Where Have I Been?

Whoa! Hi! I’m back. Where have I been all this time? I haven’t put my comics in their long-boxes for over a month now! I’m a terrible human being. But aside from what, where have I been?

Aside from reading comics and working, I went to a concert of Devin Townsend on Wednesday (yes, I updated the setlist). Keeping the details short, I met him – he is my idol – I was front row-center – and I walked away with the setlist and his guitar pick. Win! Then I performed a concert on Thursday with my band Superheroes (click to add us to Facebook!), while also spending the past two weeks practicing and recording Superheroes first EP for said show. We managed to sell a few copies yesterday, so thank you to everyone who supported us and came out! We had a blast!

As a side note, despite the name, we do not sing about superheroes. Sure, I may put a few action figures on my amp, but that’s the extent of it.

But what a week of interesting news! Martin Sheen is confirmed to be Uncle Ben in the new Spider-Man movie, while Sally Field is in-talks for Aunt May. Also, Scott Pilgrim comes out on Blu-Ray Tuesday, which I am very excited for. I loved the movie, as well as the books. The books were definitely better, however, the movie was done extremely well. I applaud both versions.

Well, I feel like a bit of a dink, not being able to give full-fledged updates as of late. I had planned on doing a full-blown last-and-this week’s comic review, plus one Classic Comic, but alas, I’ve just been too busy to keep up with it all. But I hope you all at least got a chance to see my Halloween costume as the Red Skull here? I really enjoyed doing it up. Unfortunately, living in the city I was in, no one knew who I was. And get this injustice:
Of course I went to a bar on the Saturday (the 30th) and I saw a guy dressed as Captain America. Going up to him as the Red Skull, he had no idea who I was! Brutal! My other friend dressed up as the Black Cat and ran into a Spider-Man/Spider-Girl couple costume. As she spoke with them, neither knew who she was as the Black Cat!

What sort of injustice is this?! Suddenly it’s cool to be dressed up as a superhero not knowing anything about it? That’s almost as bad as me dressing up as a Power Ranger and not knowing who Zordon was, or as Luke Skywalker and not noticing Darth Vader walking past me. I just think it’s ridiculous. Anyway.

I want to start fresh next week. (Please give me a second chance?!)

If you like, I’ll review my favourite comic of this week! Deal? Okay!
Despite a hefty week of comic collection for me: Chaos War #3, Namor #3, X-Men: To Serve and Protect #1, and Generation Hope #1, the best comic went to Taskmaster #3!

TaskMaster3

Taskmaster is a pretty unknown Marvel villain. I mean, he is popular, but there are more popular ones out there. This is Taskmaster’s second miniseries, but has been around the Marvel U for decades. You may have seen him recently in the Siege series, helping Osborn’s dark reign upon Asgard. Since the defeat of H.A.M.M.E.R., Taskmaster’s whereabouts have been unknown. To make a long story short, various villainous agencies, such as HYDRA, A.I.M., and so on have teamed together under one group called the Org, and are trying to stop Taskmaster from, well, being alive. Only, he doesn’t know why. Here, you should stop reading unless you want to hear ***SPOILERS***.

Well in the story, we find out from Nick Fury, talking to Steve Rogers, that Taskmaster is ex-SHIELD. I know, eh? And the reason why the Org is trying to stop him is because he knows too much. But Taskmaster doesn’t remember – and we find out why in the story (I’ll leave that spoiler for you to read). Regardless, the story develops so much in this third issue that there is so much to talk about!

Firstly, the cover! A Town of Hitlers! Yeah. Read the story. Secondly, the humour is off-the-charts with this book. I mean, it’s coming off as a more serious Deadpool comic to me. We have a wise-cracking villain who is trying to discover his past while the world of villains is being thrown against him. We get to see Taskmaster do some great moves with his powers (which we also find an origin for), while we are also introduced to a new villain named Redshirt. This villain, although very serious, has some of the funniest panels I’ve seen in recent comics.

Writer Fred van Lente is from The Incredible Hercules fame, so his story-telling would naturally have a sense of humour while still making massive plot still seem stable to the Marvel U. Mixed in with Jefte Palo’s art and Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colours, and you have yourself a great story with fantastic images and a twist – literally – on every page.

