Saturday, June 28, 2008

Checking Back in, X-Files Style

I haven't made an X-Files related post in a bit so I thought I would clean out some bookmarks and remedy the other situation at the same time.

The A.V. Club has an interview with Chris Carter from this past April where he discusses the show and the film.

Comic Book Resources has a quick chat with Frank Spotnitz about the upcoming X-FIles comic book 'revival' courtesy of DC Comics and Wildstorm.

And, if you go check out the official site for the film, there have been some updates and changes like the Blog, the clips from the film, desktop wallpapers and the usual 'official' stuff. Just to check out the opening clip to "I Want to Believe" should be worth the trip.

There's a cool Mulder and Scully clip there, too.

Believe again!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Comic Haul

I'll probably be brief this time around, as it is late and I'm tired, but I wanted to get some of these posted.

Serenity #1-3: The story of "Better Days" is brief but enjoyable for fans of the show. The plot is simple and designed to show more about the characters than advance any grand plot or attempting to bridge the television series with the film. This is, at its most basic, a love letter to the fans and the show. I personally would have liked to see a longer story play out (even one more issue would have done the trick for me) but DHC seems to want to stick with the 3-issue arcs so I won't even bother arguing that point. According to editor Scott Allie we have one more of these minis to look forward to. As they say on the show, "Keep 'em flying".

Teen Titans Go! #54-55: The end of the show should have meant the end of this comic book a year or so ago, but for whatever reason DC kept this title running and I've always been thankful of it, even though the quality of the book has slipped somewhat since the show went off the air. In these last two issues Torres gives us a ho-hum story revolving around a Wonder Girl wannabe and a nice wrap-up in #55 with the Titans facing their greatest fears under the onslaught of Phobia. Todd Nauck also puts in some of his best art on the series with the characters looking sharp, the layouts interesting, and the storytelling dynamic.

I'm sorry to see this book go but it was probably time for it to move on.

Fantastic Four #554-557: I originally poo-pooed this storyline but after going back and re-reading the first issue (followed by the next three or four) I've really come to be sold on this book. It's still not exactly how I envisioned Millar and Hitch handling these characters, but they're doing a bang-up job of it so far. One of my early complaints was not wanting to really see the post-Civil War Marvel U since I was never a fan of the event in the first place, but I'm seeing some cool things coming out of this book and the cliffhanger ending of #558 (not technically reviewed herein) has me excited for the next few issues.

Check this one out if you aren't already. Definitely worth the $3.

The Invincible Iron Man #1: Yet another Iron Man #1, but for all intents and purposes, it's a good one. Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca present an interesting debut for Tony Stark and his armored alter-ego, not getting bogged down in a lot of backstory and moving things forward at a nice pace. Once agian Stark's technology has become a problem and Tony has to face the idea that someone has taken his Iron Man tech and accomplished what he's always feared; they improved on it. Not a bad premise and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out for this first storyline. Also, Salva's artwork, as always, is impeccable. This guy used to be 'okay' back in the day (remember those Claremont FFs?), but over the years he just keeps impressing me more and more. I have issue 2 on my 'to read' pile, so it will likely be in the next set of reviews.

Angel: After the Fall #6-8: Taking a break from their regular programming, these are the interstitial issues that deal with the first night when LA was sent into a hell dimension. What happened in that alley at the end of season 5, where did the characters go, how did they get there and what have they been doing between the series finale and the first issue of "After the Fall"? These are all questions that get answered here and, much like the first 5 issues of the series, this stuff is gold for the Angel fan. IDW is doing a remarkably good job with this series and I'm very much looking forward to the final 5 or 6 issues, even if there will be a new artist.

Secret Invasion #1-2: What can I say, I'm torn. I'm enjoying the idea of this series, I love the artwork by the always entertaining Leinil Francis Yu, but it's moving so goddamn slow I just don't know if I have the stamina for 8 issues of this. Issue 1 was solid, presents the premise promisingly (take that Stan Lee!) and leaves us with a killer of a cliffhanger (pun intended). Issue's a fight scene. Yup, the whole damn thing is one big fight scene with a couple of cuts to show you the Helicarrier crashing and something else I can't remember. Sure, there are a couple of revalations during the fight scene, and yeah, Leinil's storytelling carries the issue pretty much from beginning to end, but...

