Friday, December 30, 2011

Behold the Geek! Best of 2011: The Comics

A few winks left and we're about to leave 2011 behind and welcome the brand-new 2012! 2011 was a good year for geeks, with fun TV shows coming out, a slew of comic book movies to watch, and a comic book industry that broke new ground in ways no one even dared to! So join me as we look back in the year that was and award the best, the worst and the different in Behold the Geek!'s Best of 2011!

Welcome back to our Behold the Geek! Best of 2011 special! We've taken a look at MOVIES, now let's shine the spotlight at 2011's best in COMICS! From Best Writer, Best Artist to Kitty Comic of the Year, I awareded them now so you won't have to!

News of the Year -- DC Relaunch/Reboot

The answer to "Who had the biggest balls in 2011?" was definitely DC Comics, who shook the comic industry to the core by up and completely rebooting their entire line of books, effectively starting over from scratch! They caught a lot of flak from hardcore fanboys and longtime fans for this drastic move, but the ensuing buzz lit the internet like an overachieving Christmas tree. On August 31, Justice League #1 shipped, and the rest of the new #1 books followed soon after. When all was said and done, Justice League #1 sold more than 200,000 copies, making it the best-selling book of 2011, along with a dozen more books reaching the 100,000+ copies mark, a number never before seen in that many books in years.

Kitty Comic of the Year -- Neko Ramen

Tokyopop may have folded, but it left us a with the best kitty comic this 2011: Neko Ramen. This little manga about a ramen shop owner who just happens to be a cat was a laugh-a-minute comedy romp of gastronomical proportions! This special award is for the one book that got me curled up in a ball, clutching at my stomach from so much laughter and manly tears. I hope some other publisher picks this up...2012 needs Taisho, dammit!

Best Writer -- Mark Waid

Choosing this year's best writer was hard, but I had to give this one to Mark Waid, if only for the fact that he had the guts to do something different. His Daredevil is colorful, adventurous and fun, but behind that smile still lingers the pain that has haunted him all these years. Building on what came before, Waid turned DD into a character we can all relate to, a guy who's had bad days and good days, but still going out and doing what he loves doing. If Waid keeps this up, 2012 might just be his year too.

Honorable mentions: Rick Remender on Uncanny X-Force, the bloodiest good time you can have in a Marvel book.

Best Artist -- Paolo Rivera

No other artist this year has come close to matching the fun creativeness of Paolo Rivera. His work on Daredevil is some of the best I've seen in a long time, made even more impressive with the fact that he's turned a comic about a blind superhero into a visual feast! Consistently great work from an artist to watch out for in the coming year.

Honorable mentions: Mahmud Asrar on Supergirl, Jerome Opena on Uncanny X-Force, Cameron Stewart and David Hahn on SuicideGirls

Best Story Arc -- The Dark Angel Saga from Uncanny X-Force

Rick Remender's The Dark Angel Saga blazed a trail of blood and murder in the pages of Uncanny X-Force, and it was an enjoyable ride every step of the way. Guys like Fantomex and Deadpool stole the show, Psylocke and Archangel's doomed love story broke my heart, and the entire affair was like watching a movie about X-Force with the budget of Lord of the Rings with Jerome Opena, Mark Brooks and Esad Ribic on art. An epic storyline however you slice it, this is an X-event 2011 won't soon forget.

Best New Series -- Wolverine and the X-Men

Funny how it took a schism to make the X-Men fun again. Our Best New Series has been firing on all cylinders since issue one, bringing us balls-to-the-wall action that only Wolverine and a motley crew of mutants in a school for mutants can deliver. I mean, they got Krakoa and the Hellfire Babies causing hell in their school...and that's just issue 1! Jason Aaron bringing on the crazy, Chris Bachalo tearing it up on art, and ideas as wild as the school it's happening in...a recipe for success and another book to watch come 2011!

Book of the Year -- Daredevil

Daredevil did in 7 issues what most comic books have been trying to do for years: entertain. Mark Waid returned the smile to Matt Murdock's face, along with his sense of fun and adventure, in Marvel's Daredevil relaunch, and it just got better from there. A far cry from the grim and gritty reality that surrounds it, Daredevil delivered old-school comic book fun month after month courtesy of Waid's scripts and the bright, fantastic art and colors of Paolo and Joe Rivera, Marcos Martin and Javier Rodriguez. Daredevil was heads and shoulders above the rest this 2011, and that's why it's Behold the Geek's Book of the Year!

And those were my picks for 2011's best in comics! 2011 went out guns blazing...a good sign that 2012 will be nothing short of awesome! So what were your picks for this year? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year!

Behold the Geek! Best of 2011: The Movies

A few winks left and we're about to leave 2011 behind and welcome the brand-new 2012! 2011 was a good year for geeks, with fun TV shows coming out, a slew of comic book movies to watch, and a comic book industry that broke new ground in ways no one even dared to! So join me as we look back in the year that was and award the best, the worst and the different in Behold the Geek!'s Best of 2011!

Let's start with the world of MOVIES! A lot of great movies came out this year, from the flashy Sucker Punch to the mighty Thor. Check out our special awardees, including my pick for Movie of the Year!

WTF Are You Doing? Award -- Green Lantern The Movie

What do you get when you take a popular and visually interesting DC character and add a 200+ million dollar movie budget? It doesn't add up to the Green Lantern movie, that's for sure. Green Lantern was supposed to be DC's next superhero epic that isn't Batman, but what we got was a ho-hum, overproduced mess. I mean, how do you mess up a movie about a guy who can make laser fists with his mind? Apparently the folks at Hollywood had lots of ideas how.

