Friday, August 20, 2010

Reviews (this and last week)

Some new stuff is out: here's how good it is:

Brightest Day: Making progress. It's slow, but the Hawks and Martian Manhunter have been better elaborated on. Geoff has remembered this is, after all, a GL storyline (sort of), and so Deadman is headed to see Hal. We are on the upslope now, so eventually this will be sorted out.

Batman 701: This is part of the Final Crisis saga, as Bruce prepares for his eventual death. It's interesting to see his perspective as he heads towards omega. I plan on keeping up with this and all the different parts of Return of Bruce Wayne, including Time Masters (because it has Booster Gold).

Green Lantern Corps/Emerald Warriors: The GLC is good. Cyborg Superman is a pretty good villian, albeit strange that he is now more of a Green Lantern baddie than a Superman one. I am looking forward to seeing the Alpha lantern thing being resolved. Emerald Warriors is Guy Gardner being Guy Gardner, and having some sort of deal with Atrocitus. I'm not really sure what they're up too, but Kilowog and Arisia are with him, and it seems like it will be important to the overall story arc.

Last, and most certainly not least is Spiderman: One Moment in Time. This is the retcon of MJ and Peter's wedding after Marvel editors decided to destroy one of the most important relationships in comics. I'm really enjoying this. It's very emotional and suprisingly serious for a Spiderman story. No spoilers, but it's honestly fantastic, even though it should not exist in the first place.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Moment in Time

The Peter Parker/ Mary-Jane relationship is one of the cornerstones of comic book couples. While they aren't the number one on the list (Clark and Lois, I mean, they had a tv show and everything), they are a heavy hitting #2.

However, as anyone who keeps up with continuity will tell you, MJ and Peter aren't together anymore. After Peter unmasks on live TV during the events of Civil War, the Kingpin puts a hit out on him. Aunt May gets shot, and in a last ditch effort to save her, he and MJ trade their marriage for May's life and public knowledge of Peter's identity to be wiped from the general consciousness.

It's sort of depressing when you think about it. Peter and MJ were a very good couple. They have been through thick and thin, and while they are very different people, they compliment each other very well.

I want to talk more about their coupledom, but I'm just pissed they ended it. Peter and MJ were so good together, and now Peter is out there trying to meet someone new. I now they felt it aged the character, but Peter is older. He needs to face the challenges of maturity and grow up. He doesn't have to be all broody or get all serious. Look at Wally West. He grew up and had his own kids. He now has to work with the challenge of being a superhero and a dad at the same time. I'd love to see Peter Parker do that.

Maybe he and MJ will get back together. I hope they do. The end of One Moment in Time is hard to read. It's a brand new day though, and anything can happen.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Movie

As someone who disliked Scott Pilgrim, realized that I was supposed to dislike Scott Pilgrim (the character), and then liked Scott Pilgrim a lot, I was very excited for the film. Michael Cera is perfect for the part (the casting is perfect), the style worked great, and the music was pretty good too. The problem comes through with the adaptation to the screen.

The movie is a little bit shy of two hours, with the majority of the movie being ridiculous fight scenes, musical numbers, and one-liners. This is problem number one, because the source material is six rather thick graphic novels chock-full of dialog and exposition. Seven evil exes is a lot to cover in an hour and 45 minutes (roughly 15 minutes per ex). This doesn't leave a lot of room for the emotional content of Scott Pilgrim that made it really appeal to me. Sure it's flashy and kung-fu and "an epic of epic epicness" but it lacks the power of heart that made it so great to read.

The movie does a poor job on Scott's backstory, and by poor I mean that it's barely covered. Scott and Kim's relationship is barely touched, so when Scott apologizes to her I found myself wondering, "what for?" Envy Adams has an incredibly small role, only appearing during with the third evil ex, and her relationship with Scott is immediately forgotten. It builds it up and then drops it to go to a very long fight scene (like ten-ish minutes). Yes, it was cool to look at, but the stylized bass battle takes away from any sort of maturity that Scott could get to (such as legitimate closure with Envy).

