rises" (a reference to Batman to all of you non-comics people).

With the convention taking place on the same weekend as St. Patrick's Day, I've been inspired to create a list of "green" superheroes and villains who've graced the page, silver screen, and the idiot box over the years.  Many of these heroes only wear the color green, but a few of them are physically green.  A couple of those heroes listed here only occasionally wear green but do it with such style and swagger that I had to list them.

I hope you enjoy this list and have a great St. Patrick's Day!]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2012 18:32:04 +0000
<![CDATA[Ten Reasons Why Batman Will Always Be Cooler Than You!]]>
He has experienced loss in his family.  He has just a few close friends that he really trusts.  He's known to lose control of his emotions from time to time and he doesn't like criminals.  I think we all share those qualities with the Batman at one time or another, right?

Still, no matter how close any of us come to being like ol' Batty, we will never be as cool as he is.  Why?  Read this little list of ten reasons and find out for yourself.  Thanks for reading!

]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:24:05 +0000
<![CDATA[The Walking Dead Season 2 Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> first season of this AMC series, I wasn't as impressed with it as most folks. I know, this probably stems from the fact that I have read the comic series from issue # 1 up to the current issues, but I was a little saddened with the serving of the usual staples after a strong pilot episode. I feel that it had diverted heavily from the themes of the source material, but the season was better than most zombie movies these days anyway....

Well, season two takes off quite well and I was happy with what it did in mid-season. Characters such as Hershell and his family were introduced as well as something that may be a set up for something huge. I have to admit, while I wasn't all that crazy with Shane still being around, I do like what the script has done with him. Andrea, Glenn and Dale are starting to be developed and Karl finally gets to wear that famous hat of his Dad's. Sophia and her mother Carol are very different in this series, but Daryl is a good addition to the cast. I miss Tyrese....a lot since he still hasn't been shown in the series.

The script dragged a little in this mid season, but I guess I can expect that from a TV show. I have to accept that some elements cannot be done on TV....unless it is on HBO. My hopes are up for the series. I do hope they stay the course...but major characters need to start dying!

Full Review coming soon....once season 2 is over.

]]> Sun, 26 Feb 2012 19:21:34 +0000
<![CDATA[Green Lantern Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 03:45:24 +0000 <![CDATA[Spider-Man: The Real Clone Saga Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 01:51:52 +0000 <![CDATA[ AT LEAST BEN SURVIVES RIGHT?]]> Spider-Man: The Real Clone Saga

