Thursday, April 23, 2015

Glib Comic Book Reviews 23 April 2015

Well, I have been watching some TV lately, but no movies. Will get together some end of tv season reviewing hopefully soon. But I once again, ave collected a few panels from this week's comic book new releases...

3 weeks into DC's Convergence Event. as usual, some better than others, a few kind of depressing. Marvel is nearing ends of arcs and comics before their big event starting soon. Other comic book companies luckily are not doing these events, making the fatigue less of a factor. Read more Boom, Image, Dark horse etc... cleanses the palette.

Starting with DC's Convergences because that's the order I read stuff...

One of the better titles this week was the 'New Teen Titans' of the pre Crisis days of the early 80's. These are "my Titans" and I enjoyed seeing pretty bang on interpretations. Though Dick I remember now was a bit more of a pill, back in the day. micromanage much Nightwing. Nice tangent verse characters as the 'enemies'... their dialogue made me want to revisit those tangent comics that at the time, I wasn't so hot on.

Pre Crisis Wonder Woman, who first wore the double 'W's on her armoured corset, is powerless and dresses like she did that time in the 70's when she was also powerless, power pantsuits, big earrings, and turtlenecks. Nice characterizations, the return of real (to my ears) Steve Trevor dialogue.  Good old Etta Candy. creepy vampire villains, diana Hulks out of her expensive knitwear. so good. Fave of the convergence week 3.

Pre Crisis Flash was also a real nice bit of nostalgia for me. The silver age Barry Allen has never really been duplicated. though the tv show does get the spirit of the thing. I almost cried a couple of times reading this, could have only been better with more Infantino-esque art. Once again, the best of these stories are not the ones where the heroes confront the big bad, or even each other, but detail their year under the dome, and how they have changed from  it.

Hawkman featured Tim Truman art which made my day. the best Hawk-artist after the late Joe Kubert imho. also a nice take on the 80's hawks who were maybe the most well rounded versions of the Hawks in my lifetime. Thangar for life!

I have some words for you: Justice League Detroit, and Vibe! I have a soft spot for this weird version of the JLA. great to see Ralph and Sue Dibney un-infinite Crisiesed or whatever. ugggh. Nice treatment of some long abandoned characters. fun stuff.

last of the Convergences is the most disappointing in many ways, the Ditko-y art was clunky, and it was still 'My LSH', which is the Superboy and the LSH, and just after Superboy stopped being a member. I was hoping for it to be Giffen-ier. not bad, but I love LSH more than any team and had higher hopes.

Okay I really had to cleanse my pallete after so many DC multiverses.... Bru and Epting's Velvet continues to be my favourite spy comic. Love the Madame Hydra hair, and that she's an aging spy. very well crafted. will be getting all the trades of this.

So over to Marvel, this panel believe it or not is from that All-New X-Men issue where Teen Bobby Drake is outed by teen Jean Grey, that leak of pages skipped some good dialogue in the middle of the those pages that made the whole thing seem more glib than it was. And I am of the opinion it could be positive all round. some bigger characters need to be more diverse, these days. Keep up. I am far more intrigued by these particular characters and what they are up to, all alive and well and whatnot!

Inhumans #0 was a nice surprise, with the return of one of my fave golden age heroes, as a really annoyed (and justly so) Inhuman, giving a bit more depth to the whole concept. well done, with odd but just odd enough artwork.

                                         Another surprise was the umpteenth time travel comic

I have read lately, 'Infinity Loop' it has a feisty but not so cliched heroine, and a fun sense of time travel tropes. lovely art.

Another strong #1 is the return of 'Empire' with the new series Empire: Uprising, from Dynamite and the original creators.  Can Golgoth hang on to the world he has conquered. Repercussions affect even the Doctor Doomiest of villains.

Speaking of empires, the ongoing Star Wars series continues it's entertaining first arc with Old Darth visiting his pal Jabba. Some great Greedo-eque parts of the story that must be seen. Bwahahaha

Wrapped my reading up with Dark Circle's (Archie Comics gritty super imprint) latest issue of The Black Hood. This is what the Rorschach prequel should have been more like. Some good street level vigilanteism being done here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Glib Comic Book Reviews!

Week two of my glib reviews of comics, from Wednesday April 15th

Trying to do these quick glib little reviews more often, leading to eventually some more feature kind of writing on comics, maybe including some dissection of my own brief tenure as a cartoonist. also podcasting. watch this blog for more info, as I figure out what I am doing.