I mean, it's a fight sequence.

6 more issues to go. #3 is on the 'to read' pile so we'll see if I keep buying this one beyond that or issue #4.

The Batman Strikes #45: What would a Batman animated series be without a Gotham Girls episode? Seeing as how they never tried tackling that in the animated series, this issue takes the latest iteration of Gotham's female animated finest and teams them up for a caper involving a Batman and Robin out of town, a trapped Poison Ivy, Batgirl having to set aside her crimefighter impulses to work with Harley and Catwoman, and a not-so-surprising double cross at the end that you can see coming for a mile but is well done. This particular issue of the series was enjoyable but, to be honest, I haven't really had a lot of love for this book for a while now. With the series officially over, I don't see this title surviving for too much longer, either. A distracting read but...meh.

Detective Comics #841: I keep checking back in with Dini's Detective because I keep hoping that it'll just sparkle and shine like the other Bat books don't, especially with Dustin Nguyen on the art! I expected a little more from this issue than I got, still, the two creators do work well together and the twist with the Hatter's ploy was worthy of a good episode of the animated series, so I give it some points for that. Not enough to get me to give this series a monthly commitment, but I wouldn't stop myself from reading one or picking one up as an impulse buy if the cover or interiors grabbed me.



Monday, June 23, 2008

You're Welcome?

So I'm cruising around the Internet and run across this on Amazon. The page is from a TwoMorrows publication called The Best of the Legion Outpost and reprints articles and artwork from the fanzine that most fans of the Legion of Superheroes should already be familiar with.

The thing that surprised me, though, was if you read the 'Editor would like to thank...' column at the far right, you may see my name listed among a couple dozen other people who have had a far more pivotal role in Legion history than yours truly. To be perfectly honest, I can only guess as to why I'm listed. Having run a Keith Giffen focused website in the past and done several interviews where we discussed the Legion, I'm thinking that this is likely why I'm sitting next to Mike Grell, Steve Lightle, David Micheline, George Pérez, Dave Cockrum and all the others. Still, I wonder what I could have contributed to thius particular publication.

I do recall being contacted a while ago by someone from TwoMorrows and asked for a scan of the cover to the Woodgod story that Keith drew over a Bill Mantlo story(Marvel Spotlight, perhaps?), so that could perhaps be the case.

Maybe I should just buy a copy and find out what, if any, connection I have to this book.

If anyone out there perhaps knows, feel free to fill me in. I'd love the skinny.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

High Fidelity

I've recently had the opportunity/pleasure to introduce a good friend of mine to the world of Nick Hornby. We were having a discussion about men and their behaviour, especially in romantic circumstances, and I started quoting moments from the film. She had never seen the movie or read the book so I finally just lent her the DVD (which, so far she seems to enjoy) and am making the difficult decision as to whether or not to lend her the book if she asks for it (I don't part easily with my printed matter).

The most entertaining bit of the experience so far has been her exasperated astonishment regarding how clueless men are. Now, granted, the guys in High Fidelity aren't Joe Everyman, but they represent most of the people I know, have known, and myself. So, yeah, when she asks me, "Are men really that clueless" I have to say, "mm-hm". It's embarrasing to cop to it, but Rob, the main character of the book, is very much a part of me, as I'm confident he is a part of many, many individuals. We are that lost, angry, passionate, disillusioned, and messed up when it comes to the realm of women.

Watching the movie used to frustrate Jen because it reminded her too much of the qualities in me that drove her nuts. Kind of a Catch-22 situation for her because she likes the movie on other levels, so I get blamed for that, too.

I can live with that.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to be spreading the Nick Hornby love and am looking forward to see what she retaliates with. I know she's a big Ian Rankin fan, so it is very possible that she'll fling some D.I. Rebus my way. We'll see.



Friday, June 13, 2008

The Indiana Jones Comic Book Revue #2

All books are rated on a 0 to 5 Fedoras system.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #3
(Marvel Comics Group)

Written by: Denny O'Neil
Pencilled by: Gene Day & Richard Howell
Inked by: Mel Candido & Danny Bulandi
Cover by: Richard Howell & Armando Gil

"Here I am again, doing what I seem to do best; making it up as I go along!"

