Returning – And Jumping Off Points

Well it’s only been what? Three months?

Maybe a little less than that.

I’ve been away because work has consumed most of my time. If you haven’t noticed, I also stopped the UncannyDerek Facebook because I never could keep the darn thing updated! It’s good to be back, and I’ll do my best to keep this thing updated regularly again.

But man, do we have some catching up to do!

Marvel’s: The Avengers

A little movie called The Avengers came out shortly after my last real blog post and it kicked a ton of box-office records. I’m obviously not going to go on and talk about the movie that has been talked about to death.

And I’m certainly not going to say how wrong I was about assuming the Skrulls would’ve been in the film either. . . Let’s just forget about that.

Avengers Movie

What I WILL say about the film is that it was fantastic. I really enjoyed getting to see The Hulk finally BE the Hulk on-screen. I was first worried about Edward Norton’s replacement being a romantic comedy actor, but Mark Ruffalo was definitely an excellent choice as a replacement.

All of the actors did a pretty good job with acting, for that matter. I just found it rather unfortunate that Colbie Smulders as Maria Hill didn’t get more on-screen time or a better chance to show off her butt-kicking skills.

As for the Black Widow – as expected – Joss Whedon made her a power to be reckoned with. Unlike in Iron Man 2, Whedon made a strong and confident female superhero take charge in the film. It was completely refreshing to see the Black Widow used properly rather than the stiff-acting Barbie doll she was in Iron Man 2.

Of course, I also loved that Thanos was put into the film. While I do enjoy Mad Titan’s in my films as much as the next guy, I’m pretty excited to see how he’ll mess around with the next Marvel films.

Kudos to Marvel for putting together one helluva fun movie. Maybe with all the money coming Joss Whedon’s way, maybe we can see more Firefly?

Speaking of Marvel movies. . .

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie

I never in my wildest dreams would’ve imagined Marvel doing something as daring as a Guardians of the Galaxy movie! I mean, with having Thanos in the Avengers film, yeah, it was the next logical step – but how can Marvel pump up something so obscure? I love Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett’s take on the team – especially with the Annihilation and War of Kings sagas (and as a side, I’ll admit that “the Annihilators” is a fun concept for me).

But where will our heroes go? Will the fight Thanos? Is Annihilus even an option, or is his rights owned by Fox with the Fantastic Four? Maybe Korvac? I don’t know?! Either way, I’m very excited to see some more science-fiction in my life!

August 1st, 2014 can’t come fast enough!

L to R: Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora
Guardians of the Galaxy

Canceled Titles

As I seem so busy from pumping up Marvel, why don’t I take on how disappointed I am with them too? At ComicBookResouces, Marvel has announced the cancellation of NINE major titles – four which I collect monthly.

While no, that’s not a big deal that I’M losing books to read – it’s just more upsetting that as a collector I’m stuck falling for Marvel’s marketing plans.

I’ll also add in that yes, I understand this is under the Marvel NOW! campaign and a lot has to do with the current Avengers vs. X-Men debacle, but I’ll be talking about that in a later post.

As Marvel NOW! cancels The Incredible Hulk, New Mutants, Uncanny X-Men, & X-Men: Legacy – marketing the new books as “jumping on points” – I’m using them as jumping off points. I tire of having to lose and re-collect comics. It becomes too much to follow. Mostly, it becomes too much of a headache to stick around. I was upset when Marvel canceled Uncanny not too long ago – and now they’re doing it again – all to gain another dollar.

I say no more!

Upcoming

Soon to be talked about topics on this blog include: Avengers Versus X-Men – my thoughts so far, FanExpo Updates, Comic Sale Updates, The Walking Dead, and how my NaNoWriMo story is doing so far.

And Finally

I have ended just about every blog with me saying, “Keep on Space Truckin’!” In case you hadn’t figured it out, the line is paraphrased from the Deep Purple song, “Space Truckin'” – my favourite Deep Purple song.

Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord passed away July 16th with complications due to pancreatic cancer and suffering from a pulmonary embolism. Lord was an original founding member back in 1968 – he continued with the band up until he retired in 2002. Next to Lord, only drummer Ian Paice was the only remaining original member in the band.

Lord’s keyboards helped defined hard rock keyboardists from Yes to Dream Theater. Anytime I hear a Deep Purple song, I air keyboard Lord’s because his work just gets me moving. He was a genius and an incredible musician. He will be missed.

Keep on Space Truckin’, Mr. Lord.

One Major Hiatus

I’ve definitely haven’t been working on this site at all in the past little while.

Summer definitely has been busy for me. Working in a summer-seasonal business leaves me working 60+ hours a week, thus leaving me pretty exhausted.

