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Everything posted by drqshadow

  1. Agreed, Alfred's character has been rock steady throughout the aftermath to BFTC and that was indeed a great moment. It seems like he's dealing with his grief by pouring himself into the "family business" and trying to restrain Damian's wilder impulses.
  2. Seriously, they needed to put this on 100 pages? I'm not clicking through all that. IGN has serious intelligence issues anyway.
  3. An old favorite. DVD release is way overdue!
  4. Oh, I've read the whole trifecta before. I just seem to have a masochistic desire to prove to myself that things are really as bad as I remembered them from time to time. That's why I watched Episode II more than once before finally relieving myself of the DVD. Sometimes that compulsion results in a surprising turnaround, but more often than not it just makes me frown and shake my head. I'll probably unload all three issues after this reading, if I can get more than a buck for 'em.
  5. Ex Machina #43 - I can't shake the feeling that I'm missing something here, because from all indications each of the major characters are focused on one specific direction and I haven't the foggiest what on Earth it is. Reading this issue was like watching the trials at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade without realizing they were after the Holy Grail. Why are they going through all this trouble? What do they expect to find? What could possibly be worth this kind of a risk? Eh... we'll just tell you when they get there, mmmkay? That nothing much of consequence really went down this month only makes things worse. It was just thirty-odd pages of characters gearing up, saying their farewells and getting ready to face, literally, the great unknown. Except they know what it is. Maybe I'll appreciate it more once the series has concluded with issue #50. 6/10 The Dark Knight Strikes Again #1 - After a few years on the shelf, I wanted to see if this was still as bad as I remembered it being. Well, as far as the first installment goes... it is. If I dig deep enough, there's plenty of great conceptual work here to get excited about - the Atom's entrapment inside a petri dish, the idea of an artificial President of the United States, the extremes the media has gone to in order to gain an upper hand in the ratings - but it's all tangled up in such a forced, convoluted plot that it's tough to pay attention to the good stuff. Miller's writing is infuriating, he spends half the issue testing to see how much slack the DC editorial staff is willing to give him and to call the other half sloppy does a disservice to the word itself. The plot is all over the place, introducing unnecessary changes on a whim while never really explaining the motivation, and the artwork... fuck, the artwork. It's HORRIBLE. I've admired the risks Miller has taken with his style for literally his entire career. He never stands still, always trying something new. Take a look at his Daredevil, his Ronin, his Sin City; when he's motivated Miller is a genuine renaissance man. He can try anything, take any inspiration to the page, and still come out smelling like roses. The Dark Knight Returns is his masterwork, a gorgeous blend of frantic linework, meticulous details and careful omissions. Professors could spend entire semesters on the lessons he taught in that mini-series, but in TDKSB he's utterly lost his mind. With the exception of the aforementioned petri dish scene, in which Miller reverts back to the style he employed on Ronin, this is inexcusable work. If I were the editor upon whose desk these pages had arrived, I'd have been strongly motivated to reject them, for all the brass balls that kind of move would have required. I know that as a culture, we afford legends a certain degree of lenience out of respect for what's come before, but there's a limit to what I'm willing to accept and this is well, well beyond that. It's just awful, and I fear my memories are correct: the worst is yet to come. 2/10 Also, two contributions to IIWY? this week: Batman #687 and Red Robin #1 Comics: 101, TPB: 7, Graphic Novel: 3
  6. drqshadow


    One contribution to the Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum. Worth a click!
  7. I don't know if I'd say they're "vastly" different. I mean, naturally many characters who don't get a lot of screen time in the film are much more well-rounded in print, and Akira himself actually means something in the manga, but the basic plot is pretty close. At least, as far as I remember. It's been a really long time since I sat down with it in book form. Dread, the scenes after the motorcycle bits require a lot of repeat viewings to really grasp. If it wasn't your cup of tea the first time though, I can understand if you aren't all that moved to work your way through it again. The pacing is very different and the storyline doesn't make a lot of sense unless you've really taken some time to think about it, but once you do, it's incredibly rewarding. I didn't know what to think after my first viewing in the mid '90s on VHS (with the Ninja Turtles voice talent!), but over the years since then it's become one of my all-time favorites. Still don't really get the ending though. And the soundtrack, btw, is some phenomenal shit.