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of “The Clone Saga” and one Scarlet Spider/Ben Reilly in particular. I have taken a lot of flak for that but I honestly do not care what anyone thinks. I always hated that Ben was killed off and it was only because of all the backlash people gave Marvel about Ben ending up as the original. To me it always made sense that Ben was the real Peter Parker, I can’t see how people didn’t realize that Ben was actually Peter. It made more sense as far as a story that he was really Peter, just think about the drama involved there. A man lives his life as a cast away thinking he is a clone only to find out that he is the real person. He has already learned to deal with one thing only to have another thrown at him, if you really think about it he lost his true identity, family and even MJ to a clone.
I don’t know why others didn’t like this as much as I did but I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. Still most people said the problem was the length of the story, I personally loved every minute. Although like my boy Madpenguin said “There were plenty of gripes about the saga, with one of them being it was way too long. Now let's be honest with ourselves, we all know the real reason why the fans truly hated the story, and length had little to do with it. It was mainly because Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, was revealed to be the clone, and Ben Reilly, The Scarlet Spider, was revealed to be the original”. That was truly what everyone was upset about minus me of course. Like I pointed out earlier that was the reason I loved it, by that point Ben/Scarlet had become the more interesting character.
Any way this book collects all six issues from writers Tom DeFalco and Howard Mackie who were there for the original telling of this series, and artist Todd Nauck. It was marketed as the way the story was originally meant to be told but I doubt they were going to skip time frames so quickly. Honestly you miss so much stuff in this retelling, not sure if they expected old readers to just remember all that happened, or that new readers would just not realize.
Issue one starts out with both MJ’s and Aunt May’s problems, pregnant though thought to be sick only at first] and dying respectively. This of course is what brings one Ben Reilly back to New York after years of being a nomad. Kaine of course is reintroduced and is the reason the two spider-Men have to come together, an uneasy truce if you will. The second issue goes right into Scarlet Spider and Kaine going at it with Peter eventually joining in after more complications arise with MJ. This battle would eventually lead them into the lair of the clone master himself, The Jackal. I remember in the original telling of this it seemed much more dramatic and epic, just though I guess. From there we move into the third issue and here we have maximum clonage [couldn’t help but to say it for those who know] as clone after clone appears including the deceased Gwen Stacy. This along with news that Peter may be the clone and Ben the real one Kaine can’t take it and fights free. This allows Pete and Ben to do the same and take the Jackal out along with a cure for Aunt May and MJ. Also Peter says he wants out of the super hero biz and hands the Spider-Man responsibility to Ben.
We follow that up with issue four and now we have jumped ahead once again and Ben is rocking the new improved Spider-Man suit [love it]. He is also battling Doc Ock out of nowhere, really can’t believe they reversed one of the best moments from the original, Doc’s death at the hands of Kaine was excellent. It made perfect sense since Kaine is a Peter Parker who uses his abilities to the fullest and does not hold back like the good guy versions of Pete. Any way they are doing battle as Ock and Kaine are somehow together now. Ock almost dies at the hands of Kaine in the end but Ben saves him. This leads us into part five as the two Osborns are back and one is flying back into the Spideyverse as the Green Goblin. This leads into the first battle the two have had together in a while as Pete and Ben come together to face Kaine again. But it is Ben that must face the returning Goblin. For some reason Ben catches a beat down [still bothers me] and Peter has to come in and help out. This of course is what the final volume is all about. In the battle that happens we see two Goblins, two Spider-men, and of course Kaine is lurking around. But people start to have a change of heart and the war slowly turns in favor of the good guys. The one thing they changed that I did like is Norman sacrifices himself to save Pete instead of Ben. Don’t get me wrong in the original version it is Ben that shows how great he is by dying for Peter but it is cool that Ben survives here. The final panel is great with Ben riding off on his motorcycle with a big Scarlet Spider behind him with MJ asking if he would ever come back. This leads to Peter saying “this is not the last time we have seen Ben Reilly or the Scarlet Spider”.
Now I am sure that some of you are wondering why I basically laid it all out like that. Well because that is literally how it comes out if you were to read it. It goes by so fast with very little character development; at least in the so called 2 long version the characters were valued. Kaine is just as dangerous here but in the real version he builds up his legend taking out villain after villain and battling Ben and doing very well against both Spideys. The Jackal as well is just a simple pawn here; in the original he was a very dangerous guy that really screwed with all three guys [Ben, Pete, and Kaine]. Also am I the only one that missed Spiercide.
Now not everything is bad here like the art work, it is very good and while not as dark or atmospheric like issues of the original story [those issues were Kaine killed The Grim Hunter, and Doc Ock come to mind] it is very well done. And for what you get it is good, for what you get. Also I LOVED that Ben lives in this story, which is a big thing for me. Plus it is just cool to see the Scarlet Spider once again, that is what I told myself when this series was first released.
Still things like Peter and Ben becoming friends so quick was weird, come on one of them believed the other was dead. That is that character development thing I was talking about. I also remember Pete being more than a little upset when it was said that Ben was the original. I don’t know if Marvel feels like they need to apologize for what they thought was a mistake or what. Maybe they wanted to just make more money off of people like me who love Scarlet. Whatever the reason this felt rushed and while I do not hate it because Ben lives it is far from the greatness that the original is. Yes you read that right I truly believe the original to be classic. If you have read any of my other stuff I am sure you know why I feel that way.