However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been ignoring this site! I have tons of ideas running through my head and will get them out when things start quieting down.

Do what I’m doing for the time being, and just hang in there!

And keep on Space Truckin’! 

Bizarre Comic Book News

“Derek, where have you been?”

I know, I know! I’ve been busy, damn it! Luckily, I have a pretty decent-sized update to share with ya’ll.

But first, if you haven’t already, add me to Twitter!

With the Avengers movie just rearing its head this weekend and already posed to make over $500 million world-wide in just over a week, methinks it’s pretty safe to say that Marvel will be pumping out tons and tons of movies very soon.

A New X-Movie in the Works?

I digress. I was running around on the internet during the past week and came across some ridiculous movie news that I’m not entirely sure about.

There’s a pretty heavy rumour at Collider suggesting that there will be a New Mutants movie in the works.

While sure, those are some low-tiered superheroes to be dealing with, the last thing I’d want 20th Century Fox to screw up is one of my favourite “family” books. By “family” I mean that New Mutants aren’t like the traditional X-Books where there’s always fighting and planning. These folks are youngin’s who just try to enjoy life and are also just mutants.

While sure, you could argue they’re fighters (because superhero books involve fighting), I just know if Fox did fire out a New Mutants flick, it wouldn’t captivate anything that the New Mutants were – or are – for that matter. Albeit, seeing a CGI Warlock would be pretty exciting.

Who Hates the Watchmen Prequels More than this Guy?

Now I’m no doctor, but not bringing in comics because “you’re going to lose money” seems like a pretty hefty gamble.

In Brooklyn, Bergen Street Comics manager Tucker Stone revealed that he won’t be bringing in the new Watchmen prequels.

Hold up. Why? Stone said,

“‘We won’t have it on the wall,” said Stone. “It’s not useful for graphic novels, it’s not useful for small press. . . It’s only useful for the weekly stuff. We’re gonna lose money, we’ll probably lose customers. . . It was a decision that was made. When I heard that decision, I said that’s a bad idea. . . That’s an explanation that I’ll have to give over and over again. As time has gone on, as I’ve seen online response to that project. . . This is just gross, and we don’t want to be part of this one. We’ll participate with the grossness they did to Kirby on the Avengers books, but this one. . .'”

Interesting, ain’t it?

The kicker is I would probably pick them up if I saw them at my LCS (which I know I’ll see there). But imagine all of the other folk who’d step in to want the book? Maybe Stone will just have to take in more orders than usual? Or maybe he’s right and he just knows his comic buying audience than we’re led to believe? Regardless, it’s a pretty bold statement to make.

On the other hand, what about creators rights? Now the people who worked hard on these comics aren’t going to get paid appropriately. . . Hmm.

FanExpo Canada Brings in the Big Guns

As the yearly tradition goes in Toronto, FanExpo Canada will be providing another year filled with folks in the comic industry. You may remember last year when I attended and gave a massive recap about the con. Well this year, HobbyStar has announced some big names yet again!

Of course, I’m most excited about Stan Lee, and am thrilled to meet him again. See? I met him before.

But other attendees announced are:

Adi Granov (Artist)
Tony Moore (Artist – The Walking Dead, Venom)
Greg Capullo (Artist – Batman)
Tony Daniel (Writer – Detective Comics, Hawkman)
Steve Epting (Artist – Fantastic Four & many more)
Frank Quitely (Artist – Batman & Robin)
David Finch (Artist – Batman: The Dark Knight)
Carlos Pacheco (Artist – Uncanny X-Men)
Esad Ribic (Artist – Uncanny X-Force, Ultimates, X-O Manowar)
Dan Slott (Writer – Amazing Spider-Man)

And that’s just the preliminary list. Yeesh! There’s still tons to be announced!

Needless to say, it’s shaping up to be a pretty exciting Expo. Hooray!

Avengers Versus X-Men

And at last, we have the whole “AvX” fiasco. While I’m picking up the title issues of the series plus the battles, I have to say the issues involved in the crossover are just silly. While Secret Avengers has been alright, Uncanny X-Men, and Wolverine & The X-Men aren’t too necessary, I’m finding. I’m just glad X-Factor is staying out of the foray.

Although, I will say Avengers Versus X-Men #3 was pretty decent, making me think that there’s still hope for the series. (See what I did there?) Gah.

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Comic Book Blockbuster Blunders

After getting over a very nasty virus (who am I kidding – I’m still coughing from it), I had a really good laugh at my local comic store the other day.

Every Wednesday when the new comics arrive, I get there shortly after opening as I have a busy day ahead of me usually. In fact, Wednesday’s are my only day off from my real-life job.

That’s beside the point.

