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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla Review

Ah, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. It's probably the most energetic and bombastic Godzilla movie ever made. Before this film, the G series were suffering from some poorly made films. After Destroy All Monsters, the films went into a decline. Godzilla vs. Hedorah would stand out as a well-done entry with no stock footage, but the rest: Revenge, Vs. Gigan, and Vs. Megalon, they had a very low budget. This film would bring back G to his glory with the inclusion of what would be a fan favorite, Mechagodzilla. With its energetic tone and classic plot, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla proves to be a highlight when the films where declining.

Official description from Sony TriStar:

Imagine a monster with the enormity and strength of Godzilla, but enhanced with rocket-propelled legs, nuclear finger missiles and a suit of indestructible steel. At first, this titan of terror wears a reptilian skin, making him indistinguishable from the real Godzilla -- and when the two super-monsters battle, the entire world is confused by this Jurassic imposter. But when the gloves come off, so does the lizard skin, and the real threat is exposed. But who on Earth would create such a destructive creature? Or perhaps, it's not from Earth at all...

Back in the Showa days, there were two main Godzilla directors: Ishiro Honda and Jun Fukuda. You can tell by the films how different they are. Honda appears to prefer a classy and 'darker' tone whereas Fukuda prefers a bombastic and energetic tone. Making his debut in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, you could already differentiate him from Honda. Who's the better director is up to the viewer to decide, but both have a solid track record. Honda appears to have more of a quality approach, whereas Fukuda prefers a more 'fun' approach, as seen here. The film begans rather awesomely, with Anguirus making his way somewhere underneath the ocean. One must love the character Fukuda injects into this film, all the monsters have distinctive personalities. I also love some of the concepts here, especially the Fake Godzilla disguise. Now that was unique and something you've never seen before in the G films. More on the monsters soon, but first the cast.

The strange thing about this film is that there's really no set main character. It's a bit unusual, it feels like the film wasn't developing the characters on purpose. There's Gosuke, his brother Masahiko, and two female leads, Saeko Kaneshiro and Eiko Miyajima. There's also an Interpol Agent in the form of Nanbara. Now he was a blast to watch on screen, 70's espionage at its best. There's really not much to say about the other characters. They aren't bad, but not much emotion was emitting. They were just there to keep the story moving. Saeko had some genuine acting in some of her scenes, but everyone else wasjust there, nothing to write home about in the acting apartment. Oh, let's not forget about Professor Miyajima. A pretty solid performance, his guilt later and wanting to help Nanbara felt fluid and real. The main villain aside from Mechagodzilla would be Kuronuma, the leader of the Aliens of the Third Planet from the Black Hole. Nanbara and Kuronuma were definitely the best human characters. Goro Mutsumi really gave a solid performance as the villain, probably the best human antagonist performance from any  Godzilla film, only rivaled by the Controller of Planet X from Monster Zero.

Wow, the monsters had some incredible scenes this time around. Whereas in the previous two entries where there's only one BIG monster fight at the end, the film satisfies with more than one fun fight. After watching Son of Godzilla, the suit used in this film just looks 100x better. In fact, it's my personal favorite suit aside from the one used in 2000. Full of character and is just awesome, this Godzilla is definitely my favorite incarnation aside from the 2000 one. People may think his move-set and the way he fights cheesy, but it's truly fun and a treat to watch on the screen. Mechagodzilla makes his proud introduction here. This robot is the 70's incarnated into a character! Man, looking back at that time, his design was truly unique. Full of character and style, something future robots in the franchise would lack. Anguirus as you know makes his triumph return here. The suit is the same one from Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla vs. Gigan, it still holds up great. By far the best Anguirus suit. Hey, let's not forget King Caesar. A unique design, it looked like a cross between a lion and a dog. (Since it was modeled after a Shisa, a beast that looks like a combination of a dog and a lion.) Great concept, good execution, but underused. I would have liked to see more of a team-up between him and G.

