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Monday, July 26, 2010

True Blood #1 (IDW)

"It's a good thing that boy is pretty."~Lafayette Reynolds

Cover (D) by: Joe Corroney (shown)
Story by: Alan Ball with Kate Barnow & Elisabeth Finch
Written by: Mariah Huehner & David Tischman
Pencils by: David Messina
Inks by: David Messina & Gaetano Carlucci
Colors by: Giovanna Niro
Lettering by: Neil Uyetake
Edits by: Scott Dunbier

Based on the "True Blood" television series from HBO which in turn is based on "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" by Charlaine Harris

Comic Book Week: July 21, 2010

It's funny........I've always been a sucker for vampires (oops! no pun intended! lol!). Damon, Edward, Angel, Spike, Dracula..........yum-me! ;-9

So why do I prefer Sam Merlotte (♥!) to Bill Compton & Eric Northman (Sam's a shapeshifter btw)? Maybe I just want to leave them for Sookie I guess! 9,9

But this was a week of contradictions. I LUV (♥) True Blood the television show, currently in its third season on HBO in case you were wondering, & I bought a LOT of comix but nothing really stood out above the rest. So Kara's (my!) comic for this week is True Blood the comic book mostly by default.

And for a book with soooooo many writers (five!.....what is the difference between "written by" & "story by"?) why is it the art (by one penciller who does at least some of the inks too!) what  stands out?

The cover for starters was sooo pretty (even with no Sam ♥.......booo!........but Eric & Bill, & Lafayette, do look pretty good, I get a bit of a sick kick out of Jessica and I love Sookie's dress ♥!). This is only one of twelve (!!!) covers by all kinds of artists so I'm going to break a rule just this once & show you the checklist from inside the book:

You figure out which one you like best!

Okay.......on to the inside!

The artwork is great! It really captures the actors from the show while not being stiff & posed as is typical when an artist tries to draw from life. And the colors and letters pop off the page right along with the artwork.

The story, though is very short. It actually doesn't even have a title! The characters are very true (oops! I made another punny..... X-b) to the television show, as they should be since Alan Ball is the show's creator. The dialogue though is a little stilted, making sure we learn the full names of every character by getting someone to say their full names and a brief bio. Oddly, this almost works due to the nature of the characters.

Without giving the story away (I hope!) we meet Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin on the television show so you can get an idea of the quality of the artwork) who's the central character and a waitress at Merlotte's Bar and Grill in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She's being spyed on by someone or something that will reveal itself before the end of the story. And in the story vampires are real and known to the general public ("True Blood" is like beer for vampires that is not real blood but that they can drink instead......meaning they can live with humans peacefully). There is pretty much a chance that every other monster and creature you ever heard of in stories and fairy tales is real too, but vampires are the only creature that people know about.

We then proceed to meet the rest of the main characters and the story ends, to be continued. And there's a nice pull out poster in the middle (its the twelfth cover shown above).

So short and to the point.......

RATING: 5.5 puppies out of 10 (psst! watch the show ツ)

If I've left you completely confused.........I understand! Sorry! 9,9

Here's a link to the HBO "True Blood" website that mite help to clear things up: http://itsh.bo/93nW7B

And to Charlaine Harris' official website for the original story: http://bit.ly/aPghgv

And one final present...........the "True Blood" theme song, "Bad Things" by Jace Everett (yah, I've never been a countrygirl, but Sam Merlotte (actor Sam Trammell) ♥ can do bad things with me anytime he wants!) ツ*:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Doctor Who Annual 2010 (IDW)

"I'm the Doctor."~The Doctor

Cover: Kelly Yates

"Ground Control"
Story: Jonathan L. Davis
Art:  Kelly Yates
Colors: Phil Elliott
Letters: Robbie Robbins and Neil Uyetake

"The Big, Blue Box"
Story and Art: Matthew Dow Smith
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Letters: Neil Uyetake

"To Sleep, Perchance to Scream"
Story, Art, and Colors: Al Davison
Letters: Neil Uyetake

"Old Friend"
Story: Tony Lee
Art: Matthew Dow Smith
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Letters: Robbie Robbins