  8. Yep, this was revealed in the last issue of New Avengers. Which, for the record, is also the last one I'll be buying.
  9. I'm split. It's much easier to appreciate the nuances of the storytelling in trade form, but I feel like a lot of the beauty of the medium is in the monthly wait in between installments. The impatient bastard in me means I'm usually buying monthly, however if I've missed out on a series I love sitting down with the full trade in hand to enjoy the entire experience in one afternoon.
  10. Working through Guitar Hero: World Tour, both solo and with the wife. It's like a poor man's Rock Band with some, er, interesting musical choices. The drum charts are pretty weak, especially in songs I was already familiar with on RB (Fleetwood Mac is, surprisingly, one of my favorite songs to drum along with in RB2 but it's awful in GHWT) but the guitar tracks are pretty much universally solid. I like some of the innovations Neversoft made here - open string notes on the bass and progressive chords on the guitar - but in general it just isn't as much fun to play as the competition and the song selection interface blows goats. Activating star power on the drums is terrible. I think I kill my combo every other time I try to do it. In all, the $15 I dropped for this on the Amazon Marketplace is about all I'd have been OK with spending on it.
  11. Ah, true, I didn't consider Ballmer's statements to mean they were just rolling out a different packaged version of the 360 but that's what makes the most sense.
  12. Batman and Robin #1 - A bit of a slow start for the new series, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not every story needs to be an unstoppable destruction derby from start to finish. I did find it a bit strange that either the entire issue took place during an overcast afternoon or Frank Quitely doesn't have a thing for long shadows and dark backgrounds. Batman and Robin are so consistently associated with the night that it seems off to catch them going about their business against a well-lit skyline. I liked the rapport between Dick and Damian, with neither side of the new partnership fully trusting the other, and the give and take certainly put a new spin on an old, traditional relationship. I'm not at all sold on the villains yet - they seem skewed and twisted just for the fun of it - but again I suppose that's intended to put a fresh stamp on this classic pair of characters. Did Wayne Tower always have pointy Batman ears on the roof? Isn't that a bit obvious? I found this to be acceptable, not blow-me-away good like the pair's run on All-Star Superman but also not a complete let-down. I'll give it time to fully develop before I dive into any harsher criticisms. 7/10 The Walking Dead #62 - After what happened to the group last month, it's understandable to burn an issue on reactions and recoveries, both emotional and physical. Of course, it wouldn't be Walking Dead without a random appearance by a stumbling, mumbling gang of zombies, but that's over and done with in a few pages and then it's back to the mourning. Not sure where Kirkman is going with the upcoming "Trackers" storyline, but he's certainly foreshadowed the hell out of it so clearly there's something important about to go down. I keep wishing he'd just get on with it, reaching the end of the issue and deciding that surely next month is the moment the cat gets out of the bag. But then it doesn't, and the process just repeats itself. At least this month the shadowy men lurking in the background have taken some sort of action, so it seems that they're finally ready to make their move. That is, until next issue rolls around and it's more of the same. Still, these are minor complaints and even during a slow month this remains a tip-top series. 8/10 Last of the Independents - I'd bought this when it was first released, having been a somewhat regular reader of Matt Fraction's blog at the time, and haven't picked it up again since. I can remember finishing it the first time through in a single sitting, and fortunately enough it's handled the years very nicely. The story is simple enough - an aging low-level mastermind and two buddies aim to hit it big by clearing out a small-town bank, only to find the unexpected: three enormous bags of mafia property sitting in the vault when they arrive. The rest of the developments spiral outward from there. It's a simple heist tale with a trio of complex, well-rounded personalities and no shortage of imaginative explosions or sudden gunfights. Fraction's writing is astonishingly concise and terrifically effective, but the show's really stolen by his artist, Kieron Dwyer. Dwyer brings a fresh face to every character in the drama, whether it's a lead or one of the nameless suits unfortunate enough to step on a land mine after a single panel. The entire issue is presented in a wanted poster-style duotone: brown, white and khaki on a newsprint stock that gives things an extra layer of western authenticity. I felt like I needed to wash my hands after sitting down to read this, and could've sworn I tasted some of the dust that was kicked up during one of its crazier action scenes. Loads of fun, easy to pick up but painfully difficult to set back down again. 9/10 Comics: 98, TPB: 7, Graphic Novel: 2
  13. Bendis does have a way of giving famous characters dialog that's never been in their character before, although in this instance I think it was far less noticeable than it has been in the past. These are the kind of scenes that have made Osborn the most interesting character in the Marvel U lately.
