Sex, drugs, and obscure pop culture references.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 27 May
And here we are with a review of the week in comics. It was a big fucking week for me, with a ton of stuff to read.

Previous Weeks:
Quote of the Week:

"How did we end up in a place with Brainy being a grave-robbing necrophiliac is the best case scenario?"
- Lightning Lad, Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #18.

This Week's Best:

The American Way #4
DC Comics / Wildstorm
Written by John Ridley
Art by Georges Jeanty and Karl Story
Cover by Georges Jeanty and Karl Story

The American Way is a wonderful take on the Silver Age of comic book superheroics. It's the 60s, and John F Kennedy is in the Whitehouse. And superheroes are, for all intents and purposes, a scam created by the US Government to keep the American public's morale high.

While the first issue looked like it was going to focus on this, it's become far more with the newest hero in the superteam sponsored by the Government, calling himself the New American. The twist? He's black.

This issue takes place just after the New American's identity has been revealed to the world, and provides an horrific look at race relations just 40 years ago. Scary stuff. Not to mention timely, given DC expanding their "world" to include racially diverse characters, as well as a lesbian Batwoman (I'll write up a bit on this at some point), causing controversy amongst fans. In 40 years from now, will people really care about lesbian and gay superheroes?

The latest issue of the eight part The American Way is an incredible look at the shape of America back in the 60's, and gives an honest - if not pretty - portrayal of racism. Yes, the dreaded 'N' word is used, but it's historically accurate, and does anything but glorify it's use. Wonderful stuff.

Secret Six #1
DC Comics
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti
Cover by Karl Kerschl

And as a complete polar opposite to The American Way, I give you Secret Six #1. It's far lighter, far more action packed, and far funnier than the aforementioned issue. In comparison, it's fluff. But it's well written fluff, and oh so fun.

In my very first "Best of the week" post, I ranted and raved about how brilliant Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special was. And now I'm going to do the same about Secret Six, Gail Simone's sequel to Villains United - by far the best (and by all accounts, most popular) Infinite Crisis tie in minieries. And unfortunately, it didn't spin off into an ongoing series.

And that's a shame. Catman, Deadshot, Vandal, Knockout, and Ragdoll have so much potential, and are so well written by Simone, that they are practically begging to have an ongoing series. The new member of the team, introduced at the end of the issue, is also a very pleasant surprise.

Simone has a gift for action, humour, and above all, characters. A highlight of this issue is Ragdoll playing dress up with Parademon's stuffed torso. Creepy? Yes. Funny? Yes. But also a touching scene about how much this character misses his friend. The series - about six supervillains - also has a moral backbone. These guys are villains, but they're not horrible people. And they have more respect for each other than most superhero teams.

If you're not sold on the glory that is Gail Simone, do yourself a favour and check Secret Six out.

Other Bits and Pieces (but not quite the best):
  • 52 continues to be a strong read, but is missing the magic of the first issue. But still, it's early days
  • Batman gives us the weakest chapter of Face the Face thus far, but it still enjoyable
  • Birds of Prey gives us more of that Gail Simone magic
  • Green Lantern gives us one of Geoff Johns' issues since Rebirth
  • Daredevil continues Ed Brubaker's stunning story
  • I still can't believe they're charging for an Eternals Sketchbook, but it was kinda cool
  • Spike vs Dracula gives us a nasty look at Nazi's
  • Humberto Ramos draws an awesome Wolverine. I'm not a big Wolvie fan, but will stick around for Ramos' issues
Catching Up:

It turns out that New X-Men #26 wasn't the first issue I missed. I also missed #25. I grabbed these with this week's lot of comics, and they were enjoyable reads. Not earth shatteringly brilliant, but solid, entertaining, fun reads. I've only been reading the title since X-23 joined - and they have to be the weakest X-23 stories I've read - but the series is getting better. Good news!

I Read the Originals:

The trade paperback for Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her came with the current shipment, and if you're a Black Widow fan, stories don't get much cooler than this. Check it out.

On the hardcover front, Kevin Smith's Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do is out as a hardcover. The issues before his multiple year long hiatus are great, though the latter issues lack that something special; though it does have a strong finale.

Late Comics:

No, I'm not bitching about how every other comic manages to inexplicably ship incredibly late. Nope, just Memorial Day in the US, meaning I won't be able to pick up my comics on Thursday this week (granted, I got them late the last two weeks, but I like to try and grab 'em on a Thursday). This week's were also delayed, but more because of airlines fucking up than anything else.

Everything I Got This Week:
  • 52 Week 3
  • American Way #4
  • Batman #653
  • Birds of Prey #94
  • Blue Beetle #3
  • Catwoman #55
  • Checkmate #2
  • Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #4
  • Daredevil #85
  • Eternals Sketchbook
  • Green Lantern #11
  • Iron Man #8
  • JSA Classified #12
  • New Avengers #19
  • New X-Men #25
  • New X-Men #26
  • Nextwave: Agents of HATE #5
  • Secret Six #1
  • Spike vs Dracula #3
  • Squadron Supreme #3
  • Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #18
  • Teen Titans #36
  • Wolverine #42

posted by Batmite 10:40 pm   0 comments
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Monday, May 29, 2006
Her name is Modesty
I'm going to keep this quick before Six Feet Under starts, and won't have my rundown of the week's comics up until tomorrow night...