Comic Book Week: July 14, 2010

This week, Kara's (my 9,9 ) pick is something a little bit different. My friend (hi, Christina! ;-*) ) asked me to review IDW's Doctor Who. She's (I think!) a big fan and was surprised that there was a current American comic based on the character. Honestly I was too when I came across the annual at my LCBS (local comic book shop, d'uh! 9,9 ). See I haven't really been a big fan for very long, but then my boyfriend got me hooked on the most current season and I have been catching up.......although I have a long way to go! You see, if you don't know Doctor Who is a British sci-fi series that has more or less been on television since 1963.......ALMOST CONTINUOUSLY! ( 8-O ) That's three years before the first Star Trek went on the air!! And in that time, if shows like Star Trek & the X-Files have influenced modern life, Doctor Who is what influenced them! (Not to spoil anything, but--SPOILER ALERT--in the most recent episode of the television show that I have seen, an OLD villain of the Doctor, the Cybermen, say, "Prepare to be assimilated." Sound familiar? ツ).

Quick background: the Doctor is the last of the Time Lords of the planet Gallifrey. He is over 900 years old and travels through time and space in the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), which looks like an old-timey blue British Police Box (phone booth) on the outside and Legion of Super-Heroes HQ on the inside. The Doctor can be 900 years old because occassionally he regenerates into a new form enabling a new actor to take the role. He will be able to do this 11 times before he finally dies (and we're currently on the 11th Doctor so it will be interesting to see what happens!). The Doctor generally picks a human Companion to accompany him on his adventures, which in addition to three television series (one animated) have been chronicled in any number of novels (graphic & otherwise), several films, on the web, and in audio plays, as well as several spin-offs. The IDW comic book series tells of the 10th Doctor played by David Tennant (he also played Barty Crouch, Jr., in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). The series is characterized by low budget special effects but screamingly good scripts and plots that make it all seem natural.

The first story in this anthology, "Ground Control", opens with a floating Panda. If you are familiar with the Doctor at all, this is not surprising. The Doctor has been apparently grounded by an authority that has taken control of the TARDIS. The art in this story is fantastic, including the coloring, depicting Mr. Tennant almost perfectly, but the story is mostly just a background of the Doctor. The cute Pandas help though ツ. The story misses a Companion though, as the Doctor's human assistants are what ground him and allow his quirkiness, what being a Time Lord and all, to shine through. Also hurting the story is a panorama of the Doctor's enemies that DOESN'T INCLUDE THE DALEKS (they're like a race of evil R2D2's)! Sacrilege! (Probably IDW doesn't have the license......booo!)

The second story, "The Big, Blue Box", is sortof centered around a new Companion, for this story at least. The Companion turns out to be more than human and very important to two alien races. As is typical of Doctor Who, the Doctor pretty much just helps him help himself. This is probably the strongest story of the book in the art and story, with the art being a little more stylized than in the first tale, and the story a little more active and human. The color was a little inconsistent, very dark in some seens and almost distractingly bright in others.

The third story, "To Sleep, Perchance to Scream", tells the tale of the Doctor having a dream. The art is very pretty and painted, but there is no story really. But we do get a surprise cameo by the 11th Doctor (played by Matt Smith, the man who made me love bowties!)!

The fourth and final story, "Old Friend", feels more like a classic time travel story, where the Doctor meets a future Companion for the first time.....of course, the Companion remembers the Doctor from his own past. They talk and something happens to the Companion that isn't really surprising, but I won't spoil it. It's very short, kindof touching, and leads directly into Doctor Who #13. The art is nice, but I personally preferred the other three stories' art, possibly because the color was a little bit muddies than in the others.

The lettering is well done and suitable in all four tales.

Overall this squarebound book is great for Doctor Who fans and could probably at least interest some non-fans into taking the TARDIS for a spin.........but the $8 price point is just ouch! I mean, I don't usually stick on the price........I've never mentioned in this blog before..........but this book isn't really much longer than an average book, it doesn't have any really big name creators, the character's not that well known to a lot of the fans that are going to see it and one would think that IDW is hot enough to drop that price a bit! That doesn't really make sense! But it does have a flying Panda holding an arrow..........so...............

RATING: 7 flying pandas (sooooo cute ツ♥) out of 10

Once again thank-you for reading. I got a lot of the background for this week from the Doctor Who Wiki-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who#Dr._Who_films, and please visit the lovely & talented Aurey Sorrow/Christina Nabity's website at http://bentrealm.com/.