This is one energetic soundtrack. You can tell that this is a Fukuda film thanks to it. Can't touch Ifukube's themes, but they are fun nonetheless. They're great for battles, especially the Fake Godzilla vs. Anguirus theme. And Godzila gets his classic theme back, with a 70's remix to it. (And who doesn't like the incredibly catchy King Caesar theme?) The monster scenes are just fun, and doesn't get tiresome at all. (The Heisei films are guilty of this.) Fake Godzilla's emergence was dramatic, as was his transformation into his real form. The fight with Anguirus was very well-done and just brutal. The part where Fake Godzilla breaks his jaw ranks among the most brutal in the G films. (At 16, I still flinch at that scene.) You really do feel for Anguirus as he walks away limping. Godzilla's emergence was cool, but a bit strange. The way the film shows you was like he juat popped out of that warehouse. The first showdown between him and Mechagodzilla was well choreographed, we even get a beam war, something the Heisei films would later overuse. The final showdown is very impressive and just (yes, I'm using this word again) energetic. Mechagodzilla's final assault was a pretty spectacular show. In fact, the effects as a whole were very good in this film. The explosions were just spectacular. I must question a few things however. The scene where Azumi Nobility has a vision that a monster will come down and bring fire to the land is accompanied by a few stills. In those stills you hear the familiar cackle of King Ghidorah, then they actually show a still of him burning Japan and its people It always did puzzle me why they did that since ol' Ghidorah doesn't have anything to do with the story. (Perhaps a vision for Destroy All Monsters? You never know.) But yeah, that didn't make much sense. I also must question the part where Gosuke was chasing a Simeon on the ship. He had a gun, why didn't he use the blasted thing? Then it's an eye-roll scene when the Simeon uses the gun that he COULD have used against the alien. And....while being steamed to death why does no one take off their coats? Now that I didn't get. It also seems that Godzilla gets some strange powers in the later Showa films. In Vs. Hedorah, he flew, in Vs. Megalon, he flew-kicked, and in this one he uses magnetic powers. It's execution was pretty cheesy, (you could see the strings when he was pulling Mechagodzilla to him) but plain fun. You just gotta love these films and their craziness.

Overall, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla represents a highlight in the Showa era. After Vs. Gigan and Vs. Megalon, this was truly welcome. The monsters have character and are just a blast to watch on screen. The acting was a bit stale however. Not horrible, but not much emotion. The story is great, with the Simeons being good alien invaders. (Planet of the Apes fans will get a kick out of them.) Mechagodzilla proves to be a great adversary for the King of Monsters. King Caesar makes a fine addition to the universe. It's just a really great and fun Godzilla movie. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is something I'd even recommend to non-fans, you will have a blast watching it.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Son of Godzilla Review

It's very interesting took at the evolution of these films. Like, if you watch the original 54 film, this light-hearted film would appear to be the complete opposite of that. Gojira was a moody, depressing film. Son of Godzilla is a light-hearted adventure about the King of the Monsters teaching his son Minya the ropes of being a Godzilla. It's interesting how a series evolves over time. Son of Godzilla is a 1967 film famous for one thing: the first appearance of the infamous Minya, who would go one to appear in three more films. Son of Godzilla is a different kind of Godzilla film, even for the Showa era. It has a lot of heart, and deepens Godzilla's character.

Official description from Sony TriStar:

On an uninhabited island, United Nations scientists experiment with changing the climate, cooling desert temperatures to provide more fertile land for growing crops. Unfortunately, the experiment takes an accidental tragic turn when a radioactive burst emits a thunderstorm of fire. Huge native praying mantises suddenly grow to 160 feet, tearing the island apartuntil they uncover a monstrous-sized egg. The egg hatches and the shocked scientists are confronted by a baby Godzilla. The infant's screams bring his father to the rescue and now the original Godzilla and his son want revenge. What will it take to stop them?

This film is a lot less cheesy than it sounds. Sure, it has some silly moments, (Minya tripping over a rock, him tripping on Godzilla's tail, him tripping....) but has a pretty interesting story. As you read in the description, it's about a bunch of people conducting an experiment that will 'change mankind.' Sogell Island is inhabited by a bunch of giant praying mantises known as Kamacuras. (Dubbed Gimantis in the American version.) Also inhabiting is the giant spider known as Kumonga. (Dubbed Spiega in the American version.) So as you can see, we have giant insects this time around. (Give me them over a lobster anyday.) First of all, the setting is drastically different than most G films, it takes place completely on Sogell Island. So no buildings getting blown up this time. We also get something you never thought you'd see in a giant monster film.....Godzilla being a father and 'training' his son. More on that soon, but let's talk about the cast.

