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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ghostbusters 2016 Movie Review


Oh, I ain't afraid of the latest Ghostbusters movie.

All that vitriol over the new, female-led Ghostbusters movie has done nothing but made me even more curious, more wanting to watch it. Having seen it first-hand in all its glory, did the movie deserve all that hate?

Surprise, surprise. Absolutely not.

Know that I'm a Ghostbusters fan from waaayyy back. Love the original movies, wanted to be like Egon from the cartoons, and felt so boss as a kid with my own Proton Pack and everything. So of course I paid a ticket to see the new Ghostbusters movie. If anything, I am at least guaranteed of a few laughs with the likes of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones sharing the screen. And you know what? I had a lot of fun!

Let none say this movie ain't funny. I had laughs a-plenty throughout the movie, though I do admit some felt flat or went on too long. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy may be the comedy veterans and played the straight women well, but they just couldn't hold a candle to the comedic timing of Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, who pretty much outshone them all. 


Seriously, my girlfriend and I were both crushing on McKinnon's character Jillian Holtzmann, whose equal parts genius and crazy stole the show for us and was the source of many of the film's best moments. She was confident in her weirdness and in  her ability to make stuff that busts ghosts, and it rubbed me the right way. I would pay to watch Holtzmann dispatch ghosts in slo-mo Zack Snyder style, with smirk and aplomb, over and over again.

And really, it's the new dynamic of a femGhostbusters team that made this movie for me. They're smart. They're different. They're women. And in a world that doesn't give all of that much weight, Erin Gilbert and co. owned it. I didn't even mind that there wasn't much ghostbusting going on in this movie (if that's what you're in for, I hope the climax of the film at least sates your thirst). Their glee after barely escaping with their lives capturing their first ghost is quite infectious, and I can't help but root for them when it was time to face the Big Bad in the end.

Don't worry, Ghostbusters fans. We still have the original films and the cartoons, and nothing can take those away from us. It's not perfect, but the ladies-led version is peppered with enough funny and awesome to become a fine and welcome addition to a 30-year-old franchise. If fun is all you need for the next two hours, Ghostbusters is worth the price of a ticket.

Friday, July 22, 2016

My Week in Comics: July 22, 2016

It took a while, but I'm back in the comics-reading fold again with a mix of great and not-so-great comic books this week! What did I think about this week's releases? Read on to find out!

Justice League #1 opens up with a global catastrophic event...just like it did during their recent Rebirth one-shot. DC's big seven are reduced to boring one liners while they save people and posture menacingly at an unseen and mysterious menace, a mystery they're not giving me enough reason to care about. I've never read Bryan Hitch's writing before, but I admit it's a passable adventure, if not downright cliché. Even Tony Daniel's art, while gorgeous and wonderfully rendered, cannot save a story we've heard as recently as a couple of weeks ago. A shame, as I had high hopes for a book about DC's flagship superteam. This gets a 2 out of 5.


Oh my, Black Hammer #1 is downright atmospheric. Forced to live mundane lives after a mysterious event forced them out of their home city seemingly for good, Jeff Lemire's stranded pulp heroes (with names like Abraham Slam and Col. Weird) are anything but heroic. It makes for good drama, and Lemire knows how to write characters with huge chips on their shoulders and deeper motivations than they're letting on. Who wouldn't be pissed if you had to live like a normal person after a lifetime of superheroics? There's an unsettling undercurrent throughout the issue, which is making me itch for them to stop being mundane so that I can know what happens next, and in that aspect Black Hammer #1 worked. This gets a 4 out of 5.


I find that the beauty of Betty and Veronica #1 is in the way it's written like an actual old-school Archie comic, complete with zingy one-liners and slapstick humor. But instead of talking like the archaic stereotype of old Archie strips, writer and artist Adam Hughes writes Betty, Veronica, and the gang like the teens of today, a bit more world-weary and hip. Relateable and all that.

I admit, my main draw here is Adam Hughes' art, and I'm glad to say it blows my mind how gorgeous this book (and the ladies drawn therein) is. Care to see what Betty Cooper looks like if she was a 40's pinup? Hughes and Archie is a match made in soda pop heaven. His writing though is something to get used to, as you have to go through literally pages of banter, segues, and non sequiturs before reaching anything resembling a plot. Stay for the art, if nothing else. This gets a 4 out of 5.


Finally, Jim Zub serves up some more Street Fighter goodness in Street Fighter Legends: Cammy #1. Having had the pleasure of reading his previous work, I got a copy reserved preview unseen, and I was not disappointed! In this issue, we find Cammy leading a British special ops group called Delta Blue, consisting of former Shadaloo soldiers  (Cammy included) turned good guys. But M. Bison's evil isn't easily scrubbed clean, and Cammy finds herself coming face-to-face with the demons of her past!

