Saturday, June 28, 2008

Your Kick-Ass Gay Friend

Mark Millar's KICK-ASS #3, read to the rhythms of Robbie Williams and 'Your Gay Friend'


Hey hey here comes noone
Another friend to have a go on
And she asks me do i miss her when shes gone
And i reply as much as i miss anyone

Oh! woohoo
And I'll be your gay friend
Cus your marriage never ends
Till we fuck and fight again
Theres a space between us
So jump into my bed
Pretend the world is dead
Always in my head is a space between us

Hey lord forgive us if we're wrong
Make sure that he never hears this song
And she says that im the opposite of a hallmark card
She asked me how im feeling
When i dont want to think that hard

Oh! woohoo!
And I'll be your gay friend
Cus your marriage never ends
Till we fuck and fight again
Theres a space between us
Jump into my bed
Pretend the world is dead
Always in my head is a space between us

It's the late show now
When does the late show end
When god is in the details
Forget to show my friend
I have a friend again
You my friend again
My gay friend

Oh! woohoo! erhh
So jump into my bed
Pretend the world is dead
Always in my head is a space between us
And i'll be your gay friend
As your marriage never ends
Till we fuck and fight again
Theres a space between us
Oh! woohoo!

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The Return of MJ Watson Parker

So, in case you missed, it Mary Jane returned to the pages of Amazing Spider-Man last month, albeit for a meaty two-issue stint. MJ was revealed as the mysterious girlfriend of the big name Hollywood star that Peter Parker / paparazzi was stalking for the DB.

Peter of course never actually sees MJ, through a series of coincidences. When he does save the life of her new boyfriend from the manic stalker Paper Doll, MJ is hiding in the mansion's Panic Room, watching the fight through the monitors, and talking to Spidey through the house's intercom. Perhaps the most emotionally charged Spider-Man story we've read in years:

The issue closes with a sneaky teaser, as the girl who was revealed as the superhero Jackpot's civilian identity (who in turn bears a striking resemblance to MJ) catches up with MJ at the airport... for an autograph?

Keep them coming, guys!

Source: Amazing Spider-Man #561 (Marvel Comics)

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - First Trailer!

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

Joss Whedon. NPH. Comics Sci-fi / Musical? For free online? (legally!)

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DC Capsule Reviews Week 22 2008

Keeping up pace and schedule, here are the reviews from a 'quiet' week in DC (well, you know, apart from the debut of Final Crisis and Zur-En-Arrh!)

Am I really a month behind? Look for even more frequent (do I hear daily? oh yes) updates as I feverishly catch up to the present.


(Grant Morrison / Tony Daniel / Sandu Florea)


Everyone seems so obsessed with the reveals this issue and this phrase in particular. I see it simply as Morrison throwing a bat-load of red herrings our way (Thomas Wayne alive? Alfred an undercover actor all along? Batman a schizoid personality a la Sentry/Manhunter/etc?) which all are terribly status quo-shattering to lead to anything.

Morrison has a sordid past with his last long-term project, New X-Men for planting false turns and taking advantage of the entire length of his run to develop and reveal his hidden truths, secret identities and amazing twists. Myself, I'm betting the farm on charming Jezebel Jet as the 'Black Glove' of mystery. All it takes is to read between the lines of her dialogue to discover how cleverly she's coercing Wayne into madness. Impressed or not, things have really started getting interesting!



(Bill Willingham / Mark Buckingham / Steve Leialoha, Mark Buckingham & Andrew Pepoy)

'War & Pieces' part 1. The exiled Fables finally wage war against the Adversary to reclaim their lost lands!

Willingham has never been shy about stirring up the status quo of this title, becoming more and more like the Vertigo take on a soap-opera. Boy Blue acts as our POV and a living breathing plot frmaing device, as he teleports between the different fronts of the war, oozing exposition. It doesn't make for a thoroughly enjoyable issue, as the reader feels the weight of the information, war tactics and 'what-they-have-been-up-to' push heavily against an actually fun reading experience. With all the set-up taken care off I can't wait for things to turn sour next issue!



(Grant Morrison / J.G. Jones)

I'll choose not to comment in depth on this issue yet.

It's taken a lot of heat, yet seen in the context of Morrison's statements, it's no fault of the book itself if Countdown and Death of the New Gods ruined any sort of impact things like the Death of Orion or the look inside the Monitors' domain would have.