]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 01:50:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Behind The Mask: My Favorite Costumes To See At Conventions]]> cosplay (a term which originated with costuming based around Japanese fiction), has taken off in the last couple of decades.  Fans of everything from anime to science fiction have logged countless hours on designing, creating and perfecting their costumes. 

As a person who attends multiple science fiction and pop culture conventions, I get to see many of these costumes on display.  I have a very short list of cosplayers that I look forward to meeting at conventions and getting the chance to check out their latest work.

Many cosplayers have a large fan following.  They even have Facebook fan pages and/or webpages solely dedicated to their work.

This list is simply a collection of characters that I enjoy seeing cosplayers tackle.  While I've seen a number of brilliant anime costumes over the last few years, I'm not a very big fan of that subject, so most of my list is derived from science fiction and comic book characters.

On a personal note, I have made two very low-budget costumes of my own.  I created a Doctor Octopus and a Mad-Eye Moody costume and have been making plans to start on a Klingon costume.

Thanks for reading this list.  Feel free to comment on it or list your own favorite costumes!]]> Fri, 3 Feb 2012 22:52:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Spider-Man Carnage (Marvel Comics) Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 06:23:48 +0000 <![CDATA[Carnage Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 06:16:19 +0000 <![CDATA[Spider-Man: Birth of Venom Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 06:11:13 +0000 <![CDATA[Spirits of Vengeance: Venom Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 06:02:49 +0000 <![CDATA[Venom Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 05:55:32 +0000 <![CDATA[Amazing Spider-Man: The Saga of the Alien Costume (Marvel Comics) Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 05:48:49 +0000 <![CDATA[Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 05:12:00 +0000 <![CDATA[DC Motion Comics Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:05:15 +0000 <![CDATA[Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DC Comics Classic Collection) (2001) Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:00:15 +0000 <![CDATA[DC vs. Marvel Comics Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 09:50:56 +0000 <![CDATA[DC Comics Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 09:39:28 +0000 <![CDATA[Marvel Comics, DC Comics Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 00:47:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Marvel Zombies Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 00:40:14 +0000 <![CDATA[Marvel Masterworks: Spider-Man Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Have you ever wanted to see Spider-Man in his early years and how it all began, well you don't have to spend a fortune on all those old issues. Just pick this collection up and you can see Spidey in his very first apperance as well as some of his ealry and first issues. Great collection of the ealry years, highly recommended.

]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 00:32:46 +0000
<![CDATA[Marvel Civil War Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 00:15:25 +0000 <![CDATA[Fear Itself (2011 Comic Series) Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
A forgotten evil has resurfaced and is set to destroy Asgard and the Earth. The mini-series carries some references to Norse mythology and reveals several secrets in the House of Odin. A Tale of Sacrifice, Heroism and Courage, “Fear itself” is filled with tense emotions and drama that may change the face of Thor and the Avengers.

See Full Review here. ]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 02:06:06 +0000
<![CDATA[The Mighty Thor: The Galactus Seed Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
Displays fantastic art by Olivier Coipel and conscientious writing by Matt Fraction. Drama, action wrapped around fantasy elements….

See Full Review here.]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 02:02:10 +0000
<![CDATA[The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> The great first season was six episodes long with each paced very well and surprisingly kept in tact what the comic was about. That of course is the humans and not the zombies; it really is a character driven story. I knew with Frank Darabont on board this would be made right. He did a great job here has I really enjoyed this show, from TV all the way to DVD/Blu-Ray.]]> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 14:45:48 +0000 <![CDATA[ LOVE THIS SHOW]]>


I have been reading the comic since it was released and that is no lie. I am a big fan of zombies in any format mainly because my brother is literally scared of them. I can't help it but I love it. So when I first that the comic was being turned into a series I was super excited. I had always believed that this would be the right format for such a grand story. If this was made into a feature film there is no way it could fit all that it would need to.

