Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dark Junk Food For Thought

MOON KNIGHT VOL. 5: DOWN SOUTH (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Moon Knight (Vol. 5) Nos. 26-30 (cover dates March- July, 2009)
This was another solid read. I really enjoy this title, but fail to see why Marvel axed it just to get the spike in sales for another Issue 1. Marvel seems to be moving in the right direction, restoring the original numbering to their flagship titles, and this seems like a huge step backwards. On top of that, Issue 30 obviously points to the next arc, so why not just keep the series going? I love the Zapata Brothers, both as villains and allies in this arc. Their Facebook jokes were hilarious as well, and it would be nice to see them as a semi-regular feature in the title.

X-MEN: THE SHATTERING (Marvel, 2009)
Collects Astonishing X-Men Nos. 1-3, Uncanny X-Men Nos. 372-375 X-Men Nos. 92-95 and selections from X-Men 1999 Yearbook (cover dates September, 1999- February, 2000).
I wish that this were released prior to the two X-Men Vs. Apocalypse trades that came out a year or two ago, as these issues precede those and would have made for a more enjoyable read overall. Cable, Bishop, and Gambit all suck ass, and I can't stand the sight of them. This whole thing is largely overwritten and has cheesy dialogue all around, which is a shame considering Alan Davis' solid plotting throughout. This isn't as bad as most '90s X-Men, as there some interesting ideas set forth here which would unfold in X-Treme X-Men.
NEW AVENGERS VOL. 10: POWER (Marvel, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects New Avengers Nos. 48-50 and Secret Invasion: Dark Reign (cover dates February- April, 2009)
Just like fans of the Detroit Lions, I cannot give up on the Avengers, even when they are "losing" because of Brian Michael Bendis' lazy writing. I mean, come on, the whole Secret Invasion: Dark Reign one shot is nothing but a conversation between people with the same lame jokes and wiseass comments that Bendis applies to every single character that he writes. I also despise his condescending attitude towards superheroes. If this jackass is too cool to write superheroes then he should go back to writing "real" comics. I honestly believe that Bendis is a double agent who takes a paycheck from DC and is being paid to destroy the Marvel Universe. He's pretty goddamn close right now, with the uber-retarded Norman Osborn running the show thing.
Collects New Avengers Nos. 51-54 (cover dates May- August, 2009)
More lazy Bendis writing, but at least something happens in this arc. I don't understand the whole "Doctor Voodoo" handle, though, because Jericho Drumm is not a doctor. He's still Brother Voodoo whether he is the new Sorcerer Supreme or not.
Collects Swamp Thing Nos. 77-81 and Swamp Thing Annual No. 3 (cover dates 1987- Holiday, 1988)
The Swamp Thing Annual was the most abysmal thing that I have read in quite some time. The core series remains an intriguing read. Unfortunately, this is the last trade that is available for this run of the title, so I will have to resort to online synopses of the issues following the ones reprinted here in this trade.
Collects Dead of Night Featuring Werewolf By Night Nos. 1-4 (cover dates March- June, 2009), Tomb of Dracula No. 18 and Werewolf By Night No. 15 (cover date for both March, 1974).
This was the MAX (Marvel's adult imprint) mini-series and, as such, is set outside of main continuity. I am always thrilled to see my beloved Werewolf By Night in any capacity, and this was not a letdown. Super violent and fun, Mico Suayan's artwork is amazing. I also have to give props to Ian Hannin's coloring, as it really complemented the artwork. As I have stated repeatedly, computer color separations generally detract from the artwork, with many colorists going apesh*t with all of the bells and whistles and forgetting that they are there to add to, not replace, the linework. I would like to see more new WBN.
RAY BRADBURY'S FAHRENHEIT 451 (Hill and Wang, 2009)
The term graphic novel is bandied about with reckless abandon. A graphic novel is a book length comic book that has been previously unpublished in a periodical format, like this title. Most 'graphic novels' in fine book stores like Borders are, in reality, trade paperbacks, because they compile issues previously released in a periodical format. Watchmen and Sin City? Trade paperbacks, people! OK, that aside, I was glad to see this solicited simultaneously in hardcover and softcover. Given my hardcover fetish, that's obviously what I went with. I wish that I hadn't. What we have here is a glued, mousetrap binding style hardcover, dubbed as such by me because as soon as you let the book go, *SNAP* shut it goes. A softcover would have been preferable to that. I first encountered this story via the 1960's movie 20 years ago. We had a student teacher in some high school English class while whatever teacher it was had surgery or something. Anyways, he was a very engaging teacher, Mr. Johnson I believe his name was, and he found ways to make books seem cool. This being 1990, the Judas Priest court case over some kid's suicide was in full bloom, and the Parental Music Resource Center (PMRC) was in full swing, slapping those Explicit content stickers on albums and threatening to end life as a 17 year old Metalhead knows it. Censorship seemed like a very real threat to my adolescent way of life. He showed us the movie of this book, which I eventually read the book of, and it left a very real impact on me. Fast forward almost 20 years later, and I saw this solicited and had to order it. This is a wonderful graphic novel adaptation done with Ray Bradbury's blessing and will hopefully find yet another generation of open minded people. This story is the reason that I will never subscribe to the notion of the electronic book. It would take but a few keystrokes to eliminate something controversial, but it is much more difficult to destroy the physical book.
Collects Spider-Girl Nos. 60-66 (cover dates July, 2003- January, 2004)
Another solid, enjoyable read. Spider-Girl and the whole MC2 universe rocks.

Alice Cooper: Love It To Death, Killer, and School's Out 24K Gold disc reissues
I finally got around to picking these up, and they sound amazing. The original CD versions of Love It To Death and Killer were abysmal, sounding muddy with the 1% lag problem that was common on so many CDs mastered in the '80s. These sound crisp and clean without being compressed and punchy sounding. The bass drum doesn't sound like a cannon, it sounds like a bass drum, etc. I would like to see Billion Dollar Babies get this treatment, as they messed up the fade on Hello Hooray into Raped and Freezin' on the remaster earlier this decade, ditto Welcome To My Nightmare, as that remaster actually sounds remixed to me. It's nice to have all of the original packaging elements present as well.
One of the most amazing and visually beautiful movies ever made. The CGI and 3-D are flawless and help to draw you in to the storyline. The plot is a bit predictable and it hits you over the head with its message, but it is a good message so I'll let it slide. I absolutely love the fact that this has nice clean edits that didn't rely on nanosecond camera angle changes or rock concert loud explosions, etc. (although there are great battle and action sequences throughout) to keep your attention. This is just an extremely well made and enjoyable popcorn flick that is almost Lord of the Rings good. Almost. It's nice that one of the best movies of the decade came during the final few weeks. No product placement and it hits all of the sweet spots, so it gets a 10/10.

1 comment:

  1. Fahrenheit 451 my arse. Turns out that book paper spontanously combusts at 451 Celsius, but Ray Bradbury thought that F 451 made for a better title.