Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cartoon Review: The Spectacular Spider-Man Ep. 2


Continuing the fun from the first episode the second episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man gives us the origin of this universes Spider-Man villain Electro. Though this was a fun episode too watch I was a bit disappointed with the pace of this episode compared to the previous one. The fight between Spider-Man and Electro just did not have the same type of energy as Spider-Man's fight with the Enforcers and Vulture from the last episode. I actually found Spider-Man's quips to be one of the only things that keep me entertained through their fight, though for some reason in the second and concluding fight scene we did not get that many quips from our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. But I guess this is because of the wild nature of Electro's powers but it just felt the end of the fight to be to quick and convenient.

The only other thing that I found to get tired was the constant ring on Peter's phone when his curfew was up. The first few times was nice and somewhat funny but the last time it happened I was saying "please don't let this be a recurring joke in this series."

Now the rest of the episode that dealt with the things outside of the Spider-Man and Electro stuff I thought was well done as we some nice interaction with Peter and his supporting cast. Even though Peter and Liz are now good friends in the comics and in their Ultimate Universe counterparts originally Liz was the popular cheerleader who was Peter's high school crush and never gave him the light of day until the end of their senior year of high school. I'm glad that the creators behind the series went back to their original relationship for this series. Though it was odd that they have made Liz of Hispanic descent (Mexican or Cuban?) instead of being Caucasion as she is in all her comic book versions. It may take a while to get used to Liz ascent as the her voice actress seems to be forcing the ascent a bit.

Also it is interesting to see that Gwen looks to have a crush on our young Peter Parker and that while Peter may not realize this it seems that Eddie knows. It should be interesting to see where this goes with it looking like Liz might have gotten a small crush on Peter at the end of the episode. I did find it funny how during their last tutoring session Peter basically just repeated what Dr. Connor's said earlier in the episode.

I do wonder if that lizard formula that got the jolt from Electro's attack at the lab will contribute to Dr. Connor's transformation into The Lizard.

Overall this was an average episode involving Electro and hopefully the next villain gives us a much more fast paced fight sequence(s) in the next episode just as we got in the first episode.

Episode Rating - 7.3/10

Monday, March 30, 2009

Legacy Shorts: Comic Book Reviews for 3/25/09

Captain America #48

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Butch Guice, Luke Ross, & Steve Epting
Colorist:Frank D'Armata

Story - Old Friends and Enemies Part 3 of 3

What can I say about Captain America that I haven't already said before. Brubaker continues to make Captain America the rock of my pull list. And if he proved one thing with these past two 3-issue arcs is that there is still a lot of Bucky's past we do not know about which should lead to some great a stories in the future. Though I wished Dr. Chin and the Trench Coat man would have made it through this story as they could have been a nice addition to Bucky's Rogue list. This issue was filled with plenty of great action that gives this issue a much faster pace than previous issues.

I really like the relationship between Bucky and Namor as Namor acts as a perfect foil to Bucky. And it is interesting seeing a different side to Namor as we see how he interacts with one of the few people in the Marvel Universe he considers a friend.

I also got to give credit to editor Tom Breevoort for being able to find a group of artist that are able to maintain a consistent look to Captain America. I really did not now this issue was done by three different artist and I cannot say that about any other title than Captain America that is able to pull this off. Guice, Ross, and Epting combined for a great issue as they give this book a great dark espionage feel.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 - Brubaker continues to kick all sorts of ass with Captain America and I can't wait to see what he has in store for Bucky as we get close to issue #50 and #600(?).
Art: 8.5/10 - Only Captain America can pull off having an artist by committee and still maintain the great look it has always had.
Overall: 8.75/10 - At this point I do not care if Steve ever comes back as Bucky has become a great Captain America and I can't recommend this title enough for those who have yet to give this title a shot.

Guardians of the Galaxy #12

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Wes Craig
Colorist: Wil Quintana

Story - Sacrifice

I have to say that the cover to this issue is badass. Though this two part story has been a bit meh I will say that it is interesting to see were DnA set up Phyla. I'm glad that Wendell has the Quasar Bands back, though more them later, since I never liked Phyla as Quasar. Even though DnA wont be picking up on what the deal Phyla made to be the new Avatar of Death it should lead to some interesting stories after War of Kings as it looks like after that event the Guardians will be involved in another war.

Though I did not enjoy Wes Craig's artwork in the last issue I thought he did a much more impressive job with his artwork in this issue. I especially liked how he drew Moondragon and when Phyla escaped Moondragon by ripping through his guts. That was just a awesome scene.

Issue Rating
Story: 6/10 - Though it had its cool moments this, and the last, issue felt nothing more than DnA trying to buy time until the War of Kings tie-in.
Art: 7.4/10 - Craig's art in this issue was much better in this issue as he was given much more to do in terms of spreads.
Overall: 6.7/10 - Even though this mini-arc wasn't that I great I am looking forward to seeing the Guardians team up with the Starjammers in the War of Kings tie-ins.

