Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thor Movie Review

It was love at the first hammer twirl.

The moment Thor twirled his hammer in Marvel's latest superhero film Thor was the moment I knew this was gonna be good. You see, Thor twirled his hammer in the comics, and the very fact that director Kenneth Branagh chose to keep that seemingly insignificant detail from the comics was enough to tell me that Thor was in good hands, and that I was in for the ride of my life.

Thor is a pretty unique story to translate into film, but it all works here surprisingly well. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the god of thunder, whose arrogance and warmongering has opened Asgard to war with the Frost Giants. The All-father Odin (played with subdued royalty by Anthony Hopkins) decides to teach his son a lesson, and casts him out of Asgard along with his hammer Mjolnir. Thor is sent to earth, where he's found by scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who helps him learn what it means to be hero. But Thor better find his inner hero quick, because his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston in a delightfully devious role) has sinister plans for Asgard, and he'll stop at nothing to fulfill it!

You'd expect a movie about gods to show us something godly. Thankfully, Thor wasn't short of fantastic imagery. Branagh doesn't hold anything back, showing us eye-popping sequences of gods who travel through space in rainbow bridges, live in gleaming cities in the sky and fight hordes of Frost Giants in a planet made of ice. Thor needed that kind of grandiosity to pull it off, and pull it off they did. It's safe to say that, in terms of scope, this is the biggest Marvel superhero film of them all.

The ensemble casting helped sell the sheer size of this movie, and everyone did their parts well. Sif and the Warrior's Three didn't add anything significant to the plot, but as a fanboy I guess I should be thankful they got parts at all. Mad props must be given to Tom Hiddleston's turn as Loki, who played the cunning trickster to a T and seemed to enjoy it. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better Loki than him.

Thor almost fell into the trap of becoming an extended Avengers trailer like the disappointment that was Iron Man 2, but thankfully Thor stands on his own.  It's fun, it's fantastic, and every minute of this film gave me the goosebumps of a fanboy who just saw his comic book dreams come to life. This is how you make a superhero movie, and it's proof that grim and gritty movie superheroes don't always work. Sometimes, it's the truly heroic, hopeful ones that shine the brightest.. Highly recommended!

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Week in Comics: April 29, 2011

Fast runners and fast's time for a quick and dirty edition of the most verbose comic book reviews around! What have I gotten myself into? Read on to find out!

Barry Allen finds himself in the receiving end of a good old-fashioned intervention in The Flash #11. He's got a lot on his mind right now, with the murders and Hot Pursuit and coming back to life and that bratty Bart always in the way. Unfortunately, it all amounted to talking heads and drama that took away from the important stuff, like finding the one who's stealing time from people and aging them to death.

Scott Kolins takes over Francis Manapul in art duties this ish, but while their styles pretty much match up, the quality is all over the place. Good thing Michael Atiyeh's vibrant and dynamic colors make my complaints easier to swallow. The interesting and creative cliffhanger at the end of the issue pushes it into a 3.5 out of 5.

Marjorie Liu sure knows how to push fans' buttons, bringing us a bloody good book in X-23 #9. Laura is in the clutches of a Big Bad with Big Bad plans thanks to a devious Daken, but it seems there's more to this setup than meets the eye!

This is another good issue from Liu, who once again shows a bit of restraint in the introspection department and lets loose in the blood and violence department. Calling this a bloody book is an understatement. Of course, this being Liu, there's still some of her great character work. Daken is actually a funny and likeable sonovagun here, which to me is amazing.

Speaking of amazing, the art team of Ryan Stegman and Matteo Buffagni on pencils, Michael Babinski on inks and John Rauch on colors just lift this book to more than the standard comic book fare. I love the look of this issue, hands down one of the best-looking books out this week. This gets a solid 4 out of 5.

Pretty good week, if you ask me. X-23 is on a roll...I sincerely hope they keep that art team for lots more stories to come!

Thoughts? Reactions? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Samsung Smart TV is Awesome! (Part 4)

You're sweating. It's a normal reaction when you're deep in the trenches of a ghost town in the middle of a firefight. Shots are fired somewhere to your left, and you duck instinctively. Bullets whiz past your head, a little TOO close for comfort, and you grip your remote control with your sweaty hands in anticipation of the moment your team will fire back.

