Friday, July 29, 2011

CBR Review: Supergods

I recently reviewed Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us about Being Human for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Divided into four sections based on the ‘ages’ of comics (Golden, Silver, Dark, and a final he simply terms ‘The Renaissance’), there is a loose structure to Supergods that provides some sense of continuity and forward momentum. Within those sections is where it falls apart, as Morrison will provide a history lesson in the voice of the blandest documentary narrator before going on fan-driven tangents or pontificating on the higher significance of something he’s mentioned. In a few instances, he will deviate on a barely-related tangent for a paragraph only to return to his original topic as if there was no interruption."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sketch Reviews (July 28 2011)

Busy times made busier by me wanting to hang out with my girlfriend more than a lot of other things. We finished watching Damages season three on DVD last night and, damn, that show always lets me down in its season finales. I guess that's what comes with teasing out half of the finale the rest of the season and watching as the writers scramble to cobble together their red herrings and teases into something coherent. A bigger bunch of bullshit coincidences and letdowns you'll never see. I've got many other things to do besides this, so let's get to it...

Before that, though, I did want to point out that, already, $55 has been raised in my Blogathon and we're still two-and-a-half weeks away from it. That's really great. I'm hoping that we can raise a nice amount of money for the Hero Initiative. Details in the post below this one in case you're wondering.

Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #5: I came for the Casey, but I stayed for the Huddleston... [****]

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #2: I do love that bastard protagonist sort of story. And the mixing of the Archie gang with more 'real' subject matter in the past is funny. Curious where this is going now. [****]

Deadpool MAX #10: The painting show made me laugh. Good to have Baker back. [****]

Detective Comics #880: Now, that's good comicbooking. Snyder's Joker is Morrison's Joker. Jock's art gets the mood right. The final 'reveal' was a bit obvious, but still good. The stuff about Gotham is made more explicit and, more and more, I'm beginning to wonder how long it is before someone just destroys the city and, when Batman and his bunch whine, point out that the city is obviously rotten to the core. Funny how the people trying to redeem the city always talk about there being 'good people' there and never realising that, after years of effort, shit is still fucked up and Gotham is probably the worst city in the world to live in. Why couldn't the earthquake have done the job for good? Even the fucking planet wants the city dead... wake up, Batman. [****]

glamouspuss #20: Someday, I'll read these comics. Oh yes. And it will be glorious. [N/A]

The Mighty Thor #4: Something about the structure of this comic was really working for me. Lots of quick cuts, quick scenes, and general sense of everything happening at once. And is that another fucking Superman story in the mix? It took one shitty arc and two less-than-great-issues, but Fraction is winning me back to the idea that he can write a Thor comic. [***1/2]

Secret Avengers #15: "My grandpa died and superheroes come back from the dead, so that makes it okay to lie and pretend I'm a real journalist and be a jerk!" "No, it's really not, because we're people, too, and being people sucks." "Oh, really? I didn't know that." "Well, now you do." [SAVE ME, WARREN ELLIS!]

Ultimate Fallout #3: I haven't been reading FF, but isn't that what the Tony Stark shit in this comic is? I liked it, but, come on, son... the rest I have no use for. I do think I'll buy the Hickman Ultimate stuff and that's it. [**]

X-Men: Schism #2: I dug the first issue and this one has some nice moments. The Cyclops/Wolverine/Quentin Quire stuff felt off. The growing rift between Scott and Logan seems forced with Logan immediately pissed off, while Scott's reaction to Quentin (hell, Quentin showing up like he did) didn't really follow any logic for me. *shrugs* PLOT IS LOGIC, SILLY HUMAN! SO SAYS THE MUTANTS! [**3/4]


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blogathon 2011

Once again, I will be doing a Blogathon here on GraphiContent. It will be my fourth one and, like always, will be for charity. For those unaware, a Blogathon is where you blog for 24 hours straight, updating every 30 minutes, for charity. There's an 'official' one of these where everyone does it on the same day and that's how I first got into it back in 2007 when I blogged on some Joe Casey comics for 24 hours. Since then, I've set my own date to work with my schedule, aka when my girlfriend is out of town. This year, I have the added problem of my work schedule. In my three previous Blogathons, they always happened from 9am Saturday until 9am Sunday. This year, that won't work because I work Saturdays and Sundays. This year, the Blogathon will run from 9am Monday August 15 until 9am Tuesday August 16.