Now as a big fan of the comic from Robert Kirkman I could tell you anything that is spot on direct and anything changed but that would take the fun out of it. Plus for any one who has not read it or is not a comic reader this is a very stand alone show. Any one who has read the comic I will say that you should not be disappointed, sure the comic is classic but this show is also really good. Well cast, acted, written, and directed, I would have to say that this was and is a great show.

The great first season was six episodes long with each paced very well and surprisingly kept in tact what the comic was about. That of course is the humans and not the zombies; it really is a character driven story. I knew with Frank Darabont on board this would be made right. He did a great job here has I really enjoyed this show, from TV all the way to DVD/Blu-Ray.

The story follows a cop named Rick Grimes who is shot in the line of duty; he ends up in a coma. When he finally awakes no one is to be found and he is all alone, alone in the hospital. He now is on the hunt for his wife and son who as far as he knows are missing. Everything he knew and loved is gone, and besides meeting two new friends they go their own ways. He heads to Atlanta based on a tip to find his family and runs into undead and other survivors along the way. Now outside of the city it turns out wife Lori and his son Carl are with another group of survivors including Rick's best friend and co worker Shane Walsh. They all believe Rick to be dead so that leads to an interesting dynamic for our little group of friends.

Like I said before this is a character driven story and it really helps the show out. Now of course the "walkers" are there ready to eat all humans, and there are a lot of them. When there is action there is some good action but the story is really strongest amongst the living. So one group is already out there surviving and one man is out there in the middle of it all looking for his family. Do they find each other, well I say watch the show or read the comic to find out.

I will just say that the entire cast was great in my opinion and were wonderfully cast. So there is no need to go one by one since they were all great. Of the six episodes Frank Darabont was a writer on four and directed the first episode. I would also like to point out that Ernest Dickerson directed an episode, you may know him as a Spike Lee protégé who directed classics like "Juice" and "Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight". Any way the writers and directors for this sure all did a good job here.

Now special features for the two disc set include a making of, inside each episode, sneak peaks, behind the scenes, a convention panel, and the trailer. Now of course now they have released a three disc edition to get more money out of me. Of course I am going to shell out even though I really shouldn't. I hear there are commentaries on each episode, dang them for adding that. I am a big fan of this so I need to get it.

The Walking Dead: Season OneThe Walking Dead: Season OneThe Walking Dead: Season OneThe Walking Dead: Season OneThe Walking Dead: Season OneThe Walking Dead: Season One]]> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 14:43:58 +0000
<![CDATA[My Fair Ladies (Of The Printed Page)]]>
Well, here it is.

This list is composed of my favorite female superheroes.  As a young child, my primary focus was on characters like Batman and Spider-Man, but as I grew older, I came to appreciate a lot of the female characters in the comics universe.  Attending comic conventions has given me a greater understanding of many of the female characters on the printed page, and while I'm still learning about them, a few have made such an impression on me that they've become instant favorites.  A few characters, particularly Invisible Woman and She-Hulk, have a whole lot more depth to them than I previously knew.  That solidifies my enjoyment of them even more.

I hope you enjoy this list!]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 16:11:44 +0000
<![CDATA[My Heroes Haven't Always Been Cowboys]]> I spent a great deal of my youth and quite a bit of my early adulthood reading comic books.  I quickly found myself identifying with certain heroes (and even a few villains) and became attached to quite a few of them.  I loved each character for different reasons and still love most of them to this day.  Here's a short list of some of my favorite comic book heroes (and maybe a villain or two) and why I fell in love with each character.  I hope you enjoy!

]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 16:20:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Kick-Ass 2 (comic book) Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
This is exactly what the doctored ordered for fans of the original series. You have to Taste the Awesome and Prepare for Greatness!