Nothin' But Eye Candy Award -- Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch wasn't that good, but damn if it was a feast for the eyes! Our Nothin' But Eye Candy Awardee was filled with chicks who battled three-story tall samurai armors and dragons in fantastic worlds while wearing miniskirts, leather chaps and chain mail.  Eye candy doesn't even begin to describe what Sucker Punch had, and for what its worth, it's what it had going for it.

Guilty Pleasure Award -- Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I liked it. I know I shouldn't have, but I did. Michael Bay apparently knew the exact amount of Rosie Huntington-Whitely, robots fighting and explosions to trigger this pleasant feeling I get when I actually enjoy a movie. Which in the case of this movie, I really shouldn't have. But as much as I deny it, I watched it twice...and I still liked it. Such sorcery deserves a BtG! Guilty Pleasure Award, and a plea to my handful of readers not to tell anyone.

Movie Villain of the Year, All Years -- Tom Hiddleston as Loki

This is a villain you can't help but root for. Tom Hiddleston's breakout role as Thor's brother Loki set the standard for all comic movie supervillains this year, with a performance so awesome you can't help but sympathize with him. Doe-eyed brother in one scene, snarling psycho the next, sympathetic son in another, Tom Hiddleston played the hell out of the God of Mischief, so much so that his role inspired a million fanarts, gifs and Tumblr blogs dedicated to him!

Magnificent bastard, a true bro and a cool would take a hell of a lot to knock Loki off this pedestal!

BtG! Movie of the Year -- Captain America: The First Avenger

Choosing the best geek-out movie of the year was hard...a LOT of awesome movies came out this year (some of them coming out just a week apart, even!). But if I had to pick the one movie that stood out among the rest this 2011, it's Captain America: The First Avenger.

The Joe Johnston-helmed flick hit all the right notes, starting with Chris Evans' spot-on take as Steve Rogers/Captain America (probably the most perfectly cast role ever!) .The action is superheroic and fun, Peggy and Steve's on-screen romance was the cutest we've seen and the entire movie was chock full of inspiring and epic moments that exemplified what Captain America is all about, and what we should all strive to be. Everything about it defied expectations, making for a highly entertaining movie that's distinctly superheroic, and that's why Captain America: The First Avenger is our Movie of the Year.

Congratulations to our 2011 winners! Thanks for reading and watch out later for the second part of our Behold the Geek! Best of 2011 special, featuring COMIC BOOKS!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Week in Comics: December 23, 2011

The Christmas weekend is upon us, and Santa thought to bring me not one, but four awesome comic books to review this week! Oh joy! What did I get myself into this week? Read on to find out!

Supergirl #4 has the Maid of Might trapped by the billionaire evil genius Mr. Tycho, and a last minute save might mean her salvation...or something much worse!

The book is still on slow-burn, but I love how organic it's all coming together. We're seeing Kara slowly grow into the Supergirl she's meant to become, and all the emotional beats needed are there to see her through. Michael Green and Mike Johnson are naturals at writing Supergirl, no doubt about it, so much so that I'm wondering why they haven't written her sooner! The star of the show, though, is Mahmud Asrar's art. His Supergirl is young, beautiful and powerful, and you can see from his dynamic and exciting pencils that Asrar was born to draw superhero books. It's safe to say that Supergirl #4 is one of the better-looking books this week!

Supergirl is blessed with a creative team that really works, and this ish is proof positive of it. This ain't so great as a standalone issue, but as part of an ongoing narrative, it's one of the better issues the book's had. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Wolverine's wetworks team winds it down with a done-in-one in Uncanny X-Force #19. In the aftermath of the harrowing Dark Angel Saga, the team deals with the fact that there's a teenage clone of Apocalypse walking around. It's nature vs. nurture at its weirdest!

Rick Remender used the issue to tie off some loose ends and plant the seeds for juicy future plot points to develop. Teen Apocalypse being honed to become a superhero is a stroke of genius, and I love how Remender makes parallels to him and a certain super man. Not everyone agrees though, and it's interesting to see whether Teen Apocalypse will grow up to prove them wrong...or right!

The book is also full of fuzzy warm and sad and tense moments, from Betsy and Warren's heart-to-heart to Wolvie's touching plea for Age of Apocalypse Jean to stay. Remender shows that he knows how to write compelling drama, and the book is the better because of it. I do take issue with the fact that the revelation of their wetworks team is met with a stern telling-to instead of the freak-out I was expecting. A secret that big and that bloody should have been given the gravity it deserves. Robbi Rodgriguez steps up for Jerome Opena and Esad Ribic on art, and though his cartoony style might not be your cup of tea, he's got the storytelling chops to complement the story wonderfully. All in all, it's a good issue that wraps it all up nicely, but with a little space for you to peek at what's waiting inside. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Daredevil's gone snowblind in Daredevil #7, where Matt and a bus full of blind kids get into an accident and are left to fend for themselves in the middle of nowhere. The Man Without Fear has faced all kinds of deadly threats...but is he prepared for a threat like this?

I've been harping on and on how Daredevil is a great book, and I'm sorry but I'll say it again: this is a great book. It might lack the fun superheroics of previous issues, but writer Mark Waid is a master at turning a story as simple as Daredevil stranded in the middle of nowhere with blind kids into this tense, emotionally charged look inside what makes Daredevil tick. Waid's story doesn't feel forced, doesn't feel hokey or anyything, and it's made all the more better with Paolo Rivera, Joe Rivera and Javier Rodriguez's triple tag-team on art. These people how to do atmosphere, piling on the windswept snow in this ish and often making you feel as blind as the kids stuck in it. Great, great stuff.

