Saturday, November 28, 2009

Legen...wait for it....dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week for 11/25/09

Cover of the Week: Green Lantern #48 (Alternate Cover)
DC has had the habit when it comes to Green Lantern covers to releasing the alternate covers of this title along with the solicits to each issue and using a different cover for the regular cover. And it is to bad we didn't get this as the regular cover as this is just a beautiful cover showing off Saint Walker the rich world the Blue Lanterns are located. Just an awesome cover.

Amazing Spider-Man #613 Highlights
I guessing Michelle is not a morning person.

I have the power!

Blackest Night #5 Highlights
Dragonzord, Tyrannosarus, Saber-Toothed Tiger,......Woops wrong costumes. I like how while all the leaders of the Lantern Corps recite their respective oaths Larfleeze is in the back wondering what is going on.

Mmmmmmm...Tasty dessert.

Let seee we got the Superman family, Flash Family, Wonder Woman family, Titans, and JLA but no one from the Batfamily. What up with that?

Hal and everyone are trying to give Scar a color change as black just isn't her color.

Doesn't black cancel out every other color? Plus mixing all of these colors together will just make black anyways so would this actually work?

Bruce has seen better days.....

as has the rest of the DCU heroes who have died though I have no clue when Wonder Woman died. I only remember the Golden Age Wonder Woman dying in Infinite Crisis.

Fantastic Four #573 Highlights
Neil Edwards draws a great Human Torch. If Johnny ever gets another ongoing or mini-series I hope Edwards is one of the ones considered for the job.

Don't lose your head over it Psionic......Was that to mean?

Green Lantern #48 Highlights
A Gonzo and Scrooge reference in one panel. Have never seen I writer do that. Kudos Geoff Johns!

So now we are getting to the meat of the matter of where Sinestro's hate towards Hal comes from.

Attroticius does not look good as a Blue Lantern. Something about this image just doesn't look right.

Great spread page of all the Lanterns together.

Guardians of the Galaxy #20 Highlights
I wouldn't mind if the artist did the recap pages instead of getting the few paragraphs of recap at the beginning of the issue. Brad Walker did a great job with the first page of this page of Guardians of the Galaxy recaping what happened in the last story arc.

Invincible Iron Man #20 Highlights
Tony has suddenly entered the Terminator: Salvation world. And to make things better the guy saying 'Tony' is his father.

This is the first two pages of what turns out to be a six page video will Tony made up before he decided to turn himself into a vegetable but these two pages sum his will up as he tells everyone "He was right all along and everyone else was wrong."

This was the first time I thought Pepper was given a proper characterization by Matt Fraction.

Ultimate Comics Avengers #4 Highlights
I think Ultimate War Machine is much more of a kick ass character than his 616 counterpart.

I have said it many times before but these two pages reinforce the fact Ultimate Captain America is a badass. Using a kindergarden class to stop War Machine was a brilliant move by Ultimate Cap as he knew he could not fight War Machine one on one.

Red Skull + Cosmic Cube = Big trouble for the Ultimate Universe

Weekly Comic Book Reviews for 11/25/09

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I know I loved all the food. Too bad we didn't get great football to watch. Oh well, it was still a great day and hope everyone enjoyed that day as well.

Now I'm sorry I have really been falling behind on my reviews these past few weeks. But this past month has been crazy for me with all of the projects I have had to work on which has left me very little to no time to do anything. Luckily I gave my final college presentation and paper a few days ago and am mostly done with all of my projects so I can now relax a bit. All I really have left is finals in two weeks and that is it for college. After that graduation baby!

Enough of my self-promotion and time to hit this week's comic book reviews:

Amazing Spider-Man #613

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Colorist: Dave Stewart

Story – Power to the People: Part Two

The last issue started off the Gauntlet storyline, which is the big overarching story taking place in Amazing Spider-Man over the next few months. And the first issue of this story involving Electro did not blow me away as it was an average read. This week's issue was a big
improvement on the last one as Mark Waid handled both Spider-Man and Electro much better in this issue.

Now though this issue was an improvement the story of this story arc still feels weak with people turning against the Bailout. It feels as though it is not only to late but a very lame way to get people to hate what the government is doing. Also this story doesn't have much longevity since if I ever decide to pick up this issue again I will probably think of how 08 or 09 this story is and will just not hold up well with what Waid is trying to reference.