Jim Zub writes a kick-ass book, with equal doses of high-octane action and cute moments (Cammy in a cute dress? I'll take 20!). It helps that Omar Dogan's manga-style art is my cup of tea, making for one of the best-looking books on the stands this week. Bottom line, Legends: Cammy #1 is simply no-frills, action-packed fun straight out of the arcade screen. I give this a 5 out of 5.


Great new comics this week! What did you get? And do you agree that Adam Hughes should just draw Archie Comics forever? Let me know in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Figma Elsa is Coming


Frozen fans, have I got news for you! Good Smile Company just unveiled the latest addition to their Figma ranks, and it's the queen of Arendelle herself, Elsa


Figma Elsa looks cute, and the detail on her sheer ice cape looks stunning. She comes with snow effects and an Olaf to hug, as well as extra face plates, including a singing face so you could recreate that earworm of a song I dare not mention it here lest I be chased by angry villagers with pitchforks. Can't we all just let it go?

Whoops. I guess we can't.

Figma Elsa is slated for a December 2016 release, just in time for winter! Now that's cool! You can check out more pics over at the Good Smile Company site.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Strange Natives: The Forgotten Memories of a Forgetful Old Woman Review

Strange Natives: The Forgotten Memories of a Forgetful Old Woman was my one purchase at the recent Summer Komikon. My friend Jerico Marte is the artist for the book, and I got it as a show of support for his talent. What I wasn't ready for was how ambitious the book is.

Paolo Herras penned this tale that takes us through time, from the age of illustrados through the modern, seen through the eyes of an old woman named Grasya, who's running from a past too painful to remember.

Butterflies are a recurring theme throughout the book, which Herras uses as a metaphor for memories to great effect. Small, fleeting, harmless, memories may flutter by but may swarm and engulf us if we let it. The book transitions from the present to the past plenty and often, as the old lady is swept through her own memories and forcing us to confront them with her, which is a nice touch. It's a tough read through sometimes, as Herras sometimes digs too deep into his metaphors, but when he gets it right, the story becomes an enthralling, interesting read. There is a lot of tragedy here, a lot of painful loss...but there's also a bit of hope, and a warning of the consequences should we forget the mistakes of the past.

Jerico Marte marks his full-length comic book debut in Strange Natives, and he's firing on all cylinders. Every page is a labor (emphasis on labor) of love. Marte draws the hell out of this book, with a style that's reminiscent of vintage Aeon Flux. Herras' characters take on an otherworldly, almost dream-like feel under Marte's pencils, which is a perfect fit for the story. I have watched Jerico's art evolve through the years, and I can safely say we haven't seen him at his full potential. I can't wait to see what more he has to offer.

Strange Natives: The Forgotten Memories of a Forgetful Old Woman is a book you don't pick up on a whim. This strange, supernatural story needs you to be open for anything, to learn how to take the past and keep it close so yesterday's pain won't ruin your future.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Marvel Legends Civil War Giant-Man Series Black Panther Review


Captain America: Civil War has been rocking faces off people everywhere, in no small part thanks to its new characters, namely a certain King of Wakanda called the Black Panther! So it's no surprise that I found myself wanting a toy of this sexy beast. Enter Hasbro's Marvel Legends, who has released an action figure version of Black Panther in their Civil War tie-in wave. I was lucky enough to snap one up in my local toy store before it disappeared...and you know what that means, right? Toy review!

I am in love with this toy. One look at it and you'll know why: the sculpt is gorgeous, perfectly capturing the intricate weave detail of Black Panther's movie costume, and the silver highlights on his mask, amulet, and gauntlets are well applied. Hasbro took no shortcuts with this toy, and it shows.


Black Panther in Civil War was as limber as his feline namesake, and thankfully his articulation reflects this. When it comes to joints, Black Panther comes with the whole shebang: double jointed knees and elbows, swivel waist, ab crunch, and a neck joint with a good range of motion. There's not an angle where he doesn't look badass, whether it's getting ready to pounce on Soviet super soldiers, or going toe-to-toe with Captain America.


Black Panther comes with no accessories except an alternate unmasked head of what's supposed to be Chadwick Boseman, the actor who plays T'Challa in the film. The sculpt is too soft and too cartoony to enjoy any resemblance to Boseman, but Hasbro isn't exactly known for their likenesses. Still, it's a cool addition, so you can actually display Black Panther with his helmet off to give your toy display some much-needed royalty!


