Friday, June 25, 2010

My Week in Comics: June 25, 2010

Pirates and nightmares and magicians, oh my! It's another My Week in Comics, the most verbose comic reviews around! If ever there's a reason to defect to DC, it's this week's comics! Let's see what I got myself into!

Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #3 picks up where the last issue left off, with Bruce shunted into the Golden Age of Piracy, with none other than ol' Blackbeard for company. Since pirates are programmed to search for treasure no matter how ludicrously difficult it takes, Bruce has no choice but to escort his new found 'friends' on a wild treasure hunt...but will they survive long enough to find what they're looking for?

I would just like to point out that despite the kick-ass Bat-pirate on the cover, Bruce doesn't wear anything remotely close to it in this ish. Instead, Bruce becomes the Jim Hawkins to Blackbeard's Long John Silver, trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered memory as they go on a meandering walk in search of treasure.

It's a bit disappointing to know that there's not much Bat-buccaneering going on in this issue. Sure it's crazy, it's fun, and in the end it's got Batman fighting Black-freaking-beard one on one while the rest of his crew get picked off with the early prototype of the batarang, but I was expecting something more off-the-wall crazy coming from a book penned by Grant Morrison. Never thought he had it in him to dial it down (way, way down) to let the good stuff simmer until well done.

Good thing they've got Yanick Paquette on pencils, as I've always loved his work. His crisp and clean style makes this book an enjoyable read-through, despite the slow and steady build up. Here's hoping the next issue brings the Red Bull, as I'm afraid I'm falling asleep at the proverbial wheel. This one's a 3 out of 5.

Zatanna continues to impress with her sophomore issue, as Brother Night decides to get a little payback in the one place Z is most vulnerable: her dreams!

With the rest of her comic book peers either wallowing in misery, seeking refuge in mediocrity, or ripping off other people's faces, Zatanna manages to use the one formula the comic book industry seems to forget to use often: good ol' fashioned comic book fun. Zatanna is not just a mistress of magic, she's a showman as well, which makes for an magically action-packed comic. Also, without being tied into any event or bogged down by years of continuity, a newbie could pick this up and enjoy it as is. And boy, will he enjoy it!

And the art? Stephane Roux knocks it out of the park and into outer space with this one, as he lets loose in the terrifying dream sequences our heroine finds herself in. It's just awesome to look at, as Roux can draw anything: nightmarish visions, extreme reactions, ugly demons and beautiful women, with emphasis on the beautiful. I'm slowly falling in love with Zatanna, and it's all Stephane Roux's fault.

The first issue did it's job hooking me in, and this second issue tops that by being a solid, fun read. Before you know it, you're reeled in for number 3. This book is a 4 out of 5. Do yourself a favor. Pick this book up (and the first issue, while you're at it), and treat yourself to a good comic book now.

That's it for my week in comics. If you've got any questions, violent reactions, or just want to commend my good taste in comics, drop a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toycon 2010 Megapost Day 2

Now we come to Day 2 of the 9th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention, also known by the more popular moniker Toycon 2010. Day 1 saw people go gaga over Alodia and Ashley, Kris Bernal arm-in-arm with the Joker of all people, and toys, toys, toys. Par for the course, really.

To be honest, it feels a little bit too par for this particular course. And on this retrospective on Day 2, I'll tell you why.

I wasn't in any particular need to come in at an ungodly early time, so I went to the con around 3pm. The line wasn't so killer like yesterday, so going into the con was a breeze.

I decided to circumnavigate the convention floor again to see if anything was worth looking at, and if anybody was stocking an S.H. Figuarts Masked Rider KickHopper or a BAF Galactus that doesn't look like a survivor of a pitbull attack. No such luck. I did see some interesting things by the way of The Sculpeyman Trading, with their exhibit of custom Ganmetall Celsius designer vinyl toys that looked pretty awesome if you're into that kind of thing. Can anyone tell me what the appeal is with these little guys?

Toycon 2010Toycon 2010
Oh, Comic Odyssey...what will I do without you? The bins of discounted comics were savagely attacked by comic book fans looking for the missing piece of their collection or the next rare gem of a story. With Comic Odyssey selling some of their comics for 50 pesos or less, wouldn't you dive in too?

Toycon 2010Toycon 2010
While the stage had bands playing blaring guitar riffs that echoed through the hall, I ducked into this mini conference hall at the side that housed some toy and statue displays by collectors from Pinoy Toy Kollector, Otakai and others. Of course, since Toycon 2010 was celebrating DC Comics' 75th Anniversary, it was only fitting that the first things to greet you as you enter were life sized statues of Superman and Batman. Pretty awesome.