See review of issue # 1 and 2 here. More to come!]]> Mon, 8 Aug 2011 04:55:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga Epic, Book 2 Quick Tip by FM_ALEX]]> As any body can tell you I am a big fan of The Scarlet Spider aka Ben Reilly and always will be. So with that said you know that I love The Clone Saga. There is a reason that I love Ben and this saga so much and for that check out my write up of Vol. 1. This story line in my opinion is the greatest ever, I really don't care what any one else thinks.]]> Fri, 5 Aug 2011 14:44:04 +0000 <![CDATA[ THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD? 2]]>
As any body can tell you I am a big fan of The Scarlet Spider aka Ben Reilly and always will be. So with that said you know that I love The Clone Saga. There is a reason that I love Ben and this saga so much and for that check out my write up of Vol. 1. This story line in my opinion is the greatest ever, I really don't care what any one else thinks. Once again read the first review and you will understand why I am saying that. This volume collects Amazing Spider-Man #395-399, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #218-221, Spider-Man #54-56, Spider-Man Unlimited #8, Web of Spider-Man 120-122, & Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #1-3. Picking up right from where the first volume left off the journey continues. That journey this time around means that they will meet again but before that Peter comes face to face with death.

The collection kicks off with "Back from the Edge" which finds Peter still almost wanting to die. He wants that of course compared to dealing with the problems going on in his life. Little does he know that in this story he may actually get his wish as he comes closer to it then he ever has. He even meets up with some one who may actually understand how he is feeling in Nocturne. Problem here is that her personal body guard Puma is not too fond of Spidey, seems he kinda remembers him. Else where Mary Jane is off to make amends with her sister and father which is a very good story and very character driven for her. Back with Peter things go from bad to worse as The Vulture and The Owl infect him with a virus that has no antidote. Does Spidey find a way to beat it or does he succumb to the feelings he had prior, you will find out along side Daredevil. Also these are not the Owl and Vulture one may have been use to at the time. Owl has been going back and forth on a change of heart, which is not sitting well with Vulture. Now on to Vulture it turns out that he is young and strong as opposed to his old and strong self that every one knew. Following that we go head first into a storyline about Ben Reilly aka The Scarlet Spider called "Web of Life". This story kinda continues previous storyline that you may remember, a hint, the one about Kraven's death. Yes you heard or should I say read that right except Kraven is not here folks, still dead. This time it is his son The Grim Hunter that is out and about, and he is looking for revenge. He wants Spider-Man but it is Scarlet's trail he picks up mistaking his sent to be that of Parker's. Of course being a clone it is easy to make the mistake but he can tell Ben is not the one he is looking for. So Ben decides he must stop this man from killing Peter as does another. That person of course is the man called Kaine and now he is hunting The Grim Hunter. This particular story is a bit darker and at the time I did not see the ending coming.

"Web of Death" follows that story and picks up with Peter realizing that this virus is going to be the death of him. Well that is until an old foe turns up to be an unlikely friend to the Spider, Dr. Octopus. Yes Octavius him self. Along side his girl Stunner he works tirelessly to find a cure for Parker, I say Parker because he unmasks him to find out who he is. But there is another man waiting in the wings and you may remember him from the previous story as Kaine. It is also in this story that Peter finally reunites with Mary Jane and she lets him know he will be a father. We follow that up with a little story known as "Funeral for an Octopus" so I am sure you can guess what happened in that last one. This one features Ock's friends and fellow Sinister Six [all that remain] getting together and features both Spidey and Scarlet. This is a fun one for sure and what makes it even more interesting is that while Spidey and Scarlet are both here and in the same places they never run into each other, just how Ben wants it. Mysterio, Vulture, Hobgoblin, and Electro all gather in this one to add to the fun.

We follow that one up with a great story in the Spider-Man Unlimited comic that features once again both Spiders. Like the last story they are both at the same place dealing with the same thing but they never meet up. Here we have some terrorists attacking the Twin Towers aka World Trade Center and taking it over. For today that is crazy sounding especially after those cowards did what they did but we are not here for that. Each Spider takes a tower trying to stop these mad men. Thing that really heats things up though is Mary Jane is in one of the Towers when this happens. Our final storyline in this set is of course "Smoke & Mirrors" in which The Jackal makes his comeback. He of course also get to see more of the mysterious Kaine and a few more surprises such as more clones. We may even get to see the return of Gwen Stacy in this story and so much more. This is where the Clone Saga really picks up as all kinds of things are introduced. I really don't want to give much away other than things really get wonderfully confusing around here.