If you haven't been paying attention to Daredevil yet, this is as good a place as any to start doing so. Great writing and gorgeous art, you can't ask for anything better than this. Daredevil #7 gets a 4.5 out of 5.

And so we come to Wolverine and the X-Men #3, a book that's, pardon my language, fucking awesome.

I've never read any Jason Aaron stuff before this series, and from what I can tell he's writing to my specific interests: mainly, mind-blowingly awesome and fun ideas that encapsulate what comic books are all about. So Krakoa is attacking Wolvie's school, the teachers and students are fighting for their lives, and their only hope is a punk named Quentin Quire? It's a recipe for disaster, but it's a disaster perfectly orchestrated by Aaron to showcase these characters in the most awesome light possible. Pardon the haters, but Aaron actually made me like Quire. After that revelation, anything is possible!

And you know what? This book proves that anything IS possible. And that's why I freakin' love this book. Even Chris Bachalo steps up to deliver a knockout punch of awesomeness with his dynamic art. You often can't tell what's going on, but Bachalo makes it so crazy exciting! And then you get to that big splash page of Wolverine, claws bared and with the entire school behind him, snarling at the Hellfire Brats to "Stay the hell away from my school." and all of a sudden you're catatonic, your brain unable to process the image. It's that good.

I'm still freaking out as I type this! If you open up the dictionary to the definition of awesome, you'll only see a picture of Wolverine and the X-Men #3. This is what comic books are all about. I cannot recommend this book, this series enough! This gets a well-deserved 6 out of 5.

Wow! If this isn't a good week in comics, I don't know what is! Got any comments? Suggestions? Exchange gifts over the holiday weekend (kidding...or am I?)? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading and have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Cosplay Comic Covers!

'Tis the season for a lot of thing: advent wreaths, presents under the tree...and cosplaying as the jolly old man himself! Just check out these Santa-rrific comic covers!

Richie Rich Fortune$ #9 (Harvey 1973)

Spider-Man: Christmas in Dallas (Marvel 1983)

Walt Disney's Christmas Parade (Dell 1951)

Adventures of Superman v1 #487. Cover by Jerry Ordway. (DC Comics 1992)

Man-Thing v3 #3. Cover by Liam Sharp.(Marvel 1998)

Marvel Holiday Spectacular. Cover by Ed McGuinness. (Marvel 2009)

Archie's Christmas Stocking #2. Cover by Dan DeCarlo. (Archie 1992)

Punisher X-Mas Special. Cover by C.P. Smith. (Marvel 2006)  

Bone Holiday Special. Cover by Jeff Smith. (Warrior, 1993)

The Transformers (UK Edition) #41. Cover by Will Simpson. (Marvel 1985)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Super Robot Chogokin Megazord is Coming!

Are you familiar with the mighty Daizyujin?. I won't blame you if you said no. But maybe you'd recognize it by its Americanized  name...the Megazord.

Why did I ask? Because there's a kick-ass toy of it coming real soon!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas in Comics!

There was a time when it snowed in comic books.

And I’m not talking about those giant-sized holiday specials, either. I’m talking about the time when you opened up your favorite comic book and hey, Spider-Man is having an adventure and OH MY GOSH IT’S CHRISTMAS OVER THERE!

I don’t know about you, but I used to get a kick out of seeing Christmas-y things in my comics as a kid. Sure Marvel had their Marvel Holiday Specials before, but there’s something a little more special about picking up a regular issue and seeing Spider-Man pass by a blinged-out-for-the-holidays Rockefeller Center on the way to kicking bad guys in the face. It made me feel like my favorite superheroes and I are on the same dimension, the same calendar page.

Heroes having adventures over the holidays isn't new. One of Batman's earlier adventures was during Christmas in Batman #9, considered to be Batman's first Christmas story!

Art by Bob Kane.

Spider-Man had a love-hate relationship with Christmas, what with him swinging around New York patrolling during the holidays and not snuggling with Mary Jane under the warm blankets (because screw OMD). But I loved the fact that Spidey celebrated Christmas just like me.

A panel from X-Man #24. Art by Roger Cruz.

A panel from Sensational Spider-Man #24. Art by Todd Nauck.

It's not just Marvel...DC had its share of adventures during the holidays. One of my favorite stories was in Starman #27, where Jack Knight helps a down-and-out Santa. Warning: this WILL bring a tear to your eye!

Art by Steve Yowell.

Also, during that weird Warrior phase he had, Guy Gardner's bar was open during the holidays, and everybody was invited!

A panel from Guy Gardner: Warrior #39. Art by Marc Campos.

Not just the stories, I loved it when my favorite artists get to depict Christmas in their books. This Joe Mad splash page from Uncanny X-Men #341 blew me away as a kid and remains one of my favorite images ever!

 Art by Joe Madureira.

It's sad that with long storyarcs and 'writing for the trade', we'll probably never get to see seasonal issues like these anytime soon. But if you're itching for some stories set during Christmastime, the intermittent holiday specials and spectaculars put out by the Big Two are your next best bet.

So what were your favorite comic book holiday stories? Let's talk about it in the comments! Happy holidays and thanks for reading!