Nova #23

Creative Team
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Adrea Divito
Colorist: Bruno Hang

Story - End of Story

This was kind of a weird issue as it ties into what happened in this weeks Guardians of the Galaxy issue (see above). As you can tell from the cover Richard is given the Quasar Bands by Wendell and becomes the new Quasar. Though it is cool to Richard become the Quasar since he is a much more interesting character and it should be interesting to see how he wields his new powers when he goes up against the Worldmind's Nova Corps.

Though this issue was not boring I still found it to be a much more average issue when compared to previous issues as it felt I was reading more of a filler issue that sets up the next story arc than an end of an arc. And I don't really know how I feel romance between Richard and Dr. Necter since I don't know were DnA are going to take this relationship.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.2/10 - DnA do a nice job with this issue though this was much more of an average read than previous issues.
Art: 7.7/10 - Andrea Divito still gives this title a nice clean look but there were a few noticeable inconsistencies in this issue than his previous ones.
Overall: 7.45/10 - Though this was an average issue Nova still is one of the best titles on the market and with Nova being involved with War of Kings next issue we should see a lot of explosions in the next few issues.

Oracle: The Cure #1

Creative Team
Writer: Kevin Vanhook
Artist: Julian Lopez & Fernando Pasrin
Inkers: Bit and HI-FI's David Bryant
Colorist: HI-FI

Story- Home again, home again

Barbara Gordon has always been a weird character for me because just like Dick Grayson I did not start reading comics until after Dick became Nightwing and Barbara became Oracle. And even though I have been able to read a lot of the back issues of Dick and Barbara's time as Robin and Batgirl (respectively) for me these two characters are much better off as Nightwing and Oracle. Through those identities they have been able to become their own superheroes that don't live in the shadows of Bruce when they were his partners. So for me I actually would prefer that the cure mentioned in the title of this mini-series actually refer to Wendy and not Barbara as she has had plenty of chances in the past to walk but has chosen not to.

While Kevin Vanhook did a good job with the writing I didn't find anything special about it. Still I am interested to see what happens with Oracle and he Calculator doing battle yet again with this time both going after what is left of the Anti-Life Equation from Final Crisis.

Issue Rating
Story: 7/10 - With this being my first exposure to his writing I found Vahook to do a nice job with the writing.
Art: 7.8/10 - Julian Lopez and Fernando Pasarin did a good job with the art though I could have done without the shower scene since it felt like it was just thrown in there for nothing more than fanservice.
Overall: 7.4/10 - This was a nice start to this mini-series and I am glad that while it has some connection to Battle for the Cowl it is it's own story with a minor connection to the big Bat-event.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #589 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Paulo Siqueira
Inker: Amilton Santos
Colorist: Jeromy Cox

Story - Marked

It's been a while since The Spot's last appearance. The Spot has always been one of Spider-Man's more goofier villains. Though even with that The Spot's powers have always gave him the potential to be much more of a threat. I think The Spot from the 90s Spider-Man cartoon showed that the character can be a very powerful foe. But for some reason the comic book version has never been given the chance to shine, well that is until this issue of Amazing Spider-Man by Fred Van Lente who has done some great work with the other Marvel titles he's been writing.

Van Lente really turned up The Spot's powers in this issue and it was pretty cool seeing him use his powers in order to kill all of the Russian thugs. And the fight between Spider-Man and The Spot was really well done even though it was a bit short. Paulo Siqueira did a nice job with all of the action stuff with my favorite images in the issue being when The Spot uses his powers to have Spider-Man punch himself and at the end when Spider-Man was hanging on his web at the end of the issue and scared the living day lights out of some thug. The one thing I found his work to be an odd combination of Dodson and Jimenez Spider-Man work. I did find it funny that the bad guy in this issue kind of look like Oliver Queen from the DCU with a longer.

Now maybe my favorite moment(s) of this issue, and maybe this week in comics, was when Spider-Man tried to copy Christian Bale's Batman voice from The Dark Knight (though the film wasn't directly mentioned just Bale). I cracked up in his first attempt at trying to use the voice to intimidate the Russian thug than coughing right after wards. It was just a damn funny scene right up there when Spider-Man punched himself in the face. And it was awesome when he used it again at the end and actually making it work without coughing right afterwards that will be in my Legen--wait for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week on Wednesday.

The only thing I had a problem with in this issue was the use of the Russian thugs as the bad guys for this issue. I would have much rather preferred seeing Mr. Negative have some sort of involvement with the plot since the character seems to have been forgotten. I kind of just want that characters involvement in ASM to be over since it is the only storyline left over from the start of Brand New Day. But this is only a minor complaint that does not take away from my enjoyment of this issue.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.2/10 - Fred Van Lente did a great job with his first issue on Amazing Spider-Man and I hope he does another issue, maybe even a whole story arc, later on since his writing perfectly fits a title like Amazing Spider-Man.
Art: 8/10 - Though Paulo Siqueira's artwork had a few odd panels overall I found his art to be a nice fit for ASM.
Overall: 8.1/10 - This was a nice one-and-done issue and I am really excited for the next few months of ASM issues.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Daredevil #117 Review

Creative Team
Ed Brubaker
Artist: Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth

Story - The Return of the King: Part 1

After the excellent issue of Daredevil that we got a few weeks ago "The Return of the King" looked to be one of the stories that may be going under the radar of some readers with all the different crossovers going on in other books that have replaced this year having an actual company wide crossover this year. And after reading this issue I can say that this story arc of the Wilson's return as the Kingpin to the Marvel Universe looks to be just as strong as any story we will be getting this year.

