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Showing posts from 2011

The Vampire Venn Diagrams

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As a self-professed Buffy addict and reluctant reader of Twilight, it was only a matter of time before I gave in to the multiple recommendation of trusted friends to watch CW's hit series The Vampire Diaries. Thanks to Netflix watch instantly, I've quickly made my way through the first two seasons and I'm enjoying the guilty-pleasure indulgence. I am hooked by the story of feuding Salvatore brothers Damon and Stefan as they vie for the affections of human teenager Elena. There are also witches, wolves, and evil doppelgangers to keep things interesting. My initial assumption about the series was that it was for pre-teens too young to watch True Blood and needing something to follow-up their Twilight binge, but I now appreciate the show for what it is: a love letter to the teen horror romance genre. The writers of the series have seen what was done before and have upped the teen high school dramatics to the max. One may mistake the obvious influences as proof of lacking orig…

Under The Radar: 2011's Best Geek Gifts

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So you know your girlfriend / best friend / co-worker reads comics and enjoys various nerd cultural phenomena, but you have no idea what to get them. Sound familiar? It's tough. These are the people that are most likely to buy themselves that highly sought after collectible. They know what they want, and that makes your job as gift giver a tough one. No fear! Here are some suggestions that will have your loved one feeling thankful and hopefully surprised. Enjoy more gift ideas after the jump!
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Next Level Blu-Ray
The box says it all: "A Taste of TNG in High Definition." This is a perfect gift for several reasons. It will not be released until January, so you know they won't have it, and it's something that not every Trekkie will get for themselves, but they will enjoy nonetheless. This sampler collection contains three classic episodes of Next Gen, the first to be re-mastered for blu-ray. Paramount will surely release a complete serie…

Marvel Cancellations: Smart Business or Proof of Insanity?

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It has been widely speculated how Marvel would respond to DC's New 52, especially with DC dominating media attention and market share in the last three months. Would they do a "revamp" of their line as well? Would they try to use their new parent company to gain a wider audience? Would they keep calm and carry on? We may now have our answer with recent announcements that Marvel is canceling several of their lowest selling series, yet offering just as many issues as last year.  Instead of offering a wider variety of titles to appeal to more readers, Marvel's (continued) strategy will focus on "double shipping" their flagship character titles each month, forcing loyal customers to spend more and make up for Marvel's loss in short term sales.
As of late, I've found it hard to find the time to write about comics. I have been reading plenty, but few subjects seemed pressing enough to motivate me to make the time to voice my opinion. The month of October …

Odyssey X, Week 10: Uncanny X-Force #15 , X-Men Legacy #255

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(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism)

Uncanny X-Force #15
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opena
Cover Price: $3.99

Uncanny X-Force isn't just the best X-Men titles being released; it's probably one of the best Marvel books period. Remender continues to push the boundaries of the X-Men line by infusing more than a few genres into this super-hero title. At the end of the last issue, Psyloche chose to stay behind in an attempt to save Warren, while her teammates fled from their losing battle to regroup. The Life Seed is being used to alter time itself by creating a new evolutionary path for Earth, one where life's mutation never reached the plateau of mankind. The dreamlike sequences of Archangel and his followers witnessing time and evolution re-form makes one hell of a subject for Opena to draw, and he more than meets the challenge. X-Force feels the least like an x…

Odyssey X, Week 9: X-23 #14, X-Men #17, X-Factor #224.1

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(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism)


X-23 #14
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Phil Noto
Cover Price: $2.99

The Future Foundation are a greater focus than the usual cast of X-23, making Lara feel like a bit of a guest in her own series; still, it's a well written continuation of the "fish out of water" concept. Marjorie Liu effectively shows Lara's struggle to come to terms with her past by having her work with well adjusted super-heros and their precocious children. The recent earthquake in New York brought together X-23 and the FF and they quickly realized they had more in common than saving lives. While trying to pinpoint the source of the selective destruction, Valeria Richards solves the mystery but inadvertently causes Spidey, Sue, and Laura to be transported to another dimension. Their selection for this unexpected transportation has something to do with the t…

Odyssey X, Week 8: Uncanny X-Force #14 and a Mid-Point Reflection

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(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism. Or stay here and read my mid-point reflections on the project after my review of Uncanny X-Force!)

