Sunday, July 29, 2012

Indie Spotlight - Magnus von Tesla

Our current indie spotlight is on Magnus von Tesla, author of the webcomic My Life Without a Jetpack. More questions after the jump.

1. When did you start reading comics?

Let's see... when I started reading, basically... and even before that, I was looking at comics and "reading" the action. I come from a family where reading is something that's second nature, I grew up surrounded by books, and being the youngest of six siblings, when I was born I had two teenaged brothers who read comics, and they shared them with me.

So I was reading at age 5-6, and "reading the action" from age 2. 
2. What are your favorite comics/characters?

That's a long list! Green Lantern (Jordan), The Legion Of Super-Heroes, X-Men, Superman, Atomic Robo, Action Philosophers, Gypsy, Hellblazer, Hark! A Vagrant, Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Doktor Sleepless, etc, etc.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Review

This is not going to be a typical review. I saw The Dark Knight Rises and was thoroughly impressed. It was a satisfying and fitting close to the trilogy, and though it ran at two hours, I was left wanting more. To me, this was a better film as far as making me excited about what was going on. It wasn't as deep or as bleak as The Dark Knight, and some would argue was more "comic-book." Guess what? It may be the realistic "Nolan-verse" but it is still a movie based on a comic. That's probably what I liked about it. It maintained that world that has been set up, but added so much more flavor to it. I will touch upon a few things below the jump. I'm going to try and avoid spoilers as much as possible.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Avengers/X-Men and Captain Marvel - Reviews

Captain Marvel #1
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Dexter Soy

This is the week that Marvel releases Captain Marvel #1 upon the world, in a book that is looking to redefine Carol Danvers and her role in the Marvel Universe. After Marvel cancelled every book they had with a female lead, it's nice to see them trying to remedy that with this one and the recent announcement of a Red She-Hulk book.

So how's the book? Read more after the jump as well as a review of  Avengers vs. X-Men #8 and a bonus review!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quick Plug - Comix Lab Magazine Kickstarter

This is a plea to my readers to please check out the Kickstarter page for COMIX LAB MAGAZINE. This is being put together by a bunch of talented individuals and needs YOUR HELP to get off the ground. There are some great incentives for donating to the cause. The magazine will cover a wide range of topics, have a running comic, and will even include an article from yours truly. So please, please, please DONATE TODAY! I will be changing our banner to support Comix Lab!

Comix Lab on Facebook

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dynamic Duo Review - Batman #11 and Batman and Robin #11

 Batman #11
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo

It's all been building up to this. For the better part of a year, Scott Snyder's bestselling book has put Bruce Wayne through the ringer, culminating with the reveal that he could possibly have a long lost brother. Thomas Wayne Jr. aka Lincoln March is the beak of the Court of the Owls. He claims to have been abandoned by the Waynes and is here to reclaim his city.  The book is fast paced with huge set pieces, delivering a brutal fight between Batman and what seems to be the new incarnation of Owl Man. This makes sense as Owl Man was Bruce's evil doppelganger from another world.

Greg Capullo is on top of his game here with his somewhat dark, murkier pallet still achieving a vibrant, animated quality. His Batman is tired and fed up with March showing no signs of quitting until the end.

I'm sure we have not seen the last of the Court of the Owls or Lincoln March. There is a nice moment between Bruce and Dick after it's all said and done. It just adds on to the mystery of whether or not Lincoln is actually Thomas Jr. This run has been a roller coaster ride, and now we are heading back up the slope as Snyder prepares to reintroduce The Joker into the New 52. Batman is constantly a must read and I hope Scott stays on for a while. He's kept the universe fresh and exciting since he's been given the reigns. 

Batman and Robin #11
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

This issue starts off strong, continuing with Damian's plan to take out all the previous Robin's, proving he's the best. I love Damian. He's possibly my favorite character in comics right now. The audacity of leaving a crow bar in Jason Todd's bed is one of those things that lets you know he's screwing around, but he's not. After Damian is through putting Jason through an exercise in tolerance, the story begins to go downhill as a ton of nobodies begin branding the citizens of Gotham with the bat logo. This is all part of some grand scheme by Terminus who was introduced last issue. We're no closer to figuring anything out about this villain as things just get whackier and whackier.

Patrick Gleason's layouts are ballin' in this issue and most of his scenes are rendered beautifully. There are some odd faces and expressions littered throughout, though, making it seemed rushed. I would really like to have a print of Damian riding around with the Red Hood's helmet as a hood ornament.