This year, my charity of choice is the Hero Initiative. It's a group created by professionals in the comic industry to provide financial support for comic creators that need help, often older professionals no longer actively in the industry. Since this is a comics site, I like to choose comics-based charities and, after two years of blogging for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, thought it appropriate to spread the love to another worthy cause.

If you wish to sponsor me, there are a variety of options:
* Direct donations to the Hero Initiative
* Purchasing products from their site, including annual memberships
* Purchasing products from their eBay store

Just let me know via e-mail (chevett13[AT]yahoo[DOT]ca) that you donated to or purchased something from the Hero Initiative and how much. I know, it doesn't sound very charitable to tell people how much you give, but I would like to keep track of how much money is raised here. If you purchase anything, please don't include shipping in your total cost. The Hero Initiative offers a lot of cool products that make helping them out that much easier, so please take a look and see if anything catches your eye.

All that leaves is what I'll be blogging about this year. So far, I've done some Joe Casey comics, Brian Michael Bendis's Avengers work, and Hellblazer. All three of those had very structured plans where I knew ahead of time how many posts I had filled before I even began. If I was discussing 40 comics, that was 40 posts accounted for with only nine to come up with during the blogathon (seven when you take out the intro/entro posts). After doing that three times, I think I've proven I can stay up for a day writing about comics where the path is laid out quite clearly. With no topics of a similar nature demanding my attention this time around, I've decided to challenge myself by picking a topic/idea that could have me make a complete fool of myself when I fail to produce content at some point during the Blogathon. Something more than a simple endurance trial.

This year, I've come up with a list of 12-15 topics to discuss, all about superhero comics from the past ten years, that I'll write about for whatever length seems appropriate. I will be trying to write essays that I'm lucky to put up on the site every six months -- and I'll be trying to do a dozen of them in a day. For a few of the comics or topics I want to discuss, I have a set format. There will be a "Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story" by Raymond Chandler post, there will be an issue-by-issue series of posts on a Joe Casey comic, and maybe another one or two of my standard 'gimmicks' will make an appearance.

I've chosen superhero comics from the past ten years as my limiting framework, because it was 2001 when my family got a home computer and I began interacting with all of my fellow comics fans online through message boards and blogs. And since my charity is the Hero Initiative this time, why not stick to superheroes?

The date of this year's Blogathon again is Monday August 15 and the charity is the Hero Initiative. I hope you will be generous to a great charity and also show up on the day to lend some moral support and, hopefully, see me pull off this stupid idea of mine.


Monday, July 25, 2011

CBR Review: Batman: Gates of Gotham #3

I recently reviewed Batman: Gates of Gotham #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Ah, the ‘middle of the story’ downturn issue. You’re almost guaranteed when you see that ‘3 of 5’ on the cover of a comic that you’re in for a quieter, less exciting issue than the two that preceded it and the two that will follow it. Thankfully, the writing team of Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, and Ryan Parrott write an issue with enough intriguing developments to keep boredom at bay. In fact, it’s a pretty good issue of this mini-series exploring the creation of Gotham City into the major urban center it is now, and how that creation has come back to haunt the city."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Invincible Iron Man #506

I recently reviewed Invincible Iron Man #506 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "There’s a problem with big events and the surrounding books that tends to crop up. Instead of being structured like regular stories, events are usually structured around big moments, like Civil War going for, in the words of Mark Millar, a ‘fanboy orgasm’ with each issue. That means two things: supporting comics have a lot of gaps that they can fill in and certain characters have little to be expanded upon because of the demands of those big moments. Take Tony Stark for instance; in Fear Itself #4, he fell off the wagon, offering his sobriety up as a sacrifice to gain the attention of Odin and, here, in Invincible Iron Man #506, the reason for that is revealed. And not much else."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

CBR Review: Thor: Heaven & Earth #1

I recently reviewed Thor: Heaven & Earth #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Too late for last year’s rash of Thor comics, Thor: Heaven & Earth #1 has an unnecessary feeling to it. Like so many Thor mini-series before it, it appears to deal with Ragnarok, because there is nothing else to explore in Thor’s character and world. Ragnarok comes and Thor looks to Loki as the cause, relying on prophesy that states that Loki will cause the fall of the gods. Their discussion is tedious, offering no new insights into Ragnarok or their relationship. In fact, this entire comic is tedious for much the same reasons. It’s a story you’ve read before and it was done better then."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sketch Reviews (July 21 2011)

