All So Comical – Catching Up and Cleaning Out

Buying and reading physical comics is harder to justify these days.  A few months ago when I was crossing off books such as “Rat Queens” and “Black Science” it was purely for the fact that I was running out of room in my box and had to “thin the herd”.  It was a hard choice, but between Rat Queen’s sporadic release-schedule and Black Science’s long-term commitment, it was easier to fall back on the familiar, and odder choices, among Marvel’s books.

What have I indeed been reading then these past few months?  Chip Zdarsky’s “Howard the Duck” series is pretty awesome, scratching that wacky-cosmic-capers itch.  Dan Slott’s “Silver Surfer” series also scratches the cosmic itch, though in a more nostalgic way.  Also, there’s “Saga” and “The Wicked + The Divine”, making up my Image books (I should read more Image books, though I do wait for trade for “Sex Criminals”).  Also, there’s Star Wars.

Howard

Star Wars remains so good.  Not just the “main” Jason Aaron book, either, but also Kieron Gillen’s “Darth Vader”.  Characters such as an anti-Dr. Jones, as well as murderous facsimiles of C-3P0 and R2-D2, and Vader himself, continue to expand the Star Wars universe in exciting ways and gives me confidence that the franchise, a favorite of mine, is in good hands.

The Jason Aaron train is one I’ve been enjoying riding.  “Star Wars”, “Doctor Strange”, “Thor”, and “Southern Bastards” provide most of my favorite reads.  His take on Strange is pretty original and he brings in some elements that I have never seen in a Marvel book before.  Thor continues to be the biggest bad-ass in that book and the plot keeps moving and I keep wanting to read more – so good!

DC Comics wise, I ended dropping Action Comics (though Super Man is my favorite superhero).  It just stopped being satisfying at one point.  I am reading Snyder’s “Batman”, but in trade form.  Any superhero fan would be hard pressed to not read that book, as well as “Justice League.”

Jack

Tastes change.  Lately I’ve tended to lean more to nostalgia and light wackiness in books.  “Samurai Jack” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” definitely scratch that itch, and are accessible with a couple of taps on my phone, or tablet.  There, space isn’t an issue.  It’s harder for me to justify buying actual books.  Maybe it’s the want to keep brick and mortar stores in business and a return to something comforting from my childhood.  I don’t plan to stop reading comics anytime soon, but how I read them definitely may change.

 

Comics are bought from Silvermoon Comics in Salem, MA.  Many graphic novels are purchased through Amazon.com or Comixology.  If you enjoyed, please like.  Feel free to comment.  And thanks!

 

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Better Late Review: Deadpool

Better Late Movie Review: Deadpool

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Superhero movies that focus more on the absurd, than the grounded-seriousness of reality, are rare these days.  Along successful R-rated film adaptations of Alan Moore’s grittier “V for Vendetta” and “Watchmen” graphic novels, Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” movies also embrace gritty realism over comic-book antics.  Marvel Studios has embraced both the gritty and the absurd, sometimes in the same movies.  Along the lines of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Ant-Man”, Twentieth Century Fox’s “Deadpool” embraces its absurdity and delivers a movie even the smallest of fans (yours truly included) deserves.

Being a slap-happy, action packed, raunchy, very R-rated romp, Ryan Reynolds fits naturally as the title character.  Reynolds (Deadpool/ Wade Wilson), is at his best as the infamous Merc-with-a-mouth.  His delivery of quips and physical gags impress, but he also embraces the character’s more serious and, subtly, legitimately crazy side.  Reynolds makes the title hero the rightful star of the show.

Plot-wise, the movie is unapologetically standard origin-story/ revenge-tale.  There’s a hooker with a heart of gold turned love interest, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), sketchy best friend, Weasel (T.J. Miller), and British-accented villain, Ajax/ Francis (Ed Skrein).  Where the film excels is in its conservative fourth-wall breaking self-awareness and Deadpool’s overall absurdity.  It actually embraces it’s basic ‘80’s – ‘90’s formula by referencing such things as “Wham!”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, and holding a boom-box over your head outside of a window (while listening to Wham!).

Wade Wilson is a once-upon-a-time military elite killing machine, dishonorably discharged and turned mercenary.  He hangs out at a bar with other mercenaries and is ran by his friend, Weasel.  The bar is also where he gets his assignments.  One night Vanessa bumps into his life and Wade’s life seems to be vastly improving.  Then he gets cancer.  A very shady character (Jed Reese) shows up and offers Wade not only a chance to cure his cancer, but to become a hero, which Wade doesn’t particularly want to become.  It ends up the cancer curing place is not what it seems and Ajax tortures Wade Wilson causing him to become very deformed, but turning him into a mutant.  It is set in the X-Men universe after all.