This week in comic book panels...

First up are the Convergence titles the main title improves a lot by just focussing on some heroes teaming up, dealing with the setup of their last crossover, and the painful transition issue # 1. This panel right at the end makes me happy, Deimos! can Skartaris be in the mix? please let warlord come back, and if I can't write it, give it to someone good.

 Kingdom Come Superman trash talks Young Justice (the comic) Superboy. in the Convergence Superboy issue that was pretty enjoyable, capturing the fun that that version of Superboy was.

In The Azrael Convergence title "Shadow of the Bat" really you can't say it's not brokeback Batman and Azrael, because it is, as the broken but on the mend Batman teams up with Azrael to take down forgotten silly but memorable Kingpin ripoff Tobias Whale, before getting to the fighting other heroes stuff happens next issue. thus by avoiding the gimmick, a nice 'what if' story. I never dug that whole Azrael thing that much, but this makes me want to revisit it...

Convergence JLI was also pretty decent, as we get a bit of Bwahahaha, and some grimdark old battered kingdom come jla to boot.

Convergence Green Arrow warms my heart. this is my favourite iteration of GA, with Connor Hawke, his son, training to take over... and a more street level Ollie, who has that Ollie personality developed since the 70's that disappeared in Flashpoint. He's a 'hound' he's a Liberal, he's funny, he's not the TV arrow, which I don't mind. Make Ollie fun again, though I say. Here he meets some old friends but not. So definitely a better week for Convergence, for my money. It was nice to see Peter David's Supergirl again, and pony tail Lex, but I have too many panels as is.

Some great silly comics with a trippy edge from Archie's Dark Circle imprint With Issue #1 of The Fox, who back i the golden age was even more psychedelic than in this current incarnation. Great take on a weird old character.

The Fade Out is again one of the best comics of the week, textbook noir writing with groovy art. If you like LA Confidential type fiction, this is as close as you get in comics form.

Archie Vs. Predator is one of the best comics of the week, great suspenseful issue with a cliffhanger. Archie may be 'cooler' than their comics ever have been, these days.

Lost in the whatever quadrant with no dilithium arc of the ongoing "Star Trek" with the new cast comic. I like this story, it has a good OST vibe, despite the new faces. This comic is up and down. currently up.

Thor... stretching out who is the new female 'Thor' as long as possible, but giving us some nice character building moments along the way. There have been a lot of great Thor comics in the last 4-5 years. seriously, way better than the movies. it's a Thornaissance.

A rare 2 panels from one of my favourite single issues of an X-Men comic (Uncanny) with some great Magik/Kitty Pryde moments. I like the characters acknowledging their long intertwined history, and having some realistic people who have been around each other too much dialogue.

Ms. Marvel continues to easily be the best mainstream thing out there. cute, yet suspenseful. hitting it's stride, this comic.

New issue of Secret Identities. I am really liking this riff on the "Terra arc" from the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans. An interesting team of characters, that you are already sold on a couple of issues in. good solid old school comics.

More Archie Comics Dark Circle? sort of, this is not your grandmother's Sabrina The Teenage Witch, nor is it your mom's... solid witchy horror comic more evocative of old 70's Charlton horror than anything.

Hexed takes an interesting turn after the game changing events of the last few issues, The Intern still isn't getting paid, but she's earning her keep, as is her pal ghost kitty!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Return of Josie's Comics panels of the week.

Josie's comics panels of the week aka Glib Reviews of new comics.

Originally I did a few of these comic book posts on this blog, then I joined a facebook comics chat group, and started doing them there. But now I feel like, since I am doing these anyway. maybe I should blog them.

***All artwork, etc obviously copyright the various creators and or companies, namely Marvel, DC, Boom, Image, Dark Horse, Valiant, and so on. I am using these images for review/homage purposes. I have no idea if that covers the copyright, but if anyone wants their art taken down shoot me a message and I will gladly do so. I am just reviewing stuff I dig****

So this week DC officially starts it's Convergence Event, which is exactly like Marvel's Secret Wars, but quirkier grimdarkier n whatever. as with all crossover/reboots some of it is dreadful, some meh, mostly meh, but with a few real gems. which really is all I ask from either Marvel or DC, a few gems among the 'born again' 'watchmen' 'ms. marvel-esque rehashings, etc. These crossovers both strike me as saying to the fans, here's a bone, your fave versions of characters from whenever battling your other faves from wherever. don't say we never gave you anything the next time we destroy your childhood with a reboot.