Toycon 2010Toycon 2010

What impressed me more were this group called Halimaw! Sculptures, who had an exhibit of busts and statues that would make Randy Bowen green with envy. Some of them were really well done. No wonder they're called "halimaw" (monster)!

Toycon 2010Toycon 2010Toycon 2010
You could only look so much though, and even if I wanted to stay for longer (it was a bit cooler in there), my boredom took me out of the room. Which got me thinking...

Toycon 2010
Has the Toycon given anything new to the convention scene? These days, when the uneducated otaku layman thinks convention, it's all about cosplay and anime and other shit. Imagine what heights Toycon would reach if they focused on exciting toy launches from both local and overseas toylines, sneak peeks on upcoming toys, toy giveaways, collection spotlights...I could go on and on and Toycon will just sound better and better!

I'm not saying I don't want any cosplay or anime in the Toycon. It's actually more than welcome (why would I disallow impressionable young women to wear revealing clothing in the premise of cosplay?!), but next con I hope to see less emphasis on cosplay and more on the toy and hobby related events. Why would you relegate the toy photography and custom toy contests to the sidelines in a toy and hobby convention?!

But at the end of the day, despite trepidation and boredom, I found solace in the company of my buddies and fellow fans. Talking about toys you're hunting for, reminiscing old toys, squeeing with glee upon seeing a toy from your youth for sale, and crying right after you find out you ran out of cash...the experience of hanging out with fans is good enough for me.

Hope you enjoyed our post-event report on Toycon 2010. Thank you to the organizers for making a great event, and here's to a much better Toycon X! Thanks for reading!

Toycon 2010 Megapost Day 1

It's a Pinoy geek's summer home, the place where everyone knows your name, except that place doesn't sell beer but oodles and oodles of toys, clothes, comics and other geek paraphernalia. I'm talking about the recently concluded Toycon 2010, the biggest gathering of geeks, collectors and enthusiasts all under one roof!

Toycon 2010
This year, my wallet isn't mad at me for a change, although my poor feet have probably sent in divorce papers for what I put them through this weekend. But I digress...if you weren't there, you missed out on a lot!

I got to the mall at split-second, mall opening hours. By the time I got to the Megatrade Hall, there was literally a huge-ass like that circled the entire 5th floor and snaked down the stairwell to the lower floors. Madness. But at least I got to experience the ribbon cutting ceremony for Toycon 2010 compete with special appearances of Batman, Joker, security escorts entirely composed of Stormtroopers, and celebrities Aljur Abrenica and Kris Bernal!

Toycon 2010Bottom pic courtesy of the Philippine Outpost 501st Legion of Stormtroopers.

I dunno why those last two people were there, but it doesn't hurt to see Kris Bernal's insanely cute smile before you lose electrolytes going into the con.

Anyway, it was easy to walk around the con if you're an early bird, so I got firsthand looks at the stuff for sale. There were bins upon bins of loose Marvel Legends, DC Universe Classics, DC Infinite Heroes, GI Joes and other toylines for staggeringly low prices. And for the mint-on-carders, some mint toys had prices slashed to almost 50% off. Haggle any lower and you'll feel astoundingly guilty!

It seems that the buzzword this year is t-shirts, because no less than four booths were selling custom-made shirts in the con, which is already a pretty big number. Of course, the good people of Geekerie were there, as well as some newbies from PrintMe, Electromagnetic Tentacle and T-Tees, who graciously provided me with my custom-made, sexy new shirt.

Toycon 2010Toycon 2010
Of course, the usual suspects were there to hawk toys. 2Rats, Wasabi Toys, GreatToysOnline, and MaxiCollector dominated some of the space in the convention floor. Though I'm curious as to whether MaxiCollector ever breaks even in these sorts of cons. I don't think I've seen a single sale from that place ever.

Toycon 2010
And speak of the devil, there she is! Alodia, with her sis Ashley, are the newest spokesmodels for the newly reimaged Animax Asia, who are major sponsors of the event. Alabaster skin. It's the in thing.

