Wednesday, September 28, 2011
It feels like forever since the last issue. Kingdom of Monsters has been a very uneven series, here's the stats so far.
Issue 1: Good
Issue 2: Excellent
Issue 3: Alright
Issue 4: Bad
Issue 5: Bad
Issue 6: Good
As you can see, I haven't been too fond of this series. Why? This series is being used to poke at today's culture, with some monsters thrown in. I've said this before and I'll say it again. We're not here to watch parodies of culture, (like Jersey Shore? There was a group called "Jerseyfied" a few issues ago) we're here to see monsters beat the heck out of each other. Last issue was an improvement, sending the series in the right direction. Does this issue continue to go that route? Or does it turn back to no-man's land? Read on.
I am very happy to say that this issue was the best in awhile, second to issue two. The monsters are back to being more of the focus, with some very interesting plot twists.
The plot continues with Steven Woods and Allie surviving the impending "armageddon" as the monsters continue their destruction. The government has gone underground claiming that "they are still helping the people." Right. The plot deepens when the ancient "dragon" is unleashed. And.....Battra is back!
So we have a new plotline when the dragon, (KING GHIDORAH!) is awakened. I find it intriguing, it appears that they are going the GMK route. I'm very surprised with this, will he really be a good guy? I doubt it, but it appears they want to give you that impression. Though I would have rather they go the classic Showa route, with him being a destroyer of worlds, this is fine.
After awhile of being on hold, Batrra transforms into his awesome Imago form.....and Rodan pays a visit. The inner Godzilla geek within me was wide-eyed as Rodan and Battra went in for the battle. Just....wow. The true highlight of the issue, I can picture the roars and sounds in my head as they fought. (It's ironic these two fought, cause Battra's roar is Rodan's in the film.) This is semi-ruined by the two strange Battra twins. They apparently can control beasts as powerful as Rodan! As a fan of the flying monster of the sky, I was truly disappointed after some issues of no status, he's back to be controlled by inferior beings. It makes an interesting plotline.....but I don't like Rodan being controlled.
At least we have a human character to root for now. Steven Woods seems to be the ongoing main character, and that's a good thing. The first couple of issues were lacking someone to actually care about. The other humans are still painted as "monsters" themselves. Humans are greedy, yes, but c'mon, they need to showcase some good people for once.
The art is more of a miss. Battra looks amazing, (he always does) but Rodan still doesn't look like Rodan. King Ghidorah looks nice, resembling more of his GMK counterpart. Godzilla looks good in his small screen time. The cover is very dramatic, but the big G himself isn't drawn properly. Still, it's dramatic. The alternate cover, (why does my comic place never have them?) is a very cool, detailed image of both Battra forms.
Of course, this series is still far from great. The Mechagodzilla side-plot from last issue isn't touched upon at all in this issue, and where the heck is Mothra? She's only been hinted at once, way back in issue three. The final scene with Godzilla and King Ghidorah was just plain amazing, one of the greatest cliffhangers I've ever seen. I like Godzilla's look when he sees this foe. He's like, "Who in the heck is that?" Awesome.
In closing, this issue was very good, I have new faith in this series. With a titanic battle for next issue, this series might just honor the Godzilla name after all. (We'll see soon enough.)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Can't believe I missed this bad boy in the theater. So, X-Men First Class had a very interesting reputation prior it's release. When it was announced that Fox would be doing a prequel to the X films, people were intrigued by this decision. I myself thought it would be nice to see the early adventures of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and the rest. I like the X-Men films, but looking back, it was lacking, well, the X-Men! It focused completely on Wolverine rather than the team themselves. So it was going to be nice to see the team themselves with the focus on them.
Of course, we then heard that the First Class team from the comics, (Cyclops, Jean Grey, look it up.) would be dropped in favor of more obscure people. This literally outraged people, I never saw so many hate comments. People were bashing this film, I even heard some people saying it would be the worst comic book movie of all time. What was I thinking about it? I was kind of annoyed, but very intrigued about where they would go. When a trailer was shown, people actually said it looked alright. Some people even denounced their claim that it would be the worst comic book movie ever. Fast forward to its release, where it got better early reviews than The Dark Knight! It owned the box office, with amazingly positive reviews. Some even call it the BEST comic book movie of all time. Now, why don't we hear my take?
The plot, (who doesn't know it by now?) I'll keep simple. Two mutants, Eric Lensherr and Charles Xavier, put together a team of some of the non-discovered-yet mutant species to stop Sebastian Shaw and his Hellfire Club from igniting World War III.
Yeah, it was very good. This film actually surprised me at how great it was. This film is different than the other X-Men films, those were dark and gloomy, but this one is rather light and energetic. Indeed, it doesn't have a dull moment. This takes place before Mutants were fully discovered, so it's really interesting how the seeds were placed.
The two main stars here are Professor X (portrayed James McAvoy) and Magneto, (portrayed by Micheal Fassbender) and they were just fantastic. Different to be sure, Charles is a lot more up and bright, reminds of the Doctor from the 2005 Doctor Who series. Magneto stole the show, showcasing more of a slick, brutal character than the more quiet one we're use to. It feels "fresh" and "new" to see these characters painted in a new light. (Professor X can walk, and with hair? Count me in.)
Surprisingly, it was Sebastian Shaw (portrayed Kevin Bacon) who did for me the most. This guy comes off as lame sometimes in the comics, but this film made him truly a great foe. Cunning and ruthless, (with a smart script,) his performance was just as good McAvoy's and Fassbender's. Some truly impressive scenes with this guy, I especially like the scene on the boat with the grenade. Excellent.
The other characters do well, save for some. January Jones does a good job with the cunning Emma Frost, though lacks the screen time. (It felt like she disappeared during the third act, I know she was in jail, but still.) Azazel was a bit of a random choice for the Hellfire club, it's much different than the comics. In there, he's a very power mutant, a leader, not a pawn. In the film, they don't even showcase all of his powers. (For people that don't know, he's Nightcrawler's father, in the comics anyway.) There's this other forgettable member whom I forget the name......oh, that's right, Riptide, who is yet another random pick for the Club. I don't remember this guy being named in the film, and doesn't get that much lines. Forgettable to say the least. (It would have been nice if the HellFire Club was actually named, I don't recall hearing that title.)