I hired My Name is Modesty last night, the third atempt to bring the character and world of Modesty Blaise to the screen, after the 1966 camp comedy Modesty Blaise movie, and the pilot for a TV series in 1986.

And I'm pleased to say that this is by far the best of the lot. It's filmed on a shoestring budget, and Miramax reportedly only funded this movie so they could keep the Modesty Blaise film rights. Not to mention Quentin Tarantino has nothing to do with the movie, except for lending his name. Which can be a good thing for the movie. The blurb on the back of the DVD is inaccurate, and they advertise this film as an action oriented spy film.

But it's not.

It's a personal story, and takes place before the comic strips; graphic novels and prose novels that Modesty fans know. There's no Network, there's no Willie Garvin. There's Modesty working at a casino.

The casino manages to get robbed, which results in Modesty telling her origin to the assailant. Alexandra Staden brings the titular Modesty to life, and while no brilliant actress, she's sufficient in the role. I don't know how she'd handle herself as the uber spy version of the character, should any sequels arise, though. I'd like to hope she'd manage okay.

That said, I wouldn't be expecting any sequels. The film was made in 2002, and yet it took until 2006 to get released on DVD here. And there was no cinematic screening inbetween. It's a shame; the character deserves to do well. Admittedly, I've only read bits and pieces of Modesty Blaise comics, but want to read much more. And the movie wasn't half bad at all, as long as you don't expect a female James Bond. But that will come later in the Modesty's history.

Since My Name is Modesty is a new release DVD, I only had it in my hot little hands for a night. And I didn't get to watch the features. It's a shame. There looked like a bit of decent stuff.
  • A making of documentary
  • An hour long interview with Modesty Blaise creator Peter O'Donnell
  • A 45 minute long interview with My Name is Modesty director Scot Spiegel and Quentin Tarantino - I watched a bit of this, and they geek out quite a bit
  • Two commentaries
  • Text outlines of all 96 Modesty Blaise comic adventures
So, for a movie made with no budget, and getting a very small audience, it has some impressive features. And the movie's impressive as well, as long as you're not expecting balls to the wall action. Recommended.

posted by Batmite 10:15 pm   0 comments
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Sunday, May 28, 2006
My Barbie swallows!
While at the Big Day Out in 2005, I saw a t-shirt with the words "My Barbie Swallows", with a picture of Barbie with a semen-splattered face. Very tasteless, very funny. I opted not to get it, instead choosing an "I Did Paris" t-shirt instead, but the imagery on the Barbie t-shirt stuck with me.

Which brings me to these pictures I received over email, of various potential Barbie toys. Like the t-shirt: very tasteless, very funny.

Welfare Barbie!

Council Estate Barbie!

Lactating Barbie!

Gangsta Bitch Barbie!
Goth Barbie!
Exotic Dancer Barbie!

Sorority Slut Barbie!
Transgender Barbie!

And with that, I'm going to call it a night. I was going to post a bit about My Name is Modesty, which I hired tonight, but I'll get to that in the next day or so, as well as my post on this week's comics...
posted by Batmite 11:28 pm   0 comments
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X marks the spot, part 2: Rise of Apocalypse
Okay, I'm going to keep this post way shorter than part 1.

While I caught X-Men: The Last Stand on Thursday night, I went to a mate's place, where a few of us gathered to play X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse on GameCube.

I plaid the first X-Men Legends game on Xbox, and can't say I was a huge fan by any stretch of the imagination. For a game billed to be almost as heavily an RPG as an action game, it fell flat. Granted, you can level up characters to your heart's content, and how you want to; and granted, you can go around talking to characters. But that's as far as the RPG elements in the game really go.

But I agreed to give the sequel a chance with some mates, playing a four player game. And it was fun. I don't know if it's just the "party" aspect of playing with people, or that I wasn't expecting much, but it was far cooler than I was expecting.

We played through a few of the early levels, with ease. The game had been finished, so our levels were too high to provide a challenge at that early stage. The team we formed consisted of the following characters:
  • Cyclops;
  • Iceman;
  • Rogue; and
  • Deadpool (me!)
It was fun, with quite a few customisable costumes, and other little bits and pieces. It was enjoyable, even if I did piss people off with my constant use of Deadpool's Nitrogen Blast attack.

posted by Batmite 11:06 pm   0 comments
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X marks the spot, part 1: The Last Stand
This post contains some heavy spoilers about X-Men: The Last Stand. If you're yet to see it, and don't want the movie ruined, don't read it...

It's not often that a movie leaves me with such mixed feelings. On one hand, I loved The Last Stand, and how awesome it got. But at the same time, I'm watching it astounded by how much it's betrayed the comics, the characters, and even Bryan Singer's films.