  14. drqshadow

    God of War 3

    Man, I'm with Mike. This is the first time I've ever really been moved to buy a PS3. Wow.
  15. Absolutely, Arrested Development should be required viewing if you haven't already seen it, especially at that price.
  16. Dark Avengers #5 - I love the amount of freedom Bendis has at Marvel right now, so if he suddenly decides that he'd like to spend an entire issue on Norman Osborn's live interview with Katie Couric, by god, we're getting an entire issue of talking heads. And that's just what this month was, with a few very brief glances around at the rest of the squad. Compared to the last few months, when the Goblin all but threw the entire team onto his back and carried it to the finish line, this wasn't a great issue. Norman had plenty of time in the spotlight, which is always a good thing, but didn't reveal as much this time. Instead of a new respect for the character and another introspective peek into his psyche, I just saw him as a conniving snake, which is nothing new. He did a decent enough job of deflecting Hawkeye's public criticisms (I loved his calling out the fact that Clint himself was a reformed felon) but not good enough that I could see anyone buying into him as America's new white knight. Plus, several members of his supporting cast are beginning to have something of an identity crisis, blurring the line between their true identities and those of the heroes they're impersonating. Do I really want to see Venom cracking jokes, no matter how perfectly timed they might be? No, not particularly. That's kind of missing the point, isn't it? Dark Avengers is still going strong, but its pace has slowed and I'm noting a few cracks in the veneer. 7/10 Ultimate Spider-Man #133 - What, seriously? They're ending this series? How did I miss that news? I suppose if USM had to go out, this would be the way to do it. The complete lack of dialog could've made this a very quick, disappointing read, but between Bendis's thrilling plot and Immonen's fantastic visual storytelling, it never felt short on substance. In fact, the silence played into the story brilliantly. When the issue opened, moments after an enormous explosion rocked the concrete underneath Spider-Man and the Hulk's feet, it produced a shell-shocked, white noise sort of sensation. I felt like my ears were ringing and everything went into slow motion, surrounded by a faint white haze. As the issue progressed, that effect transformed to embody more of a stunned, speechless disbelief as it became clearer and clearer Kitty and Spider-Woman weren't going to find Peter's body. No words could have delivered a stronger impact. A nice rebound from last month that left me upset about the impending relaunch. Why screw around with something that can still work this well? 8/10 The Ultimates: Book 2 - This was Secret Invasion, done properly, five years before Elektra was revealed to be a Skrull. Quite a bit more action-oriented than the first story arc, and as a result not quite as smart, I'd still call it a top-notch experience. Millar takes a few more chances with the cast and their abilities in this arc, which distances their world a bit from the vivid reality represented in the first storyline. He also adds a few pieces to the supporting cast in Hawkeye, the Black Widow, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Fortunately, the new faces only serve to compliment what was already a fantastic group of distinct personalities, filling roles that were left vacant during the earlier adventure. I didn't remember there being quite so many punchlines in this collection, which took a bit away from the mystique that had been previously established, but at least it's actually funny when it tries to be. Good stuff, good stuff. 9/10 Comics: 96, TPB: 7, Graphic Novel: 1
  17. drqshadow

    God of War 3

    Whoah. Now that is impressive.