The main character would be a news journalist in the form of Goro Maki. A bit too over-the-top at beginning. (I'm not going anywhere! *Then sits down with his arms crossed.*) As the film goes on, he proves to be an interesting focus, which is good, cause he's surrouded by a bunch of dull and uninteresting characters. Dr. Kusumi proves to be a ggod leader, but the rest of his men are just one-shots. Only one of them gets some development, he goes insane, which would have been interesting if handled better. The focus is also on an inslander girl in the form Riko Matsumiya. Definitely one of the better characters in the story, she felt the most 'real.' The humans in this film are just really mixed. They aren't as sleep-inducxing as some of the Heisei films, but pale, and I mean pale to a lot of the Showa flicks. (Monster Zero puts this film to shame in that aspect.)

One of the infamous things about this film is the Godzilla suit. It's pretty ugly, right? It could possibly be the worst Godzilla suit ever. That aside, we get to see G acting as a parent, which is worth the watch in itself. Seriously, the Godzilla movies are the only things you'll find monsters with such deep character. You'll be having good laughs watching G train Minya. (He threatens to slap him if he doesn't attempt to shoot a blast of atomic radiation.) But don't think G's gone soft, he still fights with everything. (Love the scene where he keeps slamming Kamacurus to the ground.) Minya is one ugly looking thing, I personally don't see much of a resemblance between him and G, looks more like a frog. It's cute....but man, it's also one ugly-looking suit. Let's talk Kamacurus. Now this may be hard to believe, but films were actually done back then without CGI at all. (Imagine that!) So it's just props/practical effects here for the inscent. And my goodness, it looks fantastic. The prop looks extremely realistic, not bad for a film from over 40 years ago. Then there's the final boss, giant spider Kumonga. Once again, the prop is excellent, one of the best props I've ever seen. There's a very nice build-up to the final battle with it. Think it's just an over-sized spider? Think again, this thing is a sadistic beast, as seen when he shows Minya his stinger before he goes to completely poison him. Godzilla and Minya both look pretty ugly, but both Kamacurus and Kumonga are fantastic.

The soundtrack is different and more light in tone. It fits the mood, but isn't too spectacular. The opening theme with Godzilla, and the battle with Kumonga had some nice tunes, but the soundtrack isn't THAT great. I think the film would have been better if there were more scenes with the monsters. Now I would usually say that, but the film does feel like it drags on sometimes. When you don't have a city as a backdrop, you need really engaging characters, but this film doesn't have too much if that. The monster scenes, however, are really entertaining and just plain fun. They're colorful and just a blast to watch. Godzilla's entrance to save Minya was great, who doesn't love seeing G beating the heck out of these insects? I think the final battle could have been longer, but it was still well-done. Very different than a lot of the final battles in these films. The part where Godzilla and Kumonga wrestle to the ground was a pretty awesome sight to behold. Also one must mention the ending, it's one of the most emotional ending I've ever seen, not just in Godzilla films, ALL films.

Overall, Son of Godzilla is an underrated film in many ways. It had a 'different' story, plus very colorful monsters. The human characters needed a bit working however. It was also great to see Godzilla get character development of being a father to Minya, some really great (and humorous) moments here. The fights are fun, and the effects are great. (Well, Godzilla and Minya aren't exactly the best though.) Son of Godzilla is a fun little gem, it will always be known as the first film to feature Minya, but it's a lot more than that.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of Earth Part One Review

This is it. This is where the Amazing Spider-Man has been leading up to, way back from #600. Slott's Spidey run has been mixed. His debut in Big Time was fantastic, but overtime his version of the Web-Head got stale. He introduced a new girlfriend for Peter, then took her off the main cast some issues later. The previous two issues sufferred from pretty bad dialogue, it was just a lead-up to this issue. Well, it's finally here, the start of the 'biggest year for Spider-Man ever.' I'm inclined to agree, the issue had everything a good Spidey issue requires.