Now, the other X-members were pretty good. Havok, (the younger brother of Cyclops in the comics) was one of the the big changes the fans complained about. I fully understood that, Havok shouldn't even exist at that time technically. (Or if he did, he would be very small.) Portrayed by Lucas Till, he plays the quiet arrogant type, and what's with his blasts being red? It's not a big deal really, but they could have stuck with the comics way and made it blue. Nicolas Hoult as the Beast was just "meh." I guess I'm more use to the no-nonsense Beast from X3 to like this mellow-in-self-misery one. Oh, how can I forget about one of the main stars, Mystique? Jennifer Lawrence does a good job of portraying her, it's amazing how well she fits and then look at the X films, and see that the transition works. Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, a very random pick, was decent enough. Her change of heart to join the Hellfire Club was utterly unexpected and wasn't played out that great in my opinion. Caleb Laundry Jones as Banshee was decent enough, lacked characterization, but was alright.
Surprisingly, there weren't that many big effect-driven scenes. There are a few awesome explosion sequences that must have been truly an awe in the IMAX. Emma Frost's diamond form was a cool, Azazel's teleportation was also pretty nice. Some do look very CGI, (Riptide's tornado for an example) but overall, some really cool effects thrown in.
Now, for something I don't fully get. This film completely contradicts X-Men: Origins Wolverine. I believe I read somewhere that Origins would be placed as non-canon.....but would it have been really hard to keep the continuity in check? I mean, Origins did a pretty good job with lining up with the X films, now it appears all of that goes out the window. First Class serves as a prequel, but the ending gives you the impression that it will get a sequel, therefore the sequel to this film being the real prequel. Perhaps then in the third sequel, it will allude to Cyclops and Jean joining the team.
This is the definition of a blockbuster, it has lots of action, but it is a very intelligent film. (Some footage of John F. Kennedy was shown during the film, a very nice touch.) Magneto's dialogue with Shaw on the ship in the final act was stellar. Professor X and Magneto were truly the highlights of this film, they were pretty awesome together, some of the best performances I've ever seen. Bacon as Shaw is definitely a contender for villain of the year, the only person I think deserves it better is Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. The soundtrack isn't bad, some cool energetic tunes, but could have been better. (To this day, Ghost Rider still has the best comic book movie soundtrack.)
Overall, X-Men: First Class is definitely a film you don't want to miss. Super acting, great script, fun cast of characters, and is just plain fun. It gives comic book movies a good name, it ranks even with Captain America and The Dark Knight. Even with an unnecessary cameo of Wolverine, you do not want to miss this film. (They could have done a better job with the costumes, though Magneto's at the end was awesome.)
Saturday, September 24, 2011
This one was an important one, we find out why Yinsen really dislikes Tony, we also find out his plan. This guy has emerged as the main villain, for Zodiac is behind the scenes, but their people lose in about five minutes every time. Yinsen is really the only one with a threatening presence.
I'll be honest, I mainly watch this show for the fights. While a certain other show is tame with the battles, this show lets you have it. Surprisgly, the last couple of episodes were lacking really stand-out fights. We got a nice, but super short last time with Stark and Captain Sakurai , but a lot of the episodes are lacking scope. The first couple had some really good ones, but for awhile, lackluster. After some episodes of that, this one is the payoff. This is one action-filled one, the most actually. We get some satisfying action between Stark and his blue counterpart. The animation is really solid, I'll give a hand to Japan for that, they know how to do fights well.
Just cause there's lot of punching and banging doesn't mean the plot stays still, we get a few ramifications, AND a big cliffhanger.
Yinsen still comes off as forced, even with the flashback. This whole thing with him still doesn't look right, to bring him back in the first place was an odd idea. Unexpected for sure, but I think unwise. He comes off as brash, for it's obvious what Tony was saying, is he really that stubborn that he can't see what's in front of him? I hope all this time he's half-brain washed or something. Adrian Pasdar continues to do a great job with Tony, unlike the other anime, this voice fits the character well. His portrayal has been super, matching more of the early 2000's Stark with just a hint of the movie's version. (In short, he's serious, but knows how to take the whole system of things and make it funny.)
Zodiac is a real organization from the comics. (I know them personally from the 90's Avengers show.) Their inclusion in this show was welcome, but they really haven't done anything. Each of their members are the definition of one-shot, they get cleaned off in about five minutes with no characterization whatsoever. Their just plot devices and nothing more. Seriously, Yinsen is the only real threat right now.
The other characters actually don't do much. Chika goes back to being in the building giving orders and warnings, the romance between her and Stark isn't touched upon. I wonder, with three episodes left, how far can they go with it? Tony will most likely leave Japan......and will she come? Or is this a passing thing for good ol' Mr. Stark? The supposed to be "cool guy" Captain Sakurai appears, though does nothing. The anime makes him to be the "rival" and the "cool cat," but it hasn't worked for me. He's trying to be epic, but really, it fails. That suit he has is awesome, but so far, underused. Hopefully we'll get some action with it next episode.
Overall, this episode of Iron Man might just be the most important, and best. Great fights, great script, this show has been good with the drama too. You should definitely be checking this out, fan or not.
This show has been very fast-paced, but surprisingly, there haven't been that many fights to write home about. I don't like the frequent use of stills, and this episode was no different. Again, thugs are the ones Wolverine dishes out his claws on, so nothing big here.
This episode is basically used to get Wolverine from the beginning to the end of the road. Along the way, thugs and traps. We do learn that the Underground movement is even more sneaky than thought. Still, Wolverine's script is fun enough to get us the whole way through without boredom kicking in.
Speaking of Wolverine. The character himself has been a complaint. I could see why and agree with some of the points. First of all, the voice. He doesn't sound like the deep mean Wolverine, he sounds like a dude on a skateboard. Would it have been really hard to hire Steven Blum? Kurohagi continues to be the most annoying and unbearable villain in existence. When he's trying to be menacing it's so laughable because you know he's one of the weakest beings ever. Seriously, anyone can stop this guy, even a mindless thug. Mariko continues to be the most useless damsel in distress ever since Princess Peach. She gets some more useless inner monologue. Yukio makes this show a heck lot more interesting, the dynamic between her and Logan is fun. Without her, this show might just be dull.