Convergence Batman & Robin Mini: is Snyder Batman (the current 'new 52' Bats, his Gotham, Damian, and his Dr, Freeze etc . the thing is all played a bit tongue in cheek, and is better for it.

no panel, but the actual 'convergence' main mini, was awful

Convergence Superman has I got killed by Doomsday Superman as it's lead... and some quirky other earth with maudlin superman, and captain thunder aka Shazam. some Elseworlds bit players, but fun. good artwork

The convergence 'lady' JLA is nothing like the lady avengers in Secret Wars. These ladies go shopping. actually fun nostalgia for that brief James Robinson written pre flashpoint JLA that had Zatannna, Vixen and Jade! and of course Starman, Congorilla.... I liked that JLA, nice to see, but they are fighting flashpoint d-bag Aquaman. blergh. hope they make short work of that reality.

Nightwing & Oracle is the highlight of the Convergence week one. That Dick and Babs chemistry, and Babs as Oracle, which was perhaps the best Bat thing DC did throughout the 90's up to the Morrison Batman (excepting Elseworlds obviously) I teared up reading this more than once.

The Convergence Question was the second best for me, Renee Montoya, with some good GCPD stuff thrown in, as well as some other familiar Batfolk,and a groovy take on Two Face.

the other Convergence titles this week were okay. some moments, but kind of underwhelming. the ones that work best play the least attention to the gimmick.

All New Hawkeye - Jeff Lemire, is building nicely on some of the Clint/Barney stuff from the recently cancelled series, and the Swordsman! One of the first Avengers stories I read as a kid had the swordsman, nostalgia from marvel too!

All New Spider Woman, is light breezy and in my books just snarky enough to be as fun as She hulk or Captain Marvel. nice soft reboot.

Ant-Man is growing on me every month. no wait. yes really. it is the new Superior Foes for me. darkness amid the laughs though. a step up.

Darth Vader has his own comic, and it is really good. Don't call me Annie!

Howard the Duck also has his own comic in this crazy world we live in, or Spider Man lives in. something. The yuks and existential angst continue in an even better second issue. Sexy Prisoners!

Astro City hits another one issue epic out of the the park. more nostalgia.

Copperhead is the best western in space comic you aren't reading yet, or if you are, good, then! seriously some solid western comics done with dorky aliens.

Birthright careens onward into darker weirder territory. I will be excited to read this whole story in one go, when it's done (or arc. I don't think it's ongoing?)

Rat Queens Rule. really they do. I just rolled a twenty to prove it. I read this 3 times before moving on. I rarely do more than than a double read, first time through.

Southern Cross (by Gotham Academy writer/artist Becky Cloonan) is some fun spacey adventure stuff. very 'heavy metal.'

The Sundowners gets realer and realer. another great alt super hero comic that is better than 90% of marvel/dc teams ...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review Of It Follows!

Glib Reviews Of New Movies!

- Directed By David Robert Mitchell

It Follows is a great example of how you can make a really decent film with little more than a solid concept, some punchy dialogue, over the top mood music, and a few great locations. The movie itself is a wee bit overhyped in my opinion. It is a very good little movie, but I wasn’t quite as blown away as some folks seem to be. There is little that is revolutionary, rather the movie turns a couple of horror tropes on their heads, and tosses in some really good acting from the young actors in the piece. 

In the setup, we see a scantily glad young woman running from some unseen (to all but her) force following her. When we get to our heroes, who are tres modern, though often drive cool older cars. Maybe because: Detroit is the setting. Without spoiling things too much, what makes this film so clever is that it turns the teenage sex (if you do it, you die) movie tropes with some nice twists. While the cliche of sex being deadly for the teens is what they are working with, the kids have a chance to fight what following them, and they do, in typical dumb kid fashion, rather than somehow becoming seasoned creepy being hunters overnight.

I might show this film in a horror film class, as an example of pretty traditional structures (the music is so John Carpenter-esque as to be occasionally humorous and not as frightening as it might be) twisted in such a way as to seem unique. The way that the kids figure out how to stop, or get rid of what is following one of them is smarter than many movies that would just end, in hopes of sequel green lights. There is room for that here, but I kind of hope not. The concept is cool, but overuse would dim it significantly.