Official description from Marvel:

• Part One Of “Ends Of The Earth”, The Next Big Spider-Man Event!• The Doc Ock Story You’ve Waited 50 Years For! Doctor Otto Octavius Holds The Entire Earth Hostage With His Dying Breath. What Price Will Spider-Man Have To Pay To Buy The Whole World One More Day?• Special Appearance By The Avengers!

Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies, right up there with Green Goblin and Venom. He also has one of the smartest minds in the Marvel Universe, but only now is that being realized. Doc Ock has never been a major player besides in the Amazing Spider-Man world. I'm glad that Slott is realizing his potential, even if he's on the brink of death. I wonder exactly how this will play out. Slott really does give the impression that this will be the final story with the Doctor. The issue had a more high-quality feel than some of the previous ones, the writing is strong. I actually felt myself enjoying to read Spidey's dialogue, it's good and not juvenile. (A certain issue with Daredevil being a main culprit.) The issue is dialogue-centric, which usually in this case would be (probably) a bad thing, but the writing is strong enough to hold through it. Onnce again, the only two blips would be the mayor and the citizens. C'mon, JJJ should have been impeached by now. I think it's supposed to be a running gag, but it isn't working. And I am tired of citizens not appreciating Spidey's work, it may have been a fun running gag in the past, but no longer.

The art is really strong, some of the best in awhile for this series. The Avengers look better here than in their own book! The cover is also great, featuring Spider-Man over earth being held by Doctor Octopus's robotic tentacles, Regarding the new costume, it's a pretty awesome addition. The final page is just fantastic, it's one of those where you're like "Heck yeah!" Fantastic build-up to that page, it really gives off a sense that this will be the end-all event.

Overall, this is definitely one of the best Spider-Man comics in awhile. Slott handles the characters, especially Spidey, right. There's a feel of impending doom, it's good stuff. Doc Ock is handled well, and the art is great. Watch out for that final page, the lead-up and then boom, it's awesome man. Let's see if the rest of this event holds up, or becomes another Grim Hunt.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

October Baby Review

Earlier today I had the pleasure of checking out the premiere of the new film October Baby with my youth group. Last Sunday we had a little ice cream party with previews and behind-the scenes-look of the film. This type of premise is something I've never seen in a film, so I was intrigued. For those that don't know what the film's about, it's the story of an abortion survivor. At 19 she realizes that her whole life was a 'lie.' So she embarks on a trip to find her biological mother. Usually you would find either a Godzilla, comic book, or science fiction movie review here. This time however, I'll be talking about what one of the most moving films I've ever seen, October Baby.

About a month or two ago I had the honor of watching the film Courageous. Going into October Baby, I was expecting something similar in tone. Fans of Courageous will certainly enjoy this film. (Robert Amaya, who played Javier in Courageous, appears in this film as a cop.) The story of this film is just really interesting. When I first heard about it, the premise had caught me off guard. There aren't that many films that tackle this issue, but this film does it in a whole new way. A survivor not knowing who she really is, learning that she was adopted. That her life was *almost* cut off. This makes for a very compelling/moving story. This is of course thanks to the cast, a lot of emotion here, characters that you can truly feel for.

Hannah is the name of the main character, portrayed by Rachel Hendrix. (I honestly thought she was Kristen Stewart for a bit.) She gave a pretty solid performance for the troubled teen. A bit Twilight-esque at some parts near the beginning, but overall a solid, convincing performance. Her 'boyfriend,' Jason, (portrayed by Jason Burkey) was pretty good, their relationship felt fluid throughout the film. Except in the beginning. I say this cause there was another girl. Basically, it wasn't explained fully what was the relationship between her and Jason. Friends? She had something against Hannah, obviously competing for Jason's affection. That very miniature subplot didn't make sense and should have been expanded on. (Or removed altogether, with a few tweaks, it could have been easy to write out.) The film takes a deep turning pint when Hannah finds her biological mother, Cindy. (Portrayed by Shari Rigby.) By far the most convincing and emotional performance, she gets the award for best acting performance in the film. Realstic, almost like it was filmed in real life. During the credits there's a behind the scenes look with her on how she got the role, it's very interesting and I'd like to see more of that in films. The parents of Hannah are portrayed well, especially the dad. It's interesting to really think about the whole thing about not telling her that she was adopted until now.