And one last link to one of the best Doctor Who Trailers........"Blink".......don't ;-*):

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #2 (Marvel)

"Vengeance never dies."~Jaime Slade/Lincoln Slade/Phantom Rider

Writer: Jim McCann
Penciller: David López
Inker: Alvaro López
Colorist: Nathan Airbairn
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Cover: Paul Renaud
Assistant Editor: Rachel Pinnelas
Editor: Bill Rosemann

(Rumors of Death: Part 2 of "Ghosts")

Comic Book Week: July 7, 2010

And for my second week back, I have decided to review the second issue of Marvel's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith". Not that I'm trying to be sarcastic......they keep calling it that much, including this issue's cover, that they're lucky Twentieth Century Fox doesn't sue. I suppose that they're probably hoping DC doesn't sue for the more than obvious play on Black Canary & Green Arrow. Criticisms aside, there is a reason this is Kara's (my!) book of the week: its good! Very good!

To start, I've always liked Bobbi Morse (Mockingbird) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye). They're fun, real people with real problems, except they happen to be costumed superspies. The previous issue gave a quick recap of their history, and it wasn't easy or quick.......which is probably why I didn't really enjoy the 1st issue as much as the 2nd. It may be important to the review for you to know this though, so let's give it a quick try in point form:

  1. Clint Barton was a circus performer trained by a fellow performer (Swordsman) to shoot arrows, at which he was very good. He tried to become a super-hero but got mixed up with the Russian spy Black Widow and mistaken for a villain. He became an Iron Man enemy briefly until he was given membership in the Avengers and a pardon.
  2. Bobbi Morse was Agent 19 of S.H.I.E.L.D. (does anybody know what that stands for this week? ^9,9^ ), and a biologist desk jockey who discovered she preferred field work and became a spy.
  3. Bobbi & Clint met in the field on a case that's very important to this issue. By the end of that mission they had run off and gotten married.
  4. Clint was made leader of the West Coast Avengers and he made Bobbi a member. They stayed there a long time until the team was trapped in the old west and Bobbi was violated by Lincoln Slade, the original Phantom Rider. She allowed him to "accidentally" fall to his death, which was against the Avengers code of ethics, and upset Clint greatly. The two eventually separated over it.
  5. At sometime around this point, Bobbi was about to ask for a divorce when she was kidnapped by Skrulls and replaced by a sleeper agent. The sleeper agent was killed by Mephisto (the Marvel devil).
  6. Clint went on while the West Coast Avengers were disbanded. He was eventually killed pretty much by the Scarlet Witch during "Avengers Disassembled". Then he was resurrected by the Scarlet Witch in "House of M". He took the name Ronin from super-heroine Echo because a teenage girl had taken his name in the Young Avengers, and then Daredevil villain Bullseye took it in "Dark Reign".
  7. Bobbi......the REAL Bobbi......came back to Earth at the end of "Secret Invasion". Though she was tentative about getting back with Clint, their attitudes had both changed from their time apart; especially Clint, since he seems to have taken to killing /:-L . So now the exes are dating and they're members of Bobbi's World Counterterrorism Agency ("W.C.A." get it? 9,9 ).
*whew!* That was more complicated than I thought! I think explaining the backstory just made me rethink my rating!

The backstory aside, I see a lot of potential in the book. The story is that the main villain of the Bobbi & Clint's first adventure together , Crossfire, has teamed up with the reincarnated Phantom Rider to kill Bobbi in revenge for rejecting him. We add in the side story of Clint trying to help Bobbi get over her time in Skrull captivity by digging into her past......which she does NOT appreciate. The strength of this book is on the character and interplay between Bobbi and Clint and the supporting characters, particularly the lovable cad Dominic Fortune. Bobbi & Clint's relationship just seems very genuine, as they are, to borrow from "Friends", each other's "lobster".

The artwork is fantastic! To me, the storytelling of the 1st issue needed work, but there are no such problems in this issue, so we can only hope it keeps up to this level. And I'll throw in that the colors and letters are a perfect fit!

And the last page of the story was a great sign of the potential of things to come!

All this said, the only flaw to this book is a backstory that would probably lose Lewis & Clark, its so complicated. The book does a good job of giving you the information you need to get up to speed, though. It just takes extra effort that detracts from the story itself. I really think that once the book gets rolling past this first storyline though, that this problem will go away, as we seem to be heading for breakneck high action spy stories that will be about the mission only. And I hope it happens quickly, because I really don't want this book to get cancelled as I love the interplay between Bobbi & Clint ♥!

Oh! And what's this! There's a letter's page! OMG! Awesome! O,O!