I was disappointed when the movie opened with no spiel about mutants and evolution by Patrick Stewart - these were so effective in the first two films, it was disappointing to see this included here. The film opens with the flashback with Xavier and Magneto getting out of the car... that makes them look like a gay couple - which is definately not helped by Magneto wearing purple, of all colours. We've heard both characters wax lyrical about how they were "good friends", but by this scene they struck me as "REALLY good friends". It's funny how people are expecting Bryan Singer to have Superman Returns have gay themes (not something I'm personally expecting), but it's ironic that his replacement (who as far as I'm aware is straight) having these two characters making gooey eyes at each other.

Soon after we get the "Brokeback" scene, and I apologise to anyone who may have watched that video I posted, prior to seeing this movie. I had trouble containing my laughter during the scene, and was therefore unable to take it seriously. It's a shame - it was a nice scene, but I couldn't help but chuckle over Wolvie and Cyclops' now apparent gay double entendres...

At this point, it may seem like I'm writing a post about how this movie is chockfull of gayness - but that really isn't it. One scene that looks like two characters are gay, and one that makes you giggle over a funny video that made them look gay.

Soon after, Cyclops has a completely and totally ridiculous death. He's not exactly a favourite character, but his death was cheap - so cheap infact that it was off camera. The argument can be made that it was to add mystery, but there was none - if anything it's misleading the audience into thinking he may be coming back. Xavier dies soon after, and is almost as bad (let's ignore the post credits bit for now), though atleast the character got some respect with it - and we got some comments from Magneto, regretting his death - even if he was completely opportunistic as soon as it happened. But these characters' deaths didn't seem to be there to give Halle Berry more screen time (I'm not saying they werent, but it didn't seem obvious - aside from Xavier's comments to Storm about wanting her to replace him) - but they did seem needless; a cheap way to make the audience think "Ooh, Phoenix is one tough bitch".

The movie builds decently towards the climax, and setting the for the big war that Magneto's been promising for the last two movies. We get to see Leech of Morlocks fame (seeing the character was a pleasant surprise); Beast was cool; and Angel, sadly, was completely underused. Mystique was hilarious while in captivity, up until her powers are stripped from her (and she gets stripped - but why must the movie be "kid friendly" and not show Rebecca Romijn's girly bits?). Juggernaut was amusing, too. Rogue was severely underused (shead a tear for all us Anna Paquin fans), relegated to wondering why Bobby's spending time with Kitty, and wrestling over whether she'll go for the mutant cure.

The climax was absolutely brilliant, and took up a good portion of the movie. It's mutants vs humans! It's mutants vs mutants! Great action, nice effects, and on a huge scale. The scene where Wolverine stops Phoenix was great - "You're willing to die for these people?" "No. I'm willing to die for you" (obligitory Buffy reference: This was so similar to Xander stopping Dark Willow in season 6, where she was very similar to Phoenix), before killing her (not that Xander stuck Willow with claws, though) was nice. It was touching.

I've read reviews where people have said that the movie doesn't do enough with the ethics behind a mutant "cure". I disagree - the film did this nicely without going over the top. We had mutants wanting the cure, mutants not believing in the cure, and mutants thinking it's people's choice. It also touched upon the ethics of the Government using this as a weapon where mutants get out of control. Which brings me to Magneto.

Magneto gets pumped full of the mutant cure. I was half expecting Scarlet Witch to make a cameo saying "no more mutants", a la the recent - not to mention crap - comic miniseries, House of M. But the nice thing about it is that the X-Men seeing the cure, and coming to the realisation that Magneto needs to be stopped, and the cure is the means. While the X-Men don't believe mutants should be forced to lose their powers, they did what they had to do. A powerful moment, but I was also not impressed with Mags getting taken down like that.

And Rogue rocks up, having had her powers removed. Okay, it fits with Rogue's arc throughout the films, and being scared of her powers, but on a fanboy level it doesn't work for me.

The much-publicised scene after the credits was disappointing. Early in the movie, Xavier had mentioned the ethics behind transferring someone's consciousness into another body to save them. Here we have a body in a hospital bed say "Hello, Moira" or something to that effect. Yup, Moira McTaggart, and a hint that there may be a fourth movie (even though this really did play out like a final chapter of a trilogy). Personally, I was really hoping for it to have Trask unleash a plan for Sentinels to ensure mutats don't wage war on people again.

In summary, the film wasn't as good as X-Men and X2: X-Men United, but it was still leagues ahead of what I was expecting from it.

To bring this rant to a close, a few more little tidbits about the movie:
  • It was great to see that the much rumoured romance - and sex scene - between Wolverine and Storm didn't eventuate.

  • After Magneto lost his power, and he's sitting at the chess table alone, it looked to me like there was some movement with the chess pieces (his power's coming back...!).

  • Magneto's new Brotherhood were based heavily on the Morlocks.

  • Stan Lee's "What the fuck?!?!" got cut out, though it was still cool to see him and Chris Claremont.

  • How did Bobby arrive to where the cure was being administered before Rogue, even though she left a day before him?

  • Since when do Wolverine's clothes heal with him? The guy gets shot by spikes, rips them out, heals, and the clothes mend...?

  • The Iceman/Pyro fight was very cool. Or hot. Or maybe both - like the fight.

