Friday, July 30, 2010

My Week in Comics: July 30, 2010

Rains won't stop me from getting my weekly comic fix...unless it's rain like what we get here in Manila these past few days. Water from heaven is all well and good, but when it gets to a point when even an umbrella won't stop the rain (raining sideways, by the way) from soaking you through your undies...

But I digress. It's another Friday, which means its time for the most verbose comic reviews around! Let's see what I got myself into this week!

Aspen Splash Swimsuit Spectacular 2010 may not be a proper comic book, but if it’s in my pull list, it gets reviewed.

The swimsuit special is kind of a lost art these days, so I guess we should be thankful Aspen still does these things. It’s a pinup portfolio of heavenly bodies drawn by Aspen’s best artists, and some of these pinups are gorgeous, if not altogether boring. You can only do so many poses in bikinis, I guess. It says a lot that I thought last year’s Swimsuit Spectacular was better looking and had more variety. But hey, girls in bikinis! If you’re into your favorite Aspen characters wearing thongs and little else, this could be for you. This one’s a 3 out of 5.

Flash continues to provide non-stop comic book fun with issue four, which sees the speedster go toe-to-toe with the newly resurrected Captain Boomerang while the time-displaced Renegades are out to book his speedy butt for murder. It feels like there’s a lot going on in this ish, but nothing is ever hurried. Geoff Johns never lost his stride since issue one, and I’m amazed at how I’m continuously enjoying every single Flash issue he pumps out.

Also, Francis Manapul is starting to wear my “knocked it out of the park” expression to the ground. If Johns’ concepts are awesome, Manapul just one-ups it, bringing those concepts to life in unexpected ways. Whether saving a helicopter from crashing (in a sequence that has to be seen to be believed) or catching dozens of boomerangs all at once, the art just takes comic book storytelling one step further. The literally sketchy nature of the art might not be the cup of tea of some, but it works wonders here.

Flash is a solid superhero title. Buy, buy, buy this book on sight, and complete the previous issues while you're at it. A solid 4 out of 5.

And so we come to Artifacts #1, Top Cow’s ambitious crossover event that brings together the entire stable of characters from the Top Cow universe for an adventure that might spell the salvation of their world…or its doom.

The first issue is a surprisingly light read, devoting the entire issue to laying the groundwork of the series for newbies to understand. The role of the twelve artifacts were explained in brief (just in case you didn’t get Artifacts #0) while the forces of Hell hunt down the priest wielding The Rapture, one of the Artifacts in question, and Sara Pezinni’s daughter Hope becomes the target of unseen forces. But while it is light, it's all racing towards a cliffhanger of an ending that serves as a spark for all things to come. I would have wanted this issue to have more meat to justify the $3.99 (P200) price. Still, the very premise of the race to gather 13 artifacts that herald Armageddon is enough to get me excited over what the next issue has in store. That and Michael Broussard’s art has that sketchy Whilce Portacio vibe that I’m digging.

Artifacts is shaping up to be one exciting event. I'm all for supporting stuff outside of the Big Two, so Artifacts is highly recommended for me. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Lots of good books this week. Flash is putting my faith back in mainstream comics, which is good. Let’s hope the rest of them step up their game. Agree? Disagree? Which Artifacts cover did you get? Leave a comment and let’s discuss! That’s it for My Week in Comics. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


It's awesome to hear stories like this. Tonic reports that since the summer of 2009, Pittsburgh's residents have been "the recipients of kindness from someone they didn't know." The gifts of kindness range from roll of quarters in laundromats to gift cards left behind for other people to find, that sort of thing. The only hint to the good person's identity was the card they leave behind that reads "Secret Agent L: All-Around Swell Chick — Specializing in Anonymous Acts of Kindness and Day-Brightening." It reads like an inspirational comic book story!

And now, the anonymous kind person has revealed her identity in a fundraiser recently. Read more about it here.

I love stories like these. Random acts of kindness is what the world often needs, and you don't even need to have superpowers to do it! It almost put my faith back in humanity...almost!