Toycon 2010
By 3pm, my feet were literally besides themselves in pain. I've been walking around for five hours without sitting, taking pics, talking to fellow geeks, and looking at young girls who decided to show some skin for the con-going public. The cosplayers weren't so pervasive this year, which is a good thing IMO. We get to see some quality product like these:

Toycon 2010Toycon 2010
The only thing I could probably take offense on this day is that the organizers decided to put booths guaranteed to have high traffic right beside the entrance and exits. Now, I don't know about laying out a convention, but it was fucking hard (emphasis on the swear) to try to get out of the con to get some air when you have MaxiCollector showing off Alodia to sweating, heaving guys who will do anything to take pics of their princess, and the Axe booth, which was quite a hit with the aforementioned sweaty guy crowd due to the promise of having their pics taken with hot models dressed as dirty nurses and lady cops as long as they were spritzed liberally with Axe's newest scent. I avoided the place like the plague. I panic when my body notices I'm not breathing air anymore but scent molecules.

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By the end of the day, I lost 3 lbs., paralized from the ankles down, and came home with an S.H. Figuarts Masked Rider Kabuto, The Matrix Trilogy CDs, and The Infinity Gauntlet TPB I got for cheap. Also, my friend Luis won original Superman Returns and The Dark Knight movie posters in the auction! That's some mighty fine bidding if you ask me!

Toycon 2010
Anyway, there goes Day One of Toycon 2010. It was awesome, it was tiring...but something is amiss. What could it be? Join me for Day 2 coming in just a bit!

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Toycon 2010 Tomorrow!

It's that time of the year again, when the anguished cries of wallets everywhere can be heard for miles. Why? It's Toycon 2010 that's why!

If you Geeks are ever in the general vicinity of Ortigas tomorrow, drop by the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall for the 9th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention, more popularly known as Toycon 2010. I'll be there with some buddies to both shop for toy bargains and cover the event for the millions (and MILLIONS!) of Behold the Geek! fans.

So what can you expect? Aside from booths upon booths of toys, toys, toys, comics, toys, and other assorted chotchkes as far as the eye can see, there are also some fun stuff to see and experience to give your grieving wallets a breather while you're there. There's the Animax reimaging launch, for starters. Alodia, most definitely, since she'll be there to launch Otacool 2. Mindstyle is launching their Toycon exclusive, the Disney Toy Story Alien vinyl toy (inb4 hipster garbage). The good people at Geekerie will be there to unveil new geeky shirt designs at their booth, and my friend over at T-Tees will be there hawking her own brand of shirts. And in what sounds like an awesome event, Toycon will actually celebrate DC Comics' 75th anniversary! Tons of DC merchandise, guest artist panel and autograph signings and more! It's a good day to be a DC Fan!

So be there bright and early like me and join your fellow Geeks in Toycon 2010! See you there!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The A-Team Movie Review

We live in the age of remakes, when Hollywood has exhausted their originality and started looking to the past for a quick buck at the expense of the nostalgic. The latest entry (or is it victim?) to this age is The A-Team, a remake of the gun-toting, van-riding, 80’s action TV show that had Mr. T in it. After seeing what Hollywood film execs are capable of doing when they put their asinine minds to it in GI: Joe: The Rise of Cobra and (arguably) Transformers, I was expecting them to fight a giant mechanical spider wearing matching black spandex uniforms.

Then the movie comes out. I watch it, hoping for the best.

I’m in remake heaven.

The A-Team schools every remake ever done so far by being a remake done right, updating the setting, the circumstances, but keeping what made it so much fun way back then. The changes are cosmetic at this point. Hannibal is still chomping cigars. Face is still the charismatic sonovagun that can get his team anything within twenty minutes. B.A. still pities fools. And Murdock is still batshit insane...and still the best pilot the military has ever seen. Together they form the A-Team, a special ops team that specialize in the ridiculous and the impossible. Unfortunately, they were sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit. So what do they do? They bust out to clear their names, of course! And the fun just amps up from there.

Liam Neeson is obviously warming up to his new action hero image playing Col. “Hannibal” Smith, an Army ranger with a predilection for plans coming together. Combined with Bradley Cooper’s spot-on take as Face, Quintin “Rampage” Jackson as B.A., and Sharlto Copley’s hilarious turn as Murdock, it makes for a seamless and natural team dynamic that’s a hoot to watch. The action is crazy intense, and when you get to the part where the A-Team tries to fly a freakin’ tank and smiling while they do it, you know that they know how impossible, how ridiculous the entire scene is, but they’ll pull it off anyway. Because that’s how the A-Team rolls, fool.

Heck, I could even forgive Jessica Biel being more wooden than usual. Not even the foreigner sitting next to me in the theater who marinated himself in pungent cologne, making breathing a concentrated effort can detract from the fun I had with this movie.