The pay-off is the cliffhanger at the end, with the only cool villain, kikyo. This guy could pass off as someone from Bleach, complete with the long hair and strange sword move. Still, the only villain from the comics that has appeared so far is Omega Red, (not counting A.I.M.) it would have been nice to see some others. I was confused when this series took place. I thought it took place in Logan's early days, but no, his call for Cyclops three episodes ago says that this is in his X-Men days. (The scene in the Blackbird still ranks as the best in the whole show thus far.) This Wolverine seems to be more care-free than the one we're use to. Still, it's nice to see him dish out his claws with no holding back, something his past animated appearances does.
Overall, this episode is probably my least favorite, it's really just used to get him across the road. This show has been hit-or-miss. (A lot of miss I've been reading.) I have been enjoying it, though I will say that it has a lot of flaws. Casual people will probably like this show, but the die-hard purists, (as seen in the comments and forums) cannot stand anything about it.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Movie tie-ins have always had a bad rep. It's understandable, for a lot of the times the games are rushed with last-gen graphics, poor level design, and unresponsive controls. I personally haven't played a lot of them, only the Spidey ones, and those have been good. An example I've played would be the X-Men 3 tie-in, that game felt "empty." I've heard the very bad things about the Iron Man tie-ins, and don't get me started on the Fantastic Four tie-in. I am happy to say that the Dark of the Moon tie-in is a step above other tie-ins.
The Revenge of the Fallen game wasn't bad, except for one thing......it was always the same thing over and over again. There was virtually no cutscenes, and the plot nonexistent. Only if you saw the film could you see the plot. Dark of the Moon succeeds in that it's not the repetitive mess that is Revenge of the Fallen, the story engages you from the start with actual cutscenes implemented. Of course, it has some problems I'm going to mention soon.
High Moon Studios, the geniuses behind last year's high-rated game Transformers: War for Cybertron, were the ones behind this game. When it was announced that they were behind this game, people actually had a glint of interest. Indeed, War for Cybertron is the definitive Transformers game, it's story, design, and everything else is the game Transformers fans are proud to hold. Even for non-fans, the gameplay was still an excellent third-person shooter. It's obvious of the influence it has on Dark of the Moon, it plays similar, and even uses some sound effects. (Such as the gun-reload.)
Of course, it is pale in comparison to War for Cybertron.
Not to say it isn't a good game, but it's a shadow of the other one.
What's different about this game is that instead of adapting the movie's storyline, it focuses as a prequel to the film. I think that idea is sound, it tells a new tale rather that repeating the film's. Plus, it gives you more incentive to pick the game up. I can't say how well it lines in with the film, for I haven't seen it yet.
Another thing different about this Transformers game is that instead of having Autobot and Decepticon mode, the game has one campaign where you take control of certain Autobots and Decepticons each chapter. I think it's a good and bad idea. As a prequel, it makes sense for it to be that way, plus each chapter feels new rather than being a "swap." (Another problem with the Revenge of the Fallen game.) On the other hand, it's hard to like root for either side, since you're playing as both in one mode. But for the most part, I think it works fine.
The gameplay is very similar to that of War for Cybertron. However, it feels more "grounded." The Revenge of the Fallen game shockingly feels more "free" and "open." The jumping there is better, and you could climb. Some of Dark of the Moon's gameplay feels downgraded in that aspect. The big thing they hyped about this game was the inclusion of Stealth Force. Basically the vehicles have these built in weapons. They are cool to unleash, (not to mention that they are unlimited) but the controls for the vehicles feel clunky and too loose. You DO NOT want to transform into vehicle mode in a confined area.
Gameplay remains rather the same, though each Transformer has their own unique ability, which was nice. Mirage's cloaking ability, to Megatron's drain health power, were nice touches. In one level, you use Soundwave's pet, Laserbeak. That was fun and different, a spy feel. I was surprised and disappointed that it was used only once. Another disappointing thing is the only flight level with Starscream. The flying should have been fun, but it moves to slow.
This game is great if your a Transformers fan, the voices are top-notch and some of the cutscenes will have you smiling. (I love the scene where Starscream comes in thinking he's done something good, but Megatron slaps him to the side yelling "You imbecile! The Autobots have most likely planted a tracking device!" The robots themselves match their movie counterparts well enough with a good amount of detail. Dark of the Moon has a cinematic feel, something Revenge of the Fallen was severely lacking. Shockwave's rise, to Optimus Prime's duel with Megatron, were some great scenes. The voice work accompanying these scenes are stellar.
Soundtrack wise, it's decent. The menu theme is pretty epic, gets you in the mood to start playing. In-game music is cool, but most of the time only alright. Could have been much better,
The length of the game does not justify the 60$ price tag. I beat it in two weeks, and would have done so sooner, if not for me playing other games along with it. You can beat this game in a week, and that's unacceptable. You'll be spending some time in multiplayer mode after you beat it, but that gets old after awhile.
Overall, Transformers fans will want to definitely pick up this game. I'd recommend War for Cybertron naturally for the better gaming experience. Still, this game is a gem among tie-ins. Is it worth the 60$? Of course not. 30$ at most.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Yesterday was a pretty rough day for me. I had caught this virus, and was the definition of sick. Being in bed all the day, I decided to something I never do.....watch lots of TV. After going through some free-on-demand episodes of the Looney Tunes Show, I went on the regular guide. Some episodes of Dragon Ball Z Kai was airing, so I saw those. (The debut of the Androids.) After the two episodes ended, I saw on the guide that Fusion Reborn would be airing. It was only an hour, so why not? Probably wouldn't have the opportunity again, plus I was pretty much out of commission. So after I watched it, I told myself I'll be writing a review for it tomorrow when I feel better. So here we go.
I'm currently reading DBZ, just entered the Cell Games. (I know I know, way behind.) I had no clue when this film took place. (Found out while watching that it takes place after the Buu saga.) So I can't comment on how it aligns with proper continuity. (I have heard that it throws some of continuity out the window, according to the wiki.) So I was lost with some of the things. (Looking forward to seeing why Gohan gets all superhero.)
The plot in my words.