Morrison wrote a self-contained event, coordinating with Geoff Johns to branch it out into a specific contained number of spin-offs. DiDio came in and milked it for every cash drop a whole year before the first issue came out, killing all the buzz and almost ruining the reading experience. I still have faith this book will outshine Secret Invasion, I hope it doesn't make a fool out of me...



(Geoff Johns / Ivan Reis / Oclair Albert)

'Secret Origins' part 3. The usual excellness (is that a word? I deem it one anyway!!

Hal Jordan makes his way to Oa for the very first time, we're introduced to the major Corps members, get ring-training 101 and move one step closer to Jordan's first meeting with Sinestro.

Johns retells Jordan's origin in awe-inspiring manner, while Ivan Reis shines through with every amazing spread they trust him with. For a rookie Green Lantern fan like myself this is an incredible ride and a rare treat!



(Ivory Madison / Cliff Richards / Art Thibert)

Helena Bertinelli moves in with her uncle's family after last issue's events, where she comes face to face with the power of the mafia as she is unable to punish a child molester visiting the household, even as she is falling in love with his son.

Oh, yeah, and she gets slapped around... a whole lot! With a childhood like this, no wonder the girl joined the Bat-family...

Not as biting as the previous issue but holding to an average standard.



(Jim Shooter / Francis Manapul / Livesay)

'Enemy Rising' part 3. All-action issue with the Legion kids battling against attack-adapting alien fauna.

The way to beat them? Keep finding new unpredictable ways to use your powers to attack. Shooter is having loads of fun playing around with his darlings and it shows. It's an enjoyable explosion-fest, although Shooter's problems with plot structure and pacing become more and more glaring with each issue.

In other news, the new costumes are in, replacing Kitson's elegant designs for a retread of the old and tried. Not impressed.



(Mike Costa / Fiona Staples)

Jack gets laid, ponders his origins, does more wacky jaw-dropping stuff with his 'talks to cities' powers and chases a guy around San Fransisco straight into a Collossal robot...

There's so many threads running around I've lost track, as the murder mystery suddenly takes a backseat to Hawksmoor's creators coming back for -- don't understand exactly.

It's a fun issue but nowhere near as amazing as the first two.



(Sean McKeever / Eddy Barrows / Ruy Jose)

'Dark Side Club' tie-in. The Clock King has taken three of the Titans out of the game, selling two to Dark Side's super-hero dogfight arena. Now he makes his play against the three remaining Titans: Robin, Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle. I'm impressed with how effortlessly

McKeever has managed to weave the Final Crisis tie-in plot threads into his plans for the book and make it feel like an organic part of the storyline (the same as we witnessed in Birds of Prey).

Eddy Barrows is improving with each issue, gradually refining his lines and adding specific details. Very reminiscent of Bryan Hitch's progress in some regards. You never know...



(Will Pfeiffer / David Baldeon / Steve Bird)

A fill-in writer, a fill-in artist, a fill-in inker... Still an enjoyable done-in-one, with an offbeat adventure very reminiscent in tone of Buffy's 1st season.


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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Marvel Super-Heroes vs Giant-Sized Suppositories from Outer Space

Source: Giant-Sized Astonishing X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)
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The Hits Keep On Coming

Just because Stephanie is back, that doesn't mean DC is now taking a positive approach to their female characters. The scales need to be balanced, don't you agree, Huntress?

What was that? Could you repeat, please?

...and yes, they're all from the same issue!

With all those hits, no wonder she turned out the way she did...

Source: Huntress Year One #2 (DC Comics)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yoshitaka Amano Interview

My latest Newsarama interview is online today. I talked with Yoshitaka Amano about his newest book release: Mateki the Magic Flute, an adaptation of the famous opera, published in the U.S. by Radical Books.

Newsarama: The story of the Magic Flute is a famous one. Why is this story important and special to you to adapt to a graphic novel?

Yoshitaka Amano: The story itself is so well known, I don’t think I need to repeat it here. What actually attracted me most is the music Mozart wrote. Even though I knew the story from the accompanied texts, just listening to music gave me an inspiration of making it more like a ballet sequence, without words but the movements of images.

NRAMA: Which characters in the story were the most fun to adapt?

YA: I enjoyed creating The Queen of the Night. In the music, she felt like something out of this world, shapeless and mysterious. It reminded me of some Japanese “Nou” characters that appear from the world beyond this life. (Editor’s Note: Nou or Noh 能 is a significant form of classic Japanese drama surviving from the 14th century)

NRAMA: Which sequence gave you the hardest time conceiving and illustrating?