Bottom line: The A-Team is a 2-hour thrill ride that has more tongue-in-cheek violence and fun than the Philippines has national debt. People who are familiar with the A-Team from the 80’s TV show will have absolutely plenty to love about this movie. It’s the A-Team come to life on the big screen! And those who are just in it for the guns and the explosions will be doing kegger handstands of distilled, balls-to-the-wall action and Bradley Cooper’s chiseled abs. If you want the most bang for your buck, The A-Team is it. Highly recommended!

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Week in Comics: June 11, 2010

A helpful and earth-friendly tip for you guys: Does your local comic shop bag your comics in plastic or paper bags? Do us and Mother Earth a favor by bringing your own bag! You must have tons of plastic or paper bags lying around from years of buying comics, so help your LCS save up on costs to produce bags and paper by telling them you'll be bringing your books home in your own bag! Isn't helping the environment fun? But I digress, let's see what I got myself into this week!

Invincible Iron Man #27 has Pepper wanting to be Rescue again for some reason, Stark Resilient gaining its first employee, and some big time fun happens in the home of gravure idols, Japan!

Once again, writer Matt Fraction decides to take things slow with some character development. Stark is visibly dealing with his past pre-mindwipe...the entire issue is seeped with drama. A pretty wordy issue, now that I look at it. I don't think I remember the last time I got tired actually reading a comic book, but there you go.

Part of me thinks that this story would have gotten over better if it was a novel or short story. Some of the lines feel corny at times reading it in comic book form. It doesn't help that Salvador Larocca is lapsing back to his awful art phase. Bottom line, everything looks bad here, and the awfully muddy and muted colors make it even worse. Daniel and Charles Knauf's run with Butch Guice in Iron Man: Director of SHIELD, despite having a premise just as heavy, looks more comic book-y by comparison!

This is an ugly-looking book, and it's dragging the story down with it. If the art pulled as much weight as the writing in this ish, it would have been easier to swallow. As it is, this is a 2 out of 5. Even the idea of Iron Man in Tokyo next issue isn't enough to save this comic.

And then we have Red Sonja, who reverts to her old numbering just in time to celebrate her 50th issue. It's a whopping 100 pages, and filled to the brim with stories about the She-Devil from a multitude of artists and writers. No fluff, no extras to pad page count, just page after page of story. That's value however you look at it.

There are lots of great stories here about our resident She-Devil raising hell in Hyboria and dealing with stupid pirates, werewolves and the occasional frost giant. I'm a sucker for anything swords and sorcery, and even though the stuff here isn't exactly LOTR material, it's written well enough to keep me interested.

As for the art, they each serve their stories well, bringing the gritty and bloody world of Red Sonja to life. Aside from a few questionable artistic choices in some scenes (like opting for a wide and long shot of Sonja stabbing someone in the neck when a close up shot was more appropriate), it's all good. I particularly like the art in "Here There Be Wolves.", which happens to be my favorite story from the bunch. Red Sonja throwing down with an entire army of werewolves, looking ridiculously sexy while doing so? Sign me up!

If the idea of a metal bikini-clad redhead lacerating, decapitating and basically eviscerating people with extreme prejudice for one hundred pages is your cup of tea, Red Sonja #50 is liquid gold. This gets a 4 out of 5. Read it when you get the chance.

If S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 wasn't so delayed, this would have been a fun week. But a good comic book blogger rolls with the punches, and I'm thankful enough to still read comics week after week! Think I'm full of crap? Want to thank me for talking you into buying Neko Ramen? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thor and Captain America Movie Costumes Revealed!

The 'Net's a-buzzin', and it's not because of shitty Wi-Fi. Behold, 'leaked' pictures of movie costumes for First Avenger: Captain America and Thor!

Captain America movie costumeThor movie costume
Just click to enlarge!

I say "leaked" since it's obviously CG concept art and there's no confirmation that these are real (at least, as far as official press releases are concerned), but from the previously leaked pics and hinted descriptions of the said costumes, the final designs seem to be on the dot.

Setting aside the fanboy in me, for the most part I think these are great designs. I could probably live without Cap's 'ear wings', but Thor to me is pretty iffy. Like I said in my Facebook page, the monotonous color scheme of his pants and body armor makes it look like he's wearing a tux. I hope they don't expect the god of thunder to look like he's running around in Sunday slacks.

So what do you think? Do these leaked designs make you salivate for the upcoming Thor and Captain America movies more or not? Hit the comments!

Source: AIGN and ScreenRant

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