So Goku is in the land of the dead competing in a tournament. (Wonder why he went there in the first place, is there an annual land of the dead tournament or something?) The finals pits him against a being named Pikkon. (According to the wiki, he's only seen in filler episodes, so I guess I won't be seeing him in the manga.) The fight is interrupted when a being is absorbed by a strange substance and grows into a giant monster. This monster breaks the dead barrier, and dead goes to the land of the living. Goku of course goes to fight the monster known as the demon Janemba. After a short fight, Janemba reveals his second form, something as powerful as Majin Buu! Goku alone could not stop it, so when good ol' Vegeta appears, Goku says that they should do the Fusion Technique. But can even that win?
Alright, not a bad plot in my book.
The only other DBZ movie I've seen is Cooler's Revenge, this film is more or less the same. Both have some pretty epic fights, but suffer from corny dialogue. Indeed, why do the films get thumbed down with some pretty bad scripting? When there's no action happening, it becomes stale sadly.
Goku is portrayed as overly cheerful in my opinion. It's a little funny how blunt the dialogue can be, "He could destroy the whole universe!" In DBZ world, that comes as the norm I suppose. Still, Goku is one of the best main characters in the anime world. Pikkon is a good character, underused, but good. The fun really begins when Vegeta arrives. I'm no fan, but the dialogue between him and Goku is priceless.
Jamemba....hmm, what to say about this guy. His first form was pretty off-putting, acting child-like. (Chanting his name like a Pokemon all the time.) Once he transformers into his Cooler like final form, the action really begins. Thanks to that form, I can rank him "cool." Character wise, he seems to be lacking in that department. Aside from a few grunts, he doesn't talk at all. The writers could have done some great things with this guy, it feels like a wasted opportunity. Still, that sword is plain epic.
The film takes place mostly in the land of the dead, or the "Other World" as it's known. In the land of the living, it was interesting to see Gohan older. So many characters I've yet to officially read, like Goten. When the dead go into the land of the living, it gets pretty fun with an appearance by none other than Frieza himself. (He was finished off in one blow, but it was still a nice unexpected appearance.) I wish they could have done more with that side-plot, the possibilities are endless.
Soundtrack wise, the music doesn't disappoint. I'd have to give a hand to DBZ, their music is always top-notch.
Overall, Fusion Reborn is everything you'd expect from a DBZ film. Epic fights, great music, and cringe-worthy dialogue. Still, we see these things for the fights, right? It delivers that. The Fusion technique between Goku and Vegeta is awesome, and dialogue before and after that is priceless.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
So I was at Comic Book Jones a few days ago. They had sent me their yearly 30% birthday coupon, so I headed there. My main comic place had sold out of Detective Comics, so I was hoping this place would have it. Thankfully, I found a copy. (My review here: http://destroyers-editorialsandreviews.blogspot.com/2011/09/detective-comics-1-review.html) Since I had such a great coupon, I headed to the back issue bins. But time had ran out, it was 6:11 and I had to be back in New Jersey by 6:45. I quickly zoomed in to the Spidey ones, where they had NOTHING, just newer issues I already have. With the time against me, I quickly dove into the Ghost Rider section. (Ever since my revisit to the film, I have been eager to check out some of his series.) They didn't have much, (this place needs to really re-invent their bins) but I saw this thing called "Heaven's on Fire." It was a six issue issue limited series according to the front. I wanted to buy all of them, but 4.50$ was the price for every single one, so I ended up just buying number six. (For those wondering, I made it back in time.)
The cover of this issue was what really grabbed me. As seen above, it shows two Ghost Riders, and this awesome looking black-winged angel. I've always liked how Ghost Rider meshed with theology, so I love this cover. (Definitely in top ten best, maybe even top five.) I honestly had no clue what it was about, or what year was it from. I found out the ladder when I opened it, seeing an advertisement for Siege, which meant this mini-series came out just last year. Of course, before I read the issue, I looked up what had happened before. Here's the plot in my words.
So it turns out that the being responsible for the Ghost Riders is NOT who they thought it was. It turns out that a renegade angel, Zadkiel, is responsible. This rebel wants to take over the the throne of Heaven itself, claiming that he himself is God. Meanwhile, the actual Anti-Christ, calling himself Kid Blackheart, leads an assault on Heaven. Zadkiel wants to erase this being from existence, so Revelation could go out the window and he could write the future. In the midst of all of this, the two Ghost Riders, Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, journey into Heaven to send Zadkiel to Hell.
Tell me that doesn't sound awesome. I wish I would have delved in sooner to this franchise. Hey, I'm not here to give a review, I'm here to talk about these great ideas I had for future movies.
Alright, Spirit of Vengeance opens next year. I don't see it succeeding in the box office. Sure, with Nicolas Cage being in it, it will attract some viewers, but I honestly don't see it becoming a hit. The first one came out five years back, and no one seemed to like it. (Save for a few, such as myself.) So I can see Sony giving up, for Ghost Rider isn't mainstream. Like with Punisher, I can see the rights reverting back to Marvel, and then the fun begins.
Now, I greatly enjoyed the first Ghost Rider film, but the movie I want to see is with him on his motorcycle slaying monstrous creatures from Hell. I think Sony is too shy, for already Spirit of Vengeance looks to have non-demonic villains. The first film made Blackheart a Twilight-esque looking character! Marvel Studios wouldn't be shy to unleash some Hellish creatures in the film. Now, for my idea.
Heaven's on Fire I think is the perfect story to adapt. Of course, here are my two ways of doing it. Now, if they were to go the long route, (most likely fans would prefer it) this would be the way to do it in my humble opinion.
At the start of the film, Blaze realizes that the Ghost Rider needs to move on to a new host, and it has picked one: Danny Ketch. What follows is Blaze showing Ketch the ropes, and for the villain, I would like for them to bring back Blackheart in his REAL demonic form. Then in the next film, it is revealed that Zadkiel was the one responsible for the Ghost Rider, so Blaze becomes the Ghost Rider again, (he would still have some of the spirit within) and they both go after Zadkiel. Thus Heaven's on Fire. I doubt they could adapt it completely, too many characters to introduce, but the general idea would work soundly.
The other idea is more likely. Instead of introducing the Ketch dynamic, cut him out completely. I think the story would work, keep the general idea with Heaven's on Fire, but make the necessary changes. A real Ghost Rider film with a battle in Heaven with angels and demons would be something else, wouldn't it? I think Heaven's on Fire, or elements of it, would make the perfect Ghost Rider film for after Spirit of Vengeance.
What do you think?