Holy fuck is it hot. And, right now, the story that I'm most excited about the CM Punk saga over in the WWE. The latest development was him crashing the WWE panel at San Diego to ask a few questions of Triple H and Rey Mysterio. Nothing comics is doing right now has me as excited. I watched Money in the Bank at a movie theatre on Sunday night and, then, pre-ordered the DVD on Monday. That's how good it was -- and I want to reward that quality.

Actually, I'm not 'not excited' by comics. I've been pretty excited this week as I've begun planning for this year's Blogathon. I have a date, a concept, and a charity chosen. I'm just finalising the final list of comics/topics/whatever by consulting with a couple of smart people. I should announce that on Monday.

Today, I picked up an package from UPS that they tried to deliver on Tuesday (I was out in nature with the girlfriend...). It contained Supergods and Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods. Haven't begun the book yet (comics came first), but Michelle and I watched the documentary. I liked it. Learned a few things, but a lot of it was known to me already. Michelle, on the other hand, had no experience with Grant Morrison beyond knowing that he's a writer I like. So, all of his weird craziness that most of us slowly learned over the years in bits and pieces, she gets dropped on her all at once. Kind of fun to see it in that light...

Avengers #15: Chris Bachalo's art is a lot of fun and crazy here. Bendis's writing left me oddly cold. [***1/4]

The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker #1: Huh. I don't know why, but I pictured Butcher having a father he loved and respected. And, yet, this doesn't surprise me completely. A fine first issue, but I'm curious about the whole picture. Nice to see Robertson back drawing the character (besides covers). [***1/2]

Daredevil #1: A rather good first issue. Fun, exciting, inventive in the art... none of it blew my mind completely unfortunately. I'm the sort of negative person who wonders how long Matt can keep up this "I'm not Daredevil" thing and how long it will be before his kooky, over-the-top personality becomes annoying instead of charming. I like this take, but it's easy to see the problems that will be coming if Waid and company aren't careful. I guess there's also the problem of: how long can we sympathise with him denying he's Daredevil when he is? How long before this is just another "Superman is a lying bastard" sort of book? Or is it one already? Gorgeous, gorgeous art. [****]

Flashpoint: The Outsider #2: I like this character, but also find him a bit dull at times. Like he's still too new to be truly entertaining. Also, I wish Kevin Nowlan were drawing the book. [***1/4]

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #9: If this comic returns, I don't think I'll be buying it. This arc has been a big disappointment and I'm done after next issue. [*1/2]

Ultimate Fallout #2: Even Aunt May thinks Captain America is a jerk. Bryan Hitch's bit was nice. I was waiting to see how this series went before adding any of the new Ultimate titles to my pull list, but I think I'll get the Hickman titles. Yeah. Definitely. [***1/4]


Sunday, July 17, 2011

CBR Review: Journey into Mystery #625

I recently reviewed Journey into Mystery #625 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Journey into Mystery has acted as one of the better examples of an event tie-in book that manages to enhance the event and maintain enough of its own identity that it functions on its own. Loki’s schemes work to thwart the Serpent and his plans to take Asgard from Odin, but do so behind the scenes, in places unseen in Fear Itself. Places like Hel, where Loki works to make sure Hela does not align herself with the Serpent and that Mephisto does not invade Hel to reclaim it as his own territory. So far, Loki is looking like the true hero of Fear Itself."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #6

I recently reviewed Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #6 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "In the end, Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #6 shows some of Mark Millar’s usual tricks: The unstoppable villain brought down by a cheap, stupid stunt, the final letter/narration that sums it all up, and the general sense that things are somehow worse than they began. Except, this time, the luster has worn away and the same tricks the fifth time around don’t wow so much. It isn’t even good spectacle anymore and, without that, what’s left?"

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sketch Reviews (July 14 2011)

I actually got comics last night because I only worked until five and could make it to the shop. But, I didn't even read them all before I started to work on reviews. It's been a long time since I turned in a review on Wednesday (let alone two) and that's usually because I don't get comics until Thursday. But, I signed up to review two 'big' releases and thought I should get those in last night. Sketch Reviews had to wait. And here we are...