There are regulars that come in every Wednesday like myself. A lot of the folks who come in are your typical comic nerds, while a few of them are the ones who are the stereotypical “living in your mothers basement and only come out on Wednesdays” kind of fans. I guess you could dub them the “social rejects” solely because their entire lives are based around comics. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about – the people who talk and argue totally for the sake of hearing their own voice; the people who are socially inept to have any conversation outside of comics; the type of person who will walk up to you while you’re minding your own business and say something out loud in hopes that you respond to it.

Yeah, those people.

Usually when those folks come into my LCS on Wednesday’s, everyone goes running and just tries to avoid them at all costs.

Well this past Wednesday, one of them actually said something worth-while. The conversation goes as follows:

LSC Owner: “So who do you think is going to win Avengers versus X-Men?”

Customer in a loud, boisterous voice: “I don’t know. But I can tell you who is going to lose. The fans, that’s who!”

The entire store erupted in laughter. Every week this customer comes in and just babbles on nonsense about comics which we all hear day-in and day-out. However this one comment really struck a chord with everyone.

I’ve been left thinking about it since Wednesday. Why, out of everything this customer said in the past, have they finally said something worth-while laughing to?

I think the answer is simple: He’s right.

Marvel’s big push with this whole AvX event is great for business, I’m sure, but also leaving a sour taste in comic fan’s mouths. How many more “life altering” or “status quo changing” events can we get each year? Last year’s Fear Itself was a major flop, while DC’s Brightest Day dragged on for so long that they rebooted their franchise! (And yes, I know that’s not why they started the New 52.)

How many more of these events can fans take until they realize that they’re being toyed with year in and year out?

The irony to this little discussion is that I’m currently collecting the Avengers vs. X-Men event. Not to mention, I also have the terrible Fear Itself that happened last year – the Siege that happened before it, Secret Invasion, Civil War, House of M, Avengers Disassembled, World War Hulk, and so on.

The core fans will still collect – regardless of how they’re treated because. . . I don’t know why.

After Fear Itself’s terrible story and The Avengers/New Avengers re-hashing the Siege’s “Dark Avengers,” I literally almost dropped comics all together. If it weren’t for my faith in a few titles for me – Uncanny X-Force, X-Factor, Swamp Thing, plus a few more, I wouldn’t have kept reading.

I collect most X-books now because of continuity, the sense of family, plus the history I have had with the comics.

Since Fear Itself hit me, I’ve branched out to many smaller comic companies and started reading things I never would have before, just so I could finally see what else was out there.

For example, I turned to Swamp Thing with DC’s new 52. (I’m aware that’s not a smaller company). But I’ve also picked up newer stories like Saucer Country, and am getting back in to The Walking Dead. I’ve picked up old trades of The Tick, and recently found the entire omnibus of Too Much Coffee Man. I’m on the look-out for newer horror series, and also some fun science-fiction plots. I’ve bought my first Star Wars comic (despite being a huge fan in real life) with Dark Horse’s “Dawn of the Jedi” series. Had I still been collecting the amount of Marvel books in the past, I never would’ve budgeted for anything outside of superhero books.

So let’s go back to the answer the customer at my LCS said: “But I can’t tell you who is going to lose. The fans, that’s who!”

Well I suppose that’s a matter of perspective. Although I “lost” because of some terrible story-crossovers, I’ve “won” by finding new stories and gems to now call my own.

If anything, the major crossovers make the major comic companies lose because their faithful ones like me start to drop particular books.

Thoughts?

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Review: Secret Avengers #25

Secret Avengers

Secret Avengers #25
Rick Remender (writer), Gabriel Hardman (pencils, inks), Bettie Breitweiser (colours), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Arthur Adams & Peter Steigerwald (cover). $3.99

Rick Remender’s current story line to Secret Avengers comes to a conclusion with some major surprises along the way, leaving us begging for the next issue.

Featuring a full-scale battle against robotic clones of Avengers – both old and new – Remender’s Secret Avengers team featuring new leader Hawkeye brings thrills and some life-changing moments.

Remender lets every Avenger get some time to shine throughout the story: from the sudden resurrection of Ant-Man getting some butt-kicking scenes, to the Human Torch leaving the story with a frightening conclusion; no one character outshines another. Everyone has a voice in the book and much like in Uncanny X-Force, Remender finds a way to give the story a perfect balance of characterization.

What can definitely be taken away from this book is how well Remender turns around our opinions of Ant-Man’s sudden return. Much like how people are beginning to feel about the recent amount of deaths in comics only-to-come-back issues later, the previous issues final page showing Eric O’Grady’s death followed by his reappearance one issue later flustered me beyond belief. How could Remender do something so ridiculous like bringing back a character one issue later? To leave spoilers out of it, the final pages of this issue make you realize that the author always has something up his sleeve.

