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Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine
Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine
by Jason Aaron
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.42
50 used & new from $3.92

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars instant classic, September 12, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been reading through Jason Aaron's Wolverine, and though it tends to be pretty good and solid, it rarely gets amazing.

This book is amazing.

The existential journey that Spider-Man and Wolverine experience in this book ranks above most stories featuring either character. Its not very often anymore that I get truly excited about a comic book, but this is definitely one of those books that envelops you and feeds your imagination. Just as its equally qualitative predecessor (Astonishing X-Men), this book should be mandatory reading for Marvelites.

Writing: [9/10]
Art: [9/10]

With Shivering Hearts We Wait
With Shivering Hearts We Wait
Offered by itembazaar
Price: $16.83
44 used & new from $2.53

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars death rattle, August 3, 2011
Blindside has probably influenced my teenage years more than any other band. A Thought Crushed My Mind got me into hardcore, I still listen to Silence on a regular bases, About A Burning Fire showcased an excellent expansion which bled into The Great Depression and The Black Rose. And now the new album. I'm at a loss for the right words to describe how disappointed I am in this fiasco. Even production from the legendary Howard Benson doesn't save the band (maybe that was the problem?).

Blindside has shifted into a phase of sub-standard pop-rock drudgery. I really hope that they can rise above this release, but I fear that this may signal the end.

Justice League Unlimited: Season 1 (DC Comics Classic Collection)
Justice League Unlimited: Season 1 (DC Comics Classic Collection)
DVD ~ George Newbern
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $23.65
49 used & new from $11.86

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars how the mighty have fallen, May 30, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was my long-awaited introduction to the animated Justice League. I remember the greatest show growing up was Batman. And then like a cybernetic vision of ecstasy, Batman Beyond came and obliterated my 11 year old mind. I never had cable, so I never had the Justice League. Regardless, my imagination explored scenarios of how great the Justice League could be. Now that I'm in my twenties, I've started buying Batman, Superman, and Batman Beyond seasons, and I've been loving them to death. When I got around to this season of JLU, I was shocked at how un-extraordinary this show was. The thing that leaves JLU lifeless in the face of its predecessors, is that those "Timmverse" shows were filled with heart and soul. JLU on the other hand, screens like a cold fire.

I can't truly speak for the first volumes of Justice League, because I haven't seen them, but if they're anything like JLU, I believe that they may have ushered in the modern era of bad cartooning. Everything is battle, explosions, bad jokes, heroes butting heads, and animation that makes you long for the real thing. If you were a kid when I was a kid, you might be able to recall how quality shows like Batman, Gargoyles, X-Men, The Tick, and Aladdin started disappearing in the face of garbage like the Jackie Chan show, Static Shock, TMNT, and X-Men Evolution. Maybe it was just cause I was getting older... But even then I realized those shows had a lot of flash, but no substance. JLU falls heavily into this category. I would say that about 1 out of 4 episodes are worth watching, and all those episodes are near the end in the Cadmus story-arc. But even then, you'll have to stomach all the mind-numbing explosions and swinging fists.

I'm just writing this as a warning to people like me who love the Timmverse, but haven't seen the Justice League. You may be disappointed. I wish someone would have warned me.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2011 7:25 AM PST

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 6: Exogenetic
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 6: Exogenetic
by Warren Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.48
79 used & new from $4.00

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars misleading but ironically appropriate title, May 20, 2011
How do you continue the single greatest X-Men story of all time (Whedon & Cassadey's original run)? Well however you do it, this is not the way. This book is astonishing in regards to how utterly bad it is. When I think of Warren Ellis, I think of one of the top five writers working in comics today. He has a larger output than any other writer, sharper wit than most of them, and produces ideas that live in a place further than the fringe. But for some horrid reason, Ellis continuously fails when given the reigns to the mainstream.

Ellis does not understand the X-Men. Not a single neuron of their psyche. This has the most backwards X-Men characterization you can imagine. Each member is reduced to a wisecracking juvenile with superiority issues. Why does Ellis need to make EVERY word balloon an unfunny joke? Why do the X-Men continue this painful banter while they're fighting? What could possibly be going through Ellis' head? I feel like he's laughing at us behind that big beard of his.

Despite the abominable dialogue, this book has a decent plot. Someone is robbing the graves of dead mutants and turning them into giant monsters to fight. Nothing really happening outside of that. Thankfully (or sadly, depending on how you look at it) Phil Jimenez is the artist on this, and he blows the page away as usual. The art is astonishing in the positive. Too bad it was wasted on a script this poor.