With that out of the way I will have to give Waid much more credit as he gave a much more believable reason for Electro to all of a sudden turn from no good thief to anti-government. The last issue it was hard to believe the 180 turn of the character but the reason for Electro doing so in this issue gave his turn a bit more validity and sort of stays true to who the character is. And I liked how his power-up made him a bigger threat especially with how Spider-Man ends up at the end of the issue. Though I am still not feeling this whole "Power to the People" thing he continues to have.

I did like how the Thinker was involved in this issue. He has been a rarely used character that
does have a lot of potential so I hope we see more of him in the future.

I continue to enjoy the Peter/Michelle dynamic especially with how Peter unintentionally pissed off Michelle by testing out his new device on their apartment's power. It paid off when we got to see Aunt May and Jay back from their extended honeymoon in a funny scene.

With all that said I continue to find Paul Azaceta artwork to just not be a good fit with ASM. His style would be much more fitting in a noir based character like Daredevil but not ASM. There is
actually nothing wrong with the art, it is just that Azaceta's artwork is not a good fit in this title.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.2/10 – Waid writing improved over the dull first issue of this story arc. He did a good job re-establishing Electro as a major threat to Spider-Man.
Art: 6.6/10 – Azaceta provide good artwork though his talents just do not fit in well with ASM.
Overall: 6.8/10 – Amazing Spider-Man #613 was a good read. While I can't recommend this issue to everyone, this was still a good solid issue that Spider-Man fans will enjoy.

Blackest Night #5

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Story – Nekron Rises!

The best way I can sum up Blackest Night #5 in a few words is that this was both the best and most frustrating issue of this event thus far. The first time I read through this issue I was just confused with how all the Lantern Corps were already together when we have only been shown that the Green, Violet, Indigo, Yellow, and Blue Lanterns have teamed up. And honestly this
should have been an issue were Geoff Johns and Dan Didio had a small editors note on the first panel telling the reader this issue takes place after Green Lantern #48. Because unless you did read Green Lantern #48 before this one you would not really know what went on at the beginning which also makes me actually wonder how Blackest Night will be collected in the future as the Green Lantern issues are mandatory to read Blackest Night.

Before I continue to talk about the negatives about this issue I will admit that this is the first issue of this event that I actually enjoyed parts of it. And were most, if not all my, enjoyment of this issue came from was when all of the main members of each Lantern Corps were on the page. Whenever they weren't I was not very interested in what was happening. Johns just did a great job writing each character and how each one of them sort of balances out the other. Even though Hal's inner monologue at the beginning of the issue was lame it was a nice way to introduce how they were brought together in a humorous manner, though I am not sure if that was Johns attention.

Getting to see all of the leaders of the Lantern Corps together also proves my point in that these are the characters who should have been the focus of this event from the beginning. I apologize to any Flash, Aquaman, Hawkman, and Atom fans but those set of characters are just not what I
am reading this event for. And honestly they aren't as interesting as Sinestro, Carol, Atrocious, and the others because those characters really stole the show in this issue. It was just fun seeing them on screen after having to deal with characters that I could care less about with how dull their personalities together were.

And Johns did plenty of good character work with each one of these characters to show new readers why they are so interesting. Each character complimented the other and I will admit I
got a bit excited at seeing Hal, Sinestro, Carol, Indigo-1, Atrocious, and Saint Walker each reciting their oaths. What made it even better was that Larfleeze was in the background not saying anything as he is the only one without an oath. Even better was when Hal just forced his face into the Orange power battery.

It is too bad that Johns continued to focus on the Earth. While I understand the importance of Earth to the DCU it is not the only planet that is being affected by Blackest Night. But if you are only reading this main series you would not believe that to the case as Johns has yet to move this event from this planet and show the ramifications that the Black Lanterns and Nekron have to the universe. Thus far this has yet to show me why this event is nothing but a self-contained event that only affects Earth. Even though we saw all the leaders of the Lantern Corps on another planet that was a short scene that didn't do much but show us that they have all teamed up.

Also as mentioned previously I still continue to find Barry and all of the Earth's heroes to be the most boring part of this series. After five issues of seeing them battle the Black Lanterns I have become bored of them and the Black Lanterns. Both sets of characters just aren't interesting enough to follow for another three issues as that has been the whole focus of this series. And honestly after Final Crisis I am not up for the mood to see Barry outrun death yet again.