  • Halle wasn't anywhere as annoying as I was expecting her to be.

  • And where was Kitty Pryde's pet dragon Lockheed?? The little guy gets no love.

posted by Batmite 10:53 pm   0 comments
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Brokeback Mutant
You gotta love YouTube. It has some great videos, and is a haven for people with way too much free time on their hands.

Like the people who edited this "Brokeback Mutant" trailer from X-Men 3 footage that was posted. It's pretty fucking funny.

posted by Batmite 10:08 pm   0 comments
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Sunday, May 21, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 19 May
A spent a bit of time reading comics today, and am now through this week's lot. I ended up with a few more comics than last week, and on a whole the comics were very fucking enjoyable. I'm going to keep the "best of" to two as per usual, but there were a couple more which in most other weeks would be listed - 'coz they were awesome.

Previous Weeks:

This Week's Best:

Fallen Angel #5
IDW Publishing
Written by Peter David
Art by JK Woodward
Cover by JK Woodward

You know, if as many people read comics as went to the movies, the press would be all over this like a rash, a la The DaVinci Code. The series is about a fallen angel trying to defend the city of Bette Noir from evil presences.

The "controversial" content, however, comes with references made to God and His plan. What's the big scheme of things? He's sick of humanity, and wants to die.

There's no denying however, that regardless of this controversial take, that Fallen Angel is a spectacular series, and this issue keeps the momentum up. The final chapter of the first arc under IDW (it was previously with DC until they canned it) keeps the momentum strong. When IDW got Peter David to take on the series, they gave him five issues to see how it sells, before deciding whether to keep it as an ongoing title.

IDW made the smart move to keep it, and David's writing with Woodward's stunning art make this an amazing read. IDW's books are generally more expensive than most (aside from their Transformers stuff), but for the quality of the comics, and production values, they're more than worth it.

Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Richard Corben with Rich Margopolous
Based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe
Art by Richard Corben
Cover by Richard Corben

The cover of Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe #1 warns of "explicit content" - the title comes under the Marvel MAX imprint, which is intended for adult readers, and does tend to stretch the boundaries. But in this case, the "explicit content" is a misnomer - granted, it's a little more grizzly that standard superhero fare, but nothing in the issue comes close to being explicit.

This issue features three stories based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe - "The Raven", "The Sleeper" and "The Conqueror Worm", each one of them written and drawn/painted by comics' master of horror, and independant legend, Richard Corben (though he is assisted by Rich Margopolous on the script to "The Sleeper"). In addition to each of these stories, Poe's original poems are featured after each one.

If you're a fan of Poe's poetry, this is a must read. If you're a fan of Richard Corben, it's a must read. If you're a fan of horror comics in general, it's a must read. I can't really lay claim to the third of these, but I definitely am of the first two. The black and white art lends a great amount of atmosphere, and this issue is a sight to behold. Amazing stuff.

Other bits and pieces:
  • 52 continues to be great, with mystery, more mystery, and a splash of lesbian sex. Also, Dan Jurgens' "The History of the DC Universe" back-up begins.
  • If All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder has the title "Batman: The Dark Knight Begins", and was solely done by Miller, they wouldn't be complaining. This mightn't be the "iconic" Batman people were expecting, but it's still damn fun.
  • Green Arrow is action packed fun.
  • People will certainly be complaining about Batgirl's fate as revealed in Robin - even if it was obvious.
  • Shadowpact starts off in a disappointing fashion.
  • Superman/Batman has dropped it's game somewhat, but still had some incredibly fun moments.
  • X-Men Fairy Tales could have either worked, or fallen flat. Luckily it's the former.
  • Family Guy's comics debut is hilarious stuff, worthy of the TV show itself!
Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 2
  • All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #4
  • Angel Scriptbook #3
  • Fallen Angel #5
  • Family Guy Presents: 100 Ways to Kill Lois, by Stewie Griffin
  • Green Arrow #62
  • Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe #1
  • Man-Bat #2
  • Moon Knight #2
  • Robin #150
  • Superman/Batman #25
  • Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #23
  • Transformers: Generations #3
  • X-Men Fairy Tales #1
posted by Batmite 10:40 pm   0 comments
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Saddam the novelist?
Apparently so... According to this article, a novel written by none other than Saddam Hussein has just been released in Japan.

It's title? Get Out of Here, Curse You.

Is it just me, or is that slightly fucked up?
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Angels wit' attitude
Four more funny pics. This time though, they're cute little babies...

Ain't I a softie?

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Not the most politically correct pics
Nothing much to say here, except the following pics made me laugh.

posted by Batmite 10:15 pm   0 comments
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Saturday, May 20, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 11 May
Okay, so I've finally gotten through last week's shipment, and I should have this week's lot up in the next day or two...

Previous weeks:
4 May
27 April

This week's best:

52 Week 1
DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Breakdowns by Keith Giffen
Art by Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose and Jack Jadson Cover by JG Jones

When you look at the credits to this issue, one thing is apparent: There are a ton of people working on this title, no doubt in part to DC trying to keep a weekly schedule (and by all accounts, they are running on schedule). But when there are this many people working on a single issue, you run the risk of too many chefs... fucking it up.

