Less any sort of odyssey, more a trip to the local Denny's.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Don't want to sift through 130 episodes of the show to figure out the story bits? Well, you're in luck! Here's the entire story so far condensed into 4 very quick minutes.
Here is the full list of episodes that contain story elements featured in this video.
-Godzilla vs. Barkley
-Wolverine: Adamantium Rage
-Superman vs. the Terminator #1
-Countdown Part 1
-Countdown Part 2
-Top 15 Worst Moments of Countdown
-Zero Patrol #1
-Blackest Night Special
-Silent Hill: Dying Inside #1-2
-Silent Hill: Dying Inside #3-4
-Silent Hill: Dying Inside #5
-Silent Hill: Dying Inside Alternate Endings
-Ultimates 3 #1-2
-Ultimates 3 #3-4
-Ultimates 3 #5
-Youngblood #2 and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers #1
-Strange Adventures #136
-Doom's IV #1/2
-The Dark Knight Strikes Again Part 2
-Sultry Teenage Super-Foxes #2
-JLA: Act of God Part 1
-JLA: Act of God Part 2
-JLA: Act of God Part 3
-Tandy Computer Whiz-Kids: Fit to Win
-Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse #1-2
-Freak Force #1
-Chain Gang War #1
-Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
-Silent Hill: Dead/Alive #1-2
-Silent Hill: Dead/Alive #3-4
-Silent Hill: Dead/Alive #5
-The X-Men #1 (For the beginning)
-Power Rangers Zeo #1
-Justice League: Cry for Justice #1-2
-Justice League: Cry for Justice #3-4
-Justice League: Cry for Justice #5-7
-Care Bears #13
-Superman: Distant Fires
-Youngblood #3 and Doctor Who Classics #7 Read more!
Friday, April 15, 2011
Here are some more podcasts I did recently!
And the premiere episode of Podcast Sentai where I discuss Power Rangers Samurai and some thoughts on upcoming Power Rangers series that I haven't watched yet!
Download the MP3 HERE! and check out their website HERE! Read more!
Monday, April 11, 2011
Let's play a love game instead of reading this. ...Please?
As a bonus, Liz disagreed with me on this comic and had an alternate take on it. Since I like to encourage you all to think for yourselves and not just take my word as gospel, check out her vlog and see what you think!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Okay, people have been asking for recommendations ever since the show started on what to read and where to get them. Well, I'm finally putting something together here that hopefully will answer most questions and give some stuff for people to look at.
I've never read comics before, but I want to start. What should I read/buy to get started?
There is no answer to this question. I'm sorry, but there simply isn't. The thing is that there's a wide variety of subjects that comic books cover, just as much as regular fiction. This recommendations list assumes that people mean "Superhero comics" and not just comic books in general, since superheroes are a GENRE, just like fantasy, romance, or westerns. Comic books are a MEDIUM, the way in which the stories are distributed. As such, there are just as many topics as other forms of entertainment.
Assuming you want to start with superhero comics, there is no single document you can read that can serve as a primer to getting into them. Many of these superheroes have been going on for over sixty years and a story from the 50s or 60s won't necessarily have the same relevance that it does today, but they're still in continuity or etc., etc. Simply put, there are too many stories for too many characters. Most of the time, I honestly recommend that you head into a comic book store or a book store, head over ot the trade paperbacks or graphic novels and just look for something that you think looks good to you.
However, assuming you want someplace to start, this list will serve as my personal recommendations of things that I enjoy and you might enjoy yourselves. I will also state in the descriptions of these recommendations how difficult it will be as a new reader to understand some of the plot points occurring within them.
Click "Read More" for the full list.
These are books that are complete and it is very, VERY unlikely that there will be continuations for them or were just made so long ago that the individual stories of the characters are difficult to find.
JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative
As I've said many times before, this is my favorite comic book ever. It's a three-issue miniseries that was meant to get the ball rolling on a new Titans series and it succeeded. The basic premise: an alien force grabs hold of the moon and starts kidnapping every member of the Teen Titans that's ever been on the team.
Admittedly, this one might be difficult for new readers, however this is also the book that got me into comics books to begin with. It gives enough history within its pages that you know what's going on without needing to consult wikipedia and it makes you want to read more about the characters instead of simply being confused by them. It is also the book that I hold as the benchmark for comparison to all other "Event" comics.