YA: I didn’t have any particular difficulty in creating images, but when I think of it as an actual animation, I’d like to make it into a very dynamic work and that might be challenging.

Read the rest of it on Newsarama.
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The Evil Anti-Fantastic Four

Trapped in a freak filming accident, four innocent cos-players are transformed into the evil mirror counterparts of their idols, the Fantastic Four

Meet: the Evil Anti-Fantastic Four, pawns of the Silver Mask!

(yeah, things don't exactly go to plan)

Source: Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #36 (Marvel Comics)

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Sprechen Sie, Bub?

No, seriously, how do you translate 'bub' in German?

Source: Wolverine First Class #3 (Marvel Comics)
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JLA: the Sexual Identity Crisis

This panel is too juicy not to feature on its own outside the Capsule Reviews post.


The JLA go up against Felix Faust (the girly magician in a gown who likes using finger-puppets to control the JLA) with the most absurd of plans to evade his mind-control: they show up dressed as each other to fool him! That of course means the obvious Batman-as-Superman, Green Lantern-as-Flash, etc, but also: Aquaman dressed as Wonder-Woman! The artist made sure to hide him behind everyone else, but LYSAD is here to uncover his shame! Talking to fish is one thing, but doing that in a strapless top and thong? Hoo-boy!

Source: Super-Friends #3 (DC Comics)
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Marvel Capsule Reviews Week 22 2008

Look Look, I'm keeping to my announced schedule! How proud are you lot!

This week is Angel-Tribute week at Marvel! Alex Spencer has already covered most of these titles in his combo Angel review, but here's one more look at things.

ANGEL v.2 #1

(Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa / Adam Pollina)

Pollina has been away from the comics world for ages since his insane popularity buzz in the 90s with Loeb's X-Force. His style here has evolved into an even more hyper-stylised distortion and I can't get enough of it, reminding me strongly of Sam Kieth's evolution.

The story follows a teenaged Warren Worthington III in his boarding school life before his mutant wings manifest, the head-runner of a seeming Angel-tribute week in Marvel.



(Jeff Parker / Roger Cruz & Colleen Coover)

I'm in frank awe of this book.

Roger Cruz returns after a long sabbatical, much refreshed with a tighter, fresher look for his characters. Angel takes the spotlight this issue as he flies solo (nar nar) in search of his missing Aunt in a lost Brazilian underground paradise. Parker has settled comfortably in this book (now nearing its 3rd year) and is playing around with his cast, shifting different characters in focus and crafting an overarching story. The visuals of Warren's flight over the waterfalls are jaw-dropping, along with Parker's subtle touches like the birds following him en flock on his flight.

The back-up story features a funny origin story featuring adorable lil' Angel (the Poor Little Rich Mutant) as a parody of Richie Rich. Amidst the busy skies of Marvel's current teen team books, this one easily stands out as the best.



(Craig Kyle & Chris Yost / Clayton Crain)

'Angels & Demons' part 4. The third of this week's Angel spotlights from Marvel, taking a much darker turn. Angel officially joins the X-Force roster (really getting me excited about this title). The Purifiers (the group of mutant-hating militant Christian fanatics that X-Force is so keen to maim each issue) have brainwashed the team's resident werewolf and let her loose to have lunch on Angel in the gruesomest sequence in the title so far. This accident leads to two new elements entering the game that are raising the stakes in the upcoming endgame: a mutated militant Choir in the service of Bastion on the one side, and a reborn metal-winged murder-in-his-eye Archangel on X-Force's roster. Yost and Kyle are not afraid of sacred cows and are playing their game on a mega-event scale. No wonder this book has proved to be the surprise hit of the year.


1985 #1

(Mark Millar / Tommy Lee Edwards)

Ah, the famous 1985... Originally conceived/proposed as a fummetti comic - with photos of actors in costume instead of artwork-, ultimately the cost of the endeavor dawned upon Marvel's bean counters and Tommy Lee Edwards was brought in to illustrate the damn thing. And good thing for that, as this is career-making work he's handing in here.

'1985' refers to the year the story is set in. 1985, as in 'our' 1985, our world, with normal people, no super-powers and Marvel Comics cashing in on their Secret Wars crossover. Toby is a normal kid, into his comics, living with his mom and her new husband, spending time with his slacker rocker of a dad, and escaping into comics and Marvel Super-Heroes. On one of his outings with his dad, he runs into the mysterious new occupants of the haunted house in the forest -- but wait! Is that the Mole Man selling him old FF comics? Is that the Red Skull peeing through the first floor window? Why is the Vulture on the news? and deep in the forest... Dr Doom? The Hulk?

