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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Movie Review


Stepping foot on Asgard again for Thor: The Dark World feels like coming home to something comfortably familiar. Now that Thor's whole origin business is done and out of the way, we're finally given the chance to see these characters as they were meant to be.

When Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) accidentally unearths the Aether, a weapon that could throw the universe back into darkness, it awakens the dark elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), an ancient Asgardian enemy who wishes to use the Aether to bring about the destruction of all the Nine Realms. It's up to the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to save them all, but he can't do it alone. In Asgard's darkest hour, Thor needs the help of the last person he would expect to ask...his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston)!

Thor: The Dark World stands out as a flashier, more honest film than its predecessor. Thor gets to show a more complex and sensitive side of him, Odin (Anthony Hopkins in a scary good performance) exudes more imposing authority, and even Rene Russo as Frigga gets to kick some dark elf ass. You don't mess with the queen of Asgard!  And in no surprise to anyone, Tom Hiddleston stole the spotlight with a fantastic performance as Loki. He gets to cut loose in this film, more so than in previous Loki outings, with more quips and schemes you can shake a god of mischief at. And I absolutely loved that the movie dabbled more into the relationship between Thor and Loki, painting them as brothers who hate each others guts while knowing deep inside they'd risk their lives for each other. Aww.

But killer performances ain't worth squat unless you have a killer story to go with it, and unfortunately, Thor: The Dark World suffers from some pretty jarring storytelling. Story beats jump from heroic to tragic to comedic with little rhyme or reason, resulting in painful mood whiplash. At one point a tragic scene was directly followed by a weirdly comedic bit, leaving you to pick up pieces of your heart on the floor while crying!

And don't get me started on the massively missed opportunity that is the movie's Big Bad, the dark elf Malekith. I was really hoping he would rival or even one-up Loki's schemes in the first film, but limited screen time meant little time to build up Malekith as a believable threat. It says a lot that the most boring parts of the film were the ones with Malekith in them! A sad and monumental waste of Christopher Eccleston's considerable talent.

But despite the topsy-turviness of the entire movie, it's still got all the things we came for: a lot of Thor smashing stuff, Loki being a Magnificent Bastard, and a few laughs and moments of awesomeness in between. Thor: The Dark World is a louder, shinier and funnier Thor movie, and if the ending is any indication, the ride ain't over yet.

Oh and for goodness sakes stay until after the credits.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Thor: The Dark World Hot Toys is Godly


Hot Toys, they of the obscenely beautiful and obscenely expensive 1/6th scale figures, just released preview pics of their latest Movie Masterpiece: the mighty Thor as seen in Marvel's latest film Thor: The Dark World!


My god, look at this thing. Spitting image of Chris Hemsworth as seen in Thor: The Dark World? Check! Spiffy new costume? Check! Highly-collectible piece of movie memorabilia that few can afford? Check, check, check!


Chris Hemsworth fans (and fangirls...I see you, girl) are probably looking to lay down some sweet cash needed to bring this mini-Hemsworth home. As for me? I'm REALLY tempted, but since I already own the Avengers version of Thor, I'm on the fence. But damn does this Hot Toys figure look sweet.

Check out more hi-res pics over at the Hot Toys official page.

Fang Folio: Strahd von Zarovich

Welcome to the final installment of my pre-Halloween special Fang Folio! I've shone a (non-UV) spotlight at the most cunning, most deadly, and even the cutest vampires I've grown to love, and now I saved the best for last, because our next fanged fiend is one near and dear to my heart! Bow to the majesty that is...

STRAHD VON ZAROVICH

Claim to fame: The Big Bad of the Dungeons & Dragons gothic horror campaign setting Ravenloft.

Why he's awesome: Oh man, where do I start? I've loved Strahd ever since getting to know his character in P.N. Elrod's novel I, Strahd: Memoirs of a Vampire and the D&D campaign Return to Castle Ravenloft. I learned how he was a cruel but fair ruler, never tolerating thieves and liars in his presence. I learned how he grew resentful about his youth fading with each passing day, and how he both loved and envied his vibrant younger brother Sergei. I learned about his doomed love for the beautiful Tatyana, who would be the catalyst for his dark turn as the first vampire and the torturous curse he would have for the rest of his unholy life.

His back story, his love story, just tugs at my heartstrings. We all wished one time or another that the ravages of time would stop for us, or for the one we love to love us back, and we would do anything to get it. Strahd could be any of us with the right push into madness.