This one is also difficult to find since it's out of print, but it's worth trying to find it.
Watchmen is another one that I often will compare other comics to, basically because it is considered by many to be the GREATEST COMIC EVER MADE. I don't necessarily agree, but at the very least it's the "Citizen Kane" of comics. As good as the movie was, it could never hope to capture the actual comic and the multitude of themes and events transpiring within it, plus it changed details here and there (not just the squid thing that I harp on a lot).
The premise is basically that in the 30s and 40s, people were inspired by superhero comics to actually try to become crimefighters themselves. By 1985, it's looked at as a forgotten fad and now one, the Comedian, has been murdered. If a local comic book shop or book store DOESN'T have a copy of Watchmen, even if they don't regularly carry graphic novels, you should wonder what the deal is with it.
V for Vendetta
Another Alan Moore story, but this one's a hell of a lit more grim and washed-out than its barely-recognizable movie adaptation (Hugo Weaving as V being the exception in that).
V for Vendetta is a story about fascism vs. anarchy, not any standard left vs. right politics. The characters are rich and complex, with interweaving plots about attempts to grab power among those already among the elite and a man's quest for revenge who could be easily interpreted as either hero or villain for his actions. This story contains a TON of memorable moments, but for me, none is better than a simple line, "Give me a Viking Funeral." Should be easy to find and does not require any previous comic knowledge.
If you've seen my "Justice League: Cry for Justice" reviews, you should be familiar with the name James Robinson. Robinson is NOT a bad writer and Starman is proof of that. Even I, someone who hates Cry for Justice with every fiber of my being, cannot bring myself to fault him for this series.
Starman is the story of Jack Knight, the son of the Golden Age hero Starman. When Starman's old enemy The Mist begins a massive crime spree to destroy his nemesis and everything he olds dear, Jack must reluctantly take up the mantle of Starman to save his father and Opal City. Along the way of Jack Knight's journey as a hero, he gains allys from across the DC Universe, both heroes and villains, and his story has a definitive conclusion that to this day no one has interfered with out of respect to that character and to James Robinson himself for it.
The series is currently collected in the six Starman Omnibus books, which all should be fairly easy to find or order. While it is built HEAVILY on the mythos of the DC Universe, pretty much every character's backstory is explored and given to the readers, so any supplementary reading just enhances the experience. There are the occasional issues, though, that connect to events occurring in the greater universe at the time, like DC's "One Million" event, but again, it's nothing you NEED to know in order to get the point of the story.
I freely admit that I'm more of a DC fan than Marvel. That isn't to say that I'm not a fan of some Marvel things, but I'm just not as into the Marvel Universe as others. However, I had read a long time ago about how Avengers: Forever was supposed to be really good, so on a whim I picked it up... and it is glorious.
The premise is that the Avengers' longtime ally, Rick Jones, has been targeted for elimination by the being known as Immortus. An alliance of other cosmic forces gathers seven members of the Avengers from across its past and future to protect him and discover the greater plot in play to destroy mankind.
Again, this one may be more difficult for newer readers, but as someone with only a passing knowledge of the Avengers, this was still incredibly fun for me. This one may also be a bit harder to find, but it's well worth it.
After the events of the DC event book "Infinite Crisis," the world must now continue without Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman within it. The series was released weekly for an entire year and it was glorious, told in real time to that year. What began as a way to fill in the gaps between Infinite Crisis and the DC books at the time which had "jumped ahead one year later," instead evolved into a story about minor characters in the DCU like Steel, Black Adam, Booster Gold, Renee Montoya, and more exploring various corners of the DC Universe.
There's something for everyone here - a story about a supervillain seeking redemption through the rebuilding of his home nation, a cosmic story about three lost heroes trying to find their way back to earth, one man's quest to bring his wife back to life through magic, and, again, much more.
This one should be easy to find and I'm pretty sure is still in print, but it's a story about the DC Universe as a whole, so of course there are going to be references to events transpiring within it and things that have happened before, but I think should be easy enough for newcomers, especially when reading it again and picking up on all the little things that were hinted and foreshadowed from earlier.