The opening scene with Wilson literally going underground and announcing he is back to a bunch of gangsters at a sewer club was very well done and shows kind of how long Wilson has been away from the Marvel Universe overall picture. At one point Kingpin was one of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel U, think Norman's current role. But to see him now and how low he had to go to announce his return shows that if Wilson wants to return as the Kingpin of Crime he has his work cut out for him, that is if he survives this story arc.

And as I said in my previous review, I really like how Brubaker is drawing many parrallels between Wilson and Matt. Throughout the issue Matt continuously finds a way to make his life more miserable, intentional or not, by pushing those closest to him (Dakota and Foggy) away with his actions. Brubaker does an excellent job just showing how desperate Matt as a character has become that it is believable that were he is know, with all the crap he is dealing with between Milla's parents, Dakota, and Lady Bullseye and the Hand, that a partnership with his mortal enemy isn't so far fetched. It will be interesting to see were Brubaker takes the Matt and Wilson relationship from this point and if they truly can work together to defeat/kill Lady Bullseye and the Hand.

Even though this issue had a dark tone to it I continue to enjoy the Matt and Master Izo relationship. It is a fun little relationship that brings some humor to an otherwise dark story. It will be interesting to see what Master Izo's reaction is to Matt teaming up with a former enemy. Maybe he'll give Matt some old adage of "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer," just to get under Matt's skin.

While I am not a fan of Lark it seems that the one issue break he got did him and Gaudino some good as his art has improved and doesn't look as rough as the previous few issues he has done. A lot of his art reminds me of Aja's art from the last issue of Daredevil. I hope Brubaker gives Lark and Gaudino more action to illustrate in the next issue as I just want to see Wilson bust some skulls when he fights the Hand.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.2/10 - Brubaker does a wonderful job with creating a situation were it is believable that two people that hated each others guts as much as Matt and Wilson are now "forced" to team up to take down a greater enemy.
Art: 7.7/10 - Lark and Gaudino do an impressive job with the art and continues the gritty feel this title should always have.
Overall: 8.45/10 - This was just another great issue of Daredevil and if you have drop this series in the past I recommend picking this series up again as it is in what could be a epic story that may go under the rater to some readers.

Cartoon Review: The Spectacular Spider-Man Ep. 1

With The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series now being shown on Disney XD and it being a while since I have seen the first season I thought it would be fun to review the episodes from the first season. I will be reviewing one episode a week until the premier of the second season were I will be reviewing the new episodes. Also I know that the second season has been shown over in Canada and other countries but I ask all of those who have seen the second season to please not be a dick about it and ruin it for the rest of us here at the states that have yet to seen the second season by giving spoilers about the new season. It is just not cool and we all want to enjoy the new episodes as they come. Thank you!

"Survival of the Fittest"

It may be because Spider-man is one of the few characters in comics that allows a writer have a light or dark tone, many times both, to the stories but I have always found that with every new Spider-Man cartoon it is a rule that the opening theme songs has to be catchy. Even though Batman, X-Men, Superman and the JLA have had their own succesful cartoons none of them have had an opening theme that gets stuck in the viewers head. The only other cartoon that has had a catchy theme song was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon from the 80s/90s. For some reason I have always found myself humming the opening theme song of the Spider-Man cartoons, especially the one for Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and the opening theme of The Spectacular Spider is no different.

Weisman, Cook, and the rest of the crew on this show seem to have mix a lot of the different Spider-Man continuities together to make this show. Though this show looks to be heavily be influenced by the Lee/Ditko/Romita Sr. era Weisman and crew also seem to take some of the elements from Ultimate Spider-Man and the Spider-Man films by having many of the characters that Peter didn't meet until college like Gwen and Harry actually be his childhood friends. Maybe the biggest change is to Gwen since she is portrayed as more of a science nerd, a little similar to Ultimate MJ, that is more of Peter's intellectual equal, far removed from the beauty queen look she had in the comics. And just like with Wolverine and the X-Men it is a good move by the creator's of this show that they start with Peter already being Spider-Man for already a few months now since most, if not all, those who will watch this show will know Peter's origin already from either the comics, movies, and previous cartoons.

What else is interesting from this first episode is just the magnitude of characters from Spider-Man's history appear in this episode alone. We get most of Peter's supporting cast in Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, Liz Allen, Flash Thompson, Kong (created in USM), Randy Robbinson, Sally Avril (alterego of the hero Bluebird), J Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle staff. Then we are also introduced to a lot of many of Spider-Man's rogue galleries persona's before they are turned into villains: Norman Osborn, Doc Ock, Flint Marko, Eddie Brock (who is more similar to his USM version), and Dr. Connors. That is a lot of characters in one single episode, and may have missed a few, and the only real major character we do not see in this episode is MJ. On the villains side it is interesting to see how all of these characters we know are big Spider-Man villains are before they become part of Spider-Man's Rogue's Gallery.