Uncanny X-Force #14
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opena
Cover Price: $3.99

So much for a monthly schedule! (For those not keeping track, Uncanny X-Force just came out last week.) After nearly two months of Odyssey X, this is the only week thus far where only one x-title has been released, and it happens to be the best series of the entire line. Remender continues to weave an entertaining action heavy book while still keeping the focus on characterization. After returning from the AoA timeline one member short, the X-Force team find they have been deceived into helping the enemy they were seeking to destroy. As we learn more about the nefarious plans of Archangel, it is obvious that this incarnation of Apocalypse is very different from the…

Odyssey X, Week 7: X-Men #16, Astonishing X-men #41, New Mutants #30, Uncanny X-Force #13, X-Men Legacy #254

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(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism. Still a bit behind, but catching up!)

X-Men #16
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Jorge Molina
Cover Price: $3.99

Dinosaurs, Doom, and Dimensions, oh my! This book is turning into "X-Men and the Marvel U Adventures"; without the occasional killing, this might make a decent kids title. This new story arc features the Future Foundation as the two teams, well, "team up" to rescue Cyclops' ex girlfriend who is stranded in a dinosaur infested dimension. The distress beacon leads to a big reveal that felt more like a big WTF for me (I had no clue who the character was, so he's probably a beloved Starjammer or AoA regular). Though he is far from being the only one to miss the mark in portraying Emma Frost (see X-Men: First Class), Gischler continuously writes Frost as borderline offensively shallow. I don't mean this in t…

Challengers Comics, Rogues Gallery Opening: Eduardo Risso

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Over at my photography site I've posted pictures from the Rogues Gallery's most recent opening for artist Eduardo Risso. The exhibit will remain on display through this week into next, then it will come down shortly before September 9th when Challengers welcomes Wizard of Oz artist Skottie Young. Stop in and see Risso's work for yourself while you can! Among others, there are pages from 100 Bullets as well as Flashpoint mini Batman: Knight of Vengeance, Risso's most recent collaboration with Brian Azzarello. Did I mention these pages are always on sale for prospective art collectors? If you have yet to visit the Rogues Gallery for an opening, these images may entice you to stop by in the near future; fun, free events where you get to view comic book art and meet top creators in the industry. What more could you want?
Above, cover artist Dave Johnson curiously looks at the camera.
(See more over at my photography site!)

Vertigo to End House of Mystery, Scalped

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Talk of DC's relaunch and the "New 52" have continuously dominated mainstream comic news cycles, whether it be about the various changes made to characters origins and designs, to rumblings about the lack of female creators. Lost amongst the shuffle were the recent announcements concerning the end of two of Vertigo's best titles, House of Mystery and Scalped.

During San Diego Comic Con last month, it was announced that Jason Aaron and R. M. Guera plan to end their long running series with the 60th issue. For those that read it in trade, that's only 7 issues left. Aaron was not available at the show to comment, but has since confirmed on his blog that this was not an editorial decision but has always been the plan. The book has never been a big seller in individual issue form, though I count myself among its enthusiastic fan base. It is a series that I recommend on a near weekly basis for fans of crime / noir comics. 

Fan enthusiasm for House of Mystery never qui…

Odyssey X, Week 6: X-Men Schism #3, X-Factor #224, Generation Hope #10, Uncanny X-Men #542

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(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism. This week's post is still on its way as I am perpetually one week behind.)

X-Men Schism #3
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Cover Price: $3.99

While issue #2 felt like a detour from an otherwise superbly presented mini, Schism #3 gets us back to the tight storytelling and well-placed humor Aaron delivered in the first issue. The bulk of the issue takes the X-Men off of Utopia (wow, just typed that out as "Genosha"; no wonder Utopia feels dull and overly familiar) to the opening of the Mutant History Museum in San Francisco. It's interesting to see well known and new characters alike reflect on their shared heritage, and it also reveals how Aaron is constructing this story to define a new chapter in that short history. Once all hell breaks loose (courtesy of the new Hellfire Club), the X-Men find themselves face to fac…

Odyssey X, Week 5: X-Men #15.1, X-Men Legacy #253, New Mutants #23, Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2 (Bonus Book)

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(Catch up on earlier posts and read the introduction to Odyssey X where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism)

X-Men #15.1
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Will Conrad
Cover Price: $2.99

Marvel's recent attempt to make books "new reader friendly" has revolved around a series of "Point 1" issues. Usually self contained, they are meant to convey the feel of a title and introduce the characters and their unique struggles. With that in mind, X-Men 15.1 was a great Ghost Rider / New Mutants point 1 book! I kid, it wasn't actually great, but it really didn't have much to do with what I know of X-Men. Not only are the writer and artist different from the last issue, but the main characters featured here are an amalgam of Uncanny and New Mutant regulars - oh and Ghost Rider. The story itself centers around a demon-posessed Native American. The perfect job for Ghost Rider! Wait, who called the X-Men? Their presence is rendered completel…