I love The Clone Saga more so than any other storyline really because I love Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider so much. As for all the stories found here I like them all of course, the first one really goes in depth with Mary Jane's story with her family. Spider-Man and Daredevil teaming is always a plus so that is great as well. The second story is absolutely great as it is a bit darker and Grim Hunter's death just adds to Kaine's myth. The next one sees Doc Ock trying to save Spider-Man's life because he actually enjoys their battles. The thing with this one that upsets people kinda is the death of Ock, which I honestly don't understand the problem. I think it fit the story so well plus it made perfect sense. Kaine of course is a clone of Spider-Man but as a villain he does not hold back, Ock had never faced a Spider-Man who does not hold back his power. If you think about it he saves Spider-Man only to be killed by him, I love the story telling here. We follow that up with his funeral which was a fun Spidey story kinda in the classic sense.
Next up is one of my all time favorite Spidey stores of all time and I still do not know why. In this one both Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man take on some terrorists in the Twin Towers. The story and the look of this story are excellent and still is one of my favorites ever. Then we finish things off with the story that brings the two together as they have to deal with The Jackal and all his games. I personally love it and all the twists that it brings this is also where we get the hint that Peter may not be who he thinks he is. This is a highly entertaining TPB so I highly recommend it, I love this Saga.
]]> Fri, 5 Aug 2011 14:42:30 +0000
<![CDATA[DC Super Friends: Potty Time Power Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> This looks like a job for..."
It looks like a job for Elmo, not Superman.

Okay, I realize that it is essential to teach children potty training and bathroom etiquette, but still this is just the kind of ridiculous commercialization of comic book characters that makes me flaming mad! Not only does it render classic characters as silly cartoony stereotypes, which will only further add to the stigma that comics are a children's medium, but it also degrades the very essence of heroism to the level of teaching kiddies where to pee and poo.

Obviously it can be difficult to establish a method of potty training that works for each individual child and often the best way to do it is to make it seem fun and an important part of growing up into a "big boy" or "big girl", bit is it really necessary to drag beloved superheroes literally into the crapper while doing it? I don't think so. There have been plenty of books on potty training before now and many of which have proven to be an effective way of approaching the subject in a manner that is interesting to young kids, however this is just an insult to comic book writers, artists, and most importantly the fans.

In addition, superheroes aren't really something I think children should be exposed to at such a young age.
First of all, they are violent and are about enforcing authority over the world. This doesn't mean that they encourage such ideas, but rather that they expose the dangers of people who possess power over others.
Secondly, superheroes have powers which children don't. For example, many of them can fly and I've yet to meet a child who could fly... cape or no cape. I can just see it now: hundreds of children jumping from the edges of urinals, toilets, and bathroom sinks whilst laboring under the misapprehension that if they can go potty like Superman then they can fly like him too.
Thirdly, I just don't think teaching kids to trust adults in weird costumes while using the restroom is a safe thing. it doesn't help that one of the superheroes' name is The Flash either. Seriously. Did this not occur to anyone?
And finally, this book comes with superhero stickers as a reward for successful potty usage. Isn't giving stickers for going to the bathroom going to result in stickers being placed randomly all over the surfaces of toilets, sinks, bathtubs, etc.? Does the author of this book have any idea how frustrating it will be for parents to have to scrub the sticker's adhesive residue off of porcelain? No, this is just a bad concept all around.

What's that? Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's the collective sound of our superheroes' legacy going down the toilet!]]> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 18:41:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Samurai's Blood, Issue # 1 Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>  
It was gutsy for Image Comics to price the first issue at a mere One dollar with such stunning artwork to grab new readers; for me, it worked since I am now in for the long haul.
See Full review here.]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:36:58 +0000