Now just like many Spider-Man fans I was taken aback by the simplistic character designs this series had and quickly questioned how good this series would be. But after seeing this first episode I realize that the creators of this show decided to make the designs simple in order to put all their budget, which is always low for a cartoon, to the fight sequences. And from the looks of it they made a wise choice as all the fight scenes have are fast paced with a lot of energy that you would expect from a fight involving Spider-Man and his foes. Just like the early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Amazing Spider-Man and and Brian Bendis/Mark Bagley Ultimate Spider-Man it makes more sense that a teenage Peter Parker would focus more on the speed and agility in conjunction with his Spider-Sense than using just relying on raw power. It is what made Spider-Man's fight with the Enforcers and Vulture that much more fun to watch.

Overall this was a good start for a show and I like that the creators of the show are using each episode to build on the over-arching story of the show similar to the 90s series. And though this show is aimed at kids it has plenty of action and character work that long time Spider-Man fans will also love.

Episode Rating - 8.4/10

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Anime Review: Bleach 106

"Life and Revenge! Ishida, the Ultimate Choice"

How many more times do we have to hear the backstory of the Kariya and Bounts? I understand that since this is a filler arc the writers of the Bleach anime need to give the viewer as much information as possible of these villains in order to make them credible for this filler arc. Still it just feels that they are trying to stretch this arc longer than it should be. This episode would have been better off with this since we have already seen this enough over this 40+ episode arc.

While Kariya's backstory hurt the first part of this episode the rest of the episode with Uryu and Kariya fight was very well done. I would have preferred it that the Uryu vs Kariya take up the whole episode since this was better than the last few episodes we have gotten. It was very cool to see that Uryu was able to learn from his fight against Yoshio and has finally mastered the Quincy item. Uryu is one of the strongest characters in the series and it was good to see that even though he does not have his powers back he is still able to use an item that still gives him a handicap and show off how strong he really is. It will be interesting to see how Uryu does get his powers back

Though I kind of wonder with the amount of spirit particles Kariya has absorb in this episode and the amount he will probably absorb in his fight against Ichigo in the next episode if he will overload like Koga did when he fought Hitsugaya. Overall this was a good episode that would have been better off without having to revisit Kariya's backstory again. I look forward to Ichigo vs Kariya but am looking forward even more to this filler arc to be over and Bleach to get back to the material in the manga.

Episode Rating - 7.6/10

Legen--wait for it---dary Comic Book Highlight for 3/18/09

Cover of the Week: Spider-Man: Noir #4
It may be because I personally only like drawing black and white drawings, but still this is a fantastic cover for a series that I look forward to getting in TPB.

Amazing Spider-Man #588 Highlights
I guess the cops now know not to mess with any of Menace's friends.

Yet another bromance!

Does this lead towards what we saw in the cover for Amazing Spider-Man #598?

Ultimatum #3 Highlights
How is that Wolverine with his adamantium claws is not able to cut the Blob but somehow Pym is able to bite his head off? Oh wait! This is a Jeph Loeb book so of course it doesn't follow what was previously established.

Add Nightcrawler to the list of senseless death that leaves no impact on the reader what so ever.

So why is it that all of the Madrox clones have to jump on Pym to kill him? Wouldn't it only take one or two and the rest blow up SHIELD and the other heroes? Oh Loeb you are such a wise man.

All I can expect about the next issue is to give it another rating of Loeb-it.

Wolverine #71 Highlights
It's interesting that the Venom T-Rex has the Anti-Venom suit instead of the regular black Venom suit.

Whether as the king of the Kree Empire or one of Emma Frost soldiers Black Bolt is still a badass.

I am glad Millar has Logan actually find happiness in the life he has built with his wife and kids instead of complaining about what happened in the past, which is what other writers would have had him do.
Meet Emma Frost husband: Doctor Doom!

Pym Falls is both creepy and awesome at the same time.

See now that is a cool statue and befitting the Red Skull.

I hope Hawkeye isn't dead and used the supersoldier syrum on himself before handing over the case full of them. I think that would be an awesome twist.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Legacy Shorts: Comic Book Reviews for 3/18/09

Amazing Spider-Man #588

Creative Team
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson and Tom Palmer
Colorist: Dean White

Story - Character Assassination: Conclusion

With the conclusion of "Character Assassination" Gruggenheim resolves all the storylines that have been running through Amazing Spider-Man since the start of Brand New Day, except for the one involving Mr. Negative. And whatever readers have thought of this new direction for Spider-Man I will say that even though the first 6-8 months weren't that great the past few months of ASM stories have actually been pretty good. Though "Character Assassination" has had it's good and bad issues Gruggenheim did a nice job closing out this story arc and I will be interested to see were Vin, Carlie, and the Mayor race goes from here.

Spider-Man is always at his best when is backed into a corner and just as he escapes he is trapped in another corner with no way out. From fighting his way through a prison full of people that would love nothing more to be able to kill him to fighting off Menace from killing all the citizens all the while with only one good arm shows how great of a hero Peter is and it is his determination that allows him to save the day. It was also cool to see Harry, in a Green Goblin mask and glider, help Peter out. I am happy that Gruggenheim reinforces the fact that no matter what Peter and Harry are best friends and that they have always had each others back.