This story arc has seemed to veer away from the personal conflict of the first eight issues in favor of traditional super hero flare. I hope they will get back to the heart of the new direction of this book; the relationship between Bruce and Damian. The issue is worth it for the Damian and Jason brawl at the beginning, but there's not really much else to get excited about.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope everyone is staying safe and cool in the heat! Enjoy your food and freedom! Also, if people would like to start commenting on articles, that would be awesome.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man - Movie Review

The Amazing Spider-Man
Directed by Marc Webb
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field, Denis Leary, and Martin Sheen

I'm really tired of reading advance reviews of this film and seeing "This was unnecessary," and "Raimi's movies are still on everyone's minds!" Those movies were Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. It was a classic take on the character, and there was a lot of cheese involved. They were great. Even the third one had its moments. There was a colossal problem for me, though. A Spider-Man Tobey Maguire does not make. I always wanted Topher Grace as Peter Parker. He would have been spot on. I was ticked that he got cast as Eddie Brock, but it makes sense in that he would be the complete opposite of Tobey's Peter. Enough with that rant, though.

Andrew Garfield plays a teenaged Peter Parker a la Ultimate Spider-Man, and he is wonderful. He's pretty amazing, actually. The whole film was amazing. I loved it. This was the Spider-Man movie I've been wanting to see. That's not to say I don't have some minor nitpicky things, though.

For the most part, the casting in this film was awesome. Again, Garfield is wonderful as Peter, with just the right bit of teenage awkwardness(and this guy is 28. What the hell?) that he is likeable, even when he does questionable things. The chemistry between him and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is electric. They are written like a real couple, with their drama stemming from Peter's moonlighting, but they as a couple really have no problems and are smitten with each other. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben has a couple of great moments and Sally Field as Aunt May is a welcome change from the ancient old-lady version of the character that is usually expected. Denis Leary stands out as Gwen's father, Captain Stacy, replacing J. Jonah Jameson as our anti-Spider-Man character. Then there's Rhys Ifans. While he does adequate work here, it was weird for me to buy him as Curt Connors/The Lizard. Maybe it's because Connors wasn't British? I don't know? Maybe it's because I kept anticipating Dylan Baker to finally go reptile in the old movies? Or maybe it's because Connors himself seems much more sinister than his comic counterpart?

The movie retells the origin with a slightly different tune than Raimi's first flick. Peter is trying to uncover the mystery of his murdered parents, which leads him to Oscorp and his run-in with the spider that gives him his powers. The web shooters are non-organic this time around, which the film gets major points for. However, I've got to deduct a few, because there's never an issue where Peter runs out of webbing. There is an instance that one of his shooters doesn't work, but it's not due to lack of fluid. There should have at least been that little nod to the classic comic conundrum of Pete running out of webbing. Speaking of, his webbing is pretty much a stolen product from Oscorp. Granted, he tweaks it a bit, but this Peter Parker isn't the total genius he leads people to believe.

The action is great, and The Lizard feels like a genuine threat to Spider-Man. He is big, strong, mean, and can match Peter in speed. The fight scenes are frantic and Spider-Man's movements are way better than the static, basic fights from the old films. There are a lot of video game inspired moves to be seen. Every now and then, the camera will switch to first person, but this isn't used much at all. I've seen some people complain, but I feel like they were just needing something to gripe about. It's not really distracting at all. Just odd. It makes sense when you realize it was done mostly for the 3D aspect of it all.

Speaking of which, the 3D in the movie was not needed at all and didn't really do anything to impress. I barely noticed it. I saw it in IMAX 3D, so I was forced to wear the glasses the whole time. All this did was make the film a little darker. I saw when it was intended to be 3D, but it never felt like it to me. I'm so tired of 3D movies anyway. I prefer my experiences to be 2D viewing, and had that been the option for this screening, I would have been way happier.

Back to the good things. This was not "Twilight" or "Emo" Spider-Man. When pictures of Garfield first hit the net, people were up in arms. Well, you know what? He's not very brooding at all. He's kind of just a normal teenager. He gets picked on, but brushes it off without thinking too much about it. He deals with it. He crushes on Gwen, maybe even borderline stalks her, but it never feels forced or cheesy, and a lot of that is because of the chemistry between Garfield and Stone. They play so well off each other that you could believe they were really dating. That's probably why they are now.

I'm not a fan of CG use in movies. I came from the era where puppets, models, and matte paintings reigned supreme. I like it when there's actually something there for the actors to interact with. I like sets and the work that goes into making all of these fantastic things and places a reality. That said, I was pretty impressed with the CG in the movie. It never bothered me, and that was probably because I was so wrapped up in what was going on on the screen and in the story.

I loved The Amazing Spider-Man. It's right up there in quality with The Avengers and this is a solid start to reworking the franchise. The cast was great, effects were good, and the story wasn't bad at all. There are some nice teases of things to come in the future, such as a certain character mentioned several times but never really seen. Stay after the credits, but not all the way to the end.