Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review- DAREDEVIL BY MARK WAID VOL. 7



DAREDEVIL BY MARK WAID VOL. 7 (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)

Collects Daredevil #31-36 (cover dates November, 2013- April, 2014)

Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Chris Samnee with Jason Copland (finishes, #33) and Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez (#34)
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez

I read the first two oversized hardcovers (the equivalent of the first four trades) of this title, and while I enjoyed them I pruned it from my list of titles that I follow. There are simply too many collected editions being pumped out from all publishers on a weekly basis and some things just have to give. It was my soft spot for the macabre that sucked me into buying this book. Daredevil plus a heaping of helping of beloved Bronze Age monsters such as Simon Garth, the Zombie, Satana, the Frankenstein Monster, The Living Mummy, and Werewolf By Night...where do I sign?

Some !!!SPOILERS!!! ahead...you have been warned.

While these issues were being made in mid to late 2013 they feel contemporary in terms of events happening right this minute in the United States. Prosecuting D.A. James Priest, a hero to the black community, speaks out on the verdict in a case not unlike the Trayvon Martin shooting, when the Jester hacks into a newsfeed, essentially putting words in his mouth on live television and inciting a racial riot. It really echoed events of the past year and was as eerie a predictor of current events as Ed Brubaker's prediction of the collapse of the American economy in Captain America back in 2007-2008. Ant-Man helps diffuse the ensuing riots.

It is revealed that the Serpent Society, a white supremacist group, is behind it all. Matt Murdock (Daredevil) has his partner, Foggy Nelson, do some research on them. Foggy finds that the root of the group is supernatural in nature, tracing back to the oft-mentioned book The Darkhold. This made me smile, as many Bronze Age monster comics mentioned it. Matt then seeks help from Doctor Strange, who points him to Jack Russell, an expert on the book. Matt travels to Stone Hills, Kentucky, to meet him when the reason why he is an expert is revealed...Jack is cursed by this book and becomes a Werewolf By Night because of it.

The monsters tell Daredevil where to go to get The Darkhold, although they warn him that they have all failed in the attempt. Daredevil ends up burning the book except for a few pages, ultimately winding up in battle with the Serpent Squad as well as the Serpent Society. Elektra is involved in the battle, although I thought that she was dead. I mean, she was at one time, but these things change. The Serpents have a far reach, and they offer Matt the chance to save Foggy's life with a revolutionary cancer treatment. They give him the option of backing off and his friend gets the treatment or they are going to spill every secret about him, revealing his identity, nature of his powers, and origin to the world. Matt double crosses them and outs himself as Daredevil, resulting in both he and Foggy becoming disbarred. The series ends with Daredevil moving back to San Francisco since he can no longer practice law there, but he can do so in California because he was licensed to practice law there forty plus years ago (in our time).

Mark Waid is a good writer, and I have enjoyed his Silver Age flavored run on the title. They senselessly rebooted the numbering again on this title even though he stayed on. Marvel's endless renumbering has made comics meaningless. They may as well go to all cover dates. They are supposedly going to do “seasons” now. Give me legacy numbering or I won't give you my money! I no longer buy anything new that Marvel produces and live for collected editions of pre-90s material.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone-
Paper stock: Good weight glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reviews- Sinister 2 and Buckcherry/ Rock N Roll



Sinister 2 (Gramercy, 2015)



I didn't remember much about the first Sinister other than the fact that I enjoyed it, but I didn't let that didn't stop me from going to catch this movie opening weekend. The Bogey man character has more screen time this time out, and the film feels a bit weaker because of it. While his angular face and extra long fingers are convincingly creepy, I liked the idea of not really knowing what was going on in the first one better. Once you explain that there is a being of some sort pulling all the strings then things have a structure to them. The chaos and the unknown are more frightening to me. Your mileage may vary.



The Bogey Man/ dead ghost kids/ found footage hybrid is entertaining enough that I can overlook gaps in logic and any cliches that these types of movies always have. The whole super 8 camera and ancient record playing providing the sound seems labored to me. While old fashioned stuff and a lack of technology is somewhat frightening it removes the vibe of the film from the present day. While I like old school Horror stuff all of the great Horror movies (Psycho, Halloween, the original Friday The 13th) were all rooted in the then-present day. Young fans need a proper context to draw them into the world that the movie is trying to create.



I am admittedly too old for these types of films, as they are largely aimed at teenagers and young adults. I can still enjoy movies like this for what they are: a reason to forget your troubles outside of the theater walls. You could certainly do worse than Sinister 2. I would probably be in for a third one. Maybe they could have a possessed eight track player or Betamax machine or some other obsolete playback unit since the super 8mm camera was destroyed in this one.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.