Finally, there's something awfully scary about Strahd that I don't feel with the other vampires in my recent Fang Folios, and that's what makes him extra awesome. Maybe it's the fact that he's not just your ordinary final boss! Other vampires can be subdued, even beaten...but not Strahd. He's a force of unholy nature, you cannot defeat him...you can only survive him!

Crowning moment of epicness tragedy: Ultimately, Strahd is a tragic character, and the curse of his home plane amplifies that to insanity-inducing levels. Imagine yourself as an ageless being losing the one you love, only to find her reborn every generation, with fate dangling her in front of you like bait only to snatch it away from you in the most gruesome way possible. That's what Strahd has to go through with Tatyana, the love of his life, who killed herself in sorrow. But instead of losing her, she finds her in every generation with the same features, same loveliness, but with a different name and upbringing. An opportunity of a lifetime for Strahd to win her heart, you say? There's only one ending to Strahd's love story...and it's not happily ever after. Maybe that's why he hates adventurers so much.


Strahd von Zarovich is an awesome, tragic character with lots of fiendish flavor, and modern vampires would do well to take a page from him when it comes to being the most badass of them all!


Awesomeness rating:
Five out of five Dracula heads


Thank you so much for walking with me as I featured all the vampires I loved. I hope you had as much fun as I did writing it! Who are YOUR favorite vampires? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween! Awoo!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fang Folio: Nyanpire

Welcome back to another Fang Folio, where I shine a non-UV spotlight on vampires from pop culture I absolutely love! And our next blood-sucking fiend is the insanely cute...

NYANPIRE

Claim to fame: He's the ridiculously cute star of the Nyanpire doujinshi manga and the subsequently cute anime series by GONZO.

Why he's awesome: In case it's still unclear...

CUTE. VAMPIRE. KITTY.

As if being a vampire isn't badass enough, he had to be a kitten who could make hearts melt within a 500-mile radius! Makes you wanna offer you neck up for him to chew on!

But it's not just him that's cute...he also has some equally cute friends he goes on extraordinary adventures with like Masamunya the samurai kitty and Nyatenshi, an angel kitty kicked out from heaven for womanizing (!) Nyanpire's anime series in particular is not for the faint of heart, coz if you have a soft spot for kittens you WILL squee (and possibly cry) after every episode.

Crowning moment of epicness cuteness: Basically anything to do with Chachamaru, Nyanpire's adoptive little sister brother. Nyanpire fretting over the safety of Chachamaru (after irresponsibly leaving her on her own a few minutes ago, of course)  is insanely heart-breaking and cute and ASD;LJFA;LSJKF


Bottom line is, Nyanpire is cuteness with a bite! You'd wish vampires were as adorable as he is!

Awesomeness rating:
Four out of five Dracula heads


Watch out tomorrow for another edition of Fang Folio and another vampire in the spotlight! Know of any other adorably cute vampires? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading~!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fang Folio: Selene (Underworld films)

Welcome back to another Fang Folio, where I shine a non-UV spotlight on vampires from pop culture I absolutely love! And our next subject is the fanged femme fatale known as...

 SELENE (UNDERWORLD)

 
Claim to fame: She's the sexy and badass Death Dealer (the prestigious vampire fighting elite) from the highly-successful Underworld series of movies.

Why she's awesome: First, she's played by Kate Beckinsale, probably one of the most beautiful people on the planet. Second, she's totally badass in the Underworld series, taking on hordes of vampires AND lycans with just two automatic pistols and lots of cojones. Third, she don't need no man to pop caps in lycan ass (damsel in distress she is not...she does most of the rescuing in the movies!). And have I already mentioned she's played by Kate Beckinsale? She could be covered in grime and still look classy...

Crowning moment of epicness: Selene gets her CMOE in Underworld: Evolution, when she went toe-to-toe with Marcus Corvinus, who happens to be the first and most powerful vampire. I mean, sure she got a power-up from Alexander Corvinus' blood, but it was Selene who lifted her own feet and gave a vampire god the curbstomp to end them all. And it was glorious.


Beautiful and deadly...a combination we won't soon forget! Selene is a kick-ass vampire lady I won't mind seeing more of. Now if only the next Underworld movie came out sooner...