There are some important and non-important side characters. One of my favorite scenes was the dialogue between Hannah and the nurse that did the failed abortion. Then there's the whole road trip. There's this crazy driver and another two other passenger who gets practically no lines. While this film is dramatic and emotional, it has its fair share of humorous moments. The whole second hotel scene was gathered laughter from the audience. "By now we all wish we had headphones." That's probably one of the humorous lines I've ever heard in a film. The writing is particularly strong, I especially liked the scene in the church with the priest. Probably the most influential dialogue in the whole film.

Overall, October Baby is a film you do not want to miss. The premise is one that is both intriguing and thought-provoking. Viewers may be a bit disappointed that there wasn't much dialogue between Hannah and her biological mother, but it's understandable by the film's end. October Baby, along with Courageous, are inspiring films. October Baby is worth the watch, it may even change your outlook on things.

5 Stars out of 5.

Official synopsis:

"As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before her first lines, she collapses. Countless medical tests all point to one underlying factor: Hannah’s difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to discovering that she was actually adopted . . . after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered and confused, Hannah embarks on a journey with Jason, her oldest friend. In the midst of her incredible journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for her unknown future, Hannah sees that life can be so much more than what you have planned."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Justice League #7 Review

Five years later. That's the time skip from the previous issue. The first arc of Justice League was 'epic,' save for some poor writing and an underwhelming Darkseid. This issue would 'officially' be taking place in modern day with the majority of the other titles. Basically, this issue is the foundation of how the issues are going to be from now on. Judging by this issue, Justice League looks to give everything we want in the title.

Official description from DC:

Now that the team’s origin story is complete, starting with this issue we shift to the present-day Justice League! What has changed? Who has joined the team since? Featuring artwork by Gene Ha, the story also reintroduces the team’s greatest champion: Steve Trevor! Also starting in this issue: “The Curse of Shazam!” featuring a story by Geoff Johns and art by Gary Frank! Discover Billy Batson’s place in DC Comics – The New 52 as we reveal his all-new origin story!

The team is actually acting like a team. It's great to see everyone working together like they've been doing it for years. (Cause they have.) Making plans, and the dialogue is a lot stronger. Cyborg actually makes a great addition to the team. Green Lantern once again proves to be the worst written character in the whole thing. There's a difference between funny comic relief and corny, cringe worthy comic relief. GL falls under the latter category. Wonder Woman actually has unique dialogue rather than standing out as a cardboard cutout. Superman is a strange case, I'm not quite sure what his role in the team is. Muscle guy? Secret weapon? Either way, he's a heck lot better than he was in the previous story. I also really liked Batman's jab at Justice League International, good stuff. The art is as always really strong. Though it had more of a 'gritty' look than the previous arc's dynamic art. Those creatures and its master looked appropriately scary. The characters and humans look great, and the cover is fantastic. 

Overall, a pretty strong issue of Justice League. Basically, the previous arc was just used to establish the team, from now on they'll be acting like the League we all know and love. The dialogue, (aside from the citizens and GL) is pretty strong when compared to the previous arc's. The issue also features a Shazam backup story. I'm sure Captain Marvel (though I guess technically we shouldn't use that term anymore) fans will like it. 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Godzilla: Legends #5 Review

The Godzilla Legends are over. I'm very disappointed to see it go, as many other fans are. Destoroyah vs. Anguirus? Mechagodzilla vs. Hedorah?! Good stuff, such good stuff. I'm surprised this wasn't going to be an ongoing with different tales every issue. But ah well, so here we are today with Legends #5. Being the final Godzilla comic until May, I was expecting something good. After the bombastic and action-packed Legends #4, I was expecting something of a compelling story with this one. The result is a bit uneven.

Official description from IDW:

The final Legend is here! Does Godzilla have a weakness? The government wants to know, and in order to get the necessary data, tissue samples must be taken from the great beast. The only way to get these samples? TO CLIMB GODZILLA! Renowned, retired adventurer Bryson Allworth is called in. Is he up to the herculean task? When another monster shows up to tumble, the task is only gonna get tougher! Don't miss this special final issue to LEGENDS!