Wait, remote control?

Sorry for the confusion. It's hard not to be immersed in a TV as awesome as a Samsung Smart TV. We've talked about its apps, its browser, and its look, but looking at it isn't the same as watching it.

The Samsung Smart TV boasts of giving the first-ever fully 3D experience. We're talking about 3D picture + 3d sound here. That means I can watch the A-Team or Tron: Legacy the right way: heaving and sweating and surrounded with explosions ringing in your ears exactly where you heard them!

Oh man, when I win one of these in the Samsung Smart TV Promo, I'm gonna plunk down Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and savor all the sights and sounds of Helm's Deep just like Peter Jackson intended!

So what else can you do with a TV this smart? We'll know soon enough! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Transformers: Generations Warpath Review

There's two things I know for sure. One: Tanks are awesome. and Two: robots are awesome. Which makes tanks that turn into robots a double dose of concentrated awesomeness that leaves me frothing at the mouth. Case in point: Warpath, the latest addition to the Transformers: Generations lineup whom I will be reviewing today!

Let's start with his alt-mode!

Warpath converts into a futuristic-looking maroon tank. He's a proper tank, with a turret that turns the full 360 and a barrel that can point up and down. Even Megatron can't do that!

He's also got a spring-loaded missile launcher that deploys this really long red missile. There's no angle where it doesn't look ridiculous, but it can go the distance for such a small spring. Since it's small, grown-ups like me will have trouble getting the thing to fire. But hey, firing missile!

Warpath hasn't even fired a single shell and he's already loud, thanks to some cleverly-written onomatopoeia disguised as body numbers on his armor. KAPOW AND ZOWEEE are some of the words Warpath likes to pepper onto his everyday conversations in the Transformers cartoons. He's funny like that.

Let's see what Warpath looks like in robot mode. Go ahead, you can do the transforming noise. I know you want to. :)

Now that's one big, burly, badass robot. I love his maroon colors and the sharp silver of his tank treads and the amount of firepower he's packing. You don't mess with a robot like Warpath, you just don't.

His transformation is simple, so he's got a pretty solid robot mode. The barrel can be pushed into or extended from his chest when you transform him, so you can choose the length of his barrel to suit your tastes. That does not sound dirty at all.

He's pretty limber for a warmongering robot that turns into a tank! Kids can go crazy posing and playing with this guy without breaking him.

I didn't expect Warpath to come out as a new Deluxe toy in Transformers: Generations, but he's a welcome addition to any Transformers collection. Badass tank mode, a robot mode with lots of character, all in one neat package.

He's already out in toy stores, and he's pretty plentiful. Grab one before he's gone!

I hope you enjoyed this little review. If you've got more thoughts on Warpath here, leave a comment below and let's talk about it. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Week Break

Behold The Geek! will be taking break in observance of Holy Week. See you next Monday! And pray, dudes, pray!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Filipino Heroes League Book 1 Review

It's tough being a superhero, but it's even tougher being a third-world superhero. With that premise comes The Filipino Heroes League Book 1: Sticks and Stones by Paolo Fabregas, a graphic novel launched at last weekend's Komikon. I saw the news of its Komikon launch during one of my random internet dives, and the concept made me curious. Pinoy superheroes not fighting otherworldly baddies in parallel universes, but fighting a corrupt system in the 'real world'? How does that work?

What Fabregas did was take the superhero concept, drop it smack-dab in the middle of modern-day Philippines and ran with it, presenting a funny yet sobering story of Philippine superheroes taken to its logical conclusion. In an alternate history where the EDSA People Power revolution came down to a battle between superheroes and villains, all the good and popular Pinoy heroes are working abroad where they're respected (Overseas Filipino Heroes? Why didn't I think of that?!) while everybody else has to deal with being underfunded, undermanned, and working inside a corrupt system back home. Do they have the strength to just go out there and save lives like a true superhero does?

Of course they do, and that's just the beginning.