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Week in Comics: December 16, 2011

Don't you just hate hiatuses? Stupid real life interfering with my comics fun...but I digress. Let's jump start this blog again with the most verbose comics reviews around! This week, I'm reviewing two explosive endings to two great comics! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!

Bonnie Lass #4 is a maelstrom of maritime insanity, which is my fancy way of saying it's crazy good. Last issue saw Bonnie and her crew being sucked into a watery vortex courtesy of a very large and very angry Leviathan. With the evil Ebb Tide group wanting a piece of the action, and a sea monster running amok, it's going to take a hell of a lot of luck to get out of this mess in one piece (no pun intended)!

The miniseries wraps things up splendidly, with an exciting action sequence involving tons of seawater and ammunition that would make Michael Bay proud. I love it when storylines end with a bang, and Bonnie Lass #4 did just that. It does get a little chaotic in some parts when you can't seem to follow the action well, but I guess that's what Michael Mayne and Tyler Fluharty meant to do. Mayne's art is his usual art nouveau-ish best, with a little sprinkling of anime-style goodness that I like. More books should look like this!

Bonnie Lass #4 is a one-two punch of great comic entertainment. I can't wait to see what Bonnie Lass will be up to next. This gets a 4 out of 5.

And now we come to Uncanny X-Force #18, the grand finale to the magnum opus that is Rick Remender's The Dark Angel Saga. Archangel is a few steps away from resetting evolution, and the only thing standing in their way is the new pairing of Fantomex and Psylocke!

They say all good things come to an end, but they never factored in just how good an end this one is. Remender went balls-out with this storyarc, showing us a ton of explosions, mangled body parts, heroic sacrifices and the undeniable power of love.

I say that because in the end, this is ultimately a story about the love of Psylocke and Archangel and the sacrifices one must make for the one you love. As mushy as it sounds, it lends a hopeful and very romantic undercurrent that tempers all the wanton carnage this book is known for. It's action-packed, but it's also a bittersweet love story. And when you see how Remender decides to end it all, I'd be shocked if you don't shed a tear. It's fitting that Jerome Opena and Esad Ribic, both regular series artists, team up to bring all this to life, and they match Remender's story with the same quality art they've been known for since this book started.

Uncanny X-Force #18 and the entire Dark Angel Saga will go down as one of the best and most memorable storylines in recent years, and you can quote me on that. This gets a 5 out of 5.

Two great comics, two great finales! That's a winning week, if you ask me! Speaking of which, let me know what you think about this week's comics by leaving me a comment below! Hope you enjoyed this review, and thanks for reading!

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Week in Comics: November 25, 2011

It's been a VERY busy November for me...but not busy enough to buy comics and review the heck out of them here at Behold the Geek! You're in luck, because two of the best books in the stands right now are in my pull list this week! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!

In The Sixth Gun #17, Gord Cantrell is given a sadistic choice between his past and his future, while Becky learns about the Sword of Abraham's true intentions and goes on a one-woman rescue save Drake Sinclair!

This ish reads like a darn good season finale it's crazy. The book wraps up the running "Bound" storyline in a very satisfying way. Gord Cantrell, someone whom I thought was just some guy in the series, came out of this arc as a deep, interesting character and quite possibly a major player in the destruction of the Six. Becky also gains access to one of the Sixth Gun's hidden powers, and the fact that she uses it to find the one person she's worried about the most makes it all the more sweeter.

Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree are their usual best here. The splash page at the end in particular is such a powerful dramatic image, worthy of hanging in an art gallery! It's that kind of quality that makes this book stand out from any comic in the racks right now.

The previous issues of the "Bound" storyline were pretty slow-moving, but I should have known better than to doubt Bunn and co. The payoff was well-done, so much so that issue 18 can't get here fast enough. This gets a 4 out of 5.

And so we come to Wolverine and the X-Men #2, which is quite possibly the most insane comic book issue of the year. The school literally rising up to attack the students and teachers, the Hellfire Club brats throwing Frankenstein monsters armed with flamethrowers at them...and that's just the first few pages!

Series writer Jason Aaron opens up a floodgate of whoop-ass in this issue, as Wolverine and the X-Men get thrown out of the proverbial frying pan and into a vicious and brutal attack that just might end their teaching and heroic careers for good. This ish ramps up the action quota by 200% (good news for those who thought the first issue was sorta dull), which is worth the cover price alone!

It's not all mindless action though. Aaron sprinkles in a few short and sweet character moments throughout, including one that might make longtime readers go "Yowza", and some Crowning Moments of Awesome courtesy of Iceman and even the Hellfire Club that would make you involuntarily fist pump out of glee. Heck, throw in one of the X-Men's earliest foes wrecking stuff and we have yourselves a winner!

The issue gets a boost from Chris Bachalo's frenetic and stylized art, though there is such a thing as too frenetic. Most of the time you don't know what's going on (the wild layouts don't help) but I guess that's what Bachalo was aiming for. What we do get is amazing, though, and elevates Aaron's story in a way no lesser artist ever could.

I don't think I've ever read a series where your mind is blown by issue 2. Issue numero dos, people! Wolverine and the X-Men #2 is crazy good, despite its minimal flaws, and deserves a 4.5 out of 5.

Awesome week in comics, if I do say so myself! What did you think of this week's comics? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Week in Comics: November 18, 2011

Girl comics are always welcome in my pull list, and this week's comics is a good example of why! X-23 may be gone, but there are a lot of comics starring girls out there that are worthy of your the latest entries to My Week in Comics! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!