RATING: 6.5 Brad Pitt's ( ;9 ) out of 10

At this point I was going to do one of two things. I was going to mention Marvel's one-shot "X-Women", which at first glance I thought looked like just some T&A, but found out the story was pretty okay, and the art was pretty.......if not targetted at a teenage boy demographic! 9,9

Or I was going to mention Hawkeye & Mockingbird's "name the letter column" contest. Until I checked online where I was supposed to go to vote and found that I couldn't find the poll! Nice one, Marvel!

So instead of that, here's a link to a beautiful Jo Chen (♥) wallpaper of Bobbi & Clint at popcultureshock.com: http://bit.ly/cMMnRL.

See ya next week! ツ*

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wonder Woman #600 (DC)

"If Einstein is right, and imagination is more important than knowledge, then maybe what we need is to "wonder"...to open our minds and our hearts, to believe what we cannot see."~Lynda Carter

Creators (because breaking them all out may drive me insane! O,o ):
Adam Hughes/George Pérez (♥!) (covers--Pérez shown); Lynda Carter (prologue); Adam Hughes (pinup); Gail Simone (♥!), George Pérez (♥! again!), Scott Koblish, Hi-Fi, Travis Lanham("Valedictorian"); Nicola Scott (♥!), Jason Wright (pinup); Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, Rod Reis (pinup); Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, John J. Hill ("Fuzzy Logic"); Guillem March (pinup); Greg Horn (pinup); Francis Manapul, Brian Buccelato (pinup); Phil Jimenez, Hi-Fi (pinup); Louise Simonson, Edward Pansica, Bob Wiacek, Pete Pantazis, Travis Lanham ("Firepower"); Jock (pinup); Shane Davis, Jamie Mendoza, Nei Ruffino (pinup); Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins, Michael Atiyeh, Nick J. Napolitano ("The Sensational Wonder Woman"); J. Michael Straczynski, Don Kramer, Michael Babinski, Alex Sinclair, Travis Lanham ("Odyssey: Prologue--Culture Shock"); Jim Lee, J. Michael Straczynski (afterword); Sean Ryan (associate editor); Brian Cunningham (editor) *whew!*

(Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston)

Comic Book Week: June 30th, 2010

So big news! I'm back! ☺

Little joke! ^9,9^

See, I found out I have a kindof famous kindof fan, so I couldn't very well sit by and disappoint her (or him!) could I? And then issue 600 of the second greatest female hero (*cough* supergirl *cough*) IN THE WORLD drops! Kismet!

Oh! And have you heard? Diana went shopping? But that doesn't happen until the the end of the book, so let us start at the beginning.

George Pérez cover. Adam Hughes is nice. George Pérez is "Péreztastic"! And no, Perez Hilton, you can't have it! :-b

Prologue by the lovely Lynda Carter on page 1. Funny but that threw me! It works if a book has a hardcover, but somehow in a comic book it's disorienting! But what she says is as beautiful as she is (Oh my gods! How can she look that good at her age! Not that she's old........but she could quite easily pass for half her age and STILL look good!).

Adam Hughes' pinup is pretty, but cropping the elephant Diana's lifting out of the picture just makes it all the more "cheesecakey". Hmmm......

The wonderful Gail Simone teams up with the magnificent George Pérez to say goodbye to Princess Diana. The story is short and does more to highlight Pérez than Simone, but I think it covers all the bases. Really would have liked it to be less "compressed". And although I have read mixed reviews, I for one would like to thank Ms. Simone for her Wonder Woman run. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I can't say that I'm completely disappointed, since I get my girlz in the Birds of Prey back! Yay! ツ*

Nicola Scott's pinup is gorgeous and powerful and sexy and regal! Nicola Scott IS Wonder Woman! ツ*

Ivan Reis' pinup is also beautiful but it looks like it started with a story that didn't go anywhere.........hmmmm.......!

The next story "Fuzzy Logic" looks like it was just pulled off the shelf from some unused bits of the Power Girl series. Not that it isn't good! To the contrary, Amanda Conner's artwork is always so much fun! She is a mistress storyteller and a joy to read. And the story was SO much fun too! I got to the end and wondered were Palmiotti and Grey had pulled this from, so I turned back to the first page........OMG! It was written by the amazing Ms. Conner! I had no idea! But getting back to the story itself, the purpose doesn't seem to be anything beyond showcasing a mostly forgotten "Wonder-Power". Not sure why it was included, although I am so glad it was! ツ*

Guillem March's pinup is pretty. But its just a pinup.