Luckily, in this first issue, these concerns are rendered null and void, with an issue that absolutely rocks.

The story is simple enough, setting the scene for this 52 part opus. Renee Montoya is drunk, still reeling from her partner's murder. Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, is still a wreck after his wife's death, and is near suicidal. Black Adam is ruling Kandaq with an iron fist, determined the rid the country of crime. John Henry Irons is back in the Steel costume. Booster Gold is using his superheroism to make money from sponsors. And the Question is now protecting Gotham.

With the memorial for Superboy iminent, Booster and his robot friend, Skeets are expecting an announcement to be made by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman about the new Justice League. And these two should know, being from the future and all. But as anyone following the DCU knows, these guys aren't around. And so begins the mystery in this stunning first issue...

Batman: Secrets #3
DC Comics
Written by Sam Keith
Art by Sam Keith
Cover by Sam Keith

While 52 is a big story by a lot of people, Batman: Secrets is a small story by just one man. One man named Sam Keith. The genius behind The Maxx.

The titular secrets refer to secrets in Bruce Wayne's past; secrets in the history of people involved in his past; but predominantly the secrets behind the stories the press show - the truth behind sensationalist journalism. The Joker, recently released from Arkham Asylum, and declared sane, is using the media to frame Batman for being an abusive monster.

This issue features Batman confronting the Joker about this, in an amazing scene. The story is intriguing, and Sam Keith's art - with Alex Sinclair's beautiful colours - is nothing short of stunning. This issue continues the interludes - a simple discussion between Batman and the Joker - for added effect.

This miniseries has been amazing so far, and #3 really keeps the pace. Amazing stuff. Fucking amazing.

This week's worst:

Transmformers: Beast Wars - The Gathering #4
IDW Publishing
Written by Simon Furman
Art by Don Figueroa

Cover by Don Figueroa

Okay, so these posts are supposed to be focusing on good comics, rather than bad. But this issue - not to mention the entire miniseries - is a complete and total mess. An embarassment to the creators, and an embarassment to IDW.

IDW's quickly positioned themselves as a publisher of quality comics; a independant publisher competing with Dark Horse for greatness. Unfortunately, this entire Beast Wars is a complete faux pas for the publisher.

The story is basically incomprehensible, and I'm not certain that die hard Transformers fans can get through it without letting out a huge "huh?". It's a mess, and completely fails to engage the reader.

To be fair, the art is decent, but does nothing to rectify Furman's lack of ability to tell a story. Avoid this at all costs.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Captain Atom: Armageddon continues to be excellent. Not quite as great as the two best titles of the week, but still an excellent read worthy of your cash.
  • Battle for Bludhaven is slowly getting better...
  • Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek continue their engaging arc in Superman
  • X-Men: The 198 concluded. It lost a little steam after starting brilliantly, but was still entertaining
  • Two great Angel releated reads from IDW this week, focusing on Illyria and Spike!
Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 1
  • Angel Spotlight: Illyria
  • Batman: Secrets #3
  • Captain Atom: Armageddon #8
  • Crisis Aftermath: Battle for Bludhaven #3
  • Nightwing #120
  • Spike: Lost and Found
  • Superman #652
  • Transformers: Beast Wars - The Gathering #4
  • X-Men: The 198
Something I didn't get, but shoud have:

New X-Men #26 - I don't know what the Hell happened here - I just noticed it was out last week, and it wasn't included in my standing order. I'll have to chase it up...

I read the originals:

The X-23 trade paperback was included in this shipment, and I recommend it to everyone. While a story about the origin of Wolverine's clone - who happens to be a teenage girl - might seem crap, it's a beautiful story. Really is. Check it out.
posted by Batmite 10:27 pm   0 comments
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Sunday, May 14, 2006
The X-change
With the number of posts I've made tonight, I'll keep this one quick (though, admittedly, they all have been pretty short).

The Xbox 360 has been great. Up until about a week ago, when it decided to crap itself and die. Between working shitloads, being sick with a cold (forcing me to take my first day off work in 13 months), and poor weather I didn't want to carry the 360 around in, it took me a little while to take it back to EB Games. But today was the day.

I explained the problem with it to the guy there - it doesn't get any power, and I get the three red lights on the "ring", which indicates there's a power supply poroblem - but the light on the power supply indicates it's working fine. He couldn't be easier to deal with, but explains that I need to call Microsoft to get a return authorisation number.

I call Microsoft, and get the same dickhead I previously dealt with. He tells me that even though I have the extended warranty with EB, I can't get the replacement. I hang up and tell the guy this, and he asks "is this the half Asian-half American guy?" to which I reply "Yup". Turns out the fuckwit has a reputation...

The guy from the shop gives Microsoft a call, and gets the same response. He decides fuck Microsoft and gives it to me anyway.

Sweet! So I get my swap, and figuring I owe the guy, grab the Xbox Live kit while I'm there (rather than grabbing it from anywhere after I get paid Thursday), and take it all home. I set it up, and it works fine, thankfully. It's a little annoying that I've lost my saved games, but I play a bit online, and download some cool shit.