This week in Supergirl #3, Kara Zor-El still can't believe it's not butter Krypton is gone, and she goes off in search for clues in the 'pod' she came in when she crash-landed on Earth. But there's someone else interested in the pod - and in her little alien self - and it's going to take all of her power to survive them!

Supergirl is still slow-burning its way out of the introduction phase that most of the DCnU is in, which could be good or bad, depending on who asks. I think it's nice, if only because Michael Green and Mike Johnson writes an interesting Supergirl. She's a little impulsive, a little naive, but a potential female powerhouse, as seen in this issue. There are a lot of surprises here, including clues to Supergirl's new powers, which is pretty cool, but longtime DC fans could get knocked out of the loop. A new baddie in the form of one Simon Tycho, trillionaire scumbag extraordinaire, has some dastardly plans for our Maid of Might, and right now I'm genuinely interested to see what happens next.

Mahmoud Asrar's art in this ish could use some stronger inks. The style he used here has that unfinished, sketchy Francis Manapul look to it, which isn't so bad, but seeing how great Asrar's art looks when finished off with some inks made me wish it did have some. Nitpicky complaint at best, since it's still a pretty good-looking book starring a pretty good-looking heroine. If this keeps up, I could stand that slow-burn for a little while longer. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.

And so we come to a new debut here in My Week in Comics, Bonnie Lass! I heard good things about Red 5 Comics' Bonnie Lass during my daily internet dives, and I liked what I saw so much I hunted down the first two issues. Best idea I've had all year!

Last issue, Bonnie and her crew inspected a mysterious lizard statue that might hold the key to the treasure called the Eye of the Leviathan. It's the one treasure that Bonnie's father, the infamous pirate Cutlass, never found, and for Bonnie this is the perfect opportunity to make a name for herself and get out of her dad's shadow. Now in Bonnie Lass #3, the statue has revealed its true purpose, and Bonnie is in a whole lot of trouble. What's a buxom pirate to do?

Kick ass, that's what!

I really, really like Bonnie Lass, and not just because of her obvious, *ehem*, charms. I'm all for fun comic books, and this comic book is straight up fun. Writers Michael Mayne and Tyler Fluharty have made something refreshing and different with Bonnie Lass. It's a no-fuss adventure you can dive into and enjoy the moment you pick up an issue. It's a little rough around the edges though, especially when it comes to dialogue and storytelling, but the art makes up for it. Mayne's style is a mix of art nouveau and anime that just works. Art nouveau, man! Never thought I could say that word together in a sentence about a comic book!

It has its flaws like every comic does, but the sheer fun factor outweighs any negatives. Bonnie Lass #3 is more of the stuff I wish more comic books these days had. She gets a well-deserved 4 out of 5.

Great stuff all around! Bonnie Lass is my new favorite comic, I tell you what! Got any comments? Suggestions? Want to discuss the early years of the art nouveau movement? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Week in Comics: November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11, fellow geeks! The auspiciousness of this date is suspect, but who am I to avoid the bandwagon? But I's time for the most verbose comic reviews around! What did I get myself into this week? Read on to find out!

The action reaches a fever pitch in Uncanny X-Force #17 as the team (or what's left of it) scrambles frantically to stop Archangel/Apocalypse from committing genocide on the entire planet!

A LOT happens in this issue, which is good and bad in itself. Wolverine and the rest of the still-functioning X-Force try over and over again to stop Warren from blowing up the entire planet, and to see them straining under all that pressure feels like you've been walking on a treadmill for hours. Even a surprise assist from the Age of Apocalypse X-Men isn't enough to stop this guy. Just what kind of hax does Archangel have right now?! But hey, like that old Magic: The Gathering card said, "The tougher to crack, the sweeter the snack."

At least Jerome Opena is still busting out that gorgeous art for this book. I love his take on Archangel here. He's never been as graceful, as regal, and as goddamn scary as he is right now. A plus however you slice it.

The ending promises a showdown of all showdowns next issue, and with how much Rick Remender is spoiling us with his writing so far, the expectations for the grand conclusion is astronomical. In a way, Uncanny X-Force #17 feels incomplete as a single book because of it. What we do have is nice, though, and deserves a 4 out of 5.

Never thought we'd see Artifacts as my pick of the week, but surprise surprise! Artifacts #11 did a lot of things right! With the Curator/Survivor on the verge of collecting all the Artifacts and destroying the world, it will take a miracle to save the day...specifically, a miracle like the 13th Artifact!

Ron Marz has been a bit all over the place these past few issues, but here his writing is tighter, his dialogue less corny and carried more weight, his action scenes are better planned and the result is just an exciting and enjoyable comic. The shift in quality from meh to great is so jarring, I had to double-check to see if I was still reading the right comic.

It's interesting how this all can be traced back at the very beginning, when The Curator first appeared, and how Marz orchestrated everything leading up to this event. This is literally years in the making, and I hope the pay off is as big as it promises! The art team of Jeremy Haun, Michael Golden and Sunny Gho capped it all off with some great art. The action is easy to follow and the book feels more finished than previous artists' attempts.

It's too bad that it took 11 issues for the creative team to bust out the big guns. but I guess it's better late than never. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Can't get enough of The Geek's reviews? Visit The Outhouse and check out my review of Magneto: Not a Hero #1! Magneto? A hero? Pish-posh, I say!