And "Character Assassination" is even better because of John Romita Jr.'s and his two inkers Klaus Janson and Tom Palmer's artwork. It is no secret that I am a huge Romita Jr. fan and always enjoy his artwork especially when it comes to Spider-Man. All of the action in this action packed issue all flowed nicely together in each panel.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.3/10 - Gruggenheim does a good job closing some of the BND stories allowing Amazing Spider-Man to move on to its second year of this new direction.
Art: 9/10 - Romita Jr does an excellent job with the art and I hope we see Romita's art again soon on Amazing Spider-Man.
Overall: 8.65/10 - While this arc has had its ups and downs it closed of nicely and I am looking forward to the next few months of Amazing Spider-Man stories.

Wolverine #71

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Steve McNiven
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorists: Morry Hollowell and Paul Mounts

Story - Old Man Logan Part 6

While Old Man Logan has faced it's delays I have to say that if there was one creative team were I will give a pass for delays it is the team of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. I just love how Millar makes all his work feel like I am watching a movie and if there were comic book stories that can successfully make the transition from comic to film, namely animated, it is Millar's Wolverine: Enemy of the State, Ultimates 1&2 and this Old Man Logan stories. It helps that Millar has McNiven and Vines to help with the art chores. McNiven and Vines combine for some excellent artwork as always and the artwork alone makes it worth the wait. Because really, how awesome was the old man Black Bolt kicking the Venom T-Rex ass? That was just some great artwork.

Even though I have never been a big fan of alternate timeline stories, with Days of Future Past and Age of Apocalypse being the exceptions, I love the setting of Old Man Logan. I really want to know more about this world with Emma marrying Doctor Doom to keep the remaining mutants alive and her using her psychic powers to keep her young appearance, Pym Falls, the look of New Babylon with the Red Skull statue, and Hawkeye's real mission this world is full of rich content were Millar or another writer can still explore once Old Man Logan is over.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.7/10 - Millar does a great job making Old Man Logan feel like you are reading a quality summer blockbuster.
Art: 10/10 - Wolverine has never looked better. McNiven and Vines continue to provide Millar's story with plenty of quality artwork that is as perfect as you can get.
Overall: 9.35/10 - No matter the wait Old Man Logan continues to be an excellent story and a contender for the story of the year once it is over.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Poll Results: What was your favorite 90s comic book cartoon?

With a total of 91 votes here are the results for this month's poll:

1. Batman - 39% (36 votes)
2. X-Men - 25 % (23 votes)
3. Spider-Man - 17% (16 votes)
4. The Tick - 8% (8 votes)
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - 6% (6 votes)
6. Superman - 1% (1 vote)
- Iron Man - 1% (1 vote)
8. Incredible Hulk - 0% (0 votes)
- Fantastic Four - 0% (0 votes)

Not to surprising with how the poll went. Though I am a bit surprise that TMNT and the Tick didn't receive more votes. As a kid I always remember how much I enjoyed that old 80s/90s series of TMNT even though it does feel dated now. But the opposite would be the case for The Tick. I have to agree with what Matt Ampersand said and that while I didn't completely get what the Tick was about as a kid though now that I recently had a chance to watch it on Toon Disney, or I guess Disney XD now, and I have to say it is just as good as the top 3 cartoons on the list. Even though it has been over 10 years since it aired The Tick and all of the jokes still feel relevant today.

Now even though I love Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman series that existed in that universe, and I have Batman and Batman Beyond seasons on DVD, I have to say that I did not watch that series as religiously as I did the X-Men and Spider-Man animated series. The reason I actually got into comics was because of the X-Men and Spider-Man series. And I can't wait for the season DVDs of the X-Men series to come out next month.

While The Batman, X-Men Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men aren't in the same class as the top three on the list I will say that the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon is can easily break the top three and when all said in done it will be hard to see which cartoon is the best as I love that new series. I already set my DVR for when the Spectacular Spider-Man premiers on Disney XD and I can't wait to see the second season of that series and for us to get an actual collection of the first season as that is what I am waiting to get not the individual set of DVDs that only have 3 episodes.

Thanks to everyone that voted.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ultimatum #3

Creative Team
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorists: Aspen's Peter Steigerwald & Steve Firchow

Story - Heaven on Earth

Review Special (aka The Jeph Loeb special) - Before I start my review for this issue I have decided for Ultimatum #3 to split it into two different reviews for reasons that will become obvious. ENJOY!

Review #1
I like to send a thank you to Jeph Loeb for his writing. No your eyes aren't deceiving with what I just wrote in my previous sentence. Hear me out!

Most of the comics that I have gotten over the past two months since the second issue of Ultimatum has come out most of the comics I have gotten I have found to range from good to near perfect. Even the issues that I found average or boring I was able to get some entertainment from each issue. While this has been great for my wallet since I haven't had to question many of my purchases. But while it is good for my wallet it is not to great for my blog.

Because I haven't much to complain about most of my recent post I have been more on the positive side and I have actually taken a bit more time to write my comic reviews since it is hard to continue to write one positive review after another without sounding repetitive. But now with Ultimatum #3 I feel a bit rejuvenated as now I have something to completely bash on writing side. So all that negativity I have not been able to use I have finally found an outlet for that negativity. Because of that I thank you Jeph Loeb for your continued lack of competence as a writer over the past few years. Thank You!