'Breed #3: I'm more into this book now that it's got some momentum. The fight scene here is pretty good, albeit with a cheap ending that's only redeemed by a cameo from another Starlin-owned character. Not an amazing comic or one that looks like it will rank among Starlin's best, but I'm enjoying it. [***]

Captain America #1: I don't mind the 'out of continuity' feel this issue has. That's a smart way to ease yourself into a new series featuring the character. I do have to wonder if Ed Brubaker -- or anyone -- is capable of writing about this character without referencing World War 2 and making shit up that, somehow, we've never heard about until now. That trick is getting real fucking old and has me considering just making a break from Brubaker's Captain America comics. There are only so many times that 'previously undiscussed events from the War coming back to haunt Steve/Bucky/Sharron/Natasha/everyone' works before it's just comes off as lazy. I'm not saying it is lazy or that Brubaker is lazy, but it comes off that way. Perception vs. reality. Just to shut up anyone who wants to take that as me calling him lazy. I don't know if he is -- nor do I care. I care about the comics and this reads as lazy storytelling. The same lazy storytelling that we often see used on Wolverine and, now, in Fear Itself... hell, in tons of books. I'm sick to fucking death of the hidden past come back to fuck things up, and, yeah, I'm taking it out on this comic, because that's pretty much all Brubaker has done with this character. It worked with Bucky, because he just returned and would have to deal with his past obviously before he could move on. Steve, though... is he nothing more than a guy who fought in World War 2? Has he not carved out an identity since he's woken up that's divorced from his 'first life' to some extent? And, if not, how good can his comics really be? (In an unrelated matter, I have to ask: is Secret Warriors going to have any impact on the rest of the Marvel Universe? Just wondering...) I did dig on some of Steve McNiven's art here. I haven't been a fan of his in general, but his page compositions made me think of John Cassaday a bit here. That same big openness. Not all of the time, but in a few panels. [**]

Detective Comics #879: Colouring for mood and impact? Gotta love Francavilla. The writing was a bit hit and miss for me here. Snyder writes a creepy Joker and that mood hovered over the entire comic. However, he lost me with the pill stuff. James, Jr. (who, by the way, is a return from the past, but not one that Snyder created; he brought back an unused character who, logically, should have a place in this world in some way) being a sociopath? Great. Him not getting better? Works for me. Him killing people? Well, that's what a sociopath does, I suppose... Creating pills that make pepople sociopaths and trying to feed them to children? That's just plain goofy, not scary or creepy. My eyes rolled and a soft chuckle escaped my lips. Was that the intended effect? Eliminate that little 'twist' and this is a really strong comic. [***3/4]

New Avengers #14: "The Oral History of the Avengers" being used here too is a nice touch -- and the more focused interview changed things up in a good way. Spider-Man wanting nothing to do with Victoria Hand... I like that. Also, the New Avengers taking down the Nazis was interesting in how we haven't seen that reflected in Fear Itself. They probably would take them down like that, though. [***1/2]

Punishermax #15: Did not get, because my shop, somehow, put issue 14 in my stack. I didn't notice because of the shitload of comics I was buying. A little mystified at how that even happened. [Rating pending]

RASL #11: Goddamn, that double-page shot is nice-looking... [***1/2]

The Red Wing #1: A little underdeveloped for my taste. I don't quite get the basic concept. They fight battles through time why? I don't get the 'why' of the book. I don't get the logistics of these wars/battles. The characters barely have anything there. The art is nice, though. I know it will come together by the end, but this a comic that leaves me with too many essential questions. I did love that stuff about the goal being to win so completely that you change how the enemy thinks. That's good stuff. [**3/4]

Simpsons Super Spectacular #13: Blame Tucker Stone for this. I saw it in the shop last week after I'd paid for my books and (since I pay with debit usually and didn't feel like doing it for a three buck comic) had the owner put it in my file for this week. Some funny gags and a lot of smart references/plays on Watchmen. I'm surprised they resisted a more direct reference to "I did it 30 minutes ago." I really want to see the complete League of Superheroes and their various identities. Who was the original Pastry Face? Entertaining little comic. [***1/2]

The Unwritten #27: No big thoughts here other than "I liked this comic." Sometimes, that's all there is. [***1/2]