Awesomeness meter:
Four out of five Dracula heads


Watch out next week for the next installment of Fang Folio! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fang Folio: Marvel's Dracula

Welcome back to another Fang Folio, where I shine a non-UV spotlight on vampires from pop culture I absolutely love! Our next fanged fiend is someone very familiar, yet excitingly different. I'm talking about...

MARVEL'S DRACULA


Claim to fame: He's basically Marvel co-opting Bram Stoker's Dracula, with awesome results.

Why he's awesome: Come on, this is Dracula! Lord of Vampires! Prince of Darkness! He didn't get those titles by sitting on his pampered butt and doing nothin'. Since his first appearance in The Tomb of Dracula #1, his reign of terror has reached far across the Marvel Universe in ways no one even imagined. He's fought Blade, the X-Men and even Apocalypse himself, and the entire British Isles almost fell under his vampiric rule!

But most of all, I love how over-the-top he was written. Legendary Marvel writer Marv Wolfman really let Dracula cut loose, characterizing him as a proud and cunning vampire who let you know exactly what he was capable of. Even when surrounded by demonic beings in a hellish dimension, Dracula trash-talks like a pro-gamer. "I am supreme! You'll never feast on MY bones, nor bend them to your eternal torments! You'll NOT take Count Dracula!"

Unfortunately, a few awesomeness points were shaved from him when someone thought it would be a good idea to turn him into this edgy Legacy of Kain rip-off these days.

Crowning moment of epicness: Basically the entire Vampire State storyarc in Marvel's Captain Britain and the MI:13. There, Dracula basically took apart Captain Britain's band of merry mooks with ruthless precision and left the British isles vulnerable against awesome ideas like firing vampires like missiles at Britain from vampire cannons stationed on the frikkin' moon. You heard me!


Despite all the lows in his career, no one can deny that Marvel's Dracula is a formidable foe and a scary sonovagun, and it's testament to his legacy that dark days are more than assured when Dracula walks among us again!

Awesomeness level:
Three out of five Dracula heads


Check back tomorrow when another vampiric fave takes center stage! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fang Folio: Sorin Markov


As we count down to Halloween, I'll be shining a non-UV spotlight on some awesome vampires I absolutely love! From RPGs to card games, comics to movies, this collection of fanged fiends always make their home worlds more awesome than they should be! And today we'll be starting off with a vampire I met recently...

SORIN MARKOV


Claim to fame: One of the all-powerful Planeswalkers from the trading card game Magic: The Gathering.

Why he's awesome: Sorin Markov here is a sword-wielding, blood-drinking, millennia-living vampire in the Magic: The Gathering universe. If that doesn't sound awesome, I don't know what does. Also, with the exception of big dragon baddie Nicol Bolas, Sorin here is the oldest living planeswalker. In the thousands of years he's traveled he's seen it all, literally, and I bet it tickles him to know there's still more left to discover!

I first encountered Sorin Markov when the Innistrad block came out. Being a fan of the gothic horror setting, I was all over Innistrad like white on rice. And when there's gothic horror, there's bound to be vampires...and Sorin is arguably the biggest vampire of them all!

There's also something about Sorin Markov's nobleness that resonated with me. Because while he may be a blood-sucking creature of the night, Sorin knows the dangers of unbridled excess that vampires are capable of. When Sorin came back to Innistrad and saw that evil grew unchecked and humanity was on the brink of extinction, what does he do? He gives humans an honest-to-goodness angel to guard over them! [highlight for the spoiler]

But don't mistake Sorin's charity for goodness. Humanity is still cattle to him, they're just no use to him dead!

Crowning Moment of Epicness: A millennia ago, Sorin once helped trap the dreaded Eldrazi. Now, Eldrazi aren't just your normal 2-to-cast monster...these abominations are straight-up mind-breakingworld-devouring Cthulhu paradigms. Any lesser man would go NOPENOPENOPE out of that plane lickedy-split...but not Sorin. Not only did he help trap these monstrosities where they won't get to destroy again, he even came back without a second thought to stop them from escaping!


Vampire lord. Planeswalking badass. Sorin Markov is a cool character with tons of potential, and how lucky humans are that he's too busy going on epic adventures to think about crushing them under his heel!

Awesomeness level: 


Four out of five Dracula heads


Watch out tomorrow for another vampire vignette. Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Week in Comics: The Sixth Gun #35

I've harped about Cullen Bunn's storytelling chops so many times, but it bears repeating: the dude's good. Case in point: The Sixth Gun #35.