Review #2
If this was any other writer after reading the second issue of Ultimatum I would say that this series can't get much worse and that it can do nothing but go up from there. But again Jeph Loeb, as he has been doing for the past few years, continues the a downward trend that just when it looks like a writer can't present a reader a more of incoherent mess that lacks complete respect for the characters and the writers that built the universe long before he/she came along Loeb finds a new lower level. Not even David Finch's fantastic art can help salvage the mess this mini-series has become.

It is hard to believe with his current work that there was a time when Jeph Loeb wasn't a bad writer and that he actually did work such as Spider-Man: Blue, Batman: Long Halloween, Batman: Hush, and the initial first two arcs in Superman/Batman. But his work on Ultimate Power, Hulk, Ultimates 3, and now Ultimatum it is hard to sometimes remember he was the same writer that wrote those stories.

Whether it is the 616, Ultimate, or any other Universe have I seen from a comic use of one "shocking" scene after another used so unnecessarily that as a person I am offended by this tactic used by Loeb. When using "shocking" scenes in order to just be shocking it is easy to tell that Loeb has no game plan for what he is doing with Ultimatum. Loeb probably didn't even bother writing an outline for the series. All this, and the other, issues have read like they are outlines of ideas of what a writer would like to do but still has not found a logical way to write to get to those scenes. To say Ultimatum #3 is void of logic would be offensive to all of the illogical ideas that people have come up with. I honestly feel that a first grader would do a better job presenting a more coherent story than this one when they are scribbling stuff on their wall to piss off there parents.

From the characterization of Pym, Blob, Hawkeye, Thor, Magneto, Mystique, the X-Men, and so on I can't really say which character I find more annoying. But if I had a vote I would say Loeb's version of Ultimate Pym has become the most annoying character I have ever read. I get that scene was suppose to be "extreme" but you know I would not have been as offended if Pym would have just picked up Blob and his ass by ripping him in half similar to what Hulk did to Wolverine in there Ultimate version of their fight. I would have actually accepted it if that was what Loeb actually had Pym do. But no that is not "extreme" enough for Loeb that we must have Pym bite of Blob's head in order to show how much pain he is in. The whole act negates anything heroic Pym does in this issue that I could care less if Pym lives or dies.

Then there is the X-Men who instead of listening to Prof. X's direct instructions that he gave back in Ultimatum #1 to split up to help gather the remaining heroes to fight Magneto they all decide to gather together to stand and look at the bodies of their dead teammates. That is the mark of true heroes: don't pay attention to the millions of lives you can be saving that barely survived the disaster instead just sit around a camp fire pouting over what happens. Good work X-Men you are the greatest heroes on the planet. We should just be lucky that this isn't how Loeb wrote Ultimates 3 (oh wait never mind!)

I don't know which scenes are more uncompelling those two or the one involving Thor and Cap fighting of the army of the dead. Why the hell does that scene belong in this series. Seriously I find no point to this scene other than to allow more blood to be spilled without having our heroes actually "kill" in the general sense. Also when did Ultimate Thor all of a sudden become 616-Thor? If Loeb had decided to start the series off with this scene I think it would have made much better sense, or at least as much sense as Loeb's writing can get, as we could question why Thor and Cap are fighting off an army of the dead and then have a flashback to the flood. See I just wrote an outline to one issue. How hard was that Loeb?

Also the sadness that Loeb tries to have Magneto show for the death of his kids and that being the catylist to Magneto's plan couldn't have been more purely executed than it was. At no point was "damn, only Magneto could have done this. There really is no stopping him now and all the heroes are going to die." For all I know Loeb could have stuck Doctor Doom or a villain that has yet made an appearance in the Ultimate Universe and it would not have made a difference in the story. In the 616-universe Magneto is probably the most sympathetic villains Marvel has but here I see no emotional connection to Magneto or any of the characters involved in this series.

All Loeb has done is kill of one A-list character (Thor) and a bunch of B-list and lower heroes and villains in a way that the reader does not care at all even for a character death like Thor. Thor's death perfectly illustrates the lack of respect Loeb has for all the characters as not even Thor, a character who is part of Marvel's Trinity, isn't allowed to have his death to be shown on a panel but somehow Blob getting his head bitten of does. Ya great.

Honestly if anyone wants to read Ultimatum in a way it is supposed to be told than read Ultimate Spider-Man. Bendis does an infinitely better job showing how horrific the Ultimatum disaster is and presenting it in a way the reader feels emotionally connected to the event.

I'm sorry if someone might have come up with this already, but in order to come up with a rating that is worse than zero I say this issue deserves the rating of: Loeb-it. Yes now anytime a comic, a book, a TV show, or a movie should get a score less than zero than I say we give it a Loeb-it to represent anything that deserves a score below a zero. I can see the t-shirts now "I Loeb-it the issue."