There's no easy way to define this series. At its core, it's fantasy. The entity known as Dream (AKA Morpheus, AKA the Sandman) has been trapped for 70 years by a sorceror, but now he's gotten free and rebuilds his domain as the weaver and lord of dreams. Throughout the run we meet some heroes of the DC Universe both past and present, but for the most part this is a story that is all its own, since at the time the DC imprint Vertigo wasn't certain of whether it was really a part of the DC Universe or not.
It's got romance, parables, action, and even a sojourn into hell in one of my favorite issues ever, "A Hope in Hell." This one's still in print, too, and it's honestly that good, though the art style may not be to everyone's taste. It has both beauty and horror and both are given their proper exploration.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
One of the first "Event" books from a major comic company and it's also one of the best. In 1985, the DC Universe had A LOT of alternate universes and timelines. For many, it wasn't difficult to follow, but for new readers it was considered a challenge trying to figure out who was from what world. As such, it was decided to bring them to an end in one of the first "event" comics.
A massive wall of anti-matter is traveling through every parallel universe, wiping them out. What's causing it? How will the worlds survive? Starring EVERYBODY that DC owned, it's the very definition of epic, and really the point where modern DC Comics began. It's also still in print, so it shouldn't be difficult to find. It might be a little difficult for new readers since there are a lot of characters in it who are either dead or have changed over the years, but the principle characters like Batman and Superman are there and you'll have fun wanting to know about some of the other heroes highlighted in it.
"I AM FROM BEYOND! SLAY YOUR ENEMIES AND ALL THAT YOU DESIRE SHALL BE YOURS! NOTHING YOU DREAM OF IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO ACCOMPLISH!"
Those are the first words of a being known as the Beyonder, who brings forth a large group of heroes and a large group of villains to duke it out on an alien world. It admittedly can be confusing at times and it's VERY action-oriented, but for an event comic it's got a lot of good character moments and it's also the origin of Spider-Man's black costume. It's got enough great twists and turns to keep you interested and just great superhero action. You don't need to know very much about Marvel history to get this one - most of the history or the like is given in-comic.
Jaime Reyes' story spun-out of the event book Infinite Crisis, wherein he was given a supposedly-mystical scarab that granted him an armored suit. In his solo series, we see him having to learn how to be a hero while exploring the legacy of the two previous Blue Beetles, paying tribute to those characters. Many people didn't give Jaime a fair shot while he was Blue Beetle, but you can still find the trade paperback of the series, which for a while was my absolute favorite book on the market.
After the abysmal Countdown, it would've been very easy for the third weekly series from DC to be even worse, but thankfully it wasn't. Taking a cue from 52, the series is self-contained. Instead of a world without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, this series asks what if ALL THREE of the them were taken out of the world's entire history and creates new heroes and resurrects several formerly dead ones. While at times the artwork isn't anything spectacular, it's a great story in my humble opinion and definitely worth checking out, though it does continue some elements from the next recommendation.
Krona, a powerful scientist seeking to understand the origins of the universe, makes a bet with the Marvel villain called the Grandmaster. Both pit each universe's respective super-team on a scavenger hunt for some of the most powerful items in their universes. The two teams must learn to respect the other and eventually join forces to save all universes from Krona. This one can be confusing for people new to comics, but it was a load of fun for me, especially the ending confrontation when members of both teams' history keep appearing and disappearing to help. Simply put, it's flippin' awesome. Besides, where else will you see Superman wielding Captain America's shield?
NOTE: These are series that are currently ongoing at the time of this post.
BOOSTER GOLD! He protects the past to ensure your future! I would actually recommend two readings before jumping head first into this series. First is Showcase Presents Booster Gold, a black and white reprint of the original Booster Gold series from the 1980s. It's inexpensive and really shows that despite Booster wanting to make a business out of crimefighting, he ISN'T just in it for money and never was, despite what many modern writers like to have him be written as.
The current series basically continues on from the events of 52, which is another thing I highly recommend reading before jumping into this. However, the premise of the current series is basically that Booster Gold travels through time to right wrongs in the timestream.
Holy crap I cannot recommend this series enough. However, if one wants the full backstory, they should first pick up the series that got them together, known as "Villains United." That book was a tie-in to the event Infinite Crisis (itself a sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths), but it sets up the main characters of the Secret Six. From there, there was a Secret Six miniseries "Six Degrees of Devastation" that set up some more character bits, but otherwise the main series itself is AWESOME.