I also don't understand what the meaning of seeing Lex Luthor in the last issue and not getting to see him at all in this issue. While it was a short one page scene I thought it was going to be picked up on in this issue in order to give some variety to seeing heroes vs. Black Lanterns. Actually seeing the villains of the DCU go up against some of the people they have killed or were responsible for killing would have probably been more interesting than seeing the rehash of the same thing we have seen for what is now five issues straight.

And even with the appearance of Nekron the Black Lanterns are not anymore interesting than they were in the previous four issues. As someone not to familiar with who Nekron is other than his Wikipedia entry I don't really see why he was picked for being the main villain over say
Anti-Monitor. And honestly I do not see the difference between him and Black Hand, who is much more of an interesting character.

Speaking of something that had less impact than it should have (Spoiler Alert) Bruce's appearance did not feel as important as it should have. One of the reasons for this is because we see all of the heroes who have appeared in the Blackest Night tie-in issues, Superman and Titans, but we do not see anyone from the Batfamily in the scene. I honestly do not understand the reasoning for having Bruce appear and leave out Dick and Tim, especially Dick as he is Batman now. While having some of the big guns of the DCU and also some of the smaller characters but not include the person who is the new Batman in the issue. Honestly I do not understand it because having Dick along with Superman and Wonder Woman would have been much more impactful to Bruce's return than seeing a bunch of characters who were not even close to Bruce other than Superman and Wonder Woman.

Also Bruce's appearance in this issue also contradicts what Morrison is doing over in Batman and
Robin. Just a few weeks ago Morrison showed at the end of the Red Hood arc that Dick has Bruce's body hidden under the bunker with no one's knowledge. And that story arc does take place before Blackest Night since the next story arc in Batman and Robin is suppose to tie into Blackest Night so I don't know how the hell Morrison and Johns are going to explain Bruce's body appearing in two different locations at the same time.

Now I can continue to rant about the problems I had with this issue but honestly if you have read my reviews for the previous issue all the problems with this event that I have pointed out are still around. Though I am going to say that the ending of this issue was the first time I actually liked the hook ending of Blackest Night as I am interested to see what happens next issue. It is just too bad that this issue failed for the most part to keep my interest like that last
page did as it faced the same problems as the previous issues. So far this event is nothing but DC's version of Secret Invasion especially with how heavily Johns is relying on other titles to tell the complete story of Blackest Night.

On the positive side Ivan Reis's artwork continues to be the best thing of this event. Reis along with his inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado and colorist Alex Sinclair provided some breath taking artwork. And honestly if it wasn't for the art I probably would not have put down this issue before finishing it because Reis and his crew are just doing an awesome job making this event look important though the story Johns is writing doesn't make it sound that way.

Issue Rating
Story: 5.6/10 – Though this issue was better than the previous four entries it was only because of the great first four and last pages. Everything after that Johns failed to capture my interest as he continues to rehash the same thing that has happened in the first two issues.

Art: 9.5/10 – Reis continues to be the bright spot of this event. He really makes the story feel epic even with the weak story that is being told.
Overall: 7.55/10 – Blackest Night #5 was an improvement over the previous issues of this event but it was still a disappointing read as Johns continues to move the story very slowly even after
reaching the halfway mark. And it does not help future issues that the villains of this series continue to be as dull as dirt. Hopefully things will change with that final page.

Fantastic Four #573

Creative Team
Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Neil Edwards
Inker: Andrew Currie
Colorist: Andrew Currie

Story – Adventures on Nu-World

After the stellar debut story arc by Jonathan Hickman I am sort of disappointed with this one-shot story that followed up that first story arc. Though this was still a good read it was missing some of that greatness of the first issue. I think the biggest disappointment is that we didn't get the fun story on Nu-World that we were promised by the solicit and the cover for this issue.

Nu-World was a very interesting concept that Millar and Hitch introduced and Hickman continued that good development of this world. Hickman did a nice job showing that this is a world that is still very much underdevelopment as the people of the world still have a ways to go before they can establish a proper society. It is understandable that there would be chaos in the way the Nu-World is run as it is still a very young planet.

And Hickman provided plenty of solid character work for Johnny, Ben, Franklin and Valerie as he continues to show he has a great handle on these characters. Each one was well handled though it was sort of a basic approach to these characters and Hickman doesn't flesh these
characters out as much as he did with Reed in the first story arc.