DC Comics Presents: Batman: Goatham Noir #1: This is a reprint of the Elseworlds special that Ed Brubaker and Shean Phillips did back in 2001 along with Batman #604 to bring the page count up. Gotham Noir is okay. It doesn't have the economy or skill of Criminal and is actually made a bit worse by the references to the Batman characters. I do wonder, though: if it was obvious allusions to those characters, would I like it more? Probably, because I'm an asshole like that. Most of us are. Maybe the story needed some more room to breathe than it got. Still pretty good and definitely worth picking up. The Batman issue that's included is utterly forgettable and added nothing. It even ends with "To be continued," which made me laugh. [***1/4]


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CBR Review: X-Men: Schism #1

I recently reviewed X-Men: Schism #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "X-Men: Schism is a funny sort of event where we already know how it ends. There will be two groups of X-Men, one led by Cyclops and the other by Wolverine. That’s practically the selling point of the event: see Cyclops and Wolverine finally go at it. The only questions are of how this will happen. Prelude to Schism hinted at a large threat, one bigger than anything the X-Men have faced, but that threat isn’t revealed in this first issue (or, if it is, we don’t know it). What the first issue does, though, is put Cyclops and Wolverine front and center, while creating a mood of impending doom and tension as mutants, once again, become global public enemy number one."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Ultimate Fallout #1

I recently reviewed Ultimate Fallout #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Ultimate Fallout is a weekly series meant to act as an epilogue to the 'Death of Spider-Man' story that ran through both Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates. It's also a prologue to the relaunch of the Ultimate line under Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, and Nick Spencer. But, before it can focus on the latter, it has the former to attend to. The first issue is not much more than a reaction to the death of Peter Parker, and it’s surprisingly touching how everyone who knew him reacts differently. Bendis and Mark Bagley deliver an emotionally-driven issue that is a good follow-up to the death of Spider-Man."

You can read the rest HERE!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CBR Review: SVK

I recently reviewed SVK for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "SVK has popped up on everyone’s radar because of its unique presentation. The first comic published and distributed by mail order by BERG, a London design consultancy, SVK has a rather unusual gimmick: thought balloons printed in ultraviolet ink that can only be read by a UV flashlight packaged with the book. That BERG also got Warren Ellis and Matt 'D’Israeli' Brooker to make that idea work is another reason why SVK managed to sell out its initial print run after going on sale last week. The 40-page graphic novel is a slick book, and the gimmick is worked into the story in a smart way."

You can read the rest HERE!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CBR Review: Our Love is Real #1

I recently reviewed Our Love is Real #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "'Five years after the AIDS vaccine...' is the tagline that introduces you to the futuristic world of Our Love is Real and, well, there’s been some unintended effects from eliminating the deadly virus. Namely, sex and what’s considered acceptable in society has undergone some changes. The protagonist, Jok, is a police officer who finds himself oddly attracted to another human despite having a wonderful, loving dog by the name of Chyna at home. Not that it matters, because the human he’s attracted to, Brin, is in love with a crystal named Vor. They have sex for hours. And thus lies the conflict at the heart of Our Love is Real, one of the funniest comics I’ve had the pleasure of reading in quite some time."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Moon Knight #3

I recently reviewed Moon Knight #3 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "A mentally ill superhero that thinks himself other heroes and spends his days as a producer on a TV show based on his own life is a good idea, and this issue tries to shed some light on Spector’s down time a little more. Except, all that it reveals is a mercurial jerk who’s biggest fault is that he’s not an entertaining mercurial jerk. Many great stories have starred charismatic, entertaining jerks and that’s what Bendis appears to be going for here, and it never lands. Spector seems to be trying to be that sort of person in his regular life, almost like he’s trying to act how he thinks a TV producer should act. It gets old quickly."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Vengeance #1

I recently reviewed Vengeance #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "Exactly what’s going on in Vengeance #1 isn’t always clear. There are two main plots that run through the issue with various subplots popping up here and there, culminating in a five-panel page that seems like an overture for the entire series, dropping hints about the larger structure. The two plots that dominate this comic both converge in the same place: a new Teen Brigade, following in the tradition of Rick Jones and other groups dating back to the first World War. It’s an interesting idea to hang a series on, especially when the group features characters like Angel and Beak as support staff and new characters the Ultimate Nullifier and Miss America Chavez."