I've come to realize that the 'featuring' kaiju is not the 'starring' kaiju. Case in point here. Giant spider Kumonga appears, but Godzilla is the full focus. It's a bit of an interesting retrospective in this issue. The plot is a homage to the classic Dark Horse issue, Godzilla King of the Monsters #14. Pretty crazy in concept, eh? Climbing Godzilla after all. The main human character is an extreme adventurer in the form of Allworth. A fun focus, if a bit unrealistic at times. Some of the writing is really strong, it's as I said, at times a bit of a retrospective on Godzilla's character. Godzilla looks and appears to be his Heisei counterpart. In fact, it appears that all the majority of the Legends take place in the Heisei timeline. It was also great to see the underrated Kumonga in action. Ever since his brief one-page stint in Kingdom of Monsters. The portrayal was great, this spider needs more on page appearances in the future.

The art is a huge miss. Godzilla's first page appearance is borderline awful. I believe the art was trying to convey a sense of being retro, but it ultimately came out un-detailed and not very good. There are, however, some fantastic shots. Godzilla's head-shot at the end was utterly fantastic. The two covers this time around are, once again, fantastic. The main features a really well-drawn Kumonga while the second one features a very early version of Godzilla holding the legs of Kumonga. Of course, the best part was the fantastic, albeit short confrontation with Kumonga. It's interesting, I like how they pair up different incarnation against incarnation, it's fantasy matches in the making. The battle is nice and fluid, just needed to be longer. There's also some really interesting perspectives on Godzilla's destruction, you'll have to read the issue to understand.

Overall, not a bad issue of the Godzilla Legends. Not exactly a 'great' way to end it however. With a better lead character and better art, it could have been fantastic. Still, it's an interesting story. This is one issue I can even see non-fans enjoying. It's a bit of a retrospective on Godzilla's character, it's really interesting. Plus we get a pretty fantastic fight between Godzilla and Kumonga. I was disappointed at how little screen time the latter got, but it's something. I'm sad to see Legends go, I hope the next mini-series will surpass it.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Avengers Assemble #1 Review

There comes a time when every Marvel reader has to ask, "What's the point of this?" We have four ongoing Avengers series, and some minis in there two. Why do we have this colorful #1 comic? Then it hits us that the film is coming out. They even proudly display the film logo and its release on the top of the cover. See, whenever a film with a comic book character comes out, the company of said character usually tries to take advantage of it with comics. Sales getting boosted being the main goal. Enter Avengers Assemble #1. What's special about this series, however, is that instead of taking place in the movie universe as a prequel, it takes place in the canon 616 universe. Basically their trying to appease both sides: current readers, and new readers looking forward to the film. And the shocking part? They succeed.

Official description from Marvel:

• The Avengers Versus The *Brand-New* Zodiac! • One Of The Greatest Avengers Villains Of All Time Gets Reinvented For The Modern Age Just In Time For The Blockbuster Movie Event Of The Summer! • A Perfect Jumping-On Point Featuring The Cast Of The Summer Blockbuster But In Marvel Universe Continuity!

Now why would I, a longtime reader, be even remotely interested in picking this series up? It's no surprise that I really can't stand the current Avengers series. I'm sure many would agree. When I saw the description and cover art for this, it was just like the first time I saw The New 52 Justice League: it looked fantastic. I wanted to read something 'fresh' with Earth's Mightiest Heroes. And this series looks to provide that. It's colorful, simple, and yet effective. Here we have the formation of the Zodiac, a classic Marvel villain group. The story isn't anything we haven't seen before. The first page has a guy calling himself 'Cancer' with a bunch of other people saying that together they're strong and all that. It's nothing new, the Avengers gather up, Hulk looks to join up next issue, etc. Longtime fans knows how the this is going to go, but it's really exciting for new fans jumping in. It is the perfect jumping on point, but I, a longtime reader, also had a blast reading it. There are some major flaws, however. Mainly the writing.