The concept isn't something as revolutionary as Millar would like us think (Superman Secret Identity and the origin of Superman Prime beat him to it there), but it's the execution (and the glorious art) that make this unmissable. If Millar keeps this up, we might be looking at one of the best limited series of the year



(Joss Whedon / John Cassaday)

I've read this issue 4 times so far. And I've cried every single time.

We all knew going in that Kitty would be biting the bullet (I've got to stop the puns already) this issue, but the sequence of events leading to the bullet's impact with earth still managed to make my heart skip a beat; I easily class it as the single most important x-moment since the death of Phoenix. I realised after the second reading, I wasn't crying out of sorrow; I was feeling so... proud (there I go again) of our little Kitty Pride. We thought we were reading a swan song, when in truth Whedon pulled the rug out from under our feet and revealed a love song to his favourite X-Man, who made the ultimate sacrifice to save the planet when all of Earth's mutants stood and gasped at her strength and resolve.

The rest of the issue? Colossus' death match didn't sink in since the overall saga obviously requires a cohesive reading. The choice of Emma as the person who spends the last moments with Kitty is an obvious one in retrospect, with the intense teacher-student relationship they were fighting to evade since #1 overcomes both of them. Beast finds true love sex. Cyclops puts his visor back on, in a simple gesture carrying tremendous weight. Whedon came in, opened the toybox, brought some toys back, sent others away to keep the balance (Kitty says it herself, she's dying in the same prison she freed Peter from), and in the end while returning most pieces to their proper place he has made us get to know each and every of these characters (we thought we knew) more intimately.

I do hope the X-Men can ever be this good again... And here's a grade I really don't disperse with easily:



(Matt Fraction / Khari Evans / Victor Olazaba)

Another self-contained story/legacy of a past Iron Fist: Bei Bang-Wen (1827-1860). Fraction provides an exciting done-in-one adventure with its fair share of twists, turns and ass-kicking. As enjoyable as it was, it leaves no after-taste; the exploits of this Iron Fist have already gone from my mind, and he didn't manage to forge any emotional connection. Khari Evans (Daughters of the Dragon) does an exceptional job in capturing the frenetic action, he richly deserves a regular gig on this book or other.



(Paul Tobin / David Hahn)

The FF in cosplay HELL!

In one of the oddest ideas to grace Marvel Adventures yet, the FF battle the Silver Mask, armed with a weapon that turns cosplay students into the polar opposites of the heroes they're dressed as. One shot creates the Anti-Fantastic Four, proving as ineffectual as they're evil. A second shot animates an army of Marvel's Who's Who against the FF. A third one introduces us to the Anti-Anti-FF and somewhere I hear a collective fanboy vein popping.

The issue is played wholly for kicks (do these FF even really do any super-heroing instead of volunteering for college movies and neighbourhood charity fairs?), but the in-jokes will only get you that far before the messy story structure crumbles around you.



(Fred Van Lente / Matteo Lolli / Christian Cornia & Christian Dalla Vecchia)

Iron Man vs Blacklash (loooove him), Happy Hogan spotlighted with an inane jealous grudge against Iron Man for being a better body guard to Stark, a surprise mystery villain that did take me by surprise...

Some of it works, some of it flops, but it all pales before the utter guffaw of having Iron-Man slip unnoticed out of the back of the speeding limo by flying out through a hatch underneath the car! Huh?



(Brian Reed / Andre Coelho)

'Secret Invasion' part 3. Ms Marvel crumbles. Hard. Reed is putting the pieces together from every story in the run so far, punching in one last explosive piece and giving us the most emotionally intense story in Ms Marvel's history.

I knew it was worthwhile sticking around this book for a reason besides Machine Man's (still scathing) one-liners.



(Brian Michael Bendis / Billy Tan)

Spidey crashes into the jungle (in another scene diverging out of Secret Invasion #2) to meet Ka-Zar (and Shanna with Zabu and the other wacky Savage Land Savages) and get the low-down on the Skrull SHIELD's dealings in the S. Land around New Avengers #1.

Good for your crossover needs but nothing more than average.



(Fred Van Lente / Gurihiru)

How cute is Katie Power! I just can't get over that cover!