Ellis is a foxy devil that you can't trust with mainstream superheroes. And he swindles me every time.

writing: [5.5/10]
art: [9/10]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2012 7:49 AM PST

Sleeper, Season 2
Sleeper, Season 2
by Ed Brubaker
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from $8.95

4.0 out of 5 stars into the void, May 8, 2011
This review is from: Sleeper, Season 2 (Paperback)
Wow. What a trip. Being submerged into Sleeper's world is a dumbfounding experience. EVERY issue is a page-turner that leads you helplessly into the next. For the most part, Season 2 continues the brilliance of Season 1. However, Season 2 is imperfect in that it falls into cliches, the art is sometimes contrary to the written mood, and sadly, the ending is nearly substandard compared to the excellence of what's come before.

Season 2 starts off strong and continues the same for the majority of the book, but by issue 9 (of 12) the book begins to fall apart into itself in a negative way. All the triple-crossing coupled with Holden (our anti-hero, the protagonist) promising he has a plan to destroy his puppet masters begins to ware the story down when you begin fear there's no wait out ahead. The book carries a bittersweet Hollywood-ending that leaves you empty. It is good to see the book loop back around to its "prequel" (Point Blank), but as that book is less available, the end tail of Sleeper may even be less satisfying to someone who hasn't read it.

The only other gripe I have is about the art. I had always been a fan of Sean Phillips until I read this book. I believe there must've been a communication breakdown between him and Brubaker because there are too many inconsistencies with the art and the text [i.e. an unaffected Holden bolts from a tent in which his woman is screwing someone else, as he thinks "It doesn't even make me angry"]. Another annoying art discrepancy is the looks on the characters' faces. Lynch, Holden, and Tao, all emotionless men without conviction, are consistently drawn with grave, ill-fitted, sorrowful faces.

***SPOILERS FROM SEASON 1 AHEAD*** Season 2 of Sleeper is a book that Ed Brubaker was positioned into writing. His original vision for Sleeper ended ambiguously with Holden joining Tao. But the heads of Wildstorm wanted another series, so he wrote Lynch to wake from his coma, making room for a second series. To me, that explains Season 2's empty ending.

Get this if you're a fan of Season 1, just know that its greatness doesn't get as high.

writing: [7.5/10]
art: [6/10]

Skrull Kill Krew (Graphic Novel Pb)
Skrull Kill Krew (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Grant Morrison
Edition: Paperback
41 used & new from $2.25

4.0 out of 5 stars homeostasis imbalance, February 17, 2011
Skrull Kill Krew kicks off with a shotgun blast straight to the face of the ever-loving image Marvel has maintained since the 1960s. In a flash, the overall bright and well-framed Marvel tradition is turned on its head, with an amorality fit for the graphic mainstream comics coming out today. Unfortunately, the momentum and power of the first issue [which basically sums up the premise: a makeshift crew of soon-to-be-dead mutated humans are out for revenge killing Skrulls] doesn't last and there are three issues of your standard Marvel bologna that fold under the weight of the strong beginning. At this point the main plot goes untouched while the SKK meander with Captain America and the unFantastic Four. The final issue takes the story back to what you paid to see, Skrulls getting smashed. Then another problem comes with the ending, which has no closure and is borderline cliffhanger. This series could have easily ran for 12 issues instead of 5.

Like the uneven issues, the writing of SSK is a mixed bag. The plots, characterization, and especially the underlying ambiguous themes are all very well written and paced nicely. However, the actual text sometimes just barely scrapes the low levels of a c-list comic book writer (IMO, Mark Millar in general fluctuates between the b-list & c-list, with most time in c [Morrison: a-list always]).

One interesting thing which wasn't really exploited in the plot was the barely visible social commentary. SSK delves into two similar but opposing ideologies, communism and fascism. The Skrulls represent communism seen through the eyes of 1950s McCarthyan America, while the SSK represent fascism from the eyes of a fascist. The Skrulls are seen as an abominable race of vile, evil, infiltrative, would-be conquerors who need to be eliminated. The SSK are a uniform gestapo, reaping righteous brutality upon the face of a foreign race. Anarchy, hip-culture, and thirst for revenge are also added to the SKK's fascist framework. Its too bad this subject wasn't expressed further.

Overall, this story was pretty good, but not essential. It falls low on Morrison's best to worst list. For Millar, its far below his best (Ultimates, Superman: Red Son), and just above something like Civil War.

writing: [7/10]
art: [7.5/10]

Batman Nosferatu
Batman Nosferatu
by Randy Lofficier
Edition: Comic
24 used & new from $9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars expanding the mythos, January 23, 2011
This review is from: Batman Nosferatu (Comic)
Batman: Nosferatu is the second part in DC'c ambitious German expressionist trilogy [first: Superman's Metropolis (Elseworlds)], third: Wonder Woman: The Blue Amazon]. Taken as a part of a whole, Nosferatu takes daring steps in continuing the world that was created with Metropolis. This is the most adequate sequel to Superman: Metropolis that I could imagine. Taken as a separate entity apart from what's come before, Nosferatu obliterates any concrete ideas of what you think Batman can be. The only Batman book that comes close to being as dark as this is Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum, and even that falls extremely short of the twisted agony that inhabits Batman's world. This book is the most dark and dingy Batman book I've read. Nightmare on paper.