This issue marks the explosive finale to the Ghost Dance storyarc that saw Becky Montcrief journey through the spirit world, exploring different realities that could happen should the Six Guns be reunited. Here, Becky stumbles upon a world where she ends up with a husband, kids, and her father alive and well! But things aren't always what they seem, and as Becky's allies and Missy Hume's demonic army battle for Becky's soul in the waking world, one thing is for certain: no one comes out of this the same person again!

I gotta say, the whole Ghost Dance arc is some of Cullen Bunn's best work. Characters changed and grew in the course of the last five issues, and this finale gives us some very satisfying payoffs that you won't see coming. Becky, in particular, has come so far from the simple farmer's daughter in issue one. If you thought she has become hardened by her experiences before, she walks out of the Ghost Dance harder...and angrier. And it will affect her relationships with some of the characters in this book, in particular her protector Drake Sinclair and the scoundrel Kirby Hale.

Even the bad guys don't leave intact. Just when you thought Missy Hume (General Hume's sadistic widow and hunter of the Six Guns) gets to lick her wounds another day, a bigger evil rears its ugly head and what happens in the last few pages is nothing else but shocking. It's been a while since I've read a comic book that made me desperately want to know what happens next!

A finale this amazing deserves to be rendered accordingly, and Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree step up to deliver some of their best work. They don't miss a beat, serving up visuals that are appropriately visceral and action-packed. And at thirty-five issues in, I'm still very grateful that we have the same writer and artists working on the book. Pat your backs, everybody.!

It's safe to say that the entire Ghost Dance storyarc is a return to form for Bunn and co., and The Sixth Gun #35 is proof of that. This issue is the rare breed of comic book that delivers on its promises and makes a lot of more of them to get you coming back.This gets a 5 out of 5. You've got to read this book, people. You've just gotta!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy 9th Anniversary, Behold the Geek!


Nine years ago, if you told me Behold the Geek! would grow as big as it is right now, I would laugh. It was 2004, and 'web logs' were just becoming mainstream. I just made a Blogger account to vent and display my (nonexistent) sense of humor, not to one day turn it into a major driving force in my life!

But alas, sometimes life doesn't turn out the way you want it to. And nine years later, I'm glad that it didn't.

I've made papercraft Mjolnirs. I've reminisced about cartoon dinosaurs. I've amassed hundreds of comic books. I bought a giant Galactus figure. I had myself quoted in a manga and in the newspapers. I've met many wonderful people along the way who share the same passion I have with comics and pop culture. All because of this blog. And if that isn't reason enough to be thankful, I don't know what is!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the visitors, the lurkers, the commenters, the guys in Russia still viewing my blog (Здравствуйте, comrades!), the fans in Facebook and each and every one of you who, at the end of the day, still choose to read the stuff I write. It warms the cackles of this old writer's heart, and I hope you stick around coz comics and awesome are still very much the ingredients of my life and yours...so let's celebrate it together!

Happy anniversary, you blog you!

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Week in Anime: Kill la Kill Episode 2

Kill la Kill Episode 2: So Sexy She Might Pass Out!


Watched Episode 1 of Kill la Kill and was craving for more, so here were are again with Episode 2!

Last we left Ryuko, she's retreated to recover from her severe loss of blood. She wakes up to find herself in the home of her self-proclaimed "best friend" Mako, who introduces us not only to her dysfunctional family but also to the taste (both literally and figuratively) of what life is like under the shadow of Honnouji Academy.


It's pretty endearing actually, all that Mako quirkiness. She gets most of my laughs in the series so far, and here we see it's not so easy living in the slums but they make do with what they got. Kill la Kill being what it is, there's this insane amount of hope and happiness for people like Mako to keep going, which is nice.


Unfortunately for Ryuko, another of the queen bee's henchmen has set sights on her: tennis club captain Omiko Hakodate, who's souped up with a 2-star Goku uniform. You'd think after the last beating she dished out, this battle would be easy for Ryuko. But for some reason she doesn't transform into the super-warrior she was last time, and Omiko proceeds to whip Ryuko's sorry butt easily with a barrage of tennis balls and leaves her dead in the water...until she's fished out by one of the academy's teachers, who seems to know a thing or two about how her mysterious uniform works.


The dude is also freaking hilarious, by the way. Won't tell you why. Just watch his segment. Go ahead.