I was pleasantly surprised to find there's a lot to read into this book. Just when you think you've got everything figured out, the story hits you with a surprise reveal, a hidden agenda, or simply an Oh Crap moment that pulls you deeper into it. Make no mistake...the heroes in this book aren't your usual likeable screw-ups. These people do superheroing for a living, and they're good at it. They've got their heart in the right place, but when you're a Filipino superhero, that's not always when you're about to chase after bad guys in a pedicab when your owner-type jeep won't start.

Fabregas drew the entire story himself, and its obvious he put a lot of hard work into it. The art has a quality I'm actually jealous of. He's got comic book storytelling down pat, and aside from panels that either needed a better angle or more oomph to make them pop, the art serves the story very well.

I admit, I've always ignored Pinoy superhero books, but this book deserves taking notice. If Book 1 is this good, I'm ready to see Book 2. Too bad I wasn't able to get to Komikon (I had a friend buy the book and get it signed for me), because I would have loved to have met the guy who could take something  as improbable as a Pinoy superhero and make me like it.

Komikon Komiks Reviews!

Yay! Komikon came and went...without me. I told myself I'd go to the Komikon for once in my young life but circumstances decided otherwise. Good thing I got guys on the inside who graciously provided me copies of comics I should check out! I've been wondering why there aren't that many reviews for Pinoy indie would people notice if nobody's talking about them? So I decided to do reviews of the comics I got from last weekend's Komikon!

First up is Bayan Knights: Gilas Indie Xclusive. When a book opens up with a warning that I should first read an altogether different issue before I even start reading it, should I be worried? In this case, as a newbie to all things Bayan Knights, I'll just keep reading and hope for the best.

Good thing it's a straightforward issue, focusing on a group of heroes called Gilas, and their descent to hell for some exciting reason. I don't know what that reason is, but at the very least the book takes the time to show us the characters and their quirks.We know that Gwapoman is a leader who's having a hard time getting people to listen to him, and that Talim likes to slice people's throats up, and that most of the team just doesn't get along with each other. If the book was introducing these characters to us, they're doing it right. The art in this book is a bit too busy for my taste, though, and more often than not I had to concentrate to know what's going on. I do love the cover, however. The creative use of negative space is sure to grab people's attention.

My friends lent me copies of the last few issues of Bayan Knights to get me up to speed, but I don't think others may have that luxury. I guess this book is dedicated to hardcore Bayan Knights fans, and if they're getting something wonderful from it, more power to them.

Last we have Budjette Tan's Trese: A Private Collection, a one-shot that delves into the murder of a manananggal and Alexandra Trese's quest to find the killer before the news breaks out and sparks a supernatural gang war!

Again, I'm a newbie coming into this book, but Budjette sets this issue up as very newbie friendly, which I like. All you really need to know is that Alexandra Trese's got her fingers in the pulse of the mythological world, and she knows her way around with a kris. After that, you're free to enjoy a nice and easy detective story that opens up more of the Trese world for you to digest and consume. It's got a nuno sa punso manhole, for goodness sakes! You can't make that kind of stuff up on the fly!

The art here was done by Kajo Baldisimo, and it's very dynamic and expressive. It makes for a book that's fun to read.

This issue made me want to pick up the early Trese issues when payday rolls around. I'm glad my friend got me this one!

And that's it for my reviews of some of Komikon's indie exclusives. So what indie komiks did you pick up at Komikon? Did you enjoy it? Leave me a note below and let's talk about it! Later I'll be posting my more lengthier review of a graphic novel that was launched at Komikon. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Outhousers Reviews: SHIELD Infinity

Everybody likes mysteries, right? Ask the people who like Lost. But if you're ever gonna pick up S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity by Jonathan Hickman, you better check whether you can stomach someone shouting "I know something I won't tell!" repeatedly into your ear, because this comes pretty darn close.

Samsung Smart TV is Awesome! (Part 3)

The Samsung Smart TV's got apps and a web browser. It could also turn me into a magician.

Before you call the crazyhouse, consider the fact that the Samsung Smart TV is just over an inch thick. I can use it as a coffee table and no one would notice. I can make the Samsung Smart TV disappear like a regular David Blaine just by holding it perpendicular to me. And it could tell me what perpendicular means at the same time.