Now, though the story in Nu-World was good I will say that it was not as interesting as I thought it would be. There wasn't much in developing this world other than showing there is still work to be done on this world. The characters that inhabit this world were not really shown to be as interesting as the Fantastic Four who traveled to the world. This brief visit really did not help
flesh out the world and felt more like a filler issue until the next issue dealing with Franklin's birthday.

Though I am disappointed that Dale Eaglesham was unable to provide the artwork for this issue Neil Edwards provided plenty of quality artwork. His artwork was very similar to Eaglesham that I barely noticed it was a different artist. Edwards did a very good job in this issue and I hope I see his artwork in other issues down the line

Issue Rating
Story: 7.2/10 – Hickman provide a good one-and-done story but it felt like to much of a filler story.
Art: 8/10 – Edwards provides some very artwork as he does a nice job filling in for Eaglesham in this issue.
Overall: 7.6/10 – Fantastic Four #573 was a good read. While not as good as the first story arc by Hickman it was still a good read though not required reading. If you are FF fan you will enjoy this issue but if you are not you may not enjoy it as much but still a solid effort by Hickman and Edwards.

Green Lantern #48

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke, and Tom Nguyen
Colorists: Randy Mayor and Gabe Eltaeb

Story – Gimme a Break!

After reading this new issue of Green Lantern I am amazed that the same writer is writing both series. There is a clear difference in Geoff Johns writing in Blackest Night and Green Lantern as I get the feeling he is more free to tell his own story the way he sees fit and is not mandated to write in Flash, Superman, and all the other DCU characters. Johns just seems to be restricted with Blackest Night but in Green Lantern he is telling the story he wants to tell as he allows the characters that should be the center of this event take the center stage in this issue.

Hal, Sinestro, Carol, Atrocitus, Saint Walker, Larfleeze, Indigo-1, Sayd and Ganthet all get their own moments to shine which is how Blackest Night should be like. Each character has their own voice as they show why they are so interesting which goes to the credit of Johns talent as a writer of building so many great characters. And what is great is how each character balances out the other to show how different each Lantern Corp is as the difference between all of them is not just the color.

Johns created some showed off the interesting dynamic the various characters share. The best one was the scene between Hal and Sinestro. These two long time rivals have not hidden the fact that they don't like each other and this issue just reinforces that fact. Sinestro telling Hal that he is the reason everything has happened reinforces the fact Hal is suppose to be the main hero of this event. And Johns also used this short scene to also build up some future drama after Blackest Night as Hal tells Sinestro upfront that he will not be following the Guardians anymore.

The other interesting dynamic was with Larfleeze interaction with Atrocitus and Saint Walker respectively. Larfleeze really shined in this issue and was a better written in this issue than he was in the Agent Orange story arc. He was fleshed out much more and it will be interesting to
see what happens to him especially with what happened towards the end of the issue.

Doug Mahnke artwork continues to be great. He did a lot of work to give this issue a big event feel even if it is not the main book. His art especially shines when it comes to drawing action scenes. The last page was especially well done with the various Lanterns appearing on it.

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10 – Johns writing in this issue was very strong and is much better than what he has been doing in the Blackest Night main series. He showed he has a great understanding off each of the characters in this issue.
Art: 9.3/10 – Mahnke artwork continues to impress. It is great to be treated to Mahnke's artwork on a monthly basis.
Overall: 9.15/10 – Green Lantern #48 was another great read. This was the best issue of Blackest Night related material that Johns has written so far and I highly recommend picking this issue up if you reading the event. Both the writing and art are top notch.

Guardians of the Galaxy #20

Creative Team
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Wil Quintana

Story – Fault Lines

After all the death that happened in the last issue of Guardians of the Galaxy DnA slow things down a bit in order to give the surviving characters some time to reflect as well as get some much needed rest. DnA provided plenty of solid character work for all of the Guardians. As has been the case with DnA's work with the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe even the slower issues have a very good pace that does not feel slow or fast. And this issue also did a solid job being new reader friendly especially with the first page that served as the recap page with Brad Walker providing different images of what has happened in the previous few issues.

There really isn't much I can say about this title that I have not said before. This issue was just a lot of fun to read as DnA prove that there are plenty of stories to be told in the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe. Even with everything that has happened it is clear there is still a wealth in potential stories to be told with these characters.