You can read the rest HERE!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sketch Reviews (July 7 2011)

On Friday, my girlfriend Michelle and I got engaged. That's to say that I asked her to marry me and she sadi 'yes.' I don't know when she'll come to her senses and realise she can do far better, but, until then, I'm pretty fucking happy. Then again, I did get engage and turn around and give a comic zero stars, so who knows with me, right?

The Boys #56: Something didn't click with me. I know things aren't like they used to be, but it felt like they were and that sense of a step back threw me off a little in this issue. The sex stuff also felt like a retread, something Hughie points out. Never a good thing when a character points out that this is the same ol' shit. Sure, there are some differences and some advances... but... just fucking get to it, eh? Very nice to see Russ Braun back, though. [**3/4]

Fear Itself #4: So, the Serpent is Odin's older brother? That... that just seems so fucking boring, I must say. That's quickly becoming my reaction to this series: it's fucking boring. More than that, I still don't have a sense that it knows what it's going for beyond just bouncing the fuck around, dropping little hints here and there about stories you can read in more fucking detail elsewhere. You know what made Final Crisis work quite well at doing that? Morrison was rarely dropping in a moment that he knew was going to be explained elsewhere. He didn't have that crutch to fall back on, so, when he dropped in a quick moment, he made it fucking work in and of itself, because you weren't getting anything else. Those few panels were it. No one else picking up the slack. Yeah, there were spinoffs and tie-ins, but the only ones that seemed to matter to Morrison and influenced how he wrote the book were the ones he was writing. That isn't Fraction's approach here and that's what turns this into just another event in the mould of Civil War. Except lacking in the big moments that at least kept the attention of the reader. Look at that, Tony Stark took a fucking drink and tried to pretend it was a noble thing to do... a cool page construction by Immonen to balance the Serpent with Odin that doesn't really work because Odin also appears in a regular panel on his page... Steve is Cap again... Thor is gonna throw down... just tell the fucking story and stop reminding me that any other comics exist. [*3/4]

Flashpoint: Batman, Knight of Vengeance #2: Why didn't I see that coming? Lots of fun twists and turns and playing with everything we know to be true. A damn fun and entertaining comic. [****]

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #2: Well, Perez lasted a nice long time, didn't he? Whatever. This is a crazy comic that, like the Batman book, is just taking the freedom afforded and running with it, fuck what Flashpoint is really about. The smart approach, because what's the fun of an alternate reality if you don't spend some time walking around inside of it? Let Geoff Johns take care of the plot and just have fun. Not as good as the Batman book, but rather entertaining. [***1/2]


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

28: When Did I Get Old and Stop Giving a Fuck?

Overdo, but that fits into what I've been thinking about lately. I spend my days either at work or fucking around not really accomplishing anything. I spend my evenings watching TV and DVDs with my girlfriend because, well, I love hanging out with her and I don't want to actually do anything. But, I stopped trying and caring before I moved in with my girlfriend and got a job and started living that regular life that claims 99% of us. When did it happen exactly? Sometime in grad school, I think?

I used to care about things. Or, at least, I thought I did. I never really did much about any of it except write things for an online weekly column called "Shut Up and Listen" I did for five years. I railed against politicians and governments and idiots and authority and was a great angry young man who didn't actually do anything except spew shit out into the world, convinced that my opinion meant something. It didn't. Still doesn't really. But, hey, it was fun thinking otherwise? Fun trashing Bush and Harper and mocking fuckwits like Gore and Kerry and Martin and Chretien. I watched political conventions and speeches and wrote about them like I knew what was going on. I did to an extent, but not as much as I thought I did. Having done nothing, it's hard to say I really got things. Hunter Thompson was a great writer and Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 is a great fucking book, but that doesn't mean you know shit just because you read it.

Still, I miss that guy. There was a recent federal election in Canada and I voted as I always do, but there was a definite disconnect. A bigger disconnect than ever. I barely followed along as it went, only clicking on top stories about the NDP gaining in the polls or summaries of the debates. On election night, I paid attention to the results while watching wrestling for the Instant Analysis review I write for 411mania. At one point in my life, the election would have been one of my top priorities. Something I followed closely and cared about.