Good week is good! Who said comics don't surprise you anymore? Anyway, if you liked these reviews, or have any comments or suggestions for future ones, let me know by dropping a comment in the comment box below! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Top 10 Cool Comic Book Characters Who Wear Glasses

It's Top 5 Thursday, with a twist! Today we're featuring a guest post from Kimberley Newey, a "Canadian/British writer of comics, films and the occasional webisode". She's a huge geek, and I'm honored that she chose to contribute to this little blog of mine! Her guest post is a top 10 list of the coolest glasses-wearing comic book characters! Wanna know who she thinks makes the list? Read on to find out!


When I was growing up (in the 80s and 90s), glasses were seen as exclusively geeky and decidedly un-cool. These days with the influx of designer frames and celebrity’s donning many intricately created designer prescription glasses; they have emerged as a cool, chic and stylish accessory. As a result, many with an eye for fashion and style are choosing to wear glasses rather than contacts purely for the fashion statement a great pair of glasses can create.

In the world of comics however, glasses have always been seen as more than just an accessory or a sign of geekdom. Glasses, sunglasses, and variations in between have been used to define character attributes, maintain hidden identities, and cover up mutations or strange features.

Comic artists use glasses to demonstrate or emphasize aspects of a character, and this isn’t always down to whether a character is geeky, nerdy, or intelligent. The inclusion of glasses, sunglasses, or variations thereof on a character design can greatly effect how the character is interpreted and must be considered carefully by the artist.

Here in ascending order are the top ten “cool” comic book characters who wear glasses:

10. Kevin (Sin City)

This creepy cannibal psychopath should not really get any cool points except that he wore his glasses very well. His simple round frames have become iconic for their ominous implications. All of this earns him the bottom slot (and a good solid punch).

9. Thessaly (Sandman)

From Neil Gaiman’s magnificent epic comes this bespectacled bookish vixen, an ancient Greek witch who was once a lover to Sandman and, later, to one of the Endless, Dream. She is ruthless and proud, though not malicious. Her main focus is self-preservation and as such she would not hesitate to kill anyone who would seek to harm her. She is equally very passionate and has been known to have quite multifaceted emotions, which earns her cool points. She is a very interesting character. Just don’t get on her bad side.

8. Bruce Banner (The Hulk)

Bruce Banner is well known as a reserved and withdrawn physicist who unintentionally creates a rather large alter ego, The Hulk, with impulsive tendencies. Banner himself doesn’t embody much in the way of cool but for his deep capabilities of love. The Hulk is an incredibly heroic character who is an embodiment of the otherwise restrained aspects of Bruce’s personalities. With throwbacks to classics like Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, it’s hard not to give Bruce Banner and his glasses some quality cool points.

7. Matt Murdock (Daredevil)

This fearless vengeance seeking hero wears sunglasses by day and a mask by night. His blindness caused by a radioactive substance resulted in heightened senses and powers which aided him in becoming a hero. With his nickname “the man without fear” he has definitely earned himself some cool points (except when played by Ben Affleck).

6. The Corinthian (Sandman)

The Corinthian appears in a number of Sandman comics. Originally he was created by Dream as a nightmare. Unfortunately once created he goes rogue, failing to fulfil his design and becoming a true nightmare. He wears sunglasses due to the fact that he actually has no eyes; in their place are mouths with jagged teeth. He is most definitely not a good guy, but he is a very cool character and an impeccable dresser who is decidedly suave even at his most disturbing.

5. King Mob (The Invisibles)

From the brilliant mind of Grant Morrison, this character is named after a London “Situationist” group. He is the leader of a counter terrorist team, and a revolutionary ex horror writer. His complex personality, intelligence and unfortunate violent tendencies, which he himself is wary of, make him a very exciting and cool character.

4. Kitty Pryde (X-Men)

Probably one of the most interesting and understated female characters in the X-Men universe particularly in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men series, Kitty Pryde will always have that element of mysterious cool down pat. She does not currently wear glasses but during the comic House of M, we find out that as a teenager Kitty went through serious headaches as part of her mutation. She wore glasses at this time. Despite not currently wearing glasses, she makes the list for being an incredibly cool and complex female character.

3. Clark Kent (Superman)

What list can include cool comic characters who wear glasses without mentioning Clark Kent? Clark’s magic glasses seemed to have the ability to disguise his true identity, while the silliness of such a claim is joked about to this day, the fact remains that Clark Kent is one of the most iconic glasses wearing comic book characters of all time.

2. Cyclops (X-Men)

Cyclops remains one of the most popular comic book characters for his loyalty, ethics, self-discipline and incredible leadership qualities. He wears a specially made visor which has changed shape and style over the years. He also wears ruby quartz sun glasses when not ‘on duty’.

1. Spider Jerusalem (Transmetropolitan)

Spider Jerusalem is the epitome of irreverent cool. Warren Ellis’ creation embodies a sleek cyberpunk style, following the life, battles, and misadventures of gonzo journalist (inspired by Hunter S. Thompson). Jerusalem is dedicated to fighting oppression, corruption, and abuse of power by the government in an attempt to prevent their world from becoming even more dystopian than it already is. Jerusalem is a flawlessly written character who is unquestionably cool and thus, he is undoubtedly the winner.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I'm Too Sexy (for this book)

What do you expect out of a book called 100 Sexiest Women in Comics?

See, I saw this book in Previews the other month, and it was cheap enough to warrant a look-see. I was expecting something comprehensive, coming from guys as classy as Comic Buyer's Guide, but instead it was like reading one of my Top 5 Thursdays, only they're sold for $8.99 and probably just as fun to read.

