Monday, April 14, 2014

RODSKI PATOTSKI is a Good, Fun Comic

If I could describe Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby, Gerry Alanguilan and Arnold Arre's two-fisted team-up of a comic in one word, it would be the word fun. There's a lot of positive energy flowing out of this book, from Gerry's writing to Arnold's art, and it leaves you with smiling from the moment your eyes hit the first page until you reach the last one.

Born under extraordinary circumstances, Roddelyn "Rodski" Rosario is a child unlike any other. Able to speak complex sentences by her first month and understand Physics and Calculus by age three, Rodski is soon found by the Philippine military and trained to become their best scientific asset. Now in her early 20s, Rodski still has genius-level intellect...and still as child-like as ever. But soon she will have to choose between her brain and her heart...with the fate of the world at stake!

One would think Gerry Alanguilan doesn't do these kinds of 'fun' comics, being the guy behind the deeply personal Wasted and the tragic Where Bold Stars Go to Die. Yet here he was, writing Rodski Patotski with the sort of child-like wonder his bubbly heroine was capable of.

Gerry juggles a lot of genres in this book, and he does so effortlessly. Rodski is not just a sci-fi heroine, she's also caught up in a blossoming love story (and awfully kilig-y if I do say so myself!). Then it shifts to action-comedy mode, and you find yourself giggling at sight gags that's undoubtedly Pinoy in taste and holding on for dear life as it races to an explosive climax. But for me, the shining moments didn't come from the exploding bombs or the flashy gadgets, but from Rodski's relationship with her parents. I feel for Mommy and Daddy Rosario, two simple folk blessed with a genius for a daughter, never really understanding Rodski's way of thinking (or anything scientific for that matter) but having plenty of love to give anyway. It's that sort of tug-at-the-heartstrings storytelling that makes Rodski Patotski not your usual comic book.

I wouldn't be surprised if this gets optioned for a movie, my country being what it is. Knock on wood, of course.

Material like this in the hands of any less-capable artist and the whole thing could explode in our faces. But thankfully, Gerry found a match in Arnold Arre. This is arguably Arnold's best work; his line art is sharper here, tighter, and every page is lovingly colored and rendered. Arnold's mastery of emotion and expression works hand-in-hand with Gerry's imaginative storytelling, and his art will get you laughing at funny bits and gnashing your teeth in suspenseful ones.

This delightful done-in-one proves that the Gerry Alanguilan-Arnold Arre team-up yields solid gold comic books. Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby is the type of feel-good entertainment you don't see in comics these days, and is a worthy addition to any comic book fan's library.

Rodski Patotski is Php450 and will be available in all Comic Odyssey branches soon.

And if you're a Whovian, be sure to spot Gerry's Doctor Who homage in this book. :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

So I Just Saw 30 Minutes of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Footage

I was pretty stoked to have been invited by the good people of Columbia Pictures' local office to get an advanced look at some footage of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This is the first time I've been invited for such a thing, so imagine my fanboy glee to be sitting in a swanky movie preview room surrounded by well-known bloggers! They then gave us high-tech 3D glasses to wear, and we were on our way!
We first come face to face with...The Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb! Well, a videotaped recording of him anyway. He welcomed us to the screening and introduced us to the footage we were about to see.

The first footage shown was the first 10 minutes of the movie, where we saw some very spoilerish things involving Peter Parker's parents and The Amazing Spider-Man zipping and winging and flying across New York City in pursuit of Paul Giamatti's Rhino, who has hijacked a truck carrying another truck that's carrying stolen Oscorp goods. You've actually seen most of Spider-Man's high-flying antics in the full trailers, but they all pale in comparison to seeing it in 3D. I actually had to catch my breath during some of the dizzying death drops! It's like Spider-Man: The Ride!

Next was this sweet clip with Peter (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen (Emma Stone) trying to rekindle their relationship after the events of The Amazing Spider-Man, and it hammers home just how much better this Peter-Gwen dynamic is than Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst's Peter-Mary Jane. Garfield and Stone have so much chemistry together that watching them flirt and skirt the issue was unbearably kilig-y! Of course, Peter Parker can't have a normal date without dudes like Electro (played by Jamie Foxx) raining bolts of electrical mayhem on your parade, which leads to a one-sided showdown between Spider-Man and Electro. This sequence once again displays some awesome cinematography and CGI work that lets you see the world of Spider-Man through his eyes and looks amazing in 3D.

The last clip we saw was a scene with Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) trying to convince Electro to join forces and destroy Spider-Man. Some of you may have laughed at the concept of Electro being in this movie, but the people behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have taken the concept of electricity-based powers to their terrifying conclusion, and this clip now makes me both scared and excited to know how the hell Spidey will defeat him!