Secret Agent L has my support!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Webcomics I Love: Johnny Wander

Wow. I've missed sharing Webcomics I Love with you guys. It's time to jump start your comic-reading Wednesdays again with a fun, quirky webcomic called Johnny Wander.

Johnny Wander
It's an autobiographical webcomic starring cute artist Yuko and the mysterious yet friendly cap-wearing Ananth, both of whom happen to be the authors of this webcomic. Johnny Wander portrays their struggles involving homemade bread, cats, household items and the occasional webcomic deadline. The art has a cartoony anime charm, and they also have awesome original stories in between the real-life madness. Oh, and did I say it has cats? Best webcomic ever.

But seriously, head on over to Johnny Wander and start reading!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tekken Movie Review

Tekken Movie
On some level, Tekken the game works as a live action movie. It’s a straight-up tournament, no magic fireballs or speed-of-light punches, so it was probably a breeze to translate into full-length feature film. But there’s a difference between turning a video game into a movie and turning a video game into an entertaining movie.

And for Tekken, the difference both makes and breaks it.

Tekken tells the story of Jin Kazama, a street rat living his days as a courier for illegal wares in a world where major wars left the world in ruins and global megacorporations stepped up to fill the void of leadership. In this dystopian future, the poor live in shanty towns under the iron heel of the corporations, and today’s commodities like chocolate and fruits are rare and hella expensive. To help distract people from their hellish existence, the Iron Fist Tournament was created by the Tekken Corporation. Of course, Jin wants nothing to do with the tournament. But when his mother was murdered during an anti-dissident raid by the Tekken Corporation, Jin decides to enter the tournament to avenge her death at their hands.

It’s refreshing to see a video game film that at least gives credit to the game it was based on. Fans will not be disappointed when they see the costumes and the sets and the actors they cast. Jin’s got his red gloves, Eddy Gordo still does capoeira, Christie Monteiro (played by the sexy Kelly Overton) is smoking hot, and Bryan Fury looks exactly like Bryan Fury it’s scary. And the action? No pretty people pulling punches to avoid breaking nails here. The action is brutal and intense, and Jon Woo (who plays Jin Kazama) pulls his share of the weight in flashy fight scenes.

Tekken Movie
Unfortunately, a poorly-written story undermines every shred of accuracy they've worked so hard for. Jin’s motivations are made shallow by an even shallower plot riddled with unnecessary plot points. The Jin-Christie Monteiro love angle was introduced and forgotten just as quickly. Good acting would have saved this, but wooden and cheeky performances kill most of the drama.

I’m divided with this movie, something that’s never happened to me before. In one hand, the characters, the costume accuracy and the action definitely lift this above the usual video game movie fare. On the other hand, the lame story underscores how corny the concept of the Iron Fist Tournament is. For someone like me who's never played the game before, Tekken's got the look of a champion, but it's all flash and no substance.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Week in Comics: July 23, 2010

My Week in Comics is a weekly look into my comic book buying habits. Keep in mind that the reviews to be read here are not coming from a jaded, old comic book enthusiast but more of a wide-eyed fan of these monthly installments of yum or mush.

Ninja girls and magic tricks about my week's worth of comics. How do they stack up? Read on and see what I got myself into!

Paul Dini wraps up Zatanna’s beef with Brother Night in Zatanna #3. After trying to rid of The Princess of Prestidigitation with nightmare demons and killer effigies, Brother Night decides it's time to deal with Zatanna once and for all, with the mystic might of Hell at his command!

Anyway, I know this will sound strange, but I wished this arc was…longer.

Crazy, I know. After ragging on about Bendis stretching the flimsiest of concepts into years of storylines, I would be the last person to like padding out a story into a “trade-friendly” length. But I really felt an extra issue would have done a service to Dini’s initial arc here in Zatanna. They could have fleshed out Brother Night’s motivations more, or at least built him up for a credible threat, especially with Zatanna's casually powerful showing in the last two books. Two issues of pissing off one of the premier names in magic in the DCU and the worst Brother Night could do was lure her to a straight-up magic fight? Where’s the tension, the fiendish trickery?