Friday, September 16, 2011
I know I know, I said I would only be buying the new Justice League series. Well, after hearing some awesome things and that Joker was in it, I had to pick this up. I haven't read a hardcore Batman story in awhile, plus he's my favorite DC hero. So I went to the comic book store, and of course they had sold out a week ago when it first came out. Thankfully, I found it at Comic Book Jones, a nice place in Staten Island. Anyways, the New 52 continues with the release of Detective Comics, the first series in which Batman first appeared in. This was exciting for me, I could pick up a Batman comic that was a fresh start.
The Batman/Joker dynamic is one of the greatest in comics. Dating back all the way to the 40's, it's one of the oldest in comics. Of course, at that time, they weren't worst enemies until later. As the years went by, the Batman comics became darker and darker. It was the famous comic: The Killing Joke that made the Joker the crazy person he is. Back in the 40's to the 60's, he was just known as a crazy clown with weird gadgets. Now we all know him to be the greatest murder and psychopath in all of comic history. Bringing this guy in for the relaunch is of course the way to do it, and boy, does it deliver.
This issue is completely different than the Justice League one. Whereas the ladder has space heroes jumping around, big explosions, this is a gritty street level tale, as it should be. It's basically DC's Punisher or Daredevil. Let me tell, this issue is everything you'd expect from a Batman comic. No guy with a cape zooming in to save the day, just a regular guy attempting to make the worst city on earth better.
This comic feels "fresh." The little dialogue boxes with Batman's thought are excellent, this feels like an episode of the Animated Series. A definitive Batman comic. So smooth and dark, it's the perfect start. The plot moves at a steady pace, as a real detective story. (As it should, since it's Detective Comics.)
Putting Joker in this debut issue was sound. I've always been wanting to read a modern "Batman vs. Joker" issue. It's interesting to see Batman and Joker in their early days, since this is a revamp. Joker is portrayed even more ruthlessly than I thought. I see great things ahead for this series. The fight between Batman and Joker was truly something else. No big punches that send you flying stories high, just street-level fighting.
Batman himself is portrayed with everything we'd expect. I LOVE the writing. "You can't escape me Joker, I own the night." I just love that, I don't think I've ever seen him portrayed as awesome as this. Everything, from his talk with Commissioner Gordon to his arrival in the Bat Cave felt like what a Batman comic should be doing. DC is stepping up, they actually might be even a little close to Marvel now.
The art by Tony Daniel is dark and suits the series perfectly. Batman is drawn with a younger look and more of a high-tech costume. I like it, not to mention the powerful cover. Joker is drawn similar to some of his past incarnations. If DC beats Marvel in anything, it's the art. (You gotta pick up in the art department Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man.)
In closing, if you like Batman, or tired of cosmic level things and want a street-level realistic comic, you'll want to pick up Detective Comics. With it's intelligent dialogue, great cast of characters, this comic is a must-have. (It's already going for eleven dollars on Amazon.) The ending to this comic is pretty unbelievable and brutal, now I really want to see what happens.
I give Detective Comics #1 a 10/10. PERFECT score. One of the best Batman stories I've ever read.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Ah, the Looney Tunes. The most famous cartoon ever. So famous, that even today, reruns continues to air. (These shorts are as old as the 50's you know.) Timeless, great writing, it's the definitive cartoon. I am not here, however, to talk about it. I'm here to talk about the new Looney Tunes Show.
When it was first announced that they will be making a new Looney Tunes show, people were very close-minded about it. I saw it all in the comments and forums. People were NOT looking forward to it. Why? Because their logic is that the originals can't be beat, so a new show trying to be like them isn't worthy of being created. They weren't looking forward to seeing their characters again in a new light, they just wanted to hold on to the originals. Well, I could understand that. Many times they will take a classic, and turn it upside down. (Just look at the new Voltron and Speed Racer.) I get that. However, I am here to tell you purists (and people who aren't watching it) that this show lives up to the Looney Tune name.
Today, cartoons have pretty much been downgraded. Back in the day, we had Looney Tunes. (I wasn't around when they first aired, I saw the reruns and rented the Golden Collections) Then in the 90's/early 2000's (the era I grew up in) we had Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Doug, Catdog and others. Cartoons had heart. Today, we have things like Adventure Time. We have things, like the Amazing World of Gumball, where the main character is just a kid with no manners whatsoever. (Yes, that's what today's generation watches.) I've seen clips and commercials of these things, and they just are plain un-watchable. I don't know how these things get made. So when the Looney Tunes Show was announced, people were worried that it will go the Voltron Force route and become a kiddy thing with some pretty horrible writing. I'm over fifteen episodes in, and it's everything opposite of that.
The show follows veterans Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck living together as roommates. Okay, now that's something I bet you all wanted to see. The episodes of the originals with those two were always the best. And this show has them as the main stars every episode. Their characters aren't changed, you have the always cunning and good guy Bugs Bunny, and the always failing Daffy Duck. Their dynamics really clash, and it is hilarious. The scripting, like the originals, is great. It isn't kiddy, it's smart and funny. (When I sometimes show these with the rest of my family, they say that they actually prefer this over the originals.)
Instead of completely trying to be like the originals, (a la Tom and Jerry Tales) it takes the characters and puts them in whole new situations. Here we have an ongoing thing with Bugs and Daffy. It is in a nutshell a sitcom. And that's a good thing. It feels "fresh" and each episode is so diverse. This series references a lot of real life in a funny way. Two episodes ago they were making fun of the whole up-selling thing, how they trick you into buying stuff you don't need. (Insurance for ink? Yes, Porky fell for it.)
Of course, all of our favorites appear. Porky is the same as always. In fact, I'd say everyone matches their past counterparts perfectly. Gossamer is one of the few re-designs I don't like, instead of the monster who works for that professor guy, he's portrayed as a shy kid. Marvin the Martian isn't really evil, he's teaming up with the good guys in this show. Besides those two, every character is portrayed wonderfully.
Miss the Road Runner? Fear not, he's back with his arch-nemesis in a short every episode. People might not like the CGI, but after awhile, you get used to it. The Road Runner has always been my favorite, so these little shorts I greatly enjoy. Now, don't get me wrong here, I LOVE the original Road Runner shorts, but I gotta say that they get repetitive after awhile. These new CGI shorts add a new flare. Want to see the Road Runner and Coyote duke it out as ninjas in hand-to-hand combat? You got it here. Want to see Coyote put on the Iron Man armor? You got it here too.