Cool shit like the Halo 3 trailer. Man, it is sweet! You don't need Xbox Live to check it out, just click here. You'll be amazed by the quality - not that it shows any of the actual game...!
posted by Batmite 11:38 pm   0 comments
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Check this out!


This is my new phone. Or will be, when it arrives later this week. It's the Sony Ericsson S700i, and man, it should be fucking cool. When it arrives later this week, I'll post up a quick review.
posted by Batmite 11:27 pm   0 comments
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The Beaconsfield hero
Everyone in Australia's familar with the Beaconsfield miners, who were trapped for over a week in a mineshaft. There was a huge rescue operation, before they were finally saved.

But what isn't known to many is that there was a mystery hero. A man so selfless, and alturistic that he didn't want any publicity of praise for his actions.

See these stunning photos of the mystery hero...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I present oto you... the Hoff.

And while we're on the subject of Beaconsfield, I offer you a truly tasteless joke.

What's the difference between the Beaconsfield Mine Manager and Michael Jackson?

One gets his miners stuck in a shaft; the other gets his shaft stuck in minors.
posted by Batmite 11:15 pm   0 comments
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Dogs savage an everglades alligator
At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty, and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty.

The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the "apex predator" in it's natural eco-system, can still fall victim to implemented 'team work' strategy, made possible due to the tight knit social structure and "survival of the fittest pack mentality", bred into the canines over the last several hundreds of years by natural selection.

See the remarkable photograph below, courtesy of Nature Magazine...

Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while the remainder of the pack prevents the beast from rolling.

posted by Batmite 11:07 pm   0 comments
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Two threeways in a comic shop
And yes, this is a late Free Comic Book Day post.

A couple of little bits before I hop into this post:
  1. In the interest of brevity, I'll be keeping this post, well... brief. FCBD was over a week ago, and I don't wanna waste too much time.

  2. Since we're talking comics, don't expect to see my "best of" post for the week any time soon. I haven't gotten through many yet, and probably won't be for another couple of days...
Saturday May 6, was Free Comic Book Day 2006. In a nutshell, it allows comic retailers to draw in crowds (and hopefully new people), with, well... free comics.

House of Heroes decided to go all out this year, with artist signings; an art competition and gallery; a colouring in competition for the kids; a sausage sizzle; various discounts; and a VS demonstration - which is where I come into the equation.

The VS demonstrations went well. We've seen a slight decline in numbers in recent months, so decided to try and get some new players in with demonstrations, giving away a free 30 card deck and an Infinite Crisis booster - prior to release!

A couple of us went along to teach people the game, and it seemed to go pretty well. I managed to teach two groups of three. The first was a guy with his two kids, who seemed inerested in the game. Whether they manage to make it in's another thing... The second group was two guys, and one of their wives. One of the guys seemed really interested, and thinks he'll be able to convince his mate who was with him to come along. His wife however, was bored shitless. Ah well...

So being Free Comic Book Day, I managed to get my hands on three free comics. These are:
  • X-Men/Runaways - This was the comic I was really interested in, and ergo, the comic I was really disappointed in. I'm a big fan of Brian K Vaughan and love Runaways, but was grossly disappointed with what he did. His story seemed rushed, featuring the teams meet, fight, and go their separate ways. The Franklin Richards short story sucked as much as they always do, and an annoying text rundown of the Ultimate Spider-Man title was included. However, there was a preview for Marvel Adventures Avengers, and it actually looked fun. Not something I'd ever give it credit for...

  • Justice League Unlimited #1 - A reprint of the first issue of this series was a little better than I expected. It doesn't reach the heights of the Batman Adventures series or Mark Millar's issues of Superman Adventures, but it wasn't quite as bad as I expected. A gross continuity problem with the cartoon bugged me, but as far as a nothing comic for kids, hey it's cool.

  • Viper Comics Presents - This was my token indy sampling for the day, and I have to say it was the best of the lot by a long way. The issue was a sampler of various upcoming projects by Viper Comics, many of which I'll be checking out. I've heard great things about Dead @ 17, and this issue convinced me that it's worth checking out.
And that it for my more-than-a-week-late rundown of Free Comic Book Day. Even if I only really enjoyed one of the comics, the day itself was great!
posted by Batmite 10:34 pm   0 comments
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Sunday, May 07, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 4 May
And here we are with the last post of the night (though by the time it's done, it'll be reading as early Sunday morning). I was going to write about Free Comic Book Day instead, but I'll save that for tomorrow evening - or possibly later.

There were two comics this week which struck me as awesome, so I'll hop right in.

This week's best:

Infinite Crisis #7
DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Phil Jiminez, Andy Lanning, and George Perez
Cover #1 by George Perez
Cover #2 by Jim Lee and Sandra Hope

[note that the cover featured is the Jim Lee and Sandra Hope one - I bought the Perez one (sorry Jim, but George is a superior artist), but couldn't be bothered hunting down a pic of it].

Wow. The miniseries has been awesome, and this issue was a fitting conclusion.