Bendis is one my least favorite writers in the industry currently. His 'street-humor' just gets on my nerves, and I'm sure many would agree. I will admit I was thrilled at the news that he will be leaving the main title. Seeing his name on the cover of this issue had me skeptical . Granted, his writing style here is different than the main title's. It's basically aimed at newer fans. It's by no means bad, except for a few things. The Hulk has some of the worst writing I've ever seen for the character, even the Marvel Adventures' version has better writing. The trying-to-be-humorous scene with Hawkeye and Black Widow was pretty awful. I will admit that there are some genuinely humorous scenes, such as Iron Man saying that he wants his building getting blown up less and that he isn't made of money. Besides these rare priceless moments, the writing isn't particurarly good most of the time. Basically, if the book had a better writer, this issue would have gotten an easy 9/10. What it lacks in writing, it makes up in the art department.

Mark Bagley is one fantastic artist. This issue just had magnificent art. It puts the main title's art to great shame. This guy is up to standards with the great Jim Lee over at Justice League. (Not quite that great, but still very good.) The art really brings out the action, it's dynamic stuff. Also, Avengers Tower has never looked more fantastic. The cover is what grabbed me from the start. It's a nice little homage (or as many would say, rip-off) of the cover to Justice League #1. Featuring just the cast of the film was a smart tactic on Marvel's part. The pacing and fast-paced action makes this comic an extremely enjoyable ride, nothing dull here folks.

Overall, Avengers Assemble #1 is pretty much everything you expected. A simple, colorful jumping on point in relation to the upcoming film. I had a blast with it. It felt good to take a breath of fresh air and read a simple Avengers comic not mentioning all the stories going on currently in the Marvel world. Explosive, simple, and just fun. The only real negative is the writing, which is holding the comic from getting a 'great' rating. The art is utterly fantastic however. If you're a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, looking to jump into the Marvel world, or just looking for a fun comic book story, you'll want to pick up Avengers Assemble #1,


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Detective Comics #7 Review

Detective Comics had a pretty amazing start. In fact, I gave the first issue a perfect 10/10 score. It felt fresh to read simply about Batman doing what he does best: detective work. Add the plot of the Joker losing his face, you have a pretty great story debut for this series. Then the next arc came, putting Penguin as the villain and shedding some light on Bruce's girlfriend. The first issue of the arc was pretty good....then the next one headed into bland territory. Still good, but lacking pizzazz. I was personally looking forward to this one to see how this short arc would end.....and it wasn't that good.

Official description from DC:

Batman uncovers the truth behind a string of underworld killings involving a guest at the Penguin's Iceberg Casino, but time is running out! Is unimaginable terror about to strike on the floating gambling den? And what will Bruce Wayne do now that he's discovered some of Charlotte's most well kept – and darkest – secrets? It's death and destruction in the highest of high stakes games at the Iceberg Casino!

Detective Comics used to be my favorite ongoing series. I'm not too sure anymore. This issue was just not interesting at all. The writing was quite laughable and generic, the scene with the sister and the Snakeskin was just cringe-worthy. That's not to say to say there aren't some good pieces, Batman telling Penguin's gang of nobody villains that "You're new here" and "Small fry" was amusing. However, Batman remains 'stiff' the whole time. What I mean is that he felt robotic and his dialogue wasn't really all that interesting.Tony Daniel can do a lot better than this. Penguin may have been the only well-written character. Oh, I really liked Alfred in this issue, it was great to see him outside in on the action.

The art on the other hand was pretty good. Non-comparable to Jim Lee's work over at Justice League, but good nonetheless. The Bat-suit looks fantastic, there are two really awesome splash pages showcasing it. The cover is also fantastic, one of the best so far in the series. Man, if the art was bad, this issue's score would have been taken down a notch.

Overall, Detective Comics #7 is by far the worst issue yet. Laughable, generic dialogue and a really uninteresting plot. I found myself not getting involved in the story at all. The next arc better be good, because if it continues down this bland path, it will go on my drop-list.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

On the Venom Film

Just two days ago on March 6th it was announced that Josh Trank is in talks to direct the Venom film. This was quite shocking, since everyone assumed it was dead cause it hadn't been mentioned in years. It was first announced soon after Spider-Man 3 was released. It was never confirmed if it would be a Spider-Man 3 spin-off, but I'm going to assume it was. Similar to what X-Men Origins was to the X-Men series.This was before Spider-Man 4 was canned, and then the Venom film went dead. Since Sony had decided to reboot the Spidey series, a Venom spin-off of a now done trilogy would be strange. So we all accepted the fact that Venom won't be heading to the big screen solo.....that changed yesterday. A little backstory will do....

