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Mysterious Stranger's blah blah blog

Of course that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Review: Giant-size Astonishing X-Men


Giant-size Astonishing X-Men
Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: John Cassaday, Laura Martin, Chris Eliopoulos

The long-awaited, much delayed and totally worth it ending to Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men run is finally here.  A nice oversized issue filled with Whedon-y goodness that I just can't summarize in words.  If you've liked the run so far then you'll truly enjoy this finale.  Lots of nice character revelations and all the major plot points are wrapped up nicely.  Whedon's words are the usual Whedon-speak and he really captures the voices of all the characters in this book and there are a lot of folks here.  The guest stars aren't forced and he handles them as well as he does the main cast.  There's no recap of events from previous issues (other than the recap page) and we're thrust right into the story as we left it last issue.  Had this come out on schedule I'm sure the read would be a lot better but on its own I felt a little bit lost with some bits.  But after getting a few pages in I was refreshed enough on events that I knew what was happening and why.

The art of John Cassaday has defined this series just as much as Whedon's writing and here he's no slouch.  Just as Whedon handled the words of the guest stars deftly so too does Cassaday handle them in the art.  There is a certain particular guest that I'd love to see both of these guys do more with but I won't spoil it for you.  Just trust me that you'll know who it is when they appear.  Cassaday manages to convey everyone's emotions perfectly and the action scenes are just as good.

This series has had its share of delays and honestly if it was anyone else but Joss Whedon writing it I would have given up long ago.  But the story, characters and artwork all combined to create a truly incredible read.  I don't own many hardcover collections of comics but this is one I will gladly pay good money to have bound in a nice oversized collection on my bookshelf.  I'm going to miss Whedon's X-Men but I'm glad we got what we did because this is a truly epic tale told by some of the best creators out there and I'm glad I was along for the ride.

Of course that's just my opinion.  I could be wrong. 
 

He-Man movie anyone?


 I'll get to today's comic review later this afternoon but first I wanted to gush over this script review of the proposed He-Man movie.  This review gets me excited.  As a child of the 80's I loved the original cartoon and even caught some of the later series.  I had the toys (Castle Greyskull fucking rocked!) and even enjoyed the Dolph Lundgren movie.  Yes I liked it.  Sure I was disappointed that it took place on Earth but anyone that says Dolph Lundgren wasn't a perfectly cast He-Man (at least visually) can kiss my ass.  And Frank Langella as Skeletor... brilliant!  Had they stuck to Eternia it would have been a much better movie but it is what it is and I liked it.  Sue me.

Now this new script just gets me giddy in all kinds of new ways.  The history of the Power Swords, the relationship between Adam and Skeletor, it all just seems to work.  And I love that the characters as described in the review are all older (other than Adam and presumably Teela).  This isn't some fluffy camp piece filled with 20-something pop stars.  This sounds like an honest to goodness straight-up sword and sworcery film with characters and not just pretty faces.  It all sounds so incredibly awesome that I really really hope Warner Bros. greenlights this film and doesn't fuck it up.

And that's where I start to get a bit worried.  See the project is set up under Joel Silver's production company.  He's the guy that did the Matrix trilogy and Speed Racer.  Given that Speed Racer bombed bigger than Fat Man and Little Boy rumor is that Warner is distancing themselves from Silver and that's too bad because this film IF done right could be a potential blockbuster and that's what Warner needs right now.

As with all things Hollywierd this project could end up being shelved for years or go through many more drafts before ever seeing the light of day so don't camp out in line just yet.  But with the current flood of 80's films being redone and the mining of pop-culture for any property that folks my age loved as kids I can't foresee this taking too long to get into production.  And if its anything like this draft of the script (and I trust El Mayimbe's opinion) then I'll be there opening weekend.

Of course that's just my opinion.  I could be wrong.

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Okay I lied...


 Yet another false start to this thing.  But I'm planning on making more of an effort in the coming weeks so stay tuned.  Now with my apology out of the way let's get to today's topics.

1) "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Oh My Gods Could This Title Be Any Longer?" - went with some friends to see Indy 4 opening weekend.  We went to the early Saturday morning show and it was still crowded.  We had to sit in like the 4th or 5th row but it wasn't too bad.  How was the movie?  Well when the only thing you're talking about when you leave the theatre is how stupid Shia looked swinging through the jungle with the CGI monkeys that should tell you something.  That's a bit harsh but not too far from accurate.  That was the first thing we all talked about in the lobby afterwards.  There were some good moments and some bad moments and some yeah that was over the top moments but for the most part it was a fun film.  Would I pay full price to see it again?  Nope.  Will I be clamoring for it on DVD (in the eventual 4 film boxset we'll see this Christmas)?  Nah.  But it will make for a nice Saturday afternoon on cable movie and that's not a bad thing.  If they continue the series with Shia as the star though they'll lose me.

2) "The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian" - the girl and I went to see this one Memorial Day and I have to say I was impressed.  Having not read the books (Wardrobe was a class group read in elementary school) I'm not familiar with the stories so I didn't have any expectations going in.  It seemed a bit long and slow in some parts but the battle sequences were pretty cool and the acting by the kids was decent.  And is it just me or is the kid playing the oldest boy becoming a dead ringer for a young Prince William?  That's all I could think when watching the first Narnia and it only gets more noticable in this one.  Maybe its just me.  Anyway, the box office on this one isn't what they were hoping for but that's just the way it goes.  They should have kept this series as a winter holiday film rather than moving it to the summer but I don't run a major motion picture studio (yet) so what do I know.  Overall this will make a nice collection when all the films come out on DVD in the uber-super boxset and I think I'll wait to buy it until then.

3) Today's comic book review - *gasp!* yeah I know.  A comics blog with an actual comic book review?  Whodathunkit?  I'm going to be catching up with some things through this week but today I thought I'd start with my favorite monthly title Marvel's Captain America.

SPOILERTWIN POWERS ACTIVATE!!!

Captain America #38 - The Death of Captain America Act 3 - The Man Who Bought America: Part Two
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steven Epting, Mike Perkins, Frank D'Amata, VC's Joe Caramagna

So here we are, knee deep in the Red Skull's plot to take over the United States.  Bucky is feeling more comfortable in his role as Captain America, Sharon is finally(?) free of Faustus' mind control, Falcon is being all mentory to Bucky and oddly enough Tony (I'm a douchebag in every other Marvel book but this one) Stark is nowhere to be seen.  When last we met Sharon had just discovered a scarred man that