The characters each have their own unique voices. Even my favorite character, Rocket
Raccoon, was given some solid character work even though he did not spout out any awesome jokes in this issue. After all the intense stuff this group has been through it was fun to just see them take a moment and just have some drinks like friends and not just figuring out what they need to do next with defeating their enemy.

Also DnA did a great job fleshing out Moondragon out in this issue. Before this issue she wasn't a very interesting character as she wasn't given many scenes to show herself off as a character worth following. But now with the cast being cut down and her being the only psychic on the team it seems more attention will be given to her character. And this issue proved she is a character with plenty of potential.

It was also good to have Brad Walker back in this issue. Walker provided some good artwork that works well with this title. I hope that he stays on this title on a permanent basis as he does a good job with both the talking head and action scenes.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.3/10 – DnA continue to prove they have plenty of stories to tell and they have begun a nice foundation for future issues after what happened in the previous issue with the team.
Art: 8/10 – Walker provided solid artwork throughout the issue to complement DnA's writing.
Overall: 8.15/10 – Guardians of the Galaxy #20 was another fun issue. DnA continue to do a wonderful job with all the Marvel cosmic titles and GOTG is no different. If you haven't tried this series out yet pick this issue up as this is a nice jumping on point to this series.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top 25 Anime Characters: #1 - Kenshin Himura

#1. Kenshin HimuraCreated by: Nobuhiro Watsuki
First Appearance: Ruroni Kenshin Episode 1 - Handsome Swordsman of Legend: A Man Who Fights For Love
Voice by: Japanese - Mayo Suzukaze; English - Richard Cansino

Yep! That's right the number one anime character on my list is none other that Kenshin Himura. I am a sucker for stories about samurais. In my book you will not find another character that is able to balance dark and light moments as well as Kenshin Himura. Though Kenshin has a basic samurai character look, what makes him a great character is that we are able to get moments and episodes where Kenshin plays the straight man, or the comedic foil, but when push came to shove he can pull of the dark moments like no other character. When we get to see Kenshin's eyes go from their usual color to the yellow/gold you know that you should not be anywhere nearby. With his Hiten Mitsurugi-style Kenshin is basically unstoppable as he is able to move at god-like speed with no other character being more dangerous with a sword than him.

I will admit that I am not a fan of how Kenshin's story ended in the anime OVA, as I thought it was a very sad death when Kenshin, after all the crap he had been through, deserved a happier ending. Personally, I prefer the we got in the manga and it sucked that the anime was never able to do an anime version of the final arc in the manga. I really liked the last arc. Though it wasn't as good as the Kyoto arc it was awesome to learn all of Kenshin's backstory.

And even though the anime never did reach that point they did a great job revealing enough information of Kenshin's past during the Kyoto arc made him still a character you can sympathize with. I would rank the Kyoto arc among my favorite stories told in anime as the series really picked up the intensity in that arc which it never was able to reach with the filler arc that happened afterwards. Kenshin was faced with impossible odds and it was great watching how he was able to face his past and did not allow the Battosai personality overcome him anymore as he was able to let go of that past of being Man Slayer.

Also Kenshin participated in three of my favorite anime fights. His fights with Saito, Aoshi, and Shishio in the Kyoto arc were just pure awesomeness with all the sword action. I would put any one of those three as my favorite anime fight. Kenshin really proved his worth in each of these fights as each opponent did what they were supposed to do when fighting the hero: pose an actually threat and challange/ None of these fights never felt like they were forced on to Kenshin as each one of these fights were well developed that in the end, while knowing Kenshin would win, had me wondering how he would pull of the win with all the intense action going on.

Tribute Video:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Top 25 Anime Characters: #2 – Jimmy Kudo/Conan Edogawa

#2. Jimmy Kudo/ Conan EdogawaCreated by: Gosho Aoyama
First Appearance: Case Closed Episode 1 – The Big Shrink
Voiced by: Japanese: Kappei Yamaguchi (Jimmy) and Minami Takayama (Conan); English: Jerry Jewell (Jimmy) and Alison Viktorin (Conan)

You want to talk about one of the most popular series around than you do not have to look in farther than Detective Conan, also known as Case Closed. The series has been running for 15 years collecting over 700 chapters that have been collected in 66 volumes and around 550 episodes with 13 movies with no signs of slowing down both in the anime and manga. I think if you show that to anyone that is an impressive resume that no other fictional character can say they have. And what is more impressive is that even after 15 years of writing Detective Conan Gosho Aoyama has still been able to keep the story just as interesting as it was when it first came out. Each mystery we get is fun to watch Jimmy try and figure out.