Buckcherry/ Rock N Roll (F Bomb, 2015)

I am uncertain why I still buy Buckcherry albums. I loved their first two albums when they came out, believing them to be natural progressions and updates of AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Kiss and their shows back then were a lot of fun. Their subsequent albums have been enjoyable, albeit ever so slightly less enjoyable each time out. It's mainstream Rock for an era when Rock is no longer mainstream.

Josh Todd's voice is enjoyable, a sort of raspier Steven Tyler, but it's the lyrics that seem adolescent and hamper the music for me (Tight Pants, for example). They have added occasional horns and organs to try and broaden their sound, which they sound bored with. The music is mostly mid-tempo or a notch above. They used to get up and go more on the first two albums. The Madness is the first song on the album that rises to the occasion, and that comes six songs into the ten song, 36:11 minute offering.

Wood sounds like a more Rock and Roll Three Dog Night song during the chorus, and I mean that as a compliment. The rest of the song falls flat on its face, though. This album isn't bad by any stretch, but it isn't great, either. It's good enough that I'll pull it out and play it every so often but I don't see it playing on loop in my car the way that the first album and Time Bomb did when they came out. Buckcherry remain the Rock and Roll equivalent of Little Caesars pizza. Good enough that it gets the job done but not good enough to make me dream about it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.75 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into the physical packaging. This CD comes in a standard jewel box and has a booklet with lyrics. The album cover seems lame and low budget, undoubtedly designed to go on $35 T-shirts to be sold to folks who buy $9 beers at big venue shows.

I found out (after buying this) that the Best Buy version has two bonus tracks. What a crock of shit. Fuck bands that do this kind of crap. Thanks for insulting those of us who actually bought the album by telling us that we bought it at “the wrong place” so we don't get the whole album. Tactics like this make me forgive people who torrent their music. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review- JUDGE DREDD: THE RESTRICTED FILES VOL. 1



JUDGE DREDD: THE RESTRICTED FILES VOL. 1 (2000 AD, First Printing, 2010; Softcover)

Collects the Judge Dredd stories from 2000 A.D. Summer Special 1977, 2000 A.D. Annual 1978-1985, 2000 A.D. Sci-Fi Special 1978-1984, Dan Dare Annual 1979, 1980, and Judge Dredd Annual 1981- 1985 (cover dates Summer 1977- Annual 1984)

Writers: John Wagner, Alan Grant, Steve Moore, and Malcom Shaw
Artists: Mike McMahon, Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland, Kevin O'Neill, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, Ian Gibson, David Jackson, Keith Page, Colin Wilson, Cliff Robinson, Robin Smith, Jose Casanovas, and John Byrne

This book collects the material from the ancillary specials that should have been included in the core Complete Case Files line. I am guessing that the reason why they didn't go that route originally is that many of these issues are in color and the first bunch of CCFs are in black and white. Later volumes in CCFs are in full color, but the optimal route would be what they did for the third Rogue Trooper collection: Coated stock paper so that they can print the color stories in color and in their proper place. That ship has sailed, although there is a hardcover of The Complete Case Files Vol. 1 on the horizon. We'll see if that rectifies this error. If it does, that, along with the larger trim size that it will boast, may just suck me in for the double dip. Kill me now.

These stories are all over the place in terms of quality. These are all self-contained short stories for obvious reasons, since they appeared in random special editions to lure new readers into the fold. There are a number of references to then-current events in the core title that would have made these stories more enjoyable if they were presented in their proper context in the Complete Case Files line, especially the one with the sort-of return of Fergie, King Of The Big Smelly.

We get treated to a Brian Bolland drawn story in The Alien Zoo from the 2000 A.D. Annual 1982. I was shocked to see John Byrne handle the artwork in Block Out At The Crater Bowl from 2000 A.D. Sci-Fi Special 1983. I was unaware that he had ever done work for the UK comic industry. It also makes me wish that he would have been able to give this character a shot, because I think that he could have done some cool stuff with him. Oh well, at least we have this one story.



It's interesting to see the airbrushed and water colored art, as some UK comics were printed on slick paper. While it looks primitive by modern computer coloring it was a real step forward. I remember seeing some of the Marvel Magazines from the late '70s and thinking how cool comics on slick paper with an expanded color palette looked.

This was an uneven but entertaining read. Aside from the stories mentioned this is for completists only.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

The OCD zone- These books are wider than standard trade paperbacks, although they are still smaller than the original publications.
Five of the covers which Judge Dredd appeared on are presented in coloUr in the back of the book.
Linework and Color restoration: High resolution scans with minimal tinkering. Since many of these are in color you get to see the limitations of the printing processes of the time.
Paper stock: Thick glossy coated stock.
Binding: Sewn binding on a softcover? Yes please.
Cardstock cover notes: Dull matte coating on the cardstock which is easily scuffed, even when handled gingerly.