Seriously, I could sing praises for this toy all day. I mean, the worst you could look out for is misapplied paint. It's not everyday Hasbro gets a Marvel Legends figure this right, so this Black Panther figure is a welcome surprise. Bandai is releasing an S.H.Figuarts version of Black Panther soon, but I dare say it's found stiff competition in Marvel Legends...and at half the price too!


Marvel Legends' Captain America: Civil War wave found its star, and it's name is Black Panther. Highly detailed and oozing with character, this toy would be the highlight of any action figure collection.

It's out in stores now, but I hear Black Panther is short-packed at one per case, making him pretty rare. And with an action figure this good, it will make him even rarer. I was very very fortunate to see one of him on the pegs, so I snapped it up knowing I might never get an opportunity like that again!

I hope you found this review useful. What did you think of Civil War? Let me know in the comment box! Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 02, 2016

Life-Sized Iron Man Replica Costume is the Stuff of Legends


Now you too can walk around feeling like Tony Stark with your own life-sized Iron Man Mark VII replica armor costume!

Chinese propmakers and certified crazy dudes Killerbody is blowing minds with their Life-Sized 1:1 Iron Man Mark VII Replica Costume. Check out this video and tell me this isn't a time to be alive.



Standing at an imposing 6 feet 3 inches tall (1.92 meters), Killerbody's Iron Man Replica Costume is loaded with features, from light up eyes and opening faceplate, to panels all over the armor that open up to reveal missile payloads as seen in Marvel's The Avengers!

While you may feel like Tony Stark, you'll need a Tony Stark-sized bank account to own this baby, as it's rumored that the whole costume complete with electronics will set you back almost $10,000!

Not sure how the quality holds up against cosplay armor done by private propmakers, but the sheer balls to create (and sell!) something like this is impressive in itself. Check out more photos and info at the Killerbody site.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review


Now THAT is how you make a hero vs hero movie!

Captain America: Civil War had no right to be this good. With over a dozen characters vying for attention, and adapting a very polarizing comic book storyline, it was a clusterfuck waiting to happen (Spider-Man 3, anyone?). But in the end, it defied expectations to become THE superhero movie to beat this year.

The Russo Brothers had their work cut out for them after the rousing success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Their solution? Go bigger. After the events of Age of Ultron, the Avengers are now taken to task for the destruction they've caused from their superheroics. Enter the Sokovia Accords, a document that will make the Avengers answerable to the U.N. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) thinks it's a good idea and will give the team some much needed credibility, while Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is against the idea of turning the Avengers into government lapdogs. Evans continues to nail Rogers' idealistic stubbornness in the face of adversity, but it's RDJ who steals the show with his pragmatic take on Tony Stark, who's torn between his friendship with Steve and the need to make the world feel safe around Earth's Mightiest Heroes.


Really, there were a lot of ways this movie wouldn't have worked. But it worked for a lot of reasons. One of them being the cast. No one felt out of place or left in the dust. Guys like Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie's Falcon were more fleshed out, and owned the funniest parts of the film. The two newcomers, Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) were amazing. Boseman nailed the regal stature of T'Challa and the badassness of the Black Panther, basically curb-stomping everyone he faces off with, while Tom Holland was the highlight of the film as Spider-Man, quips, moves and all. Hell, even Paul Rudd's Ant-Man got a few good lines and moments in, and he's practically a cameo!


It worked because it unabashedly embraced its comic book roots. Captain America: Civil War is jam-packed with so many superheroic moments that you'll be hard pressed to pick just one favorite. The airport fight between #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan will go down in history as one of the most exciting superhero fights in recent history, with the Russo brothers throwing every possible match up and team up on the screen to give those "Who would win? Hero x vs Hero y?" fans palpitations to last them months.


Finally, Captain America: Civil War worked thanks to the lasting impact of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We've followed these characters for 8 years, and seen them go from heroes to friends to family, which only added to the gravity of the inevitable Cap vs Iron Man showdown. Sitting in the theater watching Captain America whale on Iron Man pained me, like I was watching family members fight. You were friends, dudes, I said to myself. Please stop fighting. Please. And the very fact that I said that meant it was working. I was invested in the story, I was all-in, and I loved every minute of it.


Captain America: Civil War is by no means perfect (Winter Soldier is still the better movie, IMO), but it's a damn good superhero film that has once again shaken the status quo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its core. I laughed, I cried, I awesomed, and you will too. Highly recommended!

And to whoever's listening: THAT is how you make a hero vs hero movie.
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