As a life long comic book fan I highly respect Gosho Aoyama for his ability to write interesting mysteries as not even comic book writers are able to write a series that comes out once a month for a few years without it getting stale or having boring arcs. And I have always felt that Detective Conan was given an unfair shot when it aired here in the States as I think many anime/manga fans would love.

Taking a look at the star of this series, Jimmy Kudo, or as he is also known Conan Edogawa, is the modern age Sherlock Holmes. Though he has yet to catch the men who turned him into a kid again Jimmy is always able to figure out the cases he is given. And even as a kid he is just as sharp as he was as a teen and with some help from devices that are James Bond-esque he always catches the criminal. Though Jimmy doesn't have the fighting prowess of a lot of the characters on my Top Anime Character list he more than makes up for it with his mind as he is able to figure out any case he is given on his own.

Also what makes Jimmy's situation even more interesting is that he has to hang out with his girlfriend acting like her little brother as he does not want to put her in danger if she found out Jimmy was turned into a kid by a dangerous organization. Behind all the mysteries is the great love story were Jimmy really wants to admit to the love of his life that he loves her but is unable to do so because of his current situation.

Tribute Video:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Top 25 Anime Characters: #3 – Vash the Stampede

#3. Vash the Stampede
Created by: Yasuhiro Nightow
First Appearance: Trigun Episode 1 – The $$60 Billion Man
Voiced by: Japanese - Masaya Onosaka ; English - Johnny Yong Bosch

When you talk about cool anime looks it is hard to get better than Vash the Stampede. With the blond broom head type hair, the long red trench coat, some nice shades, a killer gun, and even better robotic arm that transforms into an even bigger gun that can destroy whole cities what else is there not to like about Vash. And when you add to it that Vash has a $$60 billion dollar bounty on his head it doesn't get much better.

Trigun is similar to Cowboy Bebop in that it combined the western, comedy, action/adventure, and sci-fi genre, with more of a heavy reliance on the western genre, into this one show and made it work. So like Cowboy Bebop the anime and manga work on a lot of levels. This is probably my favorite series that had a western/post-apocalyptic look to it as Yashiro Nightow made everything look great as well as creating a great story.

To make things more interesting was as the anime progressed we started to learn more about Vash's past and why he had a bounty of $$60 billion on his head. I think what really sets it home of how much of a tortured life Vash has lived is seeing all the scars on his body. Though on the surface Vash is a goofy acting character underneath there laid a complex character who had everything taken away from him by his "brother." You add in the western look of his world Vash is great character who you do not want to mess with especially when he uses his gun.

Tribute Video:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Top 25 Anime Characters: #4 - Goku

Sorry for the short break between post for my Top 25 Anime Character list. I have been side tracked with working on some projects the past week which has left me very little time to blog. But I am back on track to give everyone the Final Four of my list for top anime characters by continuing with #4:

#4. Goku
Created by: Akira Toriyama
First Appearance: Dragon Ball Episode 1 – Secrets of the Dragon Balls
Voice by: Japanese – Masako Nozawa; English – Sean Schemmel

Admit it. You thought Goku was going to be number one on my list didn't you. When I originally was thinking of this list I actually had in mind Goku being number 1 on the list but after going through everything I moved him down a bit. Still there is no denying the phenomenon that is Goku. Like many, the way I was introduced to anime and manga was through Goku and his adventures in Dragon Ball. Though the series lost my interest after the Cell Saga it was good when it lasted. And Goku was center stage of the phenomenon as he had some crazy power ups as a Super Saiyan he could easily destroy the world with a Kamehameha.

And it is easy to see Goku being #1 on many list of top anime and manga characters.
Goku is probably the most influential anime character in the popularization of anime and manga here in the USA. He basically is Japan's version of Superman, Wizard Magazine even ran a somewhat controversial article of the two fighting. Even though the Dragon Ball franchise has been long since over we are still getting video games every year starring Goku and his cast. With Goku's it is surprising that he isn't on the flag yet as when you think of Japan. Goku is synonymous with the country to many anime fans in many countries.