The book's list had its share of sexy mainstays like Red Sonja (who tops this list at Number 1), Vampirella (#35) and Witchblade (#7). But then we get to entries like Triplicate Girl (who beat out Vampirella of all people at #33!), 1940's Patsy Walker (#95) and Harlequin (an old Green Lantern villain), characters who don't exactly come to mind when I think about the modern definition of sexy, and I start to wonder what it takes to get into this list. Why not Dawnstar or Princess Projectra instead? Or Angela Devlin from Codename: Knockout? or Medusa of the Inhumans? Or any of a dozen other 'sexy' females that bounce around comics these days? Who exactly are they making this book for?

And the art is making me scratch my head. I guess there's a historic value in using scans from vintage comics to accompany this list, but some of the choices seem arbitrary. Using Betty Cooper's modern look, but using Veronica Lodge's vintage one? And Alan Kupperberg's Venus is beautiful, but Carlo Pagulayan's or Leonard Kirk's version from Agents of Atlas reflects her modern appearances better. And it's not like they didn't have access to it...they used Namorita's modern appearance in the list, even from the same series Venus was in!

Okay, shutting up now.

Sorry. I just realized that lists are serious business for me. The book just had a lot of things that detracted from the fun to be had from a list like this. For $8.99 though, I guess I can't complain.

But as I type this, our company's on-the-job trainees (who are both girls) seem to enjoy browsing through it and discovering new comics characters. Shows you what I know.


Official Press Release


Karl Kesel— a writer and artist who has worked on many of Marvel and DC’s top titles, and come oh-so-close to winning a number of industry awards— launches his first creator-owned web comic on October 31, 2011. JOHNNY ZOMBIE debuts on his Mad Genius Comics site,

“I’ve wanted to do a zombie comic for many, many years,” Kesel said. “Excuse the pun, but I’m no Johnny-Zombie-come-lately to the living dead. I left in the middle of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead the first time I saw it in the late 70s, it creeped me out so much (I was a sheltered teen, okay?)— and then ended up in the front row to watch the original Dawn of the Dead during it’s opening weekend a few years later. Those experiences scarred me for life, I’m happy to say.

“About a year ago I wondered: could you do a zombie Christmas story? The two genres are so opposite— zombie stories have a core sense of hopelessness, and Christmas stories are all about hope. Almost instantly, however, an idea came to me. And I realized it was also a perfect story to feature a character that’d been kicking around in my head for a few years— Johnny Zombie.

“On one level, Johnny Zombie is the world’s biggest, baddest zombie fighter. His main weapons are a blue metal bat named ‘Babe’ (after Babe Ruth) and an armored glove he calls ‘Jawbreaker.’ His symbol is a kind of unsmiling smiley-face with a bullet hole in its forehead. And that stuff’s all very fun and very cool, but there’s a deeper level to the character, something going on below the surface, that I don’t want to say too much about. I want people to read the story and, hopefully, start to figure it out themselves.

“I actually pitched Johnny Zombie to a print publisher a few years back, but their “zombie slot” was filled, so they passed. That’s when I started eyeing the internet. I mean, the web’s the future of comics. And it’s probably the most exciting thing to happen to comics since… well, since the early days of the newspaper strips. Just like then, everyone’s making it up as they go along, trying to figure out how the pieces fit, what works and what doesn’t. I’ve told people I’m doing a web comic and they’re excited, sure, but the most exciting thing to me is how many of them say ‘I’ll add it to my list— I read so many web comics!’ These are people who don’t read “normal” comics— but they’re reading web comics!”

Kesel had been trying to figure out how to fit a web comic into his life for a number of years. “I’m not a fast worker, so don’t have a lot of free time to take on extra work. A web comic was always a ‘someday’ project.

“Then my wonderful wife Myrna and I decided to adopt a baby. That was the tipping point. It suddenly became about my legacy, and what I could leave behind for our son or daughter.”

Kesel named his site Mad Genius Comics (where he is “Using My Power For Good, Not evil. Mostly.”) because “I plan to do any number of characters and concepts at Mad Genius. Some of these comics will be drawn by others, some I’ll draw myself, and I wouldn’t rule out me drawing someone else’s story, but I’ll always own or co-own anything that appears on Mad Genius Comics. Remember— I’m doing this for the kid!”

Johnny Zombie’s first story is penciled by David Hahn, known for his art on BITE CLUB, SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE, MARVEL ADVENTURES: FANTASTIC FOUR, FRINGE, HERC, and ALL-NIGHTER. “I love David’s work, and knew his style had enough edge for a zombie story, but was also open enough to fit a Christmas story. And, selfishly speaking, I’ve always wanted to ink David, so this was one way to finally get that chance!” The story is colored by Grace Allison, a recent graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design and one-time intern at Portland, Oregon’s Periscope Studio, where Kesel met her. “She’s got so much talent beyond coloring,” Kesel pointed out. “I’m lucky I got to work with her before the rest of the world discovered her.”

“I’m not expecting to get rich off Mad Genius,” Kesel laughed. “I’d be thrilled— and pretty surprised— to just break even! I’m following the ‘Iron Man Business Plan’— exist in obscurity for 40 years, then have a hugely successful Hollywood movie made and become an overnight sensation. Anything happens faster than that is icing on the cake!”

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Week in Comics: October 28, 2011

Witches and ghosts and (dare)devils invade my comics this week! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!