To me, the concept of 'power uniforms' like Ryuko's and the other Goku Uniforms is awesome, and I really like Ryuko's uniform (for obvious reasons. It's both sexy AND cool). We get a little bit of info about why the Student Council of Honnouji Academy has the monopoly on Goku uniforms, and the implications are pretty dire. I'd love to see where they go with this.

Armed with new knowledge and a powered-up Senketsu (her name for the magical school uniform she wears), Ryuko gets her revenge on Omiko on the tennis court and the battle is as insane as you imagine it. Tennis, Gurren Lagann-style, anyone? Probably my favorite part of the episode.


But Omiko is small-fry compared to Student Council President Satsuki Kiryuin, and Ryuko thinks she can take her on now. Big mistake.


I gotta say, it's refreshing to see a hothead character like Ryuko knowing when to back down when the odds are stacked against you. She will live to fight another day, and if today's battle is any indication, calling it a 'fight' is close to an understatement.

Kill la Kill has been crazy amazing so far. It's been a while since I've watched something as outrageous as this, and it's keeping me on my toes so much that I really want to know what happens next episode. This one's a keeper.

MY WEEK IN ANIME: Samurai Flamenco Episode 1

Note: Lots of cool new anime coming out these days, so I decided to add this new feature here at Behold the Geek!, where I review anime episodes and decide whether it's a keeper or a dud. Hope you like it!

Samurai Flamenco Episode 1: Debut of Samurai Flamenco!


I've talked about superheroes in anime before, and one of the upcoming ones I was excited for was Samurai Flamenco. The promotional video made it look very interesting, and now that Episode 1 is out, I can see it for myself.

In this first ep, Hidenori Goto, a policeman, stumbles upon a very naked Masayoshi Hazama, who claims he's a superhero called Samurai Flamenco. Not exactly an auspicious first meeting, but it does it's job. After an altercation with a burning superhero uniform, Goto finds out why Masayoshi is running around being a superhero...or a semblance of one.

To be honest, Masayoshi grated on me. Maybe because his idealist notions clash with my pragmatism? I dunno. But taking first impressions into account, Masayoshi exudes this weird weeaboo vibe, like he's out of touch with reality, but instead of manifesting itself in the obsession with 2D waifus, Masayoshi's manifests itself in the very honest desire to be a superhero. He doesn't hide that fact one bit, even unabashedly mimicking the moves of his favorite superhero, Harakiri Sunshine (seriously), in front of Goto-san.


Of course, that desire gets Masayoshi into trouble when he decides to go out again in his Samurai Flamenco alter-ego to chase away a bunch of delinquent kids and ends up getting his ass kicked. It's pretty painful to watch, seeing a grown man being kicked around by 15-year-olds. Goto-san saves him eventually, and we see that this policeman has grown to care for this seemingly misguided vigilante. But Masayoshi's commitment to his cause is unwavering, and it tugs at a heartstring or two. I guess there IS really something deeply endearing about his ridiculously strong sense of justice

The animation is pretty good though for an episode that's basically a slice-of-life. It's weird that they went for the low-key approach for a debut episode instead of coming out guns a-blazing. But I guess we needed to know what makes Masayoshi tick, and I'm still hoping there's more superheroics in the coming episodes to take advantage of that.

If there's anything I could credit Samurai Flamenco, it's that it wasn't the superhero anime I was expecting. Something tells me this isn't the be-all, end-all of Samurai Flamenco. And I really hope I'm right. For now this is a keeper.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Marvel's Greatest Villains, Then and Now

Have you ever wondered what your favorite Marvel villains looked like before they became huge? Way before Tom Hiddleston or Sir Ian McKellen stepped into their roles, the supervillains of Marvel got their humble beginnings in comic books, where they've evolved through the years and eventually inspired the big screen adaptations we know of today!

Check out what Marvel's popular villains looked like from their first appearances and beginnings, and see how far they've come in the present!

LOKI
Loki was introduced in Journey into Mystery #85 (1962) as a sly and cunning sonovagun who used his God of Mischief status to make his brother Thor's life hell on Earth.  Loki has been a lot of things through the years (even turning into a raven-haired woman at one point!), but these days he's been reincarnated as Kid Loki and is hanging out with the Young Avengers, probably learning what it takes to be a real hero. Let's hope it sticks, no?


MAGNETO
X-Men #1 gave us the foremost X-Men foe Magneto in the red and purple costume he would wear for most of his villainous (and oftentimes heroic!) life. After the huge Avengers vs. X-Men event, though, he's riding with Cyclops' Uncanny X-Men and sporting a white, arm-baring ensemble that makes you think "Damn, he looks fit for an 80-year-old."