Dateline 1936

"The Devil's Cradle" picks up immediately after the events in the second issue with Indy jumping out of Edith Dunne's ill-fated aircraft. He lands in an undetermined location, described in the story only as 'a mountain'. After landing, he stumbles upon a small mob who are trying to hang an unarmed man. Naturally, Indy intervenes and escapes with the man only to find themselves running afoul of the American military led by Colonel Bulldog Hannigan. They give both groups the slip and then the man leads Indy to a cave where he and his grandfather, Prospero, have been living.

The cave sits below a rock formation known as The Devil's Cradle, and in the cave is a pool of water that is integral to the work being done by Prospero and his grandson. They are working on an elixir that grants long life but the military, believing the rock formation will eventually destabilize and roll down the mountain to the camp below, wish to destroy the Devil's Cradle. This appears to be no skin off Prospero's back, because he intends to blow the thing himself using dynamite. When Indy protests, there's a scuffle and Prospero's enhanced strength helps him physically beat Indy into submission.

Indy wakes up tied to the rock with the explosives ready to go off and escapes only to be captured by the military who think he is a traitor and a saboteur. Another escape leads Indy back up to the Devil's Cradle where he prevents the army from discovering the well, stops Prospero from destroying the army camp, and once again saves Prospero and his grandson from armed thugs. Following this, having no further quarrel with Indy, Prospero and his grandson lead Indy off the mountain helping him get back to civilisation and ending his adventure.

This is not one of the best comics I've ever read, but it wasn't one of those books where you read a few pages and you know that, despite your love for the character, you'll never manage to continue reading, either. It's a little stiff, sometimes pointless, and often downright silly. Still, I can't completely condemn this one. Had it come first in the series, expectations may have been a bit lower and it would have had an easier time passing muster for me.

I think O'Neill never truly found his footing in the Indiana Jones universe. Granted, he wasn't given a whole heck of a lot of time to do so, but in interviews with the man he admits to not having a good time writing the stories and welcomed the opportunity to leave the series. The artwork by Day and Howell is decent but never really grabs me by the collar and gives me a shake, if you know what I mean. There are some nice moments, like the double page spread in the cave, but overall an uninspired offering from a great artist like Gene Day. And in case you were worried I would leave the other artist, Richard Howell, free of criticism, fear not! Howell's contributions were more than a little stale and unsatisfying on several levels.

To be honest, I think this issue suffers mostly from following immediately after the very entertaining two issue debut by Byrne and O'Neill (who clearly was scripting over Byrne's existing outline on issue two). It was a tough act to follow, in my opinion and, had I been buying the series at the time, I don't know if I would have continued beyond this issue. The Coming Next Issue blurb of "Next: Stonehenge" might have drawn me back for number four, but there's no guarantees.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Favourite X-FIles Moments #2

Before I go on to the next clip, I just wanted to touch on the last clip from "Quagmire". Imentioned in that post that I wasn't sure who wrote that particular act but I've since learned that it was an uncredited effort by the amazing Darin Morgan, writer of episodes like "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", "Humbug" and "José Chung's From Outer Space".

No wonder it's a favourite moment of mine and many other X-Philes.

Now, the new clip is from the Chris Carter directed and written episode, "Post-Modern Prometheus". It's the conclusion of the episode and features a somewhat uncharacteristic musical number with our heroes, the episode's creature, and Cher.

I love the scene for it's strangeness and for it's touching character bits between Mulder and Scully. I'm no shipper but this was a sweet moment that you wouldn't normally see on the show and it sort of stands out to me because of it.

Believe Again.


Update: I just watched this video and it appears to be fan made and features the entire song rather than the abridged version used in the episode. The ending is still the same as in the show, but you have to endure other scenes to get through it, not to mention Cher's singing.

I'll maybe post the corrected version sometime.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Viva la Bono?

I'm sorry, but I saw this ad the other night and I couldn't help thinking that Chris Martin is trying to be Bono. The movements, the voice, decide: