Thursday, November 18, 2004

Crossover Reviews

It's an exciting time here at the Joe Rice Media Review. Finally, the name is re-earned. For too long it has been a review of almost only two things: good comics and terrible comics. Now there will be music! And movies! And deep emotion!

Once again, in reverse order of how I read them, let's start with comics.

The Wildstorm Winter Special was much better than it had any right to be. It's just a few short stories in a one-off anthology . . .the kind of thing they usually give to shit talent in need of new shoes. But this had a Bruce Jones/Josh Middleton story that was BEAUTIFUL, of course, and well-written, of course; it had a Tom Peyer/Cary Nord bit that was also pretty kickass (damn, Nord can draw); a Pfeifer/Iwahas bit that was inconsequential but pretty; and a lame Warner/D'Anda "Deathblow" (heehee) story. Pick it up, the first two are well worth it.

Well, things finally happen in the new issue of JLA. But it's just kind of hard to tell because everything is obscured by all the damn dialogue balloons. Holy CRAP people talk a lot in this comic. This should have been a kickass action piece about the CSA beating things up but it looked like the comic strip Cathy with the gigantic damn speech baloons. Busiek would have had a fun story here were it not for all that.

So Alex pulls Superman/Batman for me and I'm all like "Wha?" and he's all like, "S'cool," and then I'm like, "The fu--?" and he's like, "s'dumb but fun." So the art is nice as hell. Pacheco's great. The narrative captions are ANNOYING AND UNNEEDED. Show, don't tell! That's what you learn in day one of writing in high school, for shit's sake! And I'm nerdy enough that the identity of the "parents" was clear from page one, so that "shocker" failed. A lot of the other stuff was super forced and annoying, too. But, I'll grant that Diana and Sam at the end was pretty damn neat. I'll give it another issue.

Ex Machina is still great. It's probably Vaughn's best work . . .better than Runaways and maybe even Y. The Harris art just keeps getting better . . .but the gigantoboobs were a bit much this issue. More time hopping in the story as new and old things are revealed at once. We get the sci-fi action elements and the political stuff. And public education issues get a brief mention! Yay!

She-Hulk had one of the worst covers not drawn by Michael Turner I've ever seen. It's a creepy grinning She-Hulk flexing one arm and feeling it with her other hand. This isn't even T&A idiocy. It's just a person kind of doing something and looking creepy. And we're surprised this book doesn't sell? As the previous issues, this is fun, light superhero fare the way it used to be done. But that COVER! Ugh!

I want to marry Garth Ennis' Nick Fury. I will give up Lisa, my job, my sexual orientation, everything. Goddam he's the coolest guy ever. I think I'd rather this be "Nick Fury" than The Punisher. But I'll take what I can get. Winding plot that I can't quite outguess yet. Damn, I love this Nick Fury. Sam Jackson can go crap on his money for all I care.

Some of the best parts of The Walking Dead are the casualness with which the characters have come to deal with the undead. It's not played for laughs, it's just a world where this has been going on for a while. So you don't panic when you see one. You know you're faster and you bash its head in. The character work continues to be top notch, better even, perhaps, than in Invincible. Strong work and it's even more fun when it comes out two weeks in a row!

Where will the Lunas go next? Ultra seems to be one of those come-out-of-nowhere breakout books. It's funny, smart, VERY well-drawn, and different. Will the big two bring them in for something fun? Will the big two ruin them? Or will they be a part of this growing awesomeness that is Image these days? Seriously, look at the stuff coming out of this company: original, fun, and free (from big company bullshit). Personal superheroics that can be individual but opening. Ultra's part of this, and you're missing out if you're not reading it.

Terra Obscura is fun comics. What else is there to say, really? I can't wait for next issue: I really love alternate-realities-converging stuff. Alan Moore does it so well, too. Hm. Been a lot of alternate reality stuff this week. Something to watch out for. Could be something coming through the creative sphere.

Ed Brubaker rarely, if ever, disappoints. His Captain America is no exception. The art's not my thing, but it tells the story (not surprised to hear this guy was at CrossGen). But the story . . .I was all ready for one thing and we're going to get another. I like what we're going to get, too. The villain seems less cartoonish and maybe even, horrors, interesting! With a plausible motive!! ZEEBA ZOOBA! The deaths don't bother me, as they seem more incidental and the man IS allowed to be angry sometimes. Good start.

So The Donnas have a new album, Gold Medal. It's been fun watching/hearing them develop as musicians. I was a big fan of their early punky stuff, but they've really come along to be more like the bands they love. In short, they rock damn hard. The album cover is by awesome comics cover artist James Jean and it's really striking. The songs show another growth in maturity as songwriters and musicians in the girls. There's even some other instrumentation in there! The first listen almost disappointed me, but the rocking is still there, even when it's a bit more subtle. And is it just me, or did the girls listen to some Liz Phair and decide to make it actually rock?

I signed up for Netflix finally. And as I was looking at it I totally froze. The selection was too vast. I could not think of anything to rent. So I did a CBR nod and rented Quatermass and the Pit, a movie recommended to me by Mr. P. Teel. It's a 60s British Sci-Fi horror film done by the Hammer folks. Some legitimately creepy stuff. Weird prehistoric skeletons are found during subway construction, and that leads to some sort of spaceship discovery. It's a slow, creeping terror with a Brit stiff upper lip. Fun, recommended to fans of genre stuff. By no means amazing, though.

Over the weekend Lisa and I left her sister's Lord of the Rings marathon in order to catch The Incredibles. It's not new to call it super fun, but it is true to say it. The animation quality was just fantastic . . .the clothing and hair in particular. Great voice acting, great story, great score . . .about the only ungreat things were the nutjob kids sitting behind us calling out every few minutes. We were both surprised, but not upset, by the amount of implied death. No stupid GI Joe parachuting when the stuff blows up (really, what a fucking terrible cartoon that was). You've probably already seen it. If not, you're a dooderhead or a foreigner which is basically the same thing.

Not yet reviewed: The Complete Peanuts Vol. 2, Dan Dare, Nashville, and the Seven Samarai.


At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is busiek still the bob costas of comics?

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Mark Hale said...

I get most of the ABC mini-series in trade, so I haven't read Terra Obscura v. 2 yet, but I'm glad to see the good reviews it's getting here and there. I loved the crap out of the first one; felt kind of like a cross between Watchmen and that JSA story where they'd been trapped in Ragnarok for a while. And that Paquette guy can draw his ass off. Just good super-stuff with a bunch of established-but-not-really characters that Hogan and Moore can really fuck with.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Joe Rice said...

Kurt Busiek never has interesting tidbits to say during the Olympics. Or much interesting to write about ever.

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