I think I've made my point here clear. The Looney Tunes Show is an intelligent comedy for both kids and adults. On a channel where Adventure Time and Gumball rule, this show is a real gem. This editorial is mainly aimed at the purists who won't see the show just cause it's new. I'm a Looney Tunes fan, and I love this show. Each episode has made me laugh out loud, and it's just.....fun. You don't have to worry about catching up with the episodes, it's one of those shows where you could watch episode 13 and not have to worry about knowing what happened last. Well, what are you waiting for? Mark your calender or DVR for every Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Cartoon Network.
Just two shorts to get you in the mood.
Monday, September 12, 2011
The Avengers is coming.
Now, we all know this movie is going more toward the Ultimate route, with a little 616 thrown in. At the end of Thor, we see Loki getting ready to execute his master plan. We also know that he has an "army." Speculation and rumors point toward the goblin-like Skrulls, which is the most likely. Some say it's going to be the Chitauri, the Ultimate version of the Skrulls. That would make better sense for the live action world, for the Chitauri look less 60's and more of a threat. However, all of this goes out the window from the latest leak. While we still want to know what the "army" and mysterious "Leviathan" is, our minds our now pre-occuupied with this. Alright, here we go.
Yes, THANOS is coming.
Talk about the leak of the century, heck, maybe even the biggest leak ever. Thanos is a character that is just too hard to imagine on the big screen. Sure, we can picture it, but his presence in a film would just be too unbelievable to do. Well, it's going to happen May 4th, 2012.
Thanos is one of Marvel's biggest threats. He alone could probably take out all of the Avengers teaming up. What makes him even more dangerous is his worship of Death. (Hey, maybe we'll get to see her, or at least a cameo.) This guy destroys whole worlds!
However, I could not help but feel a little worried.
Now, Thanos being in it has the Marvel fan in me yelling for joy, but I have a feeling that he's going to be down-played. Destroyer from Thor was hugely down-graded. In the comics, Thor could never beat it alone, let alone in under two minutes. Two minutes. Thor got his hammer back, and he beat the "invincible" Destroyer in under two minutes. Why did Marvel have the need to down-play its power? Thanos is even above Destroyer, I doubt Marvel will show his true strength.
Now, it was leaked that Thanos makes a deal with Loki for the Infinity Gauntlet. Just knowing that thing will be a factor is astounding. But do you know the magnitude of it? Look at these two images.
That's right, equipped with it, Thanos has the power to destroy whole universes. With one snap, half of the universe's life was wiped out. Alright, I doubt first of all that he will get a hold of it in the film. If he does, then that's it. The Avengers are dead. On the other hand, if he does get it, I don't think the film will show the extent of its power. For some reason, weapons/villains are severely down-graded to "general audience appeal." For some strange reason, the general public can't handle universes being destroyed, or except the fact that things such as the Gauntlet can do it.
Now here is Marvel's chance to break that barrier. They can show what a comic book adaption is. Who says we can't have planets or universes being destroyed in a single snap? I want to see Thanos destroy whole cities at least, this should be the comic book movie, or heck, just movie that will feature the most destruction ever.
I speculate, however, that Thanos will not fight in the film. I believe in the after-credits scene, Loki, after being defeated by the Avengers, is located and destroyed by Thanos. What follows is Thanos saying his new plan, which sets up for Avengers number two.
I think that's pretty feasible, though I hope I'm wrong. I want to see Thanos and the Avengers square off for the battle that will shake the live-action world to the core. Thanos, with the Infinity Gauntlet, took on the whole Marvel universe. Let's see what Marvel Studios plan to do with that.
Thanks for reading.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Ah, Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This is the third in that series, and one of the most awaited games in the last decade. These games are known for their super addictive gameplay and their outrageous combos and finishers. This is where the hardcore gamers come in for some hours of brawling. This game had some pretty big hype, with a monthly countdown of the characters, this was meant to be the big all-out fighting game of the century. Does it succeed? Continue reading to find out.
I rented this game for a weekend a few months ago, (as of September 7th, I now own it) and it was some of the most fun I've ever had. The gameplay is just so wild and fun, that it's just hard to put the controller down. I tell myself that this battle would be the last battle, but I find myself wanting to do another one right after. Indeed, this game is probably the most fun and addictive fighting game I've ever played.
But it's not perfect.
Read this quote I took from an interview about the game's plot. ".....when we really started, the only thing we had in mind was that particular style of American comic, and the fact we put more weight behind the story came afterwards."
In another interview, they actually had the audacity to call the game's story "deep." Alright, before it came out, that was a major factor for me. I was expecting a big cutscene-driven story mode, and what did we get? Arcade. That's what we got. Simple arcade mode, with no story behind it. Just battles after battles.
The whole plot is basically told through these short "movies" you unlock. They are pretty spectacular, boasting some awesome graphics and great action. These videos were the ones they released during the months, so it gave you the illusion of a big story mode. Major fail there. Sure, you'll probably tell me that you don't buy a fighting game for its story mode, you buy it for fighting. True.....but this is not just an arcade game where you pop in a few quarters and use a joystick for a few rounds. This is a 60$ next gen game, I'm going to need more than a little arcade mode. Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Brawl set the standards for a story within a fighting game, why couldn't this game follow it? This game is NOT story driven at all, despite what you might have heard.
The game boasts a great amount of characters.....um, excuse me, I meant an unacceptable amount. The previous game had 56, but this game is downgraded to 36. The excuse here is that the previous game had lots of "clones" for characters. (For non-video game people, clones are characters that use the same moveset as another character.) Fine, but that's still no excuse. Fighting games are supposed to have more characters as they go along. Super Smash Bros. Brawl had 35, nine more than its previous entry. Heck, Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 has over 100! You're going to tell me that you couldn't have surpassed 36? Nonsense.
Regarding the characters, they picked decently. However, you have to wonder why they would pick Taskmaster over Venom. I mean really? Yes, I was hugely disappointed that Spidey's nemesis didn't make the cut. Not even Carnage or Anti-Venom! Instead, we get MODOK. Who wants to play as a giant head? Not me. Capcom left out their own mascot, Megaman. The excuse? "He doesn't have enough powers." That.....that's just sad. I think Capcom wants to distance itself from Megaman completely. (Sorry Legends 3.)