What also makes Goku a great character is not only being a mainstay in the mainstream even now but also how he has become the influence of the creation of many popular manga/anime characters today. If you ask some of the biggest manga creators such as Eiichira Oda (One Piece creator) and Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto creator) than you will know that their main characters are based on Goku's core personality. So when it comes to Goku it sort of shows that sometimes keeping it simple in character personality works just as well as creating a complex character.

Tribute Video:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Top 25 Anime Characters: #5 – Edward Elric

For the final five in my top list of my Top 25 Anime Character list I've decided to make an individual post for the final five. So to start things off here is #5:

#5. Edward ElricCreated by: Hiromu Arakawa
First Appearance: Fullmetal Alchemist Episode 1 – To Challenge the Sun
Voiced by: Japanese – Romi Park; English – Vic Mognogna

When it comes to the topic of religion it is a very delicate subject to talk about, whether in a positive or negative light, without offending somebody. That is where Fullmetal Alchemist comes in as it not only questions religion but will sometimes bash it which in all accounts should make the show not very enjoyable but it was one heck of a show. In truth Fullmetal Alchemist will go down as one of the best animes we have had and that is with it deviating from the source material halfway into the anime as the anime got so far ahead of the manga that it the writers of the anime had to create its own ending. And to show the how popular Full Metal Alchemist is there is even a new series were the anime completely retcon everything from the beginning in order to tell the story from the manga called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which hopefully makes it to the states sooner than later.

And the center piece of the series is Edward Elric who is the one's eyes we see everything through. At the start of the series Ed is already matured because of the events that happened when he and his brother, Al, tried to bring back their beloved mother to life. But even with that maturity he gained he still has a little man complex as he burst in anger whenever some comments about his short stature, which is where much of the comedy of the series comes from.

Fullmetal Alchemist is really about Ed's coming of age as we see him grow from a young boy to a mature young man. And it is the growth that we see the character go through as he and his brother have to see many horrific things and Ed struggles' the most as he tortures himself over what he did to his brother. Getting to see such a dark story happening around makes you realize that there is a lot of questioning of which is right: science or religion? That really isn't a big part and anytime it does appear it only is in the proper context of the story that is going around Ed who goes through a lot when the anime is done.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Top 25 Anime Characters: #10-#6

#10. Shotaro KanedaCreated by: Katsuhiro Otomo
First Appearance: Akira Anime Film
Voiced by: Japanese – Mitsuo Iwata; English – Cam Clarke

If you take a look at Shotaro he isn't very impressive in his look. The design of the character is very basic anime. Also his core personality is your typical street punk. And those two things may have kept him from making any sort of Top List. If anything Shotaro would probably be at best a one shot villain for most animes. It isn't until you pair him up with his iconic red motorcycle that the coolness of the character is shown. Team that up with probably one of the most iconic anime movie posters and you got a character that is an instant win. And it helps that Akira is one of my
favorite anime movies. ;)

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#9. Arsene Lupin IIICreated by: Kazuhiko Kato
First Appearance: Lupin III Episode 1 – Is Lupin Burning….?
Voiced by: Japanese: Yasuo Yamada; English: Sonny Strait

Want to talk about the Bugs Bunny of Japan you don't have to look any further than Asene Lupin III. After not only dodging but also tricking and outwitting the police for 40 years Lupin is unquestionably the #1 thief in the world. Even though you know that Lupin will somehow
outsmart his foes it is always fun to watch how he gets himself out of any situation he is in. Watching Lupin is just like watching Bugs Bunny since we always knew that both Lupin and Bugs would win out in the end.

And in the 40 years Lupin and his crew have been around he has gathered some great directors along the way to give him even more credibility to why he is so popular. And of all the directors it is interesting to note that Lupin is where the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki got his first major project. That of in itself should prove how much history the character has

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#8. AshitakaCreated by: Hayao Miyazaki
First appearance: Princess Mononoke
Voiced by: Japanese – Yōji Matsuda; English – Billy Crudup

When thinking of some of the most creative minds we have Hayao Miyazaki-sama is right up there on any list. And to this day I will always remember when I first discovered the brilliance that is Miyazaki-sama with Princess Mononoke. Though Spirited Away is my favorite Miyazaki film, Princess Mononoke will always hold a special place in my heart both for its brilliance and all in all fun ride.

