Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Review

Two questions surrounded the new Spider-Man reboot: after two great movies (the third one doesn't exist to me!), do we really need a reboot? And do we really need a reboot this early? But those questions really never mattered, because The Amazing Spider-Man is real, it's done, and it's really here. The only question that matters right now is the most important one: is this new movie truly amazing?

Yes. Yes it is.

And here's why: The Amazing Spider-Man is director Marc Webb's attempt at doing for Spidey what Batman Begins did for Batman, and it works. By taking everything that made Spider-Man great and grounding it a little closer to reality, we get a flavor of Spidey that's less comic-book camp and more big-budget Hollywood blockbuster.

Here, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is a social misfit, still reeling from the mysterious disappearance of his parents as a child, with nothing left but the love of his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field)  and his infatuation with schoolmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) His search for answers will lead him to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a brilliant scientist and his father's former colleague, who's searching for a way to regrow his right arm through cross-species genetics. After an accident with a spider, Peter gains the powers and proportionate strength of an arachnid, which he uses to fight crime. And just in time, because an experiment gone bad has turned Dr. Connors into a monstrous Lizard, who will stop at nothing to mutate the human race into his twisted idea of perfection!

If this all sounds like a retread, don't worry. Webb seems to know what the viewers really want to see, and so he opts to present the origin story in poignant bite-sized pieces, leaving out the superfluous parts and lingering over the important, more dramatic ones, making it easier to digest and lets Spider-Man swing into action faster.

And oh, does he swing. Anyone who felt short-changed of Spidey moments in the previous films can rest easy, because this in my opinion is the best and most graceful Spider-Man we've seen in years. Webb throws every signature Spider-Man move at the screen and then some, from the wall-climbing to his acrobatics to the web-swinging to webbing stuff up like a madman. And in copious amounts too. This is the Spider-Man we should have gotten years ago!

But it's not just the hero in the mask that's amazing...the man behind the mask had a lot to do with it. Whereas Tobey Maguire was the first to bring the comic book superhero to life, it was Andrew Garfield that made him human. Garfield (a BAFTA and Oscar nominee) brings a raw, more dramatic energy to his Peter Parker, making you feel for him on his journey from man to Spider-Man. And it's not just Garfield...Martin Sheen's Uncle Ben is funny and heartwarming, far from the walking plot point he was in the very first film, making Peter's legendary tragedy all the more tragic. And Emma Stone is feisty and cute as hell as Gwen Stacy, and I smiled when they made her wear the character's signature go-go boots whenever possible!

Amid the grit and grime and blood, this is a Spidey movie at heart. I hate to go X Y is X on you, but The Amazing Spider-Man is amazing. Different isn't always this case, different just made it better. Be prepared to involuntarily make web-shooting poses after you watch this. Highly recommended!

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Week in Comics: June 29, 2012

Fights, flights and feisty females invade this week's comics! What did I get myself into this week? Read on to find out!

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Wolverine and the X-Men #12 sees Rachel Summers on a mission from the Phoenix Five to capture Hope. Unfortunately, she runs into Wolverine and...the Avengers? What happens next is messy, loud, and ultimately...pointless.

This is just ugly, and I'm not talking about Chris Bachalo's art here. Avengers vs. X-Men has turned the characters involved into lifeless automatons just being strung along by the plot, and it has never been more apparent than this ish. Friends attacking friends? Teachers attacking students? No one is coming out pretty here, with both sides being portrayed as petty and arrogant.

Jason Aaron writes this story with the same excitement and care he gave this series before AvX, but there's only so much he can do within the confines of this event.  Chris Bachalo picks up the slack through his amazing, dynamic art, but it's not enough to save this book. What results is a comic that's so loud yet so hollow.

Call me old-fashioned, but this just isn't superhero comics anymore. Aaron, Bachalo, and co. can do better than this. As much as it pains me, I'll be skipping the AvX-tied issues until this all blows over. This gets a 2 out of 5.

The saving grace of this week is Brian Clevinger's Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #1. The title may be long, but it isn't short of action, as we go back in time to see Robo get tangled up with Japanese flying deathbots and jetpack-wearing dames of action!

I've always liked Atomic Robo's offerings during Free Comic Book Day, but this is the first time I'm actually  reading a full adventure. Good thing it doesn't disappoint. Clevinger's Robo is witty and funny, even if it feels like he's playing second fiddle to the Flying She-Devils being introduced in this story. The only thing I could find fault in this is that it's pretty exposition-heavy (the Flying She-Devils have a pretty long history) and it feels like Clevinger and co. could have trimmed this five-book series to four.

What really pushed this over the top was Scott Wegener's art. Clevinger's action-packed intro was made even better with Wegener 's pencils making you feel every jetpack whoosh and the boom of explosions in every page!

Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #1 is good comics done right. Simple yet fun, and great-looking to boot. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Disappointing week saved by Atomic Robo! I knew that big robot would come to the rescue one day! What did you think of this week's comics? Drop a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Art Too Epic for Human Eyes Monday

Comic books have no shortage of epic imagery. I mean, it's got dudes who can run faster than the speed of light, push planets out of orbit, and  regularly tussle with anthropomorphic astral concepts. But one talented man somehow took all of that epicness, grabbed some pens and paints, and distilled it into imagery so awesome it would make Jack Kirby smile.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Webcomics I Love: Cucumber Quest

Are you a fan of cute and whimsical webcomics like me? Well, you better cuddle up because this week's Webcomic I Love has both cute and whimsical in dangerous amounts. I'm talking about the bunny-eared world of Cucumber Quest! (

Written and drawn by Gigi DG, Cucumber Quest is the story of Cucumber, the reluctant hero of Doughnut Kingdom. Together with his sister Almond, they're whisked away on a quest to save the world, fighting bad witches, nightmare knights and slimy sea creatures along the way!

Be warned: Cucumber Quest is adorable. It reads like the best children's book ever, thanks to Gigi DG's cute art and even cuter story. I'd be proud of having a physical copy of this on my shelf to read to my kids someday!

But why listen to me gush about it? Check out Cucumber Quest today!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DC Bishoujo Power Girl Statue is Pretty Kawaii

Welp, now I know what my first Kotobukiya Bishoujo statue will be!

A couple of months ago, Kotobukiya teased us with Shunya Yamashita's concept art of the newest addition to their DC Bishoujo Collection statue line: Power Girl! Needless to say, my excitement was off the charts. Thankfully, we didn't have to wait long, because now the pic of the actual statue is out...and it is glorious!

Power Girl here is from Kotobukiya's DC Bishoujo Collection, a line of bishoujo ("pretty girl" in Japanese)-inspired  statues of DC Comics' superheroines and supervillains, based on the art of renowned bishoujo illustrator Shunya Yamashita. Now, I'm not much of a DC Bishoujo statue fan, but I AM huge (pardon the pun) PeeGee fan, and seeing her playful yet powerful self drawn by Shunya Yamashita and captured in statue form is enough to make me cave in and buy into this statue line just for her. I cannot wait!

So, what do you think? Does Power Girl rock the bishoujo treatment?

You can preorder her, as well as check out the pic and more info, over at BigBadToyStore.

EDIT: Kotobukiya's Facebook page posted a 360 degree view and close-ups of Power Girl! Check it out!

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