From the opening credits, it’s very obvious the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously.  There are references to such things as the movie’s budget, and to Ryan Reynolds in general.  Be warned, though: if you’re not a fan of Reynolds, or Deadpool, this movie won’t change your mind.  This also isn’t a movie for kids: there is both male and female full-frontal nudity, sex-jokes, drug-jokes, overall silliness, gore, slapstick, flying decapitated heads, gore, f-bombs, old woman jokes, masturbation jokes, gore, and f-bombs.

X-Men and comic fans have a lot to chew on with this movie.  Colossus (CGI character, voiced by Stefan Kapicic) has a small part as a moral compass of sorts, as does lesser-known Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).  There are many Easter eggs to find, speculate about, and be excited about the future of superhero flicks.

The movie’s strongest asset of focusing on Deadpool may also be its weakest.  Weasel is a character that could use a fleshed out story, as is the bad-guy, Ajax/ Francis, who just comes off as a super-powered asshole.  Performance wise, everyone knocks it out of the park.  Even smaller roles, such as Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), Wade’s blind crack-addicted (and Ikea furniture assembling) room-mate, are likable and believable in the context of Wade Wilson’s world.

A huge factor is that Deadpool looks like Deadpool.  This is the most authentic a superhero has looked like their comic book counterpart since Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” movies.  Even the many pants and vest pouches and the little flip-top to Deadpool’s mask are there.  CGI is subtly used to white out Deadpool’s eyes when he’s wearing the mask and to make it more emotive.  Brilliant!  Keep in mind of what you’re getting into with this movie – the full Deadpool experience – and what that implies.

 

My Grade: B

 

Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, and Ed Skrein, is directed by Tim Miller, and, is released by Twentieth Century Fox.  It is rated R for: strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity.

Feel free to like, comment, and share.  And thanks!

 

All so Comical – February 2015 (Star Wars, kid!)

I haven’t shut up or stopped thinking about Star Wars since the teaser trailer for “The Force Awakens” was released. I’m once again six years old, imagining the possibilities and adventures in a galaxy far, far, away.
For years, I have pondered what happened between the destruction of the Death Star and the Rebel Alliance making camp on the frozen planet of Hoth. These stories were being told, but between me falling out with comics (it wasn’t them, it was me) and being weary of the stories being authentic, I didn’t pay them any mind. With the combination of Disney acquiring Marvel and Lucasfilm and me relatively recently getting back into comics, I finally returned to characters I know and love.
Writer Jason Aaron (“Thor: God of Thunder”,”Southern Bastards”) and artist John Cassaday’s (“Astonishing X-Men”, “Uncanny Avengers”) telling of the events after the destruction of the Death Star does my imagination justice. It looks and feels like “Star Wars”. Even new character moments, like Leia really wanting to kill Vader, come to fruition like I haven’t imagined and the movies have never dealt with. For some, this is an issue. For me, it makes sense. Leia doesn’t have a home anymore, so, yeah she would want to kill whoever’s responsible! The characters look and read like their movie counterparts, and the environments and vehicles look similarly industrial and rundown, being characters in their own rights. Star Wars, how I have missed thee.
Likewise, Keiron Gillen (“Wicked + Devine”, “Journey Into Mystery”) and Salvador Larroca’s (“Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra”, “X-Men: No More Humans”) “Darth Vader” book brings familiar elements while introducing new ones. Yes, the Sith-Lord is still bad-ass, but also desperate. The destruction of the Death Star has put him in a bad spot; the emperor blaming its destruction on Vader. Gillen’s writing is spot on and entertaining (the homage opening-narrative is a fun twist). This book is more so artist Larroca’s shining star, conveying Vader’s desperation and even his sliver of humanity through drawn body language.
Both books are great for Star Wars fans and even for people interested in reading comics. They give me confidence that Star Wars is in good hands over at Disney and makes me even more excited to see what the new movies bring.
Follow me on twitter as badgamer83 and on PSN as bad_gamer83 when gaming. And thanks for reading.

Pull List: -Daredevil
– Rocket Raccoon
– Amazing Spider-Man
– Superman
– Action Comics
– Black Science
– Rat Queens
– Rumble
– Star Wars
– Stars Wars: Darth Vader
– Saga
– Silver Surfer
– Wicked + Devine
– Thor
– Copperhead
– Wytches
– Ms. Marvel
– Captain Marvel

Read in Collections: – Batman
– Aquaman
– Southern Bastards
– Sex Criminals
– Wonderwoman
– Deadpool
– Alex + Ada

Interested in Reading: – Lumberjanes
– Swamp Thing
– Justice League
– Samurai Jack
– Maus
– Breath of Bones
– Green Lantern

Favorite Series – Bone

Thanks to those at Talking Comics, specifically Bobby Shortle, for their podcast and replying to questions when they can. Their website (www.talkingcomicbooks.com) and podcast rock.
Comics are subscribed to/ bought at SilverMoon comics in Salem, MA. (www.silvermooncomics.com)