A really solid little thriller that doesn’t waste a lot of time, despite giving all the central characters far more humanity than you see in most horror/thriller/suspense movies. I quite enjoyed seeing this in the actual theatre instead of waiting for the dvd. Beware the hype, though, it is good, but by no means is it some kind of masterpiece.

8.0 really nice dates that go horribly supernaturally wrong outta 10

Monday, April 6, 2015

Goodreads | Josie Boyce (Vancouver, BC, Canada)'s review of The Magician's Land

Goodreads | Josie Boyce (Vancouver, BC, Canada)'s review of The Magician's Land:

'via Blog this'

THX 1138 review, end of the Solo Film Fest.

Glib Reviews of Old Movies

Everything Is Coming Up Zardoz!  Day 6

I finished up my little quirky Sci Fi of the 70’s solo film fest last night with George Lucas’ other Sci Fi movie of the 70’s and actually his best sci fi movie of the 70’s as far as actual film making goes. Yes, that’s right. THX 1138 is  a “better film” than Star Wars.

- Directed By George Lucas

Like I say above I was really impressed with how well THX 1138 holds up to over 40 years later scrutiny. It may not be quite as capital ‘I’ Iconic as Star Wars (that’s episode 4 to the young people) but its pretty close. The look and the feel of it, have aged really well and the dystopia that is on display is in my opinion more realistic to today’s viewers than those of 1971.

Robert Duvall is the title character, a hazardous materials handler in a giant factory, he spends his days putting rods of plutonium into small spaces (think the opening of The Simpsons, like that) and at night he goes home to his apartment that he shares with a woman named LUH 3417... Everyone in this world has to take mood altering medication, sex is forbidden, work, home, eat food pellets, that kind of dulled sense dystopia that our own world is possibly o the precipice of. They make plans to escape to ‘the superstructure’ somewhere outside the city, where they figure they can live free.

The perspective of the dystopia shifts around very nicely showing a bit of the behind the curtains, giving you backstory, and exposition whilst THX continues his story, LUH goes off her meds, and so does THX, they have some illicit (any) sex. They also have a voyeur in a super creepy Donald Pleasence as SEN 5421. SEN is a mid-level bureaucrat/security cam voyeur, who get LUH shifted to another apartment so he can be THX’s room mate. Stalking is a persistent part of the human condition, drugged out of our minds or not.

Eventually of course Duvall makes good his need to escape, and the chase that ensues is entertaining, and disturbingly prescient in terms of the value law enforcement puts on individuals. The corporate dystopia of this movie is to me chilling, as it seems not such a stretch from where we are now.

I watched this movie wearing my nice headphones, which is a real treat particularly, as the Walter Murch soundscape deserves to be experienced in full. The look and feel of the world, the bittersweet ending, all of it herald much of the Sci-Fi to come in the decades after THX made its debut in 1971. 

I have watched this movie maybe twice before, and never liked it nearly as much as I did this time. The editing, the story are all tight, and things click into place just as they should, right up to the end. The actors all deliver striking raw performances. The otherwise unknown Maggie McOmie was this time around for me, at her best when she was silent, and emoting with her face, her whole body. From her IMDB profile, it seems this was her only feature. It's too bad, I would have liked to have seen her in more, based on this performance. Subtle and she holds her own with Duvall, who is not holding back either. This performance has moved up my Duvall rankings of his performances. Pleasence is at his creepy best with the smaller role that he has, the wanna be leader, the guy who in the end is all talk. 

I really do think this is a better made film than Star wars. Tighter, less ‘explainy’ and yet it will never have the following. For a cineaste though, THX 1138 is a tasty treat, rather than a smorgasbord of archetypes, like Star Wars

8.6576 Silver faced android cops putting the boots to you outta 10

That is the end of my “Everything is Coming Up Zardoz!” Solo Film Fest. Today I am going to see a New Release in the actual movie theatre, apparently a great scary movie, so you probably know which one. Look for that tomorrow.

I do want to keep blogging in this space after that though, so I think I will have at least a day or two of quick TV show reviews, a book review (from my goodreads page) and some comic book reviews from this Wednesday’s haul. Next weekend I am going to start my next solo film festival, which I am thinking of calling “Easy Riders & Inland Empires.”  It will be an Existential Solo Film Fest. Lots of films from different genres, and cultures. One Director from the Sci Fi fest will get a film there too. Watch the skies!