I've been mocking this game a lot, haven't I? Don't get me wrong, it's still one of the most fun games you'll ever play. I never got the first two Marvel vs. Capcoms, (played those bad boys in the arcade a few times on vacation) so this whole thing was relatively new for me. Thanks to my old PS1 game Marvel Super Heroes, I learned pretty quickly. This game is one of those games where it's so easy to get completely annihilated if you don't get into the combos and really know the controls. The game features this beginner mode where the controls are simple for the rookie. I'd say skip that and just get to know the controls from a bunch of vs. rounds.
I played a few online matches in the game, and I would have to say that it has the greatest online mode I've ever played. Opponents come in fast, and there is no lag whatsoever. It's almost as if you were playing a local match! Nintendo could take a few pointers from this, their online really is bad sometimes. (I'm looking at you TMNT Smashup.)
In the battles, it's all about finding out what your best team is. It's good to play around with several different characters, each is very different. I use Spider-Man, Zero, and Iron Man. Spidey, cause he's my all-time favorite character, Zero, cause his sword skills I put to great use, and Iron Man for his uni-beam and finisher. A lot of times in fighting games, there seems to be a certain "unbalance." Like, if you are a pro with Sentinel, chances are that you would be very, very hard to beat. Like with Smash Bros, I notice that a lot of the pros use Meta Knight, cause he is definitely the most unbalanced of the roster, making him a superior character. MVC3 does a pretty good job with that, if you play your cards right, Sentinel won't be a problem. (Key: Iron Man's missiles and Zero's sword.)
I like how Marvel made sure to include nice references for the fans. If Cap beats Iron Man in a battle, he would say, "Just like Civil War!" It's those little moments that make this game shine. (Not to mention that it puts a smile on your face.) At the end of arcade mode, you have (you probably know this already) Galactus as the final boss. I'll give arcade mode props to that, the final boss is EPIC. Each character has their own ending, which was nice. (It doesn't make up for no story mode.)
Overall, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is lacking in two severe categories: story and characters. They said that it would be story driven. Nope. I could forgive characters if Venom was included. (Fine, call me biased.) However, it still is probably the greatest fighting game to come out in the last ten years, good luck trying to put down the controller. It's also a lot more fun when you have someone to play with, trust me on that. Fast-paced, great characters, and a good amount of stages makes this game worth the money.
I give Marvel vs. Capcom 3 an 8/10.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
For my 16th birthday, I wanted to do something interesting. Instead of throwing some kind of party, I decided to revisit one of my favorite films: Godzilla: Final Wars. I've seen this film four times, (now five) and decided that for a special age, a special movie to revisit. So, let's start.
Final Wars has an interesting reputation. It's the 50th anniversary film. Truly a feat, fifty years of Godzilla. This film was meant to be the goodbye, the one where it ends on a high note. The one where you look back and say, "What a great end to a great franchise." Does it succeed? Read on.
The plot takes place in the near future. Monsters are the norm, and there exists "Mutants," the core of the Earth Defense Force. It's been several years since Godzilla was frozen in the South pole. Out of nowhere, Rodan attacks NYC, and before you know it, monsters galore! As the Earth Defense Force attempt to combat these beasts, a mysterious ship from outer space comes into earth's orbit. It "eliminates" the monsters and the beings inside, called "Xilians" say there here in peace. They explain that a planet called "Gorath" is en route to earth, and it will destroy the planet. However, things are not what they seem.....
Sound familiar? Veteran fans should instantly recall this plot. This film is basically a modern Destroy All Monsters combined with Monster Zero. Yes, so scratch all realism from the past Millennium films, this film is crazy like Showa. And that's a good thing. The past two Millennium films were deadly serious, Final Wars was a welcome change of pace and throwback to the 60's and 70's. I loved every second of it.
This film is a lot different than the ones you're used to watching. Not just Godzilla films, all films in general. Whereas other films gives you a breather, get to develop the characters, take time to explain things, Final Wars lets you have it with no stop of the action. Seriously, even the dialogue scenes, thanks to the music, doesn't feel like a "breather." It is nonstop. And I think that's the way to do it.
Everything about this film is different than the average Godzilla film. The characters have a certain cool "style." Think Matrix-type of fighting wouldn't mesh well with Godzilla? Think again. A lot of times in the previous films, the human screen time can get pretty dreadful. (I'm looking at you Destroy All Monsters.) Thanks to the fun characters and crazy fights, the human screen time I actually ENJOYED.
The main character, Ozaki, will remind you of Neo from the Matrix. A lot of the fights are reminiscent from it. Good or bad? I think it's great, a change of routine for the Godzilla films. Captain Gorden is such a fun guy to watch on screen. Sure, he may come off as corny sometimes, but it fits in with this crazy movie.
MONSTERS, MONSTERS, and MONSTERS! This is the selling point naturally. 50th anniversary? What better way to celebrate than with fifteen monsters?! Here we have the most monsters ever captured in a Godzilla film, or heck, all films. The monsters get some great screen time, and the effects are steps above anything TOHO has produced before.
Godzilla is looking his best, my personal favorite look after the 2000 one. He looks menacing, but at the same time, not evil like his look from GMK. Mothra is just about the same from the last film, Tokyo SOS. Thanks to the awesome effects, she hasn't looked more powerful. Gigan gets a big modern redesign, sporting a black and silver look rather than is classic green and yellow. He looks AMAZING. (Yes, he is my favorite monster) Showcasing his laser, something that was never showed in his early appearances. Rodan sports his Showa look, and flaps his wings with glory. Angurius sadly is the most disappointing. His look from Destroy All Monsters, a film over thirty years ago, looks better than this film. I am glad that they gave him a rolling ability, he actually doesn't look weak at all, boasting some impressive moves. King Caesar looks practically a copy of his look from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. A great modern update for Kamacurus, who now sports wings. Kumonga looks impressive, though his look from Son of Godzilla is equally great. (Amazing, considering that film came out over thirty years ago.) A great surprise was the inclusion of Zilla, a monster that looks strangely like the American Godzilla from the 98 film. The CGI is decent enough, and at least he actually looks impressive. (Remember the 98 film? Yeah, me neither.) Ebirah gets a nice modern look, but the film goes out of it way to show you how weak the monster is. (The only monster to go down by humanoid beings.) Manda gets a nice appearance, his first since Destroy All Monsters. His look is by far the most improvement, after that horrible look from Destroy All Monsters, this was welcome. Minya, well, it's pretty much impossible to make him look even a little feasible. Still, it's a lot less goofy looking than all of his previous appearances. New monster, Monster X, is a unique design. A new monster was welcomed, but who he transformed into was something else. I mean, how could we have a 50th anniversary without......