It has a strong focus on the characters. What we have here are six B-list villains who have joined together because they honestly have noone else. It's often both heartwarming and sad, yet at other times disturbing. They've dealt with some of the worst, most evil people (not just supervillains - honest-to-god EVIL people) in the world and yet have still come out as likeable and making you want to read more about them. This is, simply put, one of the best damn books I've ever read.
Birds of Prey
On the other side of the villain/hero divide is Birds of Prey, also by Gail Simone. While Chuck Dixon was the first writer on the book during its first run, Gail really made it her own. The basic premise has Barbara Gordon, AKA Oracle, organizing heroes to run missions for her. Her usual agent is Black Canary, who is NOT a psychotic Irish ninja and has instead been trained by some of the best martial artists in the world.
Really you should be able to jump into any issue or trade without needing to know TOO much more, since any backstory is revealed to the readers in the dialogue. After Gail left the book a few years ago to work on Wonder Woman, Sean Mckeever took over and while it still had good elements, it just didn't quite work the same way, but it's still worth checking out if you become a fan. So yeah, either pick up the current ongoing series or check in with some of the back-issues.
Justice Society of America/JSA
Since a new creative direction is starting in the book, I can't say for certain if the ongoing is still worth it, but the back-issues of the series, particularly when it was called "JSA" are definitely worth checking out. They were the world's first superhero team and they fully embrace that legacy, bringing in new versions of old characters, legacy heroes, and just basically work together to face off against all manner of villains.
Like so much else, there is no single place to start looking at the Merc with a Mouth. I would strongly advise looking for trades of Cable and Deadpool, where the two Liefeld creations work awesomely together with Cable the straight man and Deadpool being jokey and breaking the fourth wall. Deadpool's current solo series is an hilarious read and I'd recommend starting there with his tie-in issues to the event Secret Invasion. Deadpool Team-Up has him joining forces with a ton of Marvel heroes, even our old pal US-1 (now called US-Ace).
Green Lantern/Green Lantern Corps.
Several years ago, Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, went bad - killed the entire Green Lantern Corps., then tried to remake the universe. Twice. Writer Geoff Johns made it his goal to repair that creative error and has built up a massive amount of mythos around the Green Lanterns.
While at times both series can be a little convoluted and event-crazy, both series are definitely worth checking out for a mixture of superhero action as well as space police kind of fun. Start with the trades, though - at any given time, there might be an event or the like happening and you'll be walking into it without any context as to who is what and where.
Justice League of America/JLA
The quality of the Justice League's main book tends to ebb and flow. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's average. Personally I think it's at its best when it embraces its tagline of "The World's Greatest Superheroes," which is why if there's a place you want to start from, I'd suggest start with a trade collection of "A Midsummer's Nightmare," which in turn leads into the series "JLA" as written by Grant Morrison.
At times, Grant Morrison's work can feel like you're reading something that just skipped two pages, but this stuff is the height of epic, combining multiple storylines at once to raise the stakes for the heroes and truly make it seem like even though they're the most powerful superheroes in the world, they have a true challenge on their hands.
Power Girl is Superman's cousin from a parallel universe. There, done, that's her origin story in a nutshell. She doesn't take crap from anyone and her series is a lot of fun. The initial run of the book is probably at its best, with fun artwork from Amanda Conner and just awesome writing. The current series by Judd Winick is still good and has some superb artwork from Sami Basri. While it's not as good as the initial run, it's still a good book and worth checking out.
Because of the natures of these books with often-rotating creative teams, recommending the "Current" run of any of them will inevitably become outdated. As such, here are just some recommendations for runs I recommend you seek out:
-Batman/Detective Comics runs where Dick Grayson initially starts out as Batman. While him currently being Batman is also good, I think the initial energy of when he started is excellent, particularly under Judd Winick or Grant Morrison (though again, the warning for Grant Morrison's book stands - almost every piece of dialogue becomes important in some fashion).
-Superman: I enjoyed Kurt Busiek's run on the book, but of course with a character like Superman your mileage is always going to vary.
-Wonder Woman: I HIGHLY recommend Gail Simone's run on the book, but if you really wanted a look farther back, Greg Rucka's run is full of heart and great mythical action.