I'll try and keep this relatively spoiler-free, so it should be a brief rundown. The issue takes place after the Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special, with hundreds of villains descending upon New York to wage war with the heroes. A huge battle ensues.

Meanwhile, the Supermen of Earths 1 and 2 fight a bloody battle with the out of control Superboy of Earth Prime, and Batman and Wonder Woman have a final confrontation with Alexander Luthor. The plot is wrapped up nicely, and through all the emotion, manages to end on an upbeat note. And we get an a hilarious scene between Alex, Lex Luthor and the Joker, which answers everyone's questions about "Where's the Joker?" and "Why wasn't he with the Society?".

Great stuff, and I can't wait for DC to release an "Absolute Edition" of this (hopefully a mega one, with all the "Countdown" miniseries; the Sacrifice story featuring Superman and Wonder Woman; and the relevant tie-ins. Man, that'd be sweet!

Mouse Guard #2
ASP Comics
Written by David Petersen
Art by David Petersen
Cover by David Petersen

[note - the cover featired is the cover to #1. I couldn't find anything except for a massive version for #2]

In complete contrast to Infinite Crisis, Mouse Guard is a small tale (tail?) about mice fighting battles, and trying to find a traitor in their midst.

This series is amazing. Fairly simplistic storytelling with astounding art and more heart than you're likely to find elsewhere in comics. I've heard this being compared to the classic Bone, and one hopes that it will enjoy much of the same recognition.

This issue features a mouse called Sadie, who has been sent on a quest to find a missing ally called Conrad. The issue is - for lack of a better term - lovely, with some nice action, and a great sense of humour.

The crying shame here is that it's limited to six issues (out bimonthly), rather than ongoing. Let's hope we get plenty of sequels!

Other bits and pieces (but not quite the best):
  • Civil War was, I'm sorry to say, disappointing. But it still has potential to be a great story
  • Action Comics continues it's arc about a depowered Clark Kent, and manages to retain the spirit which makes Superman great - a bigger accomplishment than most of the Supes books have been doing
  • Detective Comics continues the Face the Face arc as the mystery about the villain killer unfolds, and has a very scary married couple...
  • I know Paul Levitz is DC's big guy, and is responsible for some great stories. But the dude's so far past his prime - please, DC, when he's done on JSA, just let him run the company!
  • Supergirl is wacky. And I didn't think Greg Rucka was supposed to be on the book anymore! But Ed Benes' art was a pleasant surprise
  • For the first time in ages, I enjoyed the Ninja Turtles core title more than Tales of...
Everything I got this week:
  • Action Comics #838
  • Archenemies #2
  • Batman: Journey into the Knight #9
  • Blood of the Demon #15
  • Civil War #1
  • Detective Comics #819
  • Infinite Crisis #7
  • Mouse Guard #2
  • Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere #7
  • Outsiders #36
  • Strange Girl #8
  • Supergirl #6
  • Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #22
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #27
  • Teen Titans #35
posted by Batmite 12:27 am   0 comments
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Saturday, May 06, 2006
Sons who make their daddies proud - Episode III
Okay, before I get to more of the writing thing, I've added the last nine pics of those boys being boys. Enjoy!

And be sure to check out Episode I and Episode II...

posted by Batmite 11:21 pm   0 comments
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A preview of intinite proportions
I'll keep this post brief. It's a summary of the funky ass Infinite Crisis sneak preview I attended on Sunday...

If you're interested in all the preview cards from this set I ranted and raved (and raved and ranted) about, you can follow the links below:
  1. The first of an infinite number
  2. Infinitely cool previews
  3. Magic, and bad guys, and spies, oh my!
  4. Second Infinite Crisis card post without a pun!
  5. Infinite's End
In a nutshell, the day was fun. I played both flights at $30 a pop, and had my best ever result in the first - third. I only lost one game (the first), and persevered to do pretty well - especially considering that nobody won all five games; it was down to tiebreakers.

Because of the flights overlapping, I missed the first two games of the second flight, which were marked as losses. Unfortunately, you get that, which is why I persevered with the first since I was doing okay. Naturally, I didn't do as well in the second as I did with the X-Men sneak preview's second flight, since I started immediately on that one. But of the games I played, I only lost one here, too. So, out of eight games I played, I lost two.

I also sponsored a couple of guys. One in a single flight, where he kept the boosters he won, and one for both flights, where I scammed his boosters out of him (I conned him into coming along to get numbers up).

The boosters that my sponsoree - assuming that's a real word - and myself won tallied twenty. Add to this the 25 ones that we opened and I ended up with between us (five per person per flight), and it worked out at a grand total of 45 boosters for the day (plus another 11 I've ended up with since then).

I also won myself a playmat, a t-shirt, a tin and each of the extended art cards, so all in all I'm pretty happy with the day's results!
posted by Batmite 10:52 pm   0 comments
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Best of the week: Comics bought 27 April
Man, it's been a week since my last post... I've been pretty busy, and have had this cold that's been fucking me around royally (it got me to take my first sick day in 13 months...), which hasn't been fun in the slightest.
So, I'm gonna try and play catch up tonight.