And just like that, it was over. Never has thirty minutes of 3D footage made me want more. Bottom line is, Spider-Man was born to be 3D, and the 3D in this movie is killer. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is shaping up to be one of the very, very few movies I will watch in 3D first. 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in the Philippines on April 30.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Hot Toys Captain America from The Winter Soldier
is Cool as Ice

Hot Toys has done it again! The Hong Kong-based collectible company has just released exciting preview pictures of Captain America's Stealth S.T.R.I.K.E. suit and Steve Rogers in his civilian garb as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier!

More pics after the jump!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Movie Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is part political thriller, part Marvel movie, like Clear and Present Danger but with superheroes, and it surprisingly works. It's a fun exercise, pitting Steve Rogers' undying optimism and unparalleled virtue against the laughably lax morals of modern times. With SHIELD taking a lot more proactive approach to global security, Steve Rogers now wonders more than ever whether his morals fit in this new world order. Will Captain America compromise his ideals in the name of national security? How much cloak and dagger can a man whose word is bond take?

Those looking for superhero thrills aren't left out. Captain America is still the super soldier you met in the The First Avenger and Marvel's The Avengers, and he gets to do a lot of superheroic stuff here, much more than his previous outings. From kicking a dozen bad guys' asses all at once, to jumping out of buildings to take down planes and hellicarriers with nothing but a shield and elbow grease, you won't forget that you're watching a comic book movie. They even found a way to throw in Batroc ze freakin' Lepair in there. Batroc, people!

Even with all that said, it's probably the grittiest Marvel movie to date. Death is dealt a lot, and often, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the action scenes are more visceral and in-your-face. Steve Rogers, The Star-Spangled Man with a Plan, is often left a mangled, bloody mess, and the final showdown between him and the Winter Soldier is a flurry of broken bones and gunshot wounds. Pretty shocking for Marvel to bloody up their prettiest poster boy, but its an arresting visual nonetheless, making it clear that in a world of thunder gods and ironclad billionaires, Captain America has to work harder than all of them.

Speaking of working hard, Chris Evans should win an award for his performance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He's grown comfortably into his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America, and we get, The rest of the cast were amazing and had their own moments to shine. Scarlett Johanssen's Black Widow is more complex and even likeable, Samuel L. Jackson was his usual BAMF self, and even Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/The Falcon was a pleasant surprise. Mackie in particular was both funny and badass, getting away with a lot of witty one-liners and, despite being the only non-superhuman in Cap's team (he was basically just a well-trained Marine), played off his super-powered co-stars really well. Not to mention he had one of the most exciting action sequences in the movie! I can't wait to see where they go with his character next.

There are a lot of things to love about this movie, but there were some missed opportunities for me. One was Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier. For a movie bearing his name, the Winter Soldier figures very little in the overall scheme of things except for being something personal for Cap to overcome. Even then, I would have wanted the movie to explore Steve's relationship with his best friend-turned-assassin more. Which is a shame, because Stan seemed to relish his role, and the Winter Soldier has got to be the coolest comic book costume ever translated to film. The other was Robert Redford, who did his best to give some much-need gravitas to a role as pivotal as Alexander Pierce. but oftentimes he looked lost and confused in the midst of all the superheroics.

But in the end, it had all the right ingredients to create a different kind of superhero movie flavor. Captain America: The Winter Soldier stands as one of the best of Marvel's movies, second only to Marvel's The Avengers. High praise, I know, but I can't think of a way to describe this movie other than a highly entertaining action movie that, quite literally, changes everything you know about Marvel movies from here on out. Highly recommended!

My Week in Comics: All-New Ghost Rider #1

Ghost Rider is probably the most badass in the realm of comic book imagery. A dude with a flaming skull for a head and a chain for whipping bad guys with while riding a motorcycle from Hell would make any comic book fanboy blush. But this is Marvel NOW!, and the age of Ketch and Blaze has come and gone...and who the Spirit of Vengeance has chosen to replace them may surprise you!

All-New Ghost Rider #1 is exactly what it says. Gone are Danny Ketch or Johnny Blaze and their motorcycles. In their place is a new character named Robbie Reyes, a mechanic with a need for speed and who drives a, *gasp!*, muscle car! Joining illegal street racing so he and his little brother can move out of the slums of LA and to a better life, Robbie bites off more than he can chew...and cue the Spirit of Vengeance and a lot of pain!

Granted, any drastic change to an established character can make any comic book fan nervous, but writer Felipe Smith thankfully knows how to shake things up the right way. The character of Robbie Reyes certainly feels heroic, with a sense of justice and right that doesn't fade despite living in one of the meanest parts of Los Angeles. He lives for something, particularly his handicapped little brother, and the way Robbie dotes on him and tries his best to protect him really tugs at the heart strings. Which makes Robbie's transformation into the Ghost Rider something of a "f--k yeah" moment, when he finally has the power to protect the people he loves. I love characters like these, Smith knows how to write Robbie's plight in a way that doesn't sound corny at all.