Although it has some radical story-telling, Taskmaster has turned to be quite possibly one of my favourite mini-series this year.

Grade: 10/10

As for me folks, I plan on having an article posted sometime next week involving blogs and storytelling. It may not even be comic-related (although highly likely)!

Thanks for hanging in there folks!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Fail-Blog

I definitely will not be able to post a blog until next Friday (November 5th).
So to keep things short:
New Captain America photos here.

And as for quick comic reviews this week: Incredible Hulks #615 was my top pick for great story telling.
X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – X-Men vs. Vampires #2 was filled with boring stories and one involving the making fun of obese people. It was a pretty big fail.
Uncanny X-Men finally is dropping their bazillion side-stories, and sticking to just one as Generation Hope is coming out next week.
X-Men: Legacy ended with a dud.
Secret Avengers and Black Widow, however, picked up the slack with great dialogue and power story.

Lame reviews, I know, I’m sorry.
Until next week though, folks!

Hulk, X-Men, and Vampires

Sorry about the delay, folks. Yesterday’s comics were pretty good. Black Cat’s limited series finally concluded (and with a decent plot), while Incredible Hulks rampages on in issue #614 – fighting the Secret Avengers, while X-Men #4 battles on with the vampires. I also picked up Tick’s Edlund Epic #5 and #6, but they are comics from the 80’s reprinted in colour (and may eventually appear in my “classic reviews”), while I also picked up Shadowland #4. Unfortunately, I’m still lacking Shadowland #3, so I refuse to read on until I grab that. Damn lack of second-printing! New Avengers #5 also was released and is shaping up to be a decent story.

So this week we have two great books to go under the knife. Hulks and X-Men.

Incredible Hulks #614 – written by Planet Hulk/World War Hulk great, Greg Pak, featuring art from Barry Kitson. This run has been called the “Dark Son” series, and we’re on part three of six. In a nutshell, Hulk has another son – Skaar’s twin brother who has more of the Old Power than Skaar does. Pretty much, his new son, named Hiro-Kala, wants to destroy the remaining Old Power (so Skaar – and despite him having the Old Power himself – which is addressed in IH #613) so he’s sending his planet, K’ai, towards Earth to destroy it.

Hulks614

If that wasn’t bad enough, the government missiles and weapons aren’t doing any damage to the oncoming assault. The government decides to send up thousands of soldiers to fight it. Cut to Cape Canaveral, and the Hulks are on a rampage destroying tons of military equipment. The Secret Avengers jump in to fight off the Hulks until Black Widow and Beast show up with a gun which could teleport the Hulks into the Negative Zone instantly. So yes, the Hulks surrender and talk to Steve Roger’s about why they were damaging everything.

Hulk tells him that the government would just be sending soldier’s to their death, so they had to destroy all the equipment so people would not go up in space. Plus, it would create jobs for the economy. Really, they mention that.

After deliberation, both Rogers and the President allow the Hulks to go into space – via the Stone Flagship used to bombard Earth during World War Hulk! The final panel, the President is shown saying, “God help us. . . the Hulks are running the show now.”

If you have been reading Hulk, this definitely was a “wow” for me. It was such a great feeling seeing the Stone Flagship rise out of the ground. Of course, the comic made the event seem much more epic than how I described it.

I love Pak’s writing. Ever since he’s been attached to the Hulk, I’ve tried to read everything he’s done. He literally is responsible for turning the Hulk into such a great character – in my eyes. As for story, we really get to see the power of the planet K’ai in this issue and see that it can wipe-out quite a bit. On top of that, we get half the story of the Hulks smashing. Full-spreads of damage, plus Kitson’s take on the Secret Avengers. It’s great to see them in such a different light – literally – than Dedato’s drawings. I find Beast looking a lot more menacing, while Valkyrie and Rogers share a lot of the spotlight. Bright blue colours of the characters against a red skyline for most of the comic contrast very well.