It's not that I didn't care this time. I did. But I didn't. Does that make any sense? I wanted Harper and the Tories to lose, I wanted the Liberals to lose, I wanted the NDP to win, and... well, that was it. Vague ideas of what's right and what's wrong and nothing to back it up except ideas I've been living off since I was fucking 16. That bothers me.

I hadn't reread Channel Zero by Brian Wood in years. Shit, I couldn't tell you when it last was. Before I moved to Windsor -- and probably not anytime soon before that. Over five years, probably somewhere close to seven maybe? I'm not sure it holds up as well now. It still looks impressive and different and some would say that it's politics are more relevent than ever (they'd be both right and wrong, I imagine). I haven't kept up with Wood's work extensively. I have the first four DMZ trades, got that DV8 series, enjoyed the return to Demo, and have plans to read Northlanders at some point. At one point, he was on my 'read everything' list. Now, he's... kind of? There's probably no connection between that disconnect and my political disconnect, but let's pretend there is.

Rereading Channel Zero was both disappointing and refreshing. The older me, the one that knows so much more and cares so much less, couldn't help but find the writing a bit simplistic and underdeveloped. I'm not sure Wood would disagree with that judgment. There's some interesting ideas in it, but it's a visually-driven book clearly. Wood's black and white design-oriented art was (and is) the appeal. His writing and the content try to work with it. It does get better as it goes with the final couple of issues working pretty well. The story about the Cleaner is good.

What I found myself attracted to was the final issue where Wood manages to bring a maturity to the book that you wouldn't expect from the rest of it. For those unaware, Channel Zero is about an America where Christian interests have resulted in government censorship of the media (and a fascist government basically) and the fight against that, mostly through Jennie 2.5 who hacks into broadcasts to spread disinformation until she's caught. In there, she finds herself basically turned into what she was fighting against -- another tool for the government and media to use to their advantage.

At the end of the book, she's returned to New York after a year of exile and she just can't fight anymore:

It doesn't really match up with me, but I can't but feel that way. I raged against the fucking machine for a while and, now, I'm just tired and I am the fucking machine. In the end, Channel Zero turns into a weirdly pragmatic and cynical book where Wood acknowledges that most people just get tired and want to not think about this shit and just watch some TV at the end of the day. Horrible, isn't it? I remember when I actually did things while watching TV, even if it was just writing dumb columns and bad comics scripts.

Whatever, I have to get up and go to work tomorrow.

Chad Nevett
Listening to Matthew Good
July 5, 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011

CBR Review: Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #4

I recently reviewed Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #4 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "If you look at the cover of Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #4, you’ll see a stars ‘n’ stripes big rig flying across the page, looking pretty badass. I can’t think of a single other comic where this image would make a lick of sense and, yet, I didn’t even blink at seeing it on the cover of this comic. I thought it looked cool, but there was never a 'Why is there a truck on the cover and nothing else?' That’s the sort of expectations that Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston have fostered heading into the fourth issue: expect anything so long as it looks cool. And that’s something that Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker has over most of its competition for shelf space and your comics-buying dollars."

You can read the rest HERE!

CBR Review: Scalped #50

I recently reviewed Scalped #50 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "The issue begins with a nine-page story by Aaron, Guéra, and colorist Giulia Brusco called 'The Art of Scalping,' and it’s notable for both taking place in 1876 and featuring Guéra lettering the story himself. Guéra’s hand lettering gives the book a European feel with the square word balloons and look of the words, something that seems appropriate for the story given when it takes place. A rougher, less polished style of lettering for a rougher, less polished time."

You can read the rest of the review HERE!

CBR Review: Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket #1

I recently reviewed Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket #1 for CBR and, in the process, wrote the following sentences: "If I weren’t reviewing Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket #1, I wouldn’t have finished reading it. I would have tossed it aside after five or six pages, moaning 'Well, that was a waste of three bucks...' And, having read the entire comic, I can assure you that I wouldn’t have been wrong. This is a bad, pointless comic and proves right everyone who looked at the overabundance of Flashpoint tie-ins and blasted DC for flooding the shelves with so many that the quality and meaningfulness will suffer in some. There have been some good Flashpoint tie-ins, of course, but this isn’t one of them and, if you were thinking about picking it up, you shouldn’t."

You can read the rest HERE!