  18. The Avengers: Free Comic Book Day Special - Twice as much fun as any issue of New Avengers has been since the start of the Skrull invasion. Rather than continuing to pussyfoot around the impending confrontation between New Avengers and Dark Avengers that's looking less likely with each passing day, here Bendis throws both teams into a common predicament and forces them to work together. Not without its corny moments (yet another "fastball special"), nor its head-scratchers (why did daddy Wolverine retract his claws before throwing a punch at Daken?) but as self-contained storylines go, this was above and beyond anything I could've expected. It had to make a few sacrifices to fit the page count but still came through as an enticing, coherent story that provided some valuable depth to select members of both teams. Jim Cheung should be the full-time artist for New Avengers; his work here isn't the greatest to ever grace the page, but it's worlds better than anything I've ever seen from Billy Tan. Much better than I was expecting. 8/10 New Avengers #53 - This just keeps getting worse and worse. The cavalcade of nobodies continues this month, as the crew lands in New Orleans just in time to throw down with a few demonic also-rans. If it weren't for a few great one-liners from Spider-Man, this would've been a complete waste of my time. I don't care about Brother Voodoo, I don't care about Daimon Hellstrom, I don't care about Doctor Strange and I'm really falling out of love with the Cowl since he's taken on this extra demonic personality. In stark contrast to the Avengers FCBD Special, this might just be the slowest moving, least interesting direction The Avengers has ever taken, and Tan's artwork is about as bad as it gets. One more month like this and I'm outta here. 1/10 Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #6 - Wow, did this mini-series taper off. Damon Lindelof's writing is extremely inventive in concept, but in execution it's beginning to struggle. This month, for example, Logan gets through the airport without setting off the metal detectors by dropping a grenade into an unsuspecting traveler's briefcase. As security takes the man to the ground, Wolverine slips by unnoticed and quips "Once they figure out the grenade's made outta soap, they'll let him go." So why did it set off their alarms then? Such quandries and incredible coincidences plague this issue, holding it back from becoming the big, conclusive answer everyone expected (and certainly intended) it to be. What's more, Lindelof refuses to stop reminding us of the one memorable moment of the entire mini, the unforgettable shot of the Hulk tearing Logan in half at the waist. I don't think an issue of this series went by without a flashback or offhand remark about that moment, and by now it's just getting in the way. "Hey, I tore you in half, remember?" "Why yes, I certainly do remember that time, when you tore me in half." We remember too! Get on with it! This wasn't good, it wasn't bad, it just was. After the shocking, full-speed first issue, UWvH has just coasted on fumes the rest of the way to the finish line. 5/10 Wolverine #72 - After missing a few chapters, I very nearly let this storyline slip away. I'm glad I didn't. Millar's warped, twisted rendition of a victorious Red Skull is gorgeous: one part Cobra Commander, two parts Skeletor, fifty percent Megatron. He's drunk with power, reckless, entirely unpredictable and utterly fascinating. This isn't the best writing of Mark Millar's career - in fact, it's surprisingly sloppy and one-dimensional - but this particular chapter was so much fun that I'm willing to overlook it for now. The big payoff that each issue has been building towards finally arrives this month, but after all that came before it just comes off as anticlimactic, ending the chapter on a flat note. McNiven's artwork is showing a bit of wear and tear, clearly rushing in a few instances just to finish the damned thing off, but he still brings the goods. A profanely beautiful issue that succeeds almost entirely on the back of its villain. Pity it couldn't have ended right here. 7/10 Comics: 94, TPB: 6, Graphic Novel: 1
  19. Agreed, about half an hour into Up last night, I came to the same revelation. It's neat, but I think I'm pretty much over the 3D thing.
  20. I should probably put this on my pull list. Also, re: the above link - Mr. Toad's Wild Ride! NICE.