Needless to say, this story was not only fast-paced, we get information about how the world would have reacted against K’ai, plus the intervention of other heroes with the Hulk. Quite frankly, this was a great surprise following two issues of character build-up. The Incredible Hulk’s story, plus a bonus-story at the end between Bruce and Skaar really place the $3.99 price tag at a great value, with a fantastic story.

Grade: 9/10

X-Men #4 is a continuation with the Curse of the Mutants storyline where the X-Men are against vampires. To summarize quickly, the vampires want the X-Men to become vampires so that their race can be the most power ever with mutants on their side. They argue that vampires are like mutants – shunned from society. Since the mutants are now at an all-time low-number, the vampires feel it best to strike now.

Xmen4

And as you can see from this GORGEOUS cover by Adi Granov, yes Wolverine became a vampire and is on their side now. You’re all probably like, “but his healing factor would’ve fought that.” And you’re absolutely right. It’s how Wolverine did not become a Brood, or ever hold a virus for long in his body. Well, from a FanExpo Canada panel back in August, C.B. Cebulski mentioned that it would be explained in the comic. However not in X-Men #3 or #4 where Wolverine is a vampire, so I’m still waiting.

The story, by Victor Gischler, with art by Paco Medina, is mostly Wolverine/Cyclops-focused. There’s a small subplot of Blade and Angel/Archangel searching for vampires and finding them – only to run away immediately, while the rest of the story is done through video intercom. Yup. Never judge a book by its cover.

Wolverine brags how great it is being a vampire and he explains how he feels being one. Dr. Nemesis cannot figure out a cure to vampirism, and Cyclops calls Xarus (lord of the vampires who killed Dracula and became the leader), and tries to persuade Xarus that the X-Men will fight. Xarus brags some more (as it seems vampires do a lot), and shows off both Jubilee and Wolverine both turned into vampires. They both brag how great it is and ask Scott to join. Of course, he refuses and Xarus wants to bring the fight to them.

The only really exciting moment is seeing the final panel of an army of vampires which will be led by Wolverine in the next issue to attack the X-Men.

If my review sounded boring and drab to you, that’s how the comic was too. I apologize for it. I’m sure Gischler would not. What I cannot knock is Medina’s art. Great use of panels shows us the action split between words. For example, Cyclops describes fighting vampires on one page. Within said page, we get three different panels of action in different parts of the city, featuring Colossus, Pixie, Rogue, Storm, Psylocke and Gambit. All of that is broken up by Cyclops’ sentences. It’s done extremely well, and each page tells its own story. Angel and Blade’s stumbling upon a vampire lair also spreads a full page of them pretty much overwhelmed by vampires. Pages like those, with beautiful dark colours by Marte Gracia, give this Curse of the Mutants plot a grim feeling.

However, given a lot of action is done in dialogue buffed up between two egos, it really dwindles the story. It’s like watching school children say, “I’m better because of this,” “Oh yeah? Well I’m better!” Only somehow this involves the leaders of X-Men and vampires. What a battle!

Grade: 6/10

In other news, the Spider-Man movie villain has been discovered as the Lizard, played by Rhys Ifans. Also, congratulations goes out to Christopher Hastings, and Anthony Clark, writer, drawer, and colourist to the web comic Dr. McNinja. Their recent Volume 4 has been picked up by Darkhorse Comics! Once again, this goes to show you that persistence in the art universe is key!

We’ll see what tomorrow will bring with my classic comics! Until then!

Keep on Space Truckin’.

A Weak Week

My pull-list this week was pretty Mutant-heavy, featuring Namor #2, X-Men Legacy #240, and X-Men vs. Vampires #1 of 2. Also, was Avengers: Prime #3 of 5.

I’d have to say, I was unexpectedly disappointed with X-Men: Legacy, while Namor and XvsV was a pleasant surprise. Of course, reviewing it all would take decades of work (maybe an hour), so I’ll mainly focus today on the bigger titles, Legacy and Avengers.