Stephane Roux’s pencils at least hit the right notes with his art, and aside from a few strange composition choices, Roux made Zatanna a good-looking book to read. As a whole, the entire first arc is a great intro for Zatanna in today’s DCU. With the way she's being set up as powerhouse, let’s hope our Mistress of Magic doesn’t burn herself out early. This one’s a 4 out of 5.

And then we come to Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki #3, courtesy of Jim Zubkavich and artist Omar Dogan. Once again, the Udon team knocks it out of the park with another great book that ups the action quotient of the entire series so far by 500% and at the same time making Ibuki a very real and likable character, which in my book is no mean feat.

Zubkavich promised more action in this ish, and he didn’t disappoint. Ibuki finally comes face to face with Oro, the man she was tasked to defeat, and Dogan makes use of his anime-style art to full effect. The cleanliness and ease in knowing what’s happening in every panel is staggering. Dogan’s got sequential storytelling down pat.

It’s a good sign that I’m falling more and more in love with Ibuki’s character with every issue. Once you can relate to a character, you’re hooked. Coupled with good clean art, this is how comics should be done. The multiple splash pages they used to advertise their other comics could have better served as more story pages to lessen the sting of the $3.95 (P200 here in Manila) price tag, but that’s a minor if not entirely insignificant peeve for me. Can’t wait for #4. Ibuki gets a 4 out of 5. Get the series while you can. This is great reading.

Two awesome comics in a single week? "Not bad" is a severe understatement!

That's it for this week's comics. Agree? Disagree? Do you think Ibuki could take on Zatanna in a straight-up fight? Hit the comments and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Charice Live! is AWESOME!

I know it seems weird to post an event like this here in Behold the Geek!, but then again, we are talking about a blog that looks at all things ‘comic’ and ‘awesome’.

And Charice Pempengco is awesome.

And so there I was at Charice Live!, Charice’s concert series to promote her self-titled debut album. Thanks to the beautiful Ms. Tefel and Ms. Joan of Eastwood Mall, I was able to get a front row seat to what was sure to be an explosive performance by Charice at the Eastwood Mall Open Park!

It looked bleak, to be honest, when a sudden heavy downpour of rain happened more than an hour before her scheduled performance. The chairs were soaked, some of the equipment had to be evacuated from watery hell, and I was afraid they would have to cancel the event. Thankfully, it was just a passing, temporary annoyance, and the events team took control of the situation and made sure come hell or high water, Charice will be there!

After what seemed like eternity of waiting, I finally took my seat near the stage. For the opening act, Fil-Australian singer Chris Cayzer came to the stage and crooned some acoustic hits for the welcoming crowd. I don’t know him but damn if he didn’t make the girls swoon the moment he played that guitar!

Charice Live Eastwood Mall
Then at last, the moment of truth! Charice comes onto the stage singing, her voice more powerful than the roar of the adoring crowd!

Allow me a moment of weakness here, as I’ve been a big fan of Charice for some time, but to see her this close, listening to her sing in person, was enough to set my dignity switch to ‘off’ and I just let myself get carried away in a wave of emotional giddiness.

Charice Live Eastwood Mall
She sang some of her original songs, a smashing rendition of Beyonce’s "Halo", and even that Bieber song “Baby”. That’s cool in and of itself until it crossed awesome territory when Charice started rapping Ludacris’ lines herself! Not only can she belt out a mean tune, she can spit rhymes just as great!

Charice Live Eastwood Mall
She’s done her last set, or at least it looks that way. She looks to the crowd and asks, “Wait, may nakalimutan ba ‘kong kantahin?” At that moment the crowd goes wild clamoring for that one last song, the song that put her on the Billboard charts…

And she gives it to us.

It was unbelievable. People sang along, throwing up ‘pyramid signs’ all over the place, all the while Charice performed the only way she knew how: splendidly. "Pyramid" capped off one unforgettable night.

Charice Live Eastwood MallCharice Live Eastwood Mall
The most talented girl in the world? Some people may dispute that. But on that Saturday night, hearing that powerful voice singing like it's never sung before, no one can deny that the girl has talent, period, full stop.

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