If you are a person who liked Superman: Metropolis, and figured that the Superman's reign would brightly infect the rest of his Metropolis, think again. At the end of Metropolis, I thought that Superman would create a better world, praising the value of man over efficiency. Batman: Nosferatu obliterates all those hopes to show that the reign of Lutor infected every inch of the rest of their world.

I'm unsure of whether or not this book can be read without knowledge of what came before. Superman: Metropolis is the backbone of this story, just like this is the backbone of Wonder Woman: The Blue Amazon. Taken as a whole, this epic trilogy is one of the greatest things DC has ever produced. Nosferatu is its darkest piece, almost like Empire Strikes Back, sandwiched in between the two blockbusters. Unless DC releases the whole epic trilogy in one volume, it is worth your effort to find these individually.

writing: [8/10]
art: [8/10]

John Constantine, Hellblazer: All His Engines
John Constantine, Hellblazer: All His Engines
by Mike Carey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.99
57 used & new from $2.27

4.0 out of 5 stars standard hellblazer, December 16, 2010
When I first read this over a year ago, I thought All His Engines was one of the best comic books I'd read. I was new to the world of John Constantine, and Neil Gaiman's quote on the front cover may have skewed my opinion a bit ("...the quintessential Constantine story..."). Since that time, I started buying the monthly title (being written by Peter Milligan), and I've read a number of the collected trades (Delano, Ennis). When reading this again recently, I found that my initial opinions were premature. All His Engines isn't the grand spectacle I saw it as. It's actually just your standard, run-of-the-mill Hellblazer story.

John is enlisted to help save his best friend's granddaughter from a demon who creates his own hells on earth. If you're already a Hellblazer fan, you can expect everything to work out the way it usually does, with John caught between a rock and a hard place, someone accidentally dying, and John playing the demons like cards in the end. This is the Hellblazer format. And no Hellblazer story is as standard as All His Engines.

Don't get me wrong, the story is still great! The writing is masterly, and the art is awesome. Just don't expect the best (unless you haven't read another Hellblazer story, in which case, you'll be floored).

writing: [7.5/10]
art: [9/10]

Alias Vol. 2: Come Home
Alias Vol. 2: Come Home
by Brian Michael Bendis
Edition: Paperback
36 used & new from $5.69

4.0 out of 5 stars weakest volume of one of the greatest series, December 12, 2010
From everything Bendis has written, Alias remains my favorite work by him. The dialogue is uncannily realistic, the plots are always filled to the brim with unbelievable suspense, and the characterization of the protagonist (P.I. Jessica Jones) is probably the strongest in comic book history. 'Come Home' marks the low-point in the series, telling the so-so story of a missing girl from a small conservative town. The premise starts out really strong, but gets weaker with each issue until the resolution hits with minimal impact. The only thing that really bothered me was that some things in this volume are extremely similar to Daredevil: Redemption, where Daredevil tries to solve the case of a murdered child. Even though DD: Redemption was written after Alias, it plays out a lot better than what happens in this volume.

This story's still pretty good, it just isn't up to par with the other collected volumes of Alias.

writing: [7/10]
art: [8/10]

Beef 4 : Beef Ain't Dead
Beef 4 : Beef Ain't Dead
DVD ~ Beef 4
Offered by The DealNerd
Price: $7.79
28 used & new from $3.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what we eat, November 3, 2010
This review is from: Beef 4 : Beef Ain't Dead (DVD)
Beef 4 is a "best of" compilation of the Beef TV series that ran for six episodes on BET. So far, this has gotten bad reviews, but its nowhere near as bad as Beef 3. There are some pretty terrible sections in this (queen of the south, Pall Wall etc), but those are outweighed by awesome, historic feuds that all hip-hop fans should know:

Daz vs. Kurupt
Jay-Z vs. Damon Dash
LL Cool J vs. Jaime Foxx
The Game vs. Ras Kass

And then there's some lesser known ones that are still pretty good [Terry Kennedy vs. Lupe Fiasco, Nickz vs. ENJ]. Probably the best (or worst) one is the Jay-Z/Dash story. That tale of Jay-Z tearing apart Roc-A-Fella records is a really sad sight to see. Anyways, if you're a fan of the other DVDs in the series, this one's a must.

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