THE MANDARIN
Forget Trevor Slattery. OG Mandarin was a straight up karate-chopping, ten-ring wielding evil dude who made Tony Stark's life hell. Nowadays he's less "Chinese warlord" and more "evil CEO",  but now he's armed with cutting-edge technology to go toe-to-toe with the Armored Avenger...and still look stylish doing it!


RED SKULL
Either it's the art style of the day, or Red Skull was absolutely horrifying in his first appearance (Captain America Comics #4, 1946). Not much has changed for the crimson-domed Nazi, except perhaps for his fashion sense. These days he's got telepathic powers (don't ask me how if you value your lunch) and have battled the Uncanny Avengers.

THANOS
The Mad Titan Thanos has cleaned up quite nicely since his first appearance in Iron Man #55 (1973). He's courted Death, killed half the galaxy, and got killed himself so many times I've lost track. Right now he's back and better than ever, crushing heroes under the heel of his titanic boot in Marvel's Infinity event.

ULTRON
For a villain as badass as Ultron, it's amazing to know that he started out as a face on wheels with the mind of a newborn baby (and invented by Dr. Henry Pym, in case anyone forgets). But make no mistake, Ultron has evolved into a villain no one wants to mess with. He's already headlined a couple of major crossover comic book events  like Annihilation: Conquest in 2008 and the recent Age of Ultron this 2013, having kicked so much superhero ass that when the name Ultron comes up, it's a 100% certainty that things are going to get really bad.


Wow! Marvel's villains have sure come a long way! So who are your favorite Marvel villains, and what do they do or look like now? Leave a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 04, 2013

DINOSAUR WEEK II: Dinosaurs Love Going Super


Dinosaurs are some of the most fearsome and awesome creatures to ever walk the earth, and so it goes without saying that the only people worthy of facing them will have to be...well, super.

Which is probably why Superman and the Super-family have had so many brushes with dinosaurs through the years, as seen in these covers!

 Action Comics Vol 1 #516, cover by Rich Buckler (1981)

 Action Comics Vol 1 #664, cover by Kerry Gammill (1991)

 Adventure Comics Vol 2 #6, cover by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato (2010)

Power Girl Vol 2 #22, cover by Sami Basri and Sunny Gho (2011)

My Week in Comics: October 4, 2013

Woah hold up...according to my Blogger dashboard, this be my 500th post! Yaaaaay! *cue flailing Kermit arms*

But I digress. Vampires, ghosts and ghouls pervade this Week in Comics, and it couldn't come at a better time with Halloween just a couple of weeks away! Let's see what I got myself into!


First up is Bushido #1, detailing the story of Kichiro, a gaijin (foreigner) raised by a kindly samurai in feudal Japan. With his dream of becoming a samurai himself out of his reach (foreigners aren't allowed to become samurai), Kichiro may soon have to carve his own path to greatness when vampires begin invading Japan...and he may be the only one who can stand in their way!

"Based on a screenplay..." it says on the inside-front cover, and Bushido #1 definitely reads like the first 15 minutes of a genre movie. There's a little bit of everything in this one issue, from romance to horror to action, and it makes for very satisfying reading. Writer Rob Levin does a good job of letting the story beats flow smoothly from one scene to the next, and of making the character of Kichiro likable and fresh. Kichiro is noble and humble, a refreshing take from the arrogant gaijin archetype, and you'll find yourself rooting for him in all this.

Of course, this isn't just a Japanese period drama. There are vampires here, dawg, and if you wanna see if these filthy bloodsuckers can survive the steel of a katana, this is the comic to see.

The art, by Jessada Sutthi is very pretty. The whole comic is illustrated digitally, and it compliments the story's very cinematic feel. I'm a bit iffy with digital art, having seen my share of digitally-rendered comic books that left a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, Bushido is actually one of the better digitally-illustrated comic books I've read, and I'm happy to see living, breathing characters here instead of boring, lifeless pinups with eyes all-too glazed for comfort.

Bottom line, Bushido #1 is a promising comic, its intriguing samurai vs vampire mash-up and great art ensuring you will come back for more. Issue two even comes out next week, so you won't have to wait to see what happens next. This gets a 4 out of 5.