Greg Horn's pinup is pretty. But its just a pinup (and very dark!).

Francis Manapul's pinup is pretty. But its just a pinup.

Phil Jimenez's pinup is...............ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT!!!!! ツ**** Do you think he would be offended if I said Phil Jimenez IS Wonder Woman? 9,9

The next story is "Firepower", and it reads like a Brave and the Bold submission that never got printed, as Diana teams up with Superman to take on a forgotten golden age villain, Aegeus. Okay, not completely forgotten, and a smart update on him that makes him look credible, but the story just doesn't seem to fit.....other than proving that "Weezy" is a pretty good writer and this Pansica guy draws a pretty darn nice Wondie and Supey! Very Pérezish! ツ*

Jock's pinup is pretty, but it looks more like Elektra! ^O,o^

Shane Davis' pinup is pretty. But..........actually it's quite pretty! I'd like to see his version of Supergirl.......hmmmmmm.........

Scott Kolins' pinup is..........oh wait! This is a story! Silly me! But did they really need Geoff Johns to write this seemingly unrelated string of pretty pictures to somehow transition into the last story? Gotta say, this one's a bit of a "booooooo!"

And with that we get a glimpse of the Straczynski and Kramer Wonder Woman. You may, like I did, have read about Diana's new origin and seen her new costume. You may, like I did, have thought this must be a joke, right? Well, this story proves it's not a joke. It's actually an alternate reality! So don't worry......I'm sure all will go back to normal in a couple of months. Although, the Straczynski afterward doesn't completely fill me with confidence. Fortunately, I like the way Kramer draws the new costume better than Lee so.........

That new costume thing actually made me angry. And I came up with this long rant that I was going to write about it. Then I read the story and realized that I think I, along with many others, probably over-reacted. But I still want to rant so let me first get this issue's rating out of the way (and as with the other "jam" issues I've reviewed in the past, I'm just giving one rank, but I hope my review clears up which parts were the best and which were not so good)..........

RATING: 7 REAL Wonder Woman Costumes out of 10:

And now...........

Dear, DC;

You know that I love you like a member of my own family, but we have to talk.

This thing with Wonder Woman's costume has to stop. Yes, it's impractical for fighting bad guys, but so is that mammoth cape that Batman wears! (Especially acrobatic Bat-wing! ;9) And yes it shows a lot of skin. But, boys, as a girl, let me let you in on a little secret: we don't really care that much! Most of us actually WANT to look sexy from time to time, we just don't want to be sex objects! We like to be pretty, sometimes just for ourselves. It makes us feel good! And because of that, if I had Diana's body I'D WEAR HER COSTUME, TOO! It's not like she's Vampirella (and PLEEEZ don't get me started on Vampirella!).

Wonder Woman's costume is iconic. The reason it's still mostly the same as it was in the 1940s is because IT WORKS! And this whole pants thing, I think, has been blown way out of proportion. When the right artist draws Diana's "bottoms", they work. Not as a thong, not as a g-string, but as we used to call them in Volleyball "bum-huggers". Women wear them all the time to play sports. And you don't see wardrobe malfunctions all over the news, do you? Speaking from experience, it's the top half that's the problem. Diana's "assets" in the real world would have trouble being contained in anything strapless, but COMICS AREN'T THE REAL WORLD!! And she has that breastplate to help.

The key to Wonder Woman is defined in this very issue, first in the prologue by Lynda Carter, and then by the best artists of the issue: George Pérez, Nicola Scott, and Phil Jimenez. Treat Diana as a real woman, with respect and poise and dignity and intelligence and grace and, yes, sometimes even a little sex appeal, and her costume works. And Wonder Woman works.

And one more thing, just before I sign off: please DO NOT HAVE JIM LEE REDESIGN WOMEN'S COSTUMES ANYMORE!!! I'm sorry. I LOVE Jim Lee's art! His work on "Hush" was AMAZING!!!! Especially the "wash" scenes........absolutely breathtaking! But what he did to the Huntress's costume, and Wonder Woman's costume, and many others..........just no! The previous Huntress costume was to me a classic in the making! The all leather bodysuit, with purple straps indicating a subtle "H" and the gold crucifix, just screamed off the page! Her current costume only started to not make me sick to my stomache once Ed Benes tweeked it in Birds of Prey (and the navel-gazing window is still silly!).

Once again, I still love you, but I want MY Wonder Woman back! *hugs and kisses!*

♥ Kara ♥