The Power children are trapped amidst the Snark abducters and are trying to rescue their parents while discovering their newfound, well, powers. Katie of course ends up in the Snark nursery (it's true: all babies are cute, even baby alien predators) providing the most enjoyable scenes in the story, along with the usual laugh-out-loud interaction with her older brother Jack.

What's a book about family and growing up without some space rays and sibling rivalry, eh?



(Peter David / Val Semeiks / Victor Olazaba)

A shocker of an issue as PAD finally reveals the missing story of how She-Hulk got disbarred and ended up as a Bounty Hunter. Cleverly-plotted, and playing with the concept of super-hero law, albeit not as geekily as Dan Slott before him.

I do miss the courtroom drama of the title, and this issue was a happy respite from the ongoing ore that She-Hulk's book has become.


THOR v.2 #9

(J. M. Straczynski / Olivier Coipel)

They should have made Loki a girl years ago! Here sHe is, up to his/her (ok, let's stick with 'her' from now on) usual tricks, but the gender swap makes every scene all that more creepy and disturbing - as the added element of sexual tension is added in the equation.

The new story arc examines the Asgardians' interaction with the people down below Asgard. There's some dates, a basketball lesson, and a wild troll fight that pits Balder against Thor and spreads the seeds of a future coup with a wicked little revelation...

Plus: Loki on estrogen, don't forget!



(Brian Michael Bendis / Stuart Immonen / Wade Von Grawbadger)

Bendis delivers one of his darkest issues on the title, featuring Spider-man captured, chained and hung upside down by his lamest Ultimate villain: the Shocker. The absurdity of the villain's history only amplifies the drama and brutality of the interrogation scenes as Peter's fear (and his girlfriends' agony to find him and help him), especially interjected with flashbacks of Spidey prancing around cracking jokes at the villain.

Briliantly played, mr Bendis!



(Ed Brubaker / Mike Choi)

'X-Men: Divided' part 4. One issue before the wrap of the storyline and things finally heat up as both X-teams prepare for battle. Wolvie, Colossus and Nightcrawler in Russia escape their captors (with a shockingly cold reveal) stumbling upon a re-cooled Omega Red. Emma and Cyclops meet with Mastermind's (boy, the Wyngarde girls are very popular these days) brain-washed hippie X-Men team in flower-power San Fransisco. Brubaker still has pacing issues, as the San Fran storyline especially has taken two issues too many to reach this point, and I have little hope of seeing both these battles resolved satisfactorily in next issue's regular-sized conclusion.



(Fred Van Lente / Salva Espin)

Logan and Kitty travel to Transia on Magneto's trail ,but isntead stumble upon the High Evolutionary, Bova (BOVA! we love Bova, the insanely cuddly cow-nanny), and the rest of his evolved animal children (along with a hefty bulk of exposition).

It's all slicey slicey with a shocking last page in the classic Marvel Manner.

Poor Kitty kitty...



(Mike Carey / Scot Eaton & Mike Deodato / John Dell, Andrew Hennessy & Mike Deodato)

Xavier and Gambit take a road trip to uncover the truth behind Alamagordo, the shared origins and Mr Sinister's involvement in Xavier's own childhood. This issue's flashback sequences come from a period that few fans even bother acknowledging, the Alan Davis pre-Millenium run, where the particular Gambit-Xavier relationship was last showcased; LeBeau was never really much of a student to Xavier, and they had a special understanding that Carey brings forward subtly yet eloquently through their interactions.



(Kevin Grevioux / Mitch Breitweiser)

Gah.I don't know what pains me more here. The forced drama, the convenient plot coincidences, the stilted monologues, or the fake happy ending. Cassie Lang (Stature) is the late Ant-man's daughter and proud carrier of his superheroic legacy. Even against her mother's wishes and her foster cop dad's disdain she's still proud and fighting. ANT-MAN's legacy. That does take a lot of pride, really now... Grevioux forces his hand here; after a home dispute where Cassie almost lashes at her foster dad, she steps out and lucks onto the Growing Man (without explanation, for a villain who's always linked to Kang), and in the fight she accidentally drops her foe onto an onlooking cop - no wait, it's her foster dad! UGH.

Ridden with guilt, she starts shrinking into nothing, so her friends put her under the microscope and shrink down to talk her back to health. A fitting metaphor and great idea there, ignoring everything that leads to it - and what comes after. Cassie snaps out of it shockingly fast before the issue wraps up on a happy note with everyone eating pizza, the foster dad miraculously recuperating behind-the-scenes and Cassie's mom accepting her daughter's choices.



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