And finally we come to The Witching Hour #1, a collection of horror stories in the vivid Vertigo manner. It's an eclectic mix of scary tales, from witchcraft (like Steve Beach's "Daniel") to the to the creepy-crawly (like Kelly Sue DeConnick's unnerving story "Legs") to the straight-up psychological (like Brett Lewis' "Mars to Stay"). Even Neil Gaiman's Dead Boy Detectives make an appearance, if you're a fan. Every story stands out in its own way, and horror fans will probably find one or two stories they'd like here.

I'm not really much into horror, to be honest, and I found myself latching onto the stories in The Witching Hour #1 that remind ourselves that for all the monsters and ghosts our minds can cook up, nothing compares to what real life can do. I particularly liked Annie Mok and Emily Carroll's "This Witch's Work", a short story dealing with abuse, and the toll it takes on the person on the receiving end of it. The monstrous images Reina conjures up in her mind when reminded of her abuse as a child is chilling 

Another favorite of mine is "Little Witch" by Ales Kot and Morgan Jeske, a tale of an American soldier's friendship with an Afghan girl trying to escape the stigma of being born female. This story in particular stands out from the rest as its subject matter isn't particularly horrific, but I guess regret gnawing at you from the inside is just as potent as fear. I especially liked how it ended in a surprisingly hopeful note, a ray of light from all the scary, scary darkness.

All in all, The Witching Hour #1 is divine horror done right, not too shocking as to alienate casual readers and yet potent enough to leave a sliver of fear in your soul. This gets a 5 out of 5. You won't regret picking this up...and it's in season too!

__

Wow. Two solid horror comics...a pretty good week, if you ask me! What comics did you get this week? Leave me a comment via the comment box below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

DINOSAUR WEEK II: 4 Dinosaur-related Links You Need RIGHT NOW


The internet isn't just for funny cat videos and pr0n! In line with the celebration of DINOSAUR WEEK here at Behold the Geek!, we're giving you some dinosaur-related links you never thought you needed...until now!


Ever wanted to ask a velociraptor anything? Tumblr just gave you the chance of a lifetime. Ask a Velociraptor is a surprisingly educational 'ask blog' starring a...well, a velociraptor (the anatomically-correct one with feathers, not the 'clever' dudes from Jurassic Park). He/She/It would be quick to tell you about the difference between troodontids and oviraptors and the mating habits of velociraptors (with cute illustrations to go with them). Aside, of course, from answering inane questions like whether a velociraptor can hold a gun.


To bask in the majesty of dinosaurs short of visiting a museum with complete dinosaur skeletons, one need only turn to art. Japanese artist Takumi Yamamoto seems to love dinosaurs as much as we do, coz through the years he has been cranking out piece after piece of amazing dinosaur art, which you can see via his online gallery. If you're hankering for some dinosaur-filled scenery art, this is the place to be.


Yes, folks. Society has come a long, long way. Long enough to have enough time in the world to create a game wherein a hapless T-Rex is put on a moving treadmill and letting hijinks ensue. Funny as it sounds, Treadmillasaurus-Rex is an exercise (hah!) in patience and hand-eye coordination, with spiked balls, lightsabers and an omni-directional treadmill all working together to knock you off your groove . Get far enough in this game though, and the T-Rex gets a top hat. Like a dino-sir.

Dinosaur "Prank" Videos

Leave it to the Japanese to come up with pranks as wild as these, wherein a dude in a very well-made and fully-functional dinosaur costume runs after unsuspecting victims and possibly giving them the shock of their lives that years of therapy will never fix. You laugh now, but faced with a mini T-Rex running after you in a hallway with nowhere to hide, you'd run the hell away too.Check out the vids here, here and here.


Know of any other dinosaur-related links you'd like to share? Leave them via the comment box below and let everyone know about it! Hope you're having fun as we celebrate DINOSAUR WEEK once again here at Behold the Geek! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

DINOSAUR WEEK II: The Mega Comic Book Dinosaur Brawl-for-All!



Dinosaurs are a vicious and powerful lot. And what better way to take advantage of that AND entertain ourselves in the process than by pitting some of the craziest, nastiest and most fearsome dinosaurs from comic books against each other in the figurative arena!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the brawl to end all brawls...the MEGA COMIC BOOK DINOSAUR BRAWL-FOR-ALL! We've taken dinosaurs from different domains of comicdom and made them go head-to-head in a battle for the ages! Who will roar in triumph? Who will claw their way to victory? Place your bets coz the ripping and the tearing begins NOW!