It's thin. Like, real thin. The type of thin you'll never use to describe any other TV ever. And it's in that shiny, sophisticated silver that I love. Now that's a TV worth blogging for! Imagine winning one of these in the Samsung Smart TV Promo just by blogging about it!

Well, imagine no more. Watch and keep it here at Behold the Geek! to learn more about the many, many wonderful things I can do with a TV this smart. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Week in Comics: April 15, 2011

Fathers, fast people and feeding ramen is all the rage in My Week in Comics! What have I gotten myself into this week? Read on to find out!

DC's Flashpoint event is chugging along in earnest, with The Flash #10 featuring a heart-to-heart talk with The Flash and Hot Pursuit, who is revealed to be Barry Allen from an alternate earth. It's here that we find out what's causing Flashpoint, and Hot Pursuit promises it won't be pretty. There's also another murder, and a reunion from a long-lost friend, but its all fluff at this point. Hot Pursuit's design is definitely growing on me, and the very fact that his motorcycle runs on GOES FAST fuel is the sort of crazy thing Geoff Johns might think up. An improvement from the last issue, made even more awesome by Francis Manapul's artwork. I envy the guy, I really do. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Uncanny X-Force #7 is the big showdown issue of the Deathlok Nation arc. The team is now inside The World in search of Father, the creator of the evil Deathlok'd versions of Marvel's heroes, and they're itching for payback...but not  if the evil Deathloks kill them first!

Writer Rick Remender knows how to end an arc, and I could think of a few writers who could learn a thing or two from him. The uphill battle against Father's minions just ratchets up the tension, and at the same time every single member gets a chance to shine. Even Deadpool, bless his blackened heart, gets layers to his personality that you don't really get from other books. Ironic how a book about inhuman killers manages to humanize somebody like Deadpool! And the art? Esad Ribic is firing on all cylinders on this one, with sprawling panoramas and down and dirty action filling every page. This is Ribic's best work yet, hands down. A filling read for $2.99/Php150. This gets a 5 out of 5.

Neko Ramen vo. 4: We're Going Green! Kind of... serves up more kitty goodness, with Taisho (the cat who runs a ramen shop) seemingly having too much time in his hands as he tries out even more outrageous ways to serve ramen. Ever eaten ramen soup from a mist blower, or chosen your ramen from a shooting gallery? Taisho's got a knack from doing things with ramen that at this point was considered impossible and pointless to do. He's like the poster cat for the saying "You can do anything once you set your mind to it.", it." and I love him for it. Kenji Sonishi tones down some of the Japanese terms and piles on the visual and ironic humor, making this volume very enjoyable and accessible to anyone. With guest stars galore, anteaters and polar bears and a little bit of heartwarming, Neko Ramen's latest volume is highly recommended. Oh and cute white cats you guys. This gets a 5 out of 5.

Three pretty awesome comics this week. That's the very definition of great here at Behold the Geek! I hope your week's been as great as mine. Comments? Suggestions? Want to ask yourself why you're not reading Neko Ramen yet? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Marvel Universe Greatest Battles Thor & Iron Man Review

When I found out that Hasbro is releasing a Marvel Universe Thor in his modern costume, I waited for the chance to scoop one up...until I found out it either didn't get here, or it didn't even get the chance to warm the shelves before being bought on sight by collectors. I don't blame them, it was a beautiful figure. Thank the toy overlords then that the latest wave of Marvel Universe Greatest Battles 2-packs are now available in Manila, because now I get one of my most wanted figs in my most wanted way!

Marvel Universe Greatest Battles Comic Packs (whew...that's a mouthful) feature two figures and a comic pack-in highlighting the 'battle' in question. In this case, it's Iron Man and Thor, both of whom went head to head in Thor #3, which is included with them.

Let's start with Thor!

This Thor is simply a redeco of Marvel Universe Modern Thor from wave 7, with brighter reds and yellows and browns to give it a more 'comic book' look. I actually prefer this redeco since he's so colorful!

This is the first time I got to see this figure in person, and I don't think anyone can dispute it's one of the best Marvel Universe figs to date. Thor's so awesome, he gets his own sculpt! There's nothing I don't love about this fig. His cape looks awesome, the detailed scale mail is cool, his tunic actually looks battle-worn, and his helmet wings have sculpted feathers!