Legacy240

I’ll tackle this bad-boy first. X-Men: Legacy #240 is part three of a story-arc, entitled Collision and revolves around Rogue, Magneto, Indra, Anole and Loa. But I’ll need to give you some back story first. There have been some weather disturbances in Mumbai, and coincidently, Indras brother has fallen ill. The five go there to check it out, and for Indra to see his brother. Once there, things get a bit nutty. We find out that the weather is caused by the Children of the Vault sapping energy from Earth, while we discover that Indra is now forced to take his brothers place in an arranged marriage, as per their arrogant father. So that’s pretty much where we’ve been at.

Then comes #240, and its continued plot by Mike Carey, with art by Clay Mann. Last issue left us off with a mutant from the Vault named Luz coming to Earth to escape said Vault. Unfortunately for her, she was pursued, and 240 kicks us off with a pitiful battle between Vault members and Rouge and Magneto. Losing, they are taken back with Luz, to the Vault as captives.

Meanwhile, Anole, Loa, and Indra find out the two were kidnapped. They want to go and save them – as any friends would. However, Indra’s arrogant father demands that Indra does not break his promise to get married tomorrow. So Indra one-ups him and says that he will just get married now and be done and over it.

Yeah. . .

So the issue revolves around panels with Magneto and Rogue getting beaten, while Indra gets married while Anole and Loa watch in disgust. Because of the marriage, the book is terribly paced with Rogue being in the process of execution and Indra’s wedding ceremony which his father wants as a full-ceremony. So this issue brings us family, rice, and Rogue being bashed by gravitational forces.

Needless to say, the issue does try and end on a high-note. Indra’s wife-to-be, in the middle of the ceremony, transforms into Luz, who teleported herself into his fiancées body, followed by a “wtf” moment on the final page.

Unfortunately, because of the ridiculous pacing of the comic between battles and a wedding, I felt no sense of dread, nor did I care about the wedding either. This has been one of Legacy’s weakest stories, I believe, since after the Messiah Complex arc (which goes back a long time), and the art from Mann unfortunately does not bring the comic up from its poor writing.

Grade: 5/10

Despite Legacy, this week was definitely a win Avengers: Prime #3.

Avengers: Prime is unfortunately a bi-monthly titled done by Brian Michael Bendis and godly artist Alan Davis. It takes during the end of Siege and follows Thor, Steve Rodgers, and Tony Stark being “accidentally” zipped away to an unknown realm, and separated from each other.

AvengersPrime3

Rodgers ends up meeting some Elven people, Stark gets caught up with Orges and the dragon Fafnir, while Thor discovers that the Enchantress is the reasoning behind the whole thing! Then at the end of issue #2, we discover Hela has been watching the whole thing unfold! It’s a lot to take in, eh?

Luckily for us, this is Bendis’ best work with an Avengers title since the beginning of The Heroic Age. While the parent title and New Avengers are seemingly lacking in proper pacing and characterization, we get it perfectly in Avengers: Prime. Stark – without power to his armor – makes hilarious quips throughout the story which he lacks in the parent title, while Rodgers is the well-rounded hero (as always), making his way through the unknown realm without much trouble. Thor on the other hand gets into a fight with Hela as the Enchantress watches on – surprised that Hela was in the realm.

Near the end, we see Stark saved from Fafnir by Rodgers, and they discover a defeated Thor, unsure where Mjolnir is, but certain that the three are indeed in Hel itself.

Due to wonderful spreads by Davis, including some wonderful spreads of Fafnir and a full-page spread of Hela striking Thor, this comic is consistently strong in both art and direction. It’s truly a shame that the limited-series-bi-monthly title is arguably the best Avengers storyline.

Grade: 9/10

As for Namor and XvsV, Namor’s storyline has thickened with a battle beginning. There is a sense of dread surrounding the Atlantian people, while it is ever-so clear that the enemy has them outnumbers. With XvsV, we get a slew of minor stories from various writers and artists, plus a first-half re-print of Uncanny X-Men #159. The most notable story is done by James Asmus with art by Tom Raney (who seems to be involved in almost everything now), and aptly titled “From Husk til Dawn,” involving Husk versus Vampires as she turns herself into wood.

Any how, check back soon for another fantastic blog from your fantastic blogger. I’m assuming that’s me.

Keep on Space Truckin’.