Dr. Dinosaur vs. Doctor Dinosaur
Tale of the tape: One is a mad scientist and enemy of Atomic Robo who happens to be a dinosaur, and the other is a dapper dinosaur gentleman and enemy of DC's Inferior Five who happens to be mad.

The battle: Both score high marks in the intelligence department, but DC's Doctor Dinosaur one ups the other by virtue of having TWO brains. However, the fact that one of the said brains resides in his butt (no, seriously) kinda negates it. Besides, what can a dude with a brain in his butt do against a crazy, gun-toting velociraptor? This one's pretty easy to call.

Winner: Dr. Dinosaur (Atomic Robo)


Wexter vs. Tyrannosaurus Reich
Tale of the tape: One is an over-the-top T-Rex pet with cop glasses and robot machine guns for arms, the other is an over-the-top Nazi T-Rex who roars in German.

The battle: There's no one in the world that won't crap their pants at the sight of a bloodthirsty Nazi T-rex. Unfortunately for him though, Axe Cop's dinosaur pet Wexter does not, in fact, have any pants to crap in. Also, Wexter can freakin' fly. A T-Rex that flies and rains bullets on you from space. This isn't a battle...this is a curbstomp.

Winner: Wexter


Satanus vs. Venom T-Rex
Tale of the tape: One is a time-traveling black tyrannosaur, the other is a black-symbiote-wearing tyrannosaur. Both roam post-apocalyptic wastelands and have a taste for human flesh!

The battle: This'll be messy. Satanus is vicious and bloodthirsty, having roamed and killed its way through the Cursed Earth in Judge Dredd's universe. And while we're sure Venom T-Rex is deadly in its own right, we've seen loads of dudes just like him turned into bloody piles of dinosaur meat by this demonic-sounding dino. I bet Satanus sees Venom T-Rex less as an opponent...and more as second breakfast.

The winner: Satanus


Super Dinosaur vs. Devil Dinosaur
Tale of the tape: One is a boy's T-Rex best friend outfitted with power arms and armor, and the other is an ape boy's T-Rex best friend that likes to stomp on things. A lot.

The battle: This is actually pretty tough to call. Can Super Dinosaur's payload of missiles and other weaponry do damage to Devil Dinosaur's hide? Will Devil Dinosaur be able stomp the living daylights out of Super Dinosaur? Can a scrawny science whiz-kid beat up a feral ape boy (my money's on the ape boy)?

Then again, one chomp from Devil Dinosaur takes out Super Dinosaur's left robot arm, another chomp takes out the right, and what you're left with is a T-Rex that talks. And Devil Dinosaur ain't up for talking.

Winner: Devil Dinosaur


Stegron vs. Sauron
Tale of the tape: One turned into a dinosaur through science, and the other turned into a dinosaur through a bite from a mutant pteranodon. Both equally insane. This could be good.

The battle: Sauron has been one of the X-Men's deadliest enemies with his power to siphon the life energies of anyone he touches. Stegron, however, has the ability to mentally control dinosaurs. A not-so-useful power these days (I mean, seriously), but it just so happens his opponent is half-dinosaur! Unfortunately for Steggy here, Sauron's got the experience and the speed to make short work of a Lizard wannabe.

Winner: Sauron


Jurassic Strike Force 5 vs. Dinosaurs for Hire
Tale of the tape: Both are anthropomorphic dinosaurs with guns. No matter who wins, it will be awesome.

The battle: A firefight between these two teams could potentially be epic. They both seem to be evenly matched when it comes to tactics and firepower, with the Jurassic Strike Force 5 merely outnumbering the Dinosaurs for Hire 5 dinos to 3 and the Dinosaurs for Hire making up for lack of high-tech gear with sheer street-smarts. It's hard to call that we have to give this to both of them.

Winner: Draw


Gon vs. Dino-Man

Tale of the tape: One is a cute chibi dinosaur from a popular manga, the other is...whatever the hell that is.

The battle: No, seriously. WTF is that thing? Kill it, Gon! Kill it! Kill it before it lays eggs!!!

Winner: Know what? I'm just gonna give this to Gon

___

Anyway, I hope you liked our match-ups today. Agree with the decisions? Or do you think they could have ended differently? Leave me a comment via the comment box below and let's talk about it! DINOSAUR WEEK 2 is roaring its way to you all this week, so keep it locked here for more!

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