comix

Feb. 19th, 2014 03:09 pm
chronovore: (sweater)
I bagged the latest three TPBs of The Walking Dead and Invincible during my USA trip.

I ended up running through TWD 17, 18, 19 (Something to Fear, What Comes After, March to War) at a faster-than-average clip. Usually I'll try to savor them, even re-read all the previous TPBs to fully catch up and be ready for what happens. I decided not to put myself through The Governor arc again because I felt numb the last time I read it. I remember feeling abject horror at Michonne's predicament and resolution there, the first time. Having read it two or three more times since then, I opted out. Turns out, this Negan arc is nearly as bad.

This whole arc with Negan and the Saviors is pretty gut-wrenching as well. I quite enjoyed all three volumes, but it does look like Rick is his own worst enemy, and has been mercurial in his decision making for a bit.Choosing to fight Negan due to his appearance with a minimal retinue, while not being backed by the superior forces which he was already gathering was a tremendous mistake. Especially if his assumption had been that the Saviors had no weapons, the better plan would then have been to eliminate the outposts in a guerrilla fashion, then lay siege to the now-found Savior stronghold until they ran out of supplies.

Negan is a more interesting foe than The Governor, leading a stranger collection of survivors than The Gov's enclave featured. Negan is, in some ways, the worst case scenario for geeky comic book readers: a big, dumb, unpredictable and violent jock and a bully is holding an entire community in thrall. That said, it's stunning that average people who have survived this long are willing to accept his situation, rather than overthrow him. There is some minor unrest presented, but not what I'd expect overall.

I'm anxious to see where it goes in TPB 20, due March 11.

Invincible as well was pretty surprising. This started and ended the Viltrumite War, including the lovechild of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Freddie Mercury as the leader of the Viltrumite Empire. It was an engrossing read which also kept me rapt, which I blew through faster than planned. In the end, I found the resolution a little disappointing, and the sudden rationality of the enemy to go against the rash-tempered natured he'd shown in every other scene leading to that point.
chronovore: (Default)
I finished The Black Mirror, it was really very good. I'm not entirely sold on Dick-as-Batman, but I do like the variation Dick brings to the Batman style, and how Snyder politely calls attention to it without beating anyone over the head with it. In some ways, despite Dick's time as adult Robin, Nightwing, etc., the Batman he portrays is similar to the feel of Batman: Year One

Seeing as Year One is my 2nd favorite Batman comic ever, I intend that as high praise.

That said, I felt a bit jumbled in terms of "who is doing what to whom?" - There are several villains, it's not clear who is in play at any given time (probably intentional), and the wrap-up is vaguely unsatisfying. Between this disjointed story path and the switch off between two very different art styles, this feels less like an arc, and more like a collection of ongoing stories. Which I guess it was.

I'm currently working through Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl, which I've never read, for some reason. So far, so good.

Also reading She-Hulk: Single Green Female, which was one of my half-off TPBs. It is surprisingly entertaining. She-Hulk gets kicked out of the Avengers' mansion and is offered a job at the most prestigious law firm, but only under the condition that she operate as Jen Walters in the office. Some clever cases are brought before her; it makes for good set-ups and punchlines.

I picked up Dead Ahead at ImageCon in Oakland on Saturday. I met the creators, and they seemed like nice guys, so I picked up their show-special book and poster, got them signed... Unfortunately, the art is a bit too subservient to its roots in the style of Alex Niño without understanding why Niño did some of what he did. It's pretty though! The writing is pretty good, though the dialog is full of unnecessary exclamations, one-liners which would feel better in an action comedy. And there's not enough comedy.
chronovore: (Default)
Finished ep. 6, which finishes the season. Less zombies than any other episode. :-/

Even so, I'm quite happy they've chosen to tell a different story than strictly recounting what happens in the comics; it keeps it fresh for the fans of the comic, keeps us guessing what will happen at any time. Each medium has its own benefits and limitations, and it will be good fun to see how things vary as the story progresses.

However, I really hope they don't try to go after the scientific explanation of what causes the zombie plague as a main theme. They're zombies; so what? Other than a throwaway line or two ("They say it started in China..." or "The CDC's last broadcast said burning the bodies might lead to the contagion going airborne..." I do not need to know why the dead are up and walking. I just want to see how everyone reacts, that's all these things are ever about. For me, at least, this is a historical truism.

The Anne Rice vampire books were fun for the first couple, where they solely dealt with the effect of becoming a vampire on a human psyche. Even the vampires didn't know why they couldn't die, they just knew the rules for avoiding death. As soon as the story focused on trying to explain vampirism and turned away from the psychological and sociological aspect, the books became really uninteresting. Monster Island is another nice piece of interesting, creative zombie fiction, and it too chose to focus on the human aspects of the effects of a zombie apocalypse, and even one zombie who manages to retain his conscious mind. Then in the subsequent books, a technical explanation was attempted, as well as extrapolating other happenings which might occur if their rules for zombifying are true... but who cares? It's not what zombies are about! I don't want to have an author rules-lawyering himself through what may or may not work within his proposed pseudoscience. Just show me how humans can continue to be awful or heroic to fellow humans, even while their world falls apart.
chronovore: (Default)
I watched the Watchmen, the Director's Cut even. Thanks, Weezie! Your care packages save my life. Pros:
  • almost slavishly faithful to the comic, save the end -- and the end is more comprehensible than the comic's was.
  • casting seemed spot-on for all the characters, except Owl-Dude who was good, but seemed like a handsome guy playing a dork.
  • Rorschach. Wow. Perfect, start-to-finish, makes Bale's Batman look ham-fisted and overly well-armored.
  • The Comedian, surprisingly. I had no empathy for the character in the comic; he's still a horrible person in this movie, but the larger sociopathic ethos makes more sense in the context of his environment. Or maybe it was just the actor. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, holy shit that guy is going to be big, if he isn't already. I am stunned to see that he was in PS: I Love You, which I watched the other day. I could -not- remember where I'd seen him previously.
  • it made me want to re-read the comic, which I've not in ten years; the time before that was probably college, and the time before that was when it first came out in its original run of singles. Which I have somewhere. I think.
  • gorgeous cinematography, almost to the point of being distracting from the story. nearly too pretty, too luscious in its grime and saturation
  • um, yum, latex.
There are some serious shortcomings though:
  • the acoustic soundtrack was weirdly noticeable and somewhat jarring, and the licensed music choices were all cliché; they were the kind of choices I'd make, sadly. All Along the Watchtower by Hendrix, Koyanisqaatsiby Philip Glass, these all speak to our own timeline, so they seemed out of place in the Watchmen '80s timeline.
  • and what's with keeping the movie in the '80s? the comic was set in the modern age of its time; not updating it makes it a more accurate depiction of the comic book, but does it say anything valid about our current era, or is it only making the same statement about the '80s?
  • The last scene at The New Frontiersman felt trite and out of place. Not the story twist, but rather the acting, in some lame mockery of Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, or J. Jonah Jameson. "It's a comic book movie! Make the newspaper editor a caricature!" Lazy shorthand, where so much of the rest of the film had some nuanced characters, even for cameos like Silhouette and the original Nite Owl
  • Knot-Tops - the "samurai" gang; these felt out of place; there's no real nipponophile tendencies shown anywhere else in the movie, so these quasi-bushido gang members felt out of place. Were they in the comic? Was the Nite-Owl II and Laurie alley tussle in the comic? I felt the whole sequence was gratuitous, more so since it was clear they were looking for an excuse to get in a fight. It felt like a sequence from The Director of 300 more than a scene from an Alan Moore comic.
  • the aging makeup prosthetics for Sally Jupiter and the guy playing Nixon were distractingly bad.
  • the natural dangling motion of Dr. Manhattan's meat-and-two-veg was distracting, and better portrayed than ANY of his lipsynch animation.
  • why re-work the artwork for The Black Freighter comic in that world? Why not use the original. Better yet, since the sequence isn't portrayed in the movie except for ONE SHOT, why shot it at all? What does it tell the audience who hasn't read the comic? It's an in-joke for comic geeks.
Overall, this is one of the best comic book movies out there, but it doesn't transcend its roots like the original elevated the world of comics into grown-up entertainment. This is a work for fans, and as one, I'm thankful.
chronovore: (mouthy)
I've just re-re-read the full Morrison run on NEW X MEN, and was enjoying its big finale. Man, the whole thing with Xorn is just such an amazing piece of Machiavellian work on Morrison's part. I thought, Wow, it's so good. I wonder if Marvel is really willing to let Morrison have a say in the Marvel Universe like that, or at least final control over characters he created just for the series like Quinton Quire and the Stepford Cuckoos?