Leading the pact of Princess Mononoke is the hero of the story Ashitaka. Though this entry really belongs to the entire Princess Mononoke film and cast Ashitaka is really the stand-out,
outside of the great animation. Ashitaka is a great hero to follow as he fights for his town while afflicted by a deadly disease that both gets worse and gives him superpowers. And it helps that Ashitaka was not just a great character with plenty of depth but also the story he was placed in was truly epic, like all Miyazaki films feel.

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#7. Spike SpiegelCreated by: Shinichirō Watanabe
First Appearance: Cowboy Bebop Episode 1 – Asteroid Blues
Voiced by: Japanese – Kōichi Yamadera; English – Steven Blum

Part western, sci-fi, action, and comedy Cowboy Bebop worked on many levels as it was able to take parts of each genre, which really shouldn't happen but it did. And Spike is what made the show so fun. There are very few characters that define cool like Spike does. With his business casual suit he is always wearing, always drinking and smoking, and all in all sounding very aloof he defines cool.

To make things even better is that while each character in Cowboy Bebop has their own story everything always goes back to Spike. Even with all the interesting stories his comrades have to
tell it is Spike story, specifically his past, that was the most interesting to watch play out. And from beginning to end everything goes through Spike and what happens to his character at the very end of the story. Which is what made Cowboy Bebop so much fun to watch back in the day.

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#6. LCreated by: Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
First Appearance: Death Note Episode 2 – Confrontation
Voiced by: Japanese: Kappei Yamaguchi; English: Alessandro Juliani

When it comes to finding Japan's version of Superman it is not very hard to figure it out as Goku is the obvious choice. That choice is not so simple when it comes down to figuring out their version of Batman. That was until L. L's personality is almost identical to Bruce Wayne as he has the whole dark, brooding personality down. He is also a master detective and only lets his allies in on what he is thinking on a need to know basis just as Bruce treats his fellow superhero allies.

And you know that a character is big when a story never reaches the same level it was when said character was alive. That is very true when it comes to L. Though Death Note was still a lot of fun to watch even after L died the series just felt as it lost some of its magic once L died. And to show how intensely popular L is the writers of the live-action films did not only have L actually beat Light in the end of the second movie but also gave him his own film that was set in the last 30 days of his life, after defeating Light. And you know watching L makes me feel like having some sort of sweets like a strawberry shortcake. Weird huh?

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Legen...wait for it....dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week for 11/11/09

Cover of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man #611
I've said it many times but I love Skottie Young's artwork and his cover art is always great and this cover with Spider-Man and Deadpool is just all kinds of awesome. It is an great preview of the fun you are going to get inside the comic.

Amazing Spider-Man #611 Highlights
Hey at least Marvel tried something new and fun for the recap page of this issue with even Deadpool joining in with the rest of the editors to recap what's been going with Spider-Man.

Gotta love the Looney Tones-esque joke here with Deadpool playing the role of Bugs Bunny and Spider-Man playing the role of the unexpected Elmer Fudd.

I don't think I have to say much about why these two images made the highlights of the week. The image of Spider-Man and Deadpool trading Yo Mama jokes speaks for itself of how awesome this issue was.

Batman #693 Highlights
Helena makes for one heck of a "wingman" especially with what happens in the next image.

Barbara is not going to like that.

Told ya. That is one mean stink eye.

He's back!!!

I dig Dick using different versions of the Batsuit with this version looking like it integrates the Winger-tech from his time as Nightwing.

Batman and Robin #6 Highlights
Batman and Robin tell you to talk too the hand.

What I would like to know is how much of what happened to Bruce during Batman RIP does Dick knows as it seems that maybe he and Bruce talked about Zur-En-Arrh since no one knew about that but Bruce and Black Mask.

Also I want to know why Dick is keeping it a secret he does know Bruce is alive from Tim and everyone.

Daredevil #502 Highlights
As always your exs haunt you in your dreams. There just is no escaping the wrath of your ex.

Yep Izo is okay. Just give him a beer.

Green Lantern Corps #42 Highlights
Just a gorgeous splash page of the Black Lanterns heading towards the Green Lantern Corps main power battery.

If you are going to give a hero a proper death this is how you do it. Kyle was give the proper hero death even though he will probably come back by the end of Blackest Night, if not sooner.

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 Highlights
Now that is how you make an entrance.

If it can't be done right by others than just do it yourself as Gladiator did here.