Issue Rating
Story: Loeb-it/10 - Loeb does nothing to impress but does everything to offend with his writing.
Art: 8.6/10 - David Finch does a great job giving this horrible story a blockbuster feel that I can still appreciate the cinematic feel Finch gives this story.
Overall: 1/10 - Not even Finch's artwork could save Loeb's Ultimatum #3. The only thing that can be worse than this issue is issue #4 and #5 of this series.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cartoon Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Ep. 8

"Time Bomb"

I watch this episode last week but I was unable to find the time to actually watch this episode until recently. Though from the looks of it this will be the last new episode for at least now since last week we got a rerun of the first episode of the series. And this week we are going to get a rerun of the second episode of the season but hopefully next week we will see a new episode. But will see I guess.

Now with this episode we are introduced to Nitro, which Marvel fans will remember as being the catalyst that started the Civil War event. Though Nitro is not a mutant in the comics or an X-villain the writers of this show did a nice job making the viewer sympathize with the character as he is one of the mutants who is cursed with not being able to control his powers similar to Cyclops and Rogue.

And speaking of Rogue we finally get to see her back in the show since the initial 3 episodes. While it is interesting to see how her views of how the Brotherhood should "help" Nitro I kind of feel that "been there, done that," since the previous cartoon (X-Men: Evolution) had her start the series as a member of the Brotherhood. And since Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, two of the producers of the show, also worked on X-Men: Evolution it feels like they wanted to have Rogue on the show but because Kitty has taken the role of youngest mutant on the team they needed to make Rogue a "villain" again. What I would like to see happen with the character at the end of the season is that she is still in a villain-type role instead of just rejoining the X-Men but next to Magneto's side and maybe have her and Magneto have some sort of working relationship along with Mystique (who has yet to appear).

Though I may hate how Cyclops and Wolverine's roles have switched with one another I have to say I love what the writers are doing with Emma Frost character. Since the character has started a relationship with Scott in the comics Emma as character has slowly become more of a PC version than her previous portrayal and has basically become Jean Grey-lite in the comics, which is one of the reason's I hate the Scott/Emma relationship. As a fan of her character she has always been at her best when she is the bitchy character a reader loves to hate and you never really now what side she is playing: a hero or villain. And the writers have seen this as we really don't know what side this version of Emma is actually on as she shows a manipulative side to her character in every episode she's in. It was pretty cool to see how strong of a psychic Emma is as she effortlessly was able to handle Psylock, another psychic. From the looks of how strong this version of Emma is I would like to see her have a match with Professor X and Jean as she seems to be on a similar power level as those characters.

Also I have to give credit to the animators for being able to pull of some nice action scenes even though they are restricted due to being a show aimed for kids. The battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood along with the animation every time Nitro exploded was nicely done and I am glad that they are able to show how powerful each mutant is as each one of them, other than Toad (for obvious reasons), is able to flex there muscles during the action sequences. I especially loved how they had Bobby create a whole island out of ice in the middle of the ocean. It was a very cool scene that many Iceman fans will like as this version of Iceman seems to be an Omega level mutant like his comic counter-part.

Now while the last episode featuring a rematch of Wolverine vs Hulk did not even come close to living up to what we saw in the Hulk vs. DVD this episode was a quality episode featuring Nitro. Hopefully the next new episode, when ever we get it, continues the nice flow this young X-Men show has created for itself.

Episode Rating - 8.3/10

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Legen--wait for it---dary Comic Book Highlight for 3/11/09

I thought I would start this weeks Legen-wait for it-dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week with a funny little clip from last nights The Big Bang Theory. Here is the clip of what happens when you try coffee for the first time:

Alright here are the Highlights for this past week.

Cover of the Week: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #4
My friend just let me read his copies of the past four issues and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a very fun story to read. I really like this cover of the Wizard's emarald colored projection of his head as Dorthy watches him with fear.

Battle for the Cowl #1 Highlights
Knight and Squire would be awesome addition for the Red Robin title once Tim picks takes on the Red Robin costume.

Though I would rather see Two-Face play the role of leader to Batman's Rogues Gallery I loved how we see Arkham Asylum burning in the background is just an awesome visual.

Though I wasn't to impressed with the writing I still have to say Daniel provide plenty of gorgeous artwork for this issue. And this image of one of the Batman standing over Gotham City was one of my favorites of the issue.

As hard as he hits them Dick should know that those dummies wont hit back.

Hm, Tim fits into one of Bruce's Batsuits? He must have borrowed some steroids from Alex Rodriguez. (Alright I am sorry for the lame joke.)

We were this close getting rid of the annoying Damien Wayne. RATS!!!

Batman presents Jason Todd in Shot 'Em Up.

Green Lantern Corps #34 Highlights
Sodam takes out his bitch stick on his mom as he makes here apologize for killing his alien friend way back before he became a Green Lantern.

Do not mess with Mongul or else he will rip out your tongue!

The Rage of the Red Lanterns evades Green Lantern Corps.

Guardian of the Galaxy #11 Highlights
Even though this issue was the only issue of GOTG I have found to be boring though this image by Wes Craig was impressive.

I just love it when a dragon appears in comics, especially a dark dragon.

Invincible Iron Man #11 Highlights
I wish Fraction was allowed to call Pepper Iron Maiden like he wanted to instead of Iron Woman. (Damn copyrights!)