Also, the ending (SPOILER ALERT) is kinda weak. It resolves rather hurriedly, and Scott really doesn't learn or grow like he should have. Gideon is not the ASSHOLE, and Scott never really confronts himself (He makes peace with the negaScott, but doesn't except his faults as well). It just sort of cops out and hopes that a happy ending and swordfights will cover for a copout.

These are the complaints of someone who wanted to see a movie of the book. I know that's not possible. This is more mass market appeal and that's great. I'm glad the book got publicity but the movie lacks the power to actually make any sort of statement. Maybe it should have been two movies, or maybe they should have toned down the LOOK WE'RE NERDY LIKE YOU and KUNG FU. Maybe they should have let the graph finish before they wrote the movie.

In short, it's really fun. If you were a big fan of the books you'll be a bit disappointed. I enjoyed it, but I found myself wanting more dialog and less style. Plot is good. That's why the books were popular. Add a little more of that next time and we'll be good.

(I wanted to avoid a rant here, but there is a lot missing from the books and some serious changes that don't really work. I'm not going to list them, just be re-warned)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Brightest Day #7

In a nutshell: better, but not there yet.

It's making progress, now that a connecting plot has been revealed (or at least the semblance of one) other than YOU'RE ALL ALIVE. It still seems incredibly convoluted and confusing, since it is multiple plots driven by multiple characters in different directions. In Blackest Night there was a specific focus on the various lanterns and people who would become lanterns, so two groups which reconnected in the middle of the story. Here it's still all over the place. There's a while left to get the story together, but I'm wanting that sooner than later.

Anyway, it's marked improvement, and once the series is complete I'm sure it will be fantastic. I'm just waiting for a conclusion sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A problem

As I've been doing research for my paper, I've come across a few problems. I just want to rant on this for a minute.

There are some very good books on comics. I've referenced Danny Fingeroth a few times, and I just read a very good one called Superheroes: A Modern Mythology. That said, there are a lot of those X and Philosophy books out there that really irk me. The problem is that these books are more topical, and therefore instantly dated the second the are published. For example, a book that talks about Jason Todd's death is no longer applicable, since he didn't die thanks to Superboy-Prime retcon-punching him into existence. Superheroes and Philosophy is from 2005, meaning they don't get Final Crisis or Civil War. They haven't seen The Dark Knight, read Kick-Ass, or Infinite Crisis. Superheroes and Philosophy has a whole chapter on metaphysics and multiverses based on Crisis on Infinite Earths, but all of that is reinvented by the next crisis.

Another thing is how people think Batman is crazy, and that the costume is some sort of bizarre compulsion. False. Batman is not compelled to do this, he wants to. He can stop at any time. He says so in Identity Crisis. That is an important Batman story. If you don't read it, you lack an important perspective.

I just wanted to say that. Comics are a changing universe. Things are never ever concrete.

What's Wrong With Brightest Day

Brightest Day #7 comes out tomorrow, and I've been thinking about the series a lot.

I don't like it that much. I hate saying that, but it's disjointed, confusing, and has the bad habit of not answering questions but simply raising more. Here's the summary for #7.

"There can be only one who wields the White Lantern...but is it truly Deadman? And what will happen when he attempts to charge the white ring? Meanwhile, Ronnie Raymond risks everything for Firestorm, Martian Manhunter uncovers more clues about the bizarre string of murders stretching across the country, Aquaman searches for the key to the ocean's survival and the Hawks come face-to-face with the evil that lurks within the strange land known only as Hawkworld!"

Keep in mind there are only 32 pages there. 32 pages for 5 different storylines. That is abysmal. I want answers. I want progress. There's barely any overlap to call this a crossover. The brightest day series has just been a disappointment so far. I want to eat my words bad, but I'm doubting that it's going to get better.