I love this costume. I think it's one of the strongest redesigns I've seen, next to post-Annihilation Nova.

Of course, Thor isn't Thor without his mystical hammer Mjolnir, so he gets one. It really looks like hewn rock, and it fits in his hand just fine.

Articulation is above average, what with the soft plastic cape not giving Thor that many options if he wants to move his arms any higher to call down lightning on his foes. Below the waist? Thor gets thigh swivels, giving him a good range of motion with his legs, better than most MU figs. Definitely an improvement over the ball joints.

All that articulation can mean one thing: Thor gets to look good while beating up his pack-mate Iron Man!

Iron Man here is also a redeco of an earlier Iron Man figure, this time with a brighter shade of red and gold than the previous fig. I've put them side by side so you can see what I'm talking about, the 2-pack Iron Man on the left, the MU Series 7 Iron Man on the right.

It's not that noticeable here, but the new Iron Man is redder and golder than his previous fig, which is an improvement for me. He's still got a waist that would make Barbie envious, but whatever.

Hey, this pack isn't called Greatest Battles for nothing! Let's see some pain!

Thor and Iron Man comes with a reprint of Thor #3, which happened right after the big civil war between superheroes. It's a pretty messy affair, but all you need to know is Iron Man was  the douche king there, and Thor was the right guy to give him a stern telling-to he'll never forget.

Toy collecting for the average joe here in Manila is rollercoaster crazy. Sometimes we get a toyline's waves by the truckload, and sometimes all we'll get is one case, and sometimes you'd be lucky to get anything at all...which is why I'm happy (and lucky) to get this 2-pack right now. Two great-looking (and, in my opinion, improved) figs and a good comic...the Marvel Universe just got bigger and better.

I hope you found this review helpful and, at the very least, enjoyable. If you've got your own thoughts about these two figs you'd like to share, leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! For more Toy Reviews, just click here. Thanks for reading!

Samsung Smart TV is Awesome! (Part 2)

I've mentioned the wonders of the Samsung Smart TV before, and it only gets better. If you think a TV that doubles as anything you want it to be just by downloading apps is amazing, wait till you see what other cool features it has.

Because not only does Samsung Smart TV have apps, it also has a freakin' dedicated web browser.

This is the feature that I think will get the most usage out of me. This takes my TV watching to a whole 'nutha level. I could search the web while watching my favorite TV shows in full HD (oh if only The Crystal Maze was still on air), and even have SNS like Twitter or Facebook running side-by-side. I could trash talk my friends over Twitter or Skype when Wrestlemania 28 rolls around, or watch Attack of the Show and search for pics of Candace Bailey at the same time!

It's not just TV anymore. And I don't know whether to freak out or to shake the hand of whoever thought this was a good idea in the first place. Because it is.

But this isn't just the only good idea this TV has, and that's one of the reasons I hope I win one in the Samsung Smart TV Promo! Check back here at Behold the Geek! to learn about the many, many wonderful things I can do with a TV this smart. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Webcomics I Love: Unsounded

Fantasy webcomics are a dime a dozen. Good fantasy webcomics are hella rare. Which is why I'm happy I'm reading and sharing with you this Webcomic I Love called Unsounded (

Thief-brat Sette Frummagem is on a mission, and she'll lie, cheat, and steal to make sure it's a success (she'll lie, cheat, and steal anyway). Condemned to aid her in her rotten endeavours is a rotten corpse who seems oddly talented with the supernatural, and oddly not laying motionless in the dirt.

But the road is long and no one is what they seem. Never trust a thief, and never trust anyone who won't let you look into their eyes.

Creator Ashley Cope makes it sound so simple but it's not. It's a really epic story with zombie magicians and thieves who didn't spend a point on a Move Silently skill. This isn't a webcomic you'll read to kill'll find yourself making time to read this. It helps that Cope's art is so damn gorgeous. The colors and the designs are so atmospheric, you can't help but get pulled in.

If that sounds interesting to you, give Unsounded a try. Like, right now.
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