The Titans have had a looong history. If you wanted to start in the past, I'd recommend looking into the run written by Marv Wolfman in the 1980s, considered the very best of the book. Beyond that, Devin Grayson's run on the book, with the team as adults helping teach some of the old guard, is my personal favorite run. The current series written by J.T. Krul has been good so far, but it's only been about three or four issues so far. Geoff Johns' run has been liked by many (and is the start of where the current volume of the book began), but for me it was very hit and miss in some of its aspects.
While I'm not fond of either the name or the costume, Tim Drake (AKA the third Robin)'s run as the solo hero has been very good, starting with his search for the then-dead Bruce Wayne (though he is annoyingly mopey in the early stuff of the current book), it's followed by a great storyline which pits him against Ra's Al'Ghul and the book is currently written by Fabien Nicieza, who many of you may recall I've felt bad about making fun of in my reviews because he's a good writer. And unlike books like Cable: Blood and Metal, these books don't have hideous artwork or ludicrously boring stories.
For those of you who enjoyed the original cartoon, this one picks up a few years later after the series and manages to tell just awesome superhero stories while building on the continuity of the show and having an ongoing storyline. It's exciting, humorous, AND dramatic. Just awesome so far.
I fear many fans of Cassandra Cain, the previous Batgirl, haven't taken a look at this series because of perceived disservice to that character. As a fan of Cass, I sympathize and agree she has been given the short stick as of late, but Stephanie Brown's run as Batgirl has been very enjoyable, IMHO. Steph takes the role seriously and her own mythos and supporting cast have been built up over the last year to great effect.
There are a number of books that I don't read, just because I'm not all that interested in them or haven't had time to really look at in greater detail. However, that isn't to say they're bad and I've heard people recommend them to me over the years, so here's just a general list of titles currently ongoing that you may want to check out for yourself.
Captain America - The series as written by Ed Brubaker
Incredible Hercules - The series spun out of Incredible Hulk and I believe it was written by Greg Pak, though don't take my word for it.
Annihilation - Space Adventure stuff - end of the Marvel universe as we know it, but focuses on Marvel's space heroes fending off the oncoming threat.
Nova - Kind of like Green Lantern, but is the follow-up to Annihilation. I really only read the first few issues, where Nova chews out Iron Man for being too busy with the Civil War crap to stop the Annihilation wave. (It has been pointed out that the ongoing series has been canceled, unfortunately)
Thor - The series written by J. Michael Straczynski. I admit I only read a few issues, but I hear the series has continued to be good even after JMS left.
Amazing Spider-Man - At least, the times when it was written by JMS. One More Day notwithstanding, the series up until that point was actually pretty damn good, with Aunt May discovering Peter's identity and changing the nature of their relationship for the better. Sure, there are some flat-out WEIRD things that happen during the run, but they're not necessarily all that bad compared to others.
Astonishing X-Men - Many have recommended Joss Whedon's run on the book as a good place to start for those looking to get into the X-Men.
That's all I have off the top of my head. I'll probably update this list as time goes on or more people hand me recommendations to add. However, this is what I've got personally.
I'd like to once again emphasize that really, your best bet for getting into comics is simply walking into a comic book store or a book store, finding something that looks good, and going from there. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you'll be disappointed, but walking into a store and picking up JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative from a comic book store is how I got my start and it seemed to go pretty well for me.
Posted by Lewis Lovhaug at 5:45 PM
Monday, April 4, 2011
So basically by Frank Miller's own admission here Batman is a rude, murderous child abductor who cares what twelve year-olds think about his toys and eats rats when not mourning the loss of the bloody, incestuous affair he had with his mother.
Two More Text Reviews Turned Video! (Haven't said THAT in a while...)
Friday, April 1, 2011
Well, I've decided to try some new things with the show, really play around a bit, and in doing so, I'm going to finally fulfill some requests.
First up, the people want me to review One More Day, so fine! It's time to give a review of One More Day!
Next up, here's a little extra review that many have asked for and I'm frankly more than happy to deliver - the absolutely dreadful conclusion to Titans right before it became Deathstroke's book because how dare Titans be about, you know, the Titans.
And here's our main feature! Here I really try a bold new format for the show as we look at Hamilton Comics' Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers #1!