So why is Rhodey able to wear an Extremis-like War Machine suit while Fraction takes away Tony's Extremis powers? I don't get it.

Why is that I have a feeling we will only get a bunch of words being thrown by Tony and Namor instead of punches in the next issue?

Superman/Batman #56 Highlights
Batman: "I have the poweerrr!"

WrestleMania 25 Main Event: A superpowered Batman vs the JLA.

I kind of wish we got to see more of this fight since it would have been cool to see a superpowered Batman fight each member of the JLA before having the powers taken away.

And so ends the story of a superpowered Batman.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Legacy Shorts: Comic Book Reviews for 3/11/09

Green Lantern Corps #34

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman & Christian Alamy
Colorist: Randy Mayor

Story - Emerald Eclipse Part 2

After being promised a fight between Mongul and Arkillo Tomasi and Gleason do not disappoint. Just as Tomasi did in his run over in Nightwing he knows when it dialogue is need and when his artist, in this case Gleason, to tell the story of a fight between two or more characters. Gleason did a fantastic job showing just how brutal the fight between these two goliaths was as everything around both fighters became a weapon: buldings, statues, and even the Daxam citizens. No one was safe in this fight and I can't wait to see how those loyal to Sinestro will handle Mongul supposed takeover of the Sinestro Corps.

Outside of the battle in Daxam all of the other stories were nicely done. The dialogue between Sodam and his mom was properly cringe inducing as Sodam really let his mom have it. It felt like an arguement that I would sometimes have with my friends and parents as it was one character telling the harsh truth with the other not accepting it. Seeing as Sodam sent his mom to Oa to keep her safe it should make for some funny moments as Sodam's mom gets a culture shock from the various Green Lanterns from other planets she is bound to discover.

Also the build up of the secret relationship between Kyle and Soranik. It will be interesting to see how long they can both keep their secret relationship a secret as the it is hard to keep secrets from the Guardians especially once they continue to introduce the new laws that have yet to be revealed.

And it is good to see that Tomasi is allowed to use other Lantern Corps and not just reduced to two Corps as we see scenes involving the Green, Red, Yellow, and Violet Lanterns that should have affects in this and the Green Lantern title.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 - Tomasi continues to do an excellent job using all the unused storylines from Green Lantern and make them just as an important story as the one being told by Geoff Johns.
Art: 8.3/10 - Gleason did a fantasitic job with the brutal fight between Mongul and Arkillo and that artwork was present throughout the issue.
Overall: 8.65/10 - Green Lantern Corps continues to prove to be just as an important title as Green Lantern as we inch closer to Blackest Night and if you have yet to give this title a try I urge you do as it is able to stand alone even if you are not reading Green Lantern.

Guardians of the Galaxy #11

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Wes Craig
Colorist: Wil Quintana

Story - Welcome to Oblivion

It may be because all of the work DnA have been doing with War of Kings, the tie-ins, and Nova but it seems that with all their workload may have gotten to them. Though the mentioned titles are still great reads it looks like because of that workload Guardians of the Galaxy is the title that is left to suffer. For the first time in this young titles run we get an issue that was disappointing from the writing to the art. The problem with this issue is that unlike the previous story arc this issue was only focused on Quasar and Drax's adveture in a purgatory-type setting. It just seems this issue would have been much better left off if it also focused on the Adam Warlock and Gamora plotline that has also only been shortly seen in the previous story arc.

Issue Rating
Story: 4/10 - This was the first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy that I found to be just a boring read as none of the dialogue from DnA was very compelling.
Art: 5/10 - Craig's cartoon-type artwork just isn't a proper fit for a cosmic title like GOTG.
Overall: 4.5/10 - With so many compelling things going on in Marvel's cosmic corner this issue failed to live up to previous issues of GOTG and the only good thing is this is only a two-part story arc.

Superman/Batman #56

Creative Team
Writers: Michael Green & Mike Johnson
Artist: Rags Morales
Inkers: John Dell, Drew Geraci & Derek Fridoles
Colorist: Nei Ruffino

Story - Super/Bat: Conclusion

Though Super/Bat has had its interesting moments the story has still felt like a been there, done that as the story of two characters exchanging powers has been done to death. This issue is basically one big fight sequence between a Superman powered Batman and the JLA with Superman and Zatanna finding an moment of weakness in Batman for Superman to get back his powers.

The one thing I will say about this story is that Green and Johnson did a good job making this storyline new reader friendly which is what Superman/Batman should be. Just like the team titles a reader who can't get titles for all their favorite characters should be able to look at a team title and get a good solid read. And who are fans of Batman and Superman this a nice read that should entertain any reader looking to get into comics.

And just like always Rags Morales provides some great artwork. The fight scene between Batman and the JLA was nicely illustrated though the inker by committee was noticeable during certain points in the issue.

Issue Rating
Story: 6.2/10 - Green and Johnson do a nice job ending this storyline though it is nothing surprising.
Art: 8/10 - Morales provides plenty of eye candy for the reader and I hope we see his artwork soon in this or another title.
Overall: 7.1/10 - Though this storyline may not be for longtime comic book readers Super/Bat is a nice storyline that I would recommend for new readers who are a fan of one or both characters.