I won't get into Spidey 3 that much, since all that is covered in my review of the film. Venom made his debut in the live-action world on May 4th, 2007, and was met with backlash from fans. It was quite understandable. Instead of being a larger, monstrous version of Spidey, he was a whiny annoying punk. All the fault lies on Topher Grace, a rather odd choice for the role. In short, Venom was ruined in the film. Too little build-up, nice look though. He just needed to be buffer. So when the Venom spin-off was announced, it was the studio's chance to put a definitive version of Spidey's nemesis on the big screen. The last update was on June 11th, 2010 before the film went dead, until two days ago on March 6th of course. Now I can finally begin talking about the core part of this editorial.

A lot of fans are wondering how this will fit into the timeline. Now that Spidey 4 is dead and the series is getting rebooted, it's quite obvious that it will NOT be part of that trilogy. However, some still think it will be a spin-off of 3, Well, it's not going to be. I am 99.9% sure of that. The Raimi series is finished, there will not be any references to it. Of course, a lot of people speculate that it will be part of the upcoming reboot series. That would make some sense, to try and keep an established franchise. Let's look at this for a second. The Amazing Spider-Man releases in just four months. A sequel will follow in two years. Venom has what looks to be a director, but casting probably won't be announced anytime soon. I don't see this film getting much of anywhere by the time The Amazing Spider-Man 2 releases. Then again, it IS possible that some things will be announced soon after The Amazing Spider-Man releases into theaters, such as a script. The question is will it tie in? Amazing Spidey 2 will most likely have nothing to do with the Symbiote. 3 maybe, but that would be a bit redundant. The point is, if the Symbiote were introduced in that film, Venom will most likely be hinted at. Then what? In 4 he will appear, but where does that leave this film? A director gets practically announced this year, then the film is put off for four more years? Possible, but unlikely. I don't think this will go the Godzilla route. No, you see, I think this will be a complete one-shot with no Eddie Brock. (Or host for that matter.)

In 2003 Daniel Way did a short-lived comic series simply titled Venom. This wasn't your usual Venom story however, there was no host in the beginning. Basically, it was John Carpenter's The Thing for the first couple of issues. I'm serious, the Symbiote was in the Arctic with a bunch of scientists/explorers. And get this, the Symbiote absorbs a dog. I don't know if this was an intentional parody or not. The point is, this would be the most realistic approach to a Venom film. Let's face the facts, Venom as a 'lethal protector' first of all wouldn't translate to screen at all, and second of all, it's just not going to happen. The concept would just get goofy after awhile, like in the comics. Another possible thing would have Eddie Brock get absorbed by the Symbiote in 3, which then leads to his solo film. That doesn't really make much sense, does it? Personally, that possibility is slim. The only real way a 'realistic' way the studio can bring Venom to the big screen is by going the horror route. It shouldn't be about the host, it should be about the Symbiote. I'm not saying it should adapt the Way series, but it's a good starting point on how to go about this project.

If you want to talk villains for a bit, the most realistic approach would be to have the Symbiote as the villain with the humans working their way around it. Now, that's not exactly how I would want it personally, and I doubt Sony would go fully that route of having no one to battle Venom. Enter what is really Venom's only villain: Carnage. Now how would that go about? Cletus Cassidy could fit to be absorbed by the Carnage symbiote, but where would that leave the Venom symbiote? No, I think there should be no 'main' hosts. The way I see it, it could be just a no-name person, then Venom has a form. Like in the Way series, it goes from human to dog to human. The host isn't in control at all, it's the Symbiote using the person, not the other way around. The point is Venom should be a 'different' film. Realistically, Eddie Brock as a lethal protector isn't going to work. It should be a horror story with the Symbiote, and if they could fit Carnage in, all the better. I have been waiting for this a long time, so it gave me pleasure to write this up. It feels good to talk about a film that is actually most likely going to be happen.

Thanks for reading.