Anyhoo, way back when, I used to review comics that I bought. This got really difficult after a while, with all the comics I read. So I stopped. That said, I've been basically ignoring comics on a whole on this blog since then, aside from the occasional post... So it's time for a different tactic. "Best of the week", where I'll write up a bit about comics that struck me as particularly cool.

So, without further adieu, comics bought 27 April (and I'll endeavour to do 4 March at some point soon):

This week's best:

Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special
DC Comics
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Art Thibert
Cover by Karl Kerschl

Opinion has been very divided on Infinite Crisis, with some people declaring it's complete and total, unadulterated awesomeness, with others finding it to be the latest in DC fucking itself over, and others having no reaction, whatsoever. That said, fans are just about as united as the proverbial Villains when it comes to this one of the "countdown miniseries": Villains United rocks. Great characters, awesome action, and funny as hell.

And that brings us to the last of the miniseries epilogues, tying into Infinite Crisis. For the most part, these have been good. As far as IC is concerned, this issue isn't as integral as Rann/Thanagar War and Day of Vengeance, but moreso than The OMAC Project which was basically a lead-up for the Checkmate series. What this special was, however, was damn enjoyable.

The Society is busy releasing criminals from their prisons all over the world, and it's up to Oracle to engage any heroes she can to stop them. Gail Simone writes Oracle amazingly, and also captures Martian Manhunter to a tee. The issue has some powerful moments, as the only heroes Oracle can get hold of are the smaller ones, far out of their league.

Mix in some great comedy, and an awe inspiring conclusion, and it's great. The focus has shifted away from the Secret Six here, which is disappointing as a fan, but their small role is worth it.

Solo #10
DC Comics
Written by Damion Scott, Rob Markmam and Jennifer Carcano
Art by Damion Scott, and feauturing Brian Stelfreeze
Cover by Damion Scott

Solo is one of those titles, which I've been half expecting DC to cancel ever since #1. An anthology book featuring the work of various artists of various styles, I can't imagine it having a core audience. Sadly, rumours are abound that it's getting cancelled, possibly beofore the solicited #11 featuring the humourous Sergio Aragones.

This issue features the work of Damion Scott. I've enjoyed his work on Batgirl, on which he used a far more mainstream style than in this issue (though didn't latch on to his art). This issue features a full graffitti style to it, and it really isn't an art style I'm a fan of.

But this really doesn't matter. When you see the workmanship that goes into this issue, it's apparent that - regardless of your preference of style - Damion Scott is talented. And he does manage to mix up his style quite a lot.

Stories in this issue include Death Race about a man being wrongly sentenced to death over murder and the Flash not saving him; Second Chance (featuring inks and colours by the amazing Brian Stelfreeze) featuring Batgirl and Robin (Stephanie Brown, the Spoiler Robin) in his Batgirl style, and The Batt, featuring Robin and Batgirl in the future, replacing Batman - and it's a love story, to boot!

The highlight of this issue, however, is the feature Superman Is... - eight Superman pin-ups, each focusing on a different word that Scott finds synonymous with the Man of Steel - Strength; Unity; Peace; Equality; Relable; Metropolos; Alien; and Noble. These images are truly inspiring, and make the issue worth the cover price alone.

Usagi Yojimbo #93
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Stan Sakai
Art by Stan Sakai
Cover by Stan Sakai

Just about every issue of Usagi Yojimbo is amazing. It's an "all ages" title that legitmately works for an all ages audience. Sadly, Stan Sakai's opus is always flying under the radar.

This issue entitled Chanoyu is a simple affair. It features very little dialogue, and features Usagi partaking in a chanoyu - or tea ceremony - with close friend Tomoe. And that's basically the issue - he walks over there, engages in the chanoyu, and goes home.

Captions explain the process of the tea ceremony, along with proper etiquette. Through this, it doesn't come off as trying to sound educational, however it is enlightening about the ceremony.

The amazing thing about the issue is though, through this ceremony, and the few words spoken between Usagi and Tomoe, is their unrequited - and unspoken love. And all of this is achieved amazingly through Stan Sakai's simplistic, black and white art.

Most comic creators can learn a thing or two about telling elegant, poignant stories from Stan Sakai. He's truly a master.

Other bits and pieces (but not quite the best):
  • Batman continued Face the Face, as strong as ever. I'd love to see James Robinson get a regular writing gig on a Batman title
  • Blue Beetle amps up the mystery in a solid read
  • Checkmate and Ion both start strongly, though seem to be missing something
  • Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes is a vast improvement on the previous issue
  • Astonishing X-Men pisses many fanboys off with it's look inside Cyclops' head - I enjoyed the issue personally, but am working on the assumption it's a big mindfuck
Everything I got this week:
  • Amazing Spider-Man #531
  • American Way #3
  • Army of Darkness #6
  • Astonishing X-Men #14
  • Batman #652
  • Blue Beetle #2
  • Catwoman #54
  • Checkmate #1
  • Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #2
  • New Avengers Annual #1
  • Ion #1
  • Runaways #15
  • Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #4
  • Solo #10
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #4
  • Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #17
  • Usagi Yojimbo #93
  • Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special
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