Even I was surprised when I saw this beast. Boasting an incredible menacing look, "Kaiser Ghidorah" made a satisfying final opponent for the King of Monsters. Not a fan of the four legged part, too similar to Mothra's Death Ghidorah. Still, Kaiser here was truly a great finisher for the film, standing even taller than Godzilla himself.
There are some really epic scenes no other film can surpass. You'll want to watch this with the speakers blasting. After a powerful opening featuring Godzilla, it only gets better. Rodan's attack on NYC is truly a standout moment I'll never forget. Gigan's rise was just cool, and just the monster scenes overall were a step above everything that has come before it. The monsters aren't slow moving at all, they are fast, and the fights are just top-notch. (Mothra's fight with Gigan being the best in the whole film.) Everything, from Manda attacking the Gotengo, to Monster X's transformation were some great scenes.
The soundtrack is (gets ready for a thrown tomato) I think, the best in all of the Godzilla films. It might be lacking the dramatic feel of the oldies, but the music here is just awesome, there's really no other word to describe it. Godzilla's new theme was excellent and greatly used. (They still use the classic one for the intro, which was nice.) The music is just energetic and keeps you entertained. (As it should, cause this film is pretty long, at two hours and five minutes.) We even get to hear a song from the band SUM 41, "We're All to Blame." That thing played during Godzilla's fight with his American counterpart. The fight only lasts about fifteen seconds, but that song makes it the most epic fifteen seconds of your life. (You'll want to really turn up the volume for this.)
The Xilians from Monster Zero get an updated look, even boasting the retro spandex and visors. The leader, (well, the one that takes charge later in the film) is an evil, emotionless villain, but at the same time, really funny. He makes the already great film even more enjoyable. "I knew that tuna-eating monster was useless!" Classic.
In closing, I can see why a lot of fans don't like this movie. It lacks the deepness of the ones before it, and some of the monsters lose too fast. Hedorah, who also makes a surprise appearance, gets finished very quickly. So I understand that. I on the other hand will always greatly enjoy this film. It's everything I've ever wanted in a Godzilla movie, lots of great monster destruction and fights, the humans are actually cool and fun to watch on screen, the music score is top-notch, no corny dubbing, it's just my film. Godzilla: Final Wars may not be the 50th anniversary "hurrah" everyone was looking for, but it's a darn fun film that will remind you why you got into the franchise in the first place.
I give this film a 9.5/10.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Ah, the Avengers. A movie I, and the rest of the comic community have always dreamed of. Let's face it, the Avengers has always been the thing that we thought would never hit the cinema.
Then Marvel Studios launched their universe with Iron Man in 2008.
Thus began what is known as the "Marvel Cinematic Universe." I would always play with my old Marvel Legends action figures, pretending it was a movie, never thinking that for one moment something big as the Avengers could hit the theater. I was wrong, and glad. Watching the events unfold in Iron Man was truly something else, but the after-credits scene was what got me and the rest of fan base shouting for joy. Hearing the words "Avenger Initiative" was something else. Sadly, I saw the leaked version a few weeks before I saw it in the theater, wish I could go back in time and switch that for more of a surprise. After the credits, some of the theater staff even walked in and said we'll have to wait four more years for Avengers. Talk about hype.
Doesn't seeing that picture make you die from anticipation? Seeing Cap there in the front, with Iron Man and Thor doing their thing, Here we have all of them together, not from a comic book, but from the film. Iron Man 2 came out two years after the first, and the after-credits scene there with Thor's hammer was truly awesome. Marvel was truly hyping this up. Then the following year both Thor AND Captain America released. (Sorry DC, you were destroyed this summer.) In Thor, we have Loki who is set up for Avengers as the villain. Then in Cap, it truly begins. We even got a trailer.
I, a longtime Marvel Comics fan, still to this day cannot believe it is happening. Currently, the rumors persist on what the other threat is. Skrulls, a monster.....or something else. We'll know soon enough. Seeing all of the characters come together under one shared universe is going to be something I'll never forget.
But it is not my most anticipated movie of the decade.
You're thinking "What?!" Avengers is something I've always wanted to see, but my favorite character has always been Spider-Man. So my most anticipated movie is the Amazing Spi-
No, this is my most anticipated film of the decade.
Yes, GODZILLA. Allow me to explain.
Godzilla is the longest running film series in cinema history, with 28 films starting back in 1954. Giant monsters, outrageous plots and designs, the franchise has evolved from the crazy Showa era, to the serious Heisei, to the modern Millennium. The three main things I grew up with were Marvel, Godzilla, and Mario. Over the past years I've grown a great fondness and complete loyalty to the Godzilla franchise. Revisiting films, analyzing everything.....I am the definition of a hardcore Godzilla fan. When it was announced that he will be getting a new theatrical film, I didn't know what to think. The first thing that hit me was "Awesome!" Then I saw that Legendary Studios would be doing it. America failed to bring the big G to American audiences last time, back in 98. Over the past couple of months, I have gained faith in this film. They specifically said that they will not be doing something like the 98 film. AND the real kicker is that the big G will fight another monster. That's what set the news for me. With today's effects, a giant monster brawl would be the most epic thing to grace the big screen.
One thing that I'm still unsure about is the director. Gareth Edwards, the directer of low-budget film MONSTERS. Now, I saw that thing last year, and I didn't like it all that much. It was a good film, but the title is misleading in that the actual movie is a drama masquerading as a monster movie. Based on interviews, the director seems to know what he's doing, I want to see a lot of monster destruction, it's why we're all here. He seems to get that so far from what I'm hearing.
And finally, this will be my first Godzilla film in the theater. Watching Thor in the IMAX really got me thinking how awesome a Godzilla film would look.
Overall, the Avengers is by far a film I'm dying to see, but it's Godzilla's return to the movie world I'm most looking forward to. Well, thanks for reading this little post of mine.