To make the already great story even better, artist Gabriel Hardman really kicks it up with some fast-paced noir-style action in this issue. Punches are thrown, explosions are had, and beat up bodies scour each page with deep inks and colours. It took a few issues for me to realize it, but for a secret ops book, the art style matches the story perfectly. Panels are scary when necessary while lines are crisp and intense. Hardman really hits the nail on the head with this issue with very clean storytelling and even cleaner visuals.

Nothing could be done without Bettie Breitweiser’s colours, however. The balance of colours when people like The Human Torch fly across the panels, or a various city landscapes with varying blues and street lights give depth – all of it adds to the noir-style that Hardman creates. Breitweiser should stick to Hardman like how Dean White does with Opena, Brooks, and Ribic on Uncanny X-Force. (Jeez, I can’t get enough Remender, can I?)

With the arc coming to a close and Avengers versus X-Men now rearing its crossover head, I’m sure we’ll have a lot more excitement in-store for the stealthy Avengers.

Grade: 8/10

Keep on Space Truckin’!

The Blood Theatre Review: Legion of Monsters TPB

This is a review I’ve done up for The Blood Theatre. If you love horror, blood, guts, gore, violence, and all that other stuff that’s against the norm, I’d check it out. I write for them after all. . .

But on to the review!

Legion of Monsters

Legion of Monsters TPB
Dennis Hopeless (writer), Juan Doe (artist, cover), Wil Quintana (colours), Dave Lanphear (letters). $15.99

If you’re the person who enjoys having fun while reading your horror, look no further than Marvel’s Legion of Monsters mini-series. Collecting issues #1-4, LoM is a hilariously intriguing look at some of Marvel’s most prominent creatures of the night: The Legion’s leader, the vampire Morbius; with Jack Russell, the Werewolf by Night; The Living Mummy, and Manphibian all leads in the story.

Acting as a monster policing force, the anti-heroes are work to round up stray monsters and pull them into the depths of New York City where they can live freely. Naturally, something stirs up problems with the underworld leaving the monsters in a state of chaos. Monsters start attacking each other and begin rampaging amongst the surface world.

Enter Elisa Bloodstone – monster slayer. She is set up early in the story as someone who tricks monsters into trying to kill her via stereotypical monster-movie lore: Elisa dancing in a bedroom in her underwear while the monster sniffs her “innocence” out. Unfortunately for the unnamed monster, this means total doom.

Elisa realizes there is a problem with the monsters and teams up with Morbius’ monster police to help solve the problem. Quickly established as funny with tons of wit, the story turns into a murder mystery the characters trying to solve the reason why monsters are trying to kill everything.
Writer Dennis Hopeless hits the nail in the coffin with this story. Each page is guaranteed to make you feel worried for the team, wonder what could happen next, or even just laugh out loud.

Monster-driven dialogue is not something that is seen too often with stories, let alone comic books. Hopeless manages to give each character a distinct voice, as well as their own sense of humour. While Morbius and Bloodstone are shown as the leads of the story, the supporting roles are necessary as well as natural feeling as any friendship would be – whether you’re a monster or not.

Playing off that, Hopeless shows the reader that monsters aren’t entirely monsters either. The characters have emotions, feelings, and love for one another. Despite being hideously grotesque, monsters like Manphibian reminds the reader of that ‘loser kid’ from grade school who grew up to embrace his loser-dom. Morbius is smart, witty, and is looking for love in all of the wrong places. Although they are monsters, they are just as human and colourful as everyone else in our lives we could think of.

And colourful does not even begin to explain the excitement and thrills that comes from Juan Doe’s art. Images are flashy, tastefully cartoony, and brilliantly executed. Everything moves with excellent fluidity. Lines are clean when needed and disrupted when required. Doe has such a strong feel about the mood Hopeless wants to create that it would be as if they were in each other’s heads.

Meanwhile colourist Wil Quintana excels at trying the mood of the story together between Hopeless and Doe. Bright colours are never overdone, while even the darkest of colours still compliment Doe’s pencils and inks. Given the mix of the monsters available, Quintana has a lot of room to play around with colours, and he doesn’t seem to fool around at all with it.

While the series only lasted four issues, the trade paperback is an excellent way to make this book quickly accessible to enjoy at your own leisure and pass around to your friends. Although we may not see anything from the Legion of Monsters any time soon due to poor sales figures, this story stands out as being one of the best monster-books in a long time. Easily re-readable, action-packed, and funny, you’ll be demanding more from the Legion as soon as you close the book.

Grade: 9/10

Keep on Space Truckin’!