Nope:
Marvel retconned the Xorn/Magneto revelation and brought back Xorn and Magneto after Morrison's departure. In Uncanny X-Men #442 and 443, Xavier takes the body of Magneto to Genosha where they hold a funeral for the deceased mutant leader. However, in the last page of Excalibur #1, Xavier meets Magneto alive and well on Genosha. In subsequent issues of Excalibur, Xavier and Magneto debate the true identity and motives of Xorn, the individual whose bandage-wrapped body they brought to Genosha. In the same month Magneto returned in Chris Claremont's new Excalibur book, Austen's X-Men #157 introduced a new Xorn named Shen Xorn.
Good grief.
chronovore: (Default)
Recently in Nipponbashi I found a copy of The Incredible Hulk game for 360 on the cheap. The PS2 game Hulk: Ultimate Destruction enjoys the distinction of being called "the best, most pure sandbox game ever" by a game designer pal o' mine. The 360 version, it turns out, is famous for aping that PS2 game with severely limited success. Oddly, the gameplay is pretty tedious, with some bad camera and control decisions tossed into an unambitious graphic presentation, coupled with more crash bugs than I've seen in any other title. Pretty frustrating.

Thanks to Fallout 3, I've taken a break from that game, but in order to keep it from being a permanent break, it seemed like watching the Hulk movies might keep me inspired to go back to the game eventually.

I watched Ang Lee's HULK last night. I'd heard that Ang Lee took some structural cues from comics and integrated them into the visual language of the film witih mixed success. Personally, I think those parts, as well as the high energy, melodramatic, Raimi-esque direction are the best parts of the film. I'm completely unclear on what kind of person Bruce Banner is, as played by Eric Bana. (Except that he looks a lot like [livejournal.com profile] cyclopea). It's also hard to think of how it might be less pleasant to stare at Jennifer Connelly as much as the film affords, but both she and Sam Elliott look like they're frustrated and confused, having to deal with comic-book-word-balloon-style dialog with direction that probably consisted of "MORE! MORE EMOTION!" And Jennifer looks like she needs to eat a sandwich or three. The most fun in the movie are the scenes where the Hulk is just running around, clobbering things, jumping, soaring, smashing, swinging... the story is a complete loss.

Pretty much like the game.

manga-ism

Sep. 9th, 2008 03:04 pm
chronovore: (Default)
The doctor's office has comics available to read while waiting for one's appointment. They have Inoue's VAGABOND - the story of Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary badass samurai. I picked up the first comic on my own maybe three or four years ago, and could only read about 30% of it. I was happy to find that anymore I can read about 90% of it, and the main areas that trip me up are the bits where people are using keigo, courtly, archaic, or very regional dialects.
chronovore: (OMFG)
I finally managed to get out and see The Dark Knight; the local theater dropped from 4 daily showings to 1, at 9 p.m. so it worked out nicely with me getting off from work late.

In short, it's really good. At length, for a movie in which I considered myself well-enough familiar with just about any old trope they could throw at Bats, I was surprised. Hell, I was double-surprised, because not only did I find myself stunned at the course of events, I was stunned that I could still be surprised by them. The stories have been told and re-told, and usually are the worse for wear. But this movie really out-did not only itself, not just Batman Begins, but possibly every other comic book movie out there. It's been said that it's not just a good superhero flick, but a good film, and having just come out of the theater, I'm inclined to agree.

spoilerrific )
chronovore: (OMFG)
It appears that DaiCon 7, an international science fiction convention, will be held at Namikili Hall near my home in Kishiwada, Osaka over Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 23~24).

If any of y'all are planning on attending, drop me a line here or in email.
chronovore: (OMFG)
On the plane back from the recent vacation, I finished The Walking Dead Vol. 8, by Rober Kirkman. Holy fucking shit, shit-fucking, crap. I can't believe how far Kirkman has been willing to go. The recent happenings at the prison feel the same as watching the remake of Dawn of the Dead all the way through the end credits. Holy crap.

wow.

Jul. 15th, 2008 01:10 am
chronovore: (OMFG)
The Dark Knight. 100% at Rottentomatoes.com. I've never seen 100% at RT before.

adaptation

Jun. 10th, 2008 08:18 am
chronovore: (OMFG)
@Twitch films - 20th Century Boys; thanks to m. christian.

chronovore: (furious)
I'm going to go out on a limb, and assume that this is an intentional "homage" to the original movie, because timing like this is just too tight to be coincidence, formulaic construction or no. (via Twenty Sided):


This reminds me of when a music fan overlayed Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" over "Someday" resulting in "How You Remind Me of Someday" --

SHAZAM!

Sep. 20th, 2007 10:08 am
chronovore: (Default)
Heroes (TV series) - [Wikipedia]: I'm only three episodes in; this may be my new favoritest show.

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chronovore

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