For a book with Zatanna and Constantine on the cover, Justice League Dark #2 is a Deadman-centric issue. Peter Milligan makes Deadman out as a dude who just wants some lovin' from his girlfriend Dawn Granger (aka the superhero Dove), even if it means going about it the wrong way. The very wrong way. Oh, and Zatanna and Constantine trance themselves out to battle Enchantress where it hurts. Slow day for JL Dark.

I was hoping it could pick up the pace a bit after a pretty eventful first issue. I didn't see what Deadman's intimacy problems had anything to do with the problem at hand, what with people currently being attacked by tornadoes of rotten witch's teeth and murderous hardcover books. I was ready for some heroics already, but alas I was denied.

At least the art was nice. Mikel Janin's work here is a slight improvement over the last issue. Add to that a shocking revelation that could turn this whole shindig inside out and we're looking at book that's a little below average, but not bad.. This gets a 2.5 out of 5.

With Drake Sinclair gone MIA, his friend Gord Cantrell takes the reigns in The Sixth Gun #16. Gord is reminded of his gruesome past, while Becky Montcrief discovers something not quite right about the Sword of Abraham! When you can trust no one, who do you trust?

This whole story arc is a bit subdued, and the history of the Six Guns isn't exactly clear yet, but given Cullen Bunn's stellar  track record with this book so far, I trust him to take this someplace interesting. There are a few interesting revelations, like Gord's ties with the big bad General Hume, and some newly-discovered powers of the Sixth Gun in Becky's possession, which I love. Brian Hurtt is back doing what he does best, which is drawing the world of The Sixth Gun the only way he can: splendidly. I adore his artwork, and here's hoping he sees this book till the end.

The Sixth Gun #16 is par for the course, but what a course it is. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Daredevil is sitting pretty again as my comic of the week, and for good reason. Daredevil #5 is awesome.

I can't reiterate how fun Daredevil is. You want intrigue? Here's a HYDRA conspiracy for you. Want danger? It's Matt Murdock (who is blind by the way, in case you forget) and his blind client Austin Cao versus a special ops team with guns in THE DARK! Want Daredevil go mano-a-mano with a supervillain? A big one is coming this way, and it's not looking good for the Man Without Fear!

This is a smart and fun book, hands down. Mark Waid is taking Daredevil to brand new directions without sacrificing or changing anything else about the Man Without Fear. It's also pretty educational. If you ever wanted to know how smuggling works and how supercrime organizations like HYDRA and AIM use it, read this book. If you ever wanted to know how to vividly recall memories you thought long lost, read this book. If you want to see Matt Murdock beat up spec-ops soldiers with a cane and a smile, read this freakin' book!

Marcos Martin's art is as amazing as ever. It's not everyday you get an artist that delivers as much, if not more, creativity as the story he's drawing for. His work is clean and fun to look at, and it meshes well with Waid's story, turning this issue into a one-two punch of comic book awesomeness you don't see in comic books very often.

If you're not buying Daredevil yet, consider yourself warned: you're missing out on some unadulterated comic book fun. This gets a 4 out of 5. Pick this up now!

BONUS CONTENT! Can't get enough of The Geek's reviews? Then head on over to The Outhousers, where I reviewed Wolverine and the X-Men #1, a new #1 straight outta Schism and into a new and exciting direction for Marvel's merriest mutants!

Wow! It's a pretty amazing week for comics so far! Got any comments? Suggestions? Want to ask yourself why you aren't picking up Daredevil or The Sixth Gun yet? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Batman: Arkham Asylum Full-Size Costume!

A full-size Batman: Arkham Asylum costume exists right now. Your Halloween is invalid.

Check out batpiriss' insanely awesome project at TheEffectsLab.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dear Creature Review

I didn't know what I was getting into when I was emailed a PDF review copy of this quaint little graphic novel called Dear Creature, but I always love getting books to review.

I just didn't know how much I'll love this one.

Dear Creature is the debut graphic novel of one Jonathan Case, and to say that it's a love story unlike any other is a pretty big understatement. The hero of the story is Grue, a sea mutant whose taste for human flesh is outweighed by his love for the works of Shakespeare, which he finds stuffed inside cola bottles. Our Bard-quoting hero finds a kindred spirit in whoever is sending those bottles his way and decides to search for his mysterious benefactor. He finds her, a scared and lonely woman named Giulietta ("Mark the romance of that name," says Grue), and together they learn what it truly means to love and be loved for who you are.

The one thing that stands out for me is the sheer artistry of the entire thing. Jonathan Case is a witty writer and a solid comic book artist at the same time. It's insane. He's like the Swiss knife of comic books, and my jealousy knows no bounds!

For starters, his character work is aces. Grue as the monster with a beautiful heart is interesting and fun to read. He's charming, eloquent and morbid, and his love story with Giulietta is sad yet sweet. But they're not the only characters in this romantic play. The supporting characters like Giulietta's protective sister Zola, Henry the policeman and even the three crabs that hang around Grue who provide both crack wisdom and comedic relief have roles to play in this story. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded comic book than this.

The entire comic is in glorious black and white, and once again Case showcases his mastery of the medium here. His sequential storytelling skills are amazing, even more with Case's unique art style. Panels flow naturally and his pacing is perfect. I was grinning the whole time I was reading's like I'm watching a clinic on comic book storytelling!

Dear Creature is a solid book, whimsical, weird and wonderfully made. I'm a sucker for love stories like these, and if you like your romance a little bittersweet, you'll love this. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy, from your local comic shop or book store or online. I know I will!
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