And man, dat art.  Artist Tradd Moore's style is glorious. It's slick and turbo-charged, with an energy that pops off the page whether characters are just talking or setting fire to the streets with breakneck speed in souped-up cars.  Speaking of which, Moore shines in the issue's climax, where Robbie participates in a high-octane, albeit illegal, street race. Moore hits you with lots of creatively-designed panels that let you feel the rush of speed with every gear change and the thrill of every tight corner. I love creative visuals like these, and if I was judging this book on art alone, this would have gotten the perfect grade and then some.

If there's anything that could knock points off of this ish, it's the fact that this reads less of a debut of the all-new Ghost Rider and more of a debut of Robbie Reyes, the character. One can't help but feel Felipe Smith is "writing for the trade", so to speak, and issue #1 reads more like the first 10 minutes of a Ghost Rider movie. It's a badass 10 minutes, for sure, but you expect more Ghost Rider for your buck at the price point they're selling this. But what we do have is some much-needed character building, and I'm more than okay with that.

All-New Ghost Rider #1 may not have come out of the gate blazing, but it wasn't here to just rock our faces wanted to make us care. To care about the Nth guy possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance, to care about what he does with the powers of hellfire given at his disposal. And for a first issue, that's more than enough. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Figma Amazing Spider-Man Figure Review

What do you look for in a Spider-Man figure? Spectacular sculpt? Amazing articulation? Superior accessories? You're in luck, because Max Factory's Figma line has got your back.  Check out my review of Max Factory's first foray into the Marvel Universe in the form of Figma Spider-Man!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Eleventh Week: Thank You, Doctor

The Eleventh Doctor's gonna die this Christmas.

I'm pretty excited, actually. It's my first "live" regeneration, so to speak. I will not read about it from a wiki, or watch an old regeneration episode. I will be watching a Doctor die and be reborn, when it happens, as it happens.

It's sad, though. Matt Smith has just grown into the role of the Eleventh Doctor. I saw him stumble ever so awkwardly through Series 5 like a newborn giraffe, like someone who literally does not know what he's doing, until he found his feet in Series 6. Then Series 7 rolled around, and I was happy seeing Matt finally settle into the role. Then he says he's leaving, the Purple Frock Coat of Awesome not having found time to warm on his shoulders.

I'm one of the more level-headed fans who see this as a natural progression for the show. It happens. An actor doesn't want to do Who any more and, thanks to a clever plot twist created 50 years ago, somebody new takes their place.

At least, that's what I'd tell myself. I'm not one to mourn and fret over something that hasn't happened yet, but I think tears will definitely be shed once I see, with my own eyes, the Doctor regenerating into someone else.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'm not ashamed to say it. I will fucking cry like a little girl when I see my Doctor die in The Time of the Doctor.

Yes. The Eleventh Doctor is my Doctor. It's because of Eleven that I became a Whovian. It's because of Eleven that I found a place where I feel I belong. It's because of my love for this Time Lord and his adventures that I met many new friends. Amazing what the latest incarnation of a fictional character created 50 years ago can do.

But he's not just any fictional character. The Eleventh Doctor is me. I see so much of myself in this bowtie-wearing klutz with the awesome frock coat. Like him, I am incredibly old but childish at times. Like him, I care too deeply for the people I love. Like him, I don't like not knowing or being told I'm not cool. Like him, I'm too hopeful for my own good, and I'm trusting to a fault.When I dress up as Eleven during conventions or at the office (much to the dismay of my officemates), it's not because I think I'm an awesome cosplayer (protip: I'm not), it's because I'm basically just being myself.

More importantly, the Eleventh Doctor inspired me with his words and actions, more so than any of his previous incarnations. He gave me so many things to aspire to, things no human being might ever achieve. But then he gives you that wink and that smile, as if saying "Don't worry. You can do it!" And you believe him.

A part of me will die alongside the Eleventh Doctor. But until then, I will not mourn. Until then, I will hold on to all the things that made me love this incarnation above all the others. The manic energy. The purple frock coat. His relationship with Clara Oswald (Whouffle 5EVER). The badass speeches. The way his enemies cringe at the mere mention of his name, and the smile he makes when they do. The way his eyes can show both rage and affection in equal amounts. And, most importantly, the way he assures us, like a loving parent, that everything will be all right.

He told us all to trust him. And we did. I did. And he did not disappoint us.

And for that I give him, our Raggedy Man, my Doctor, my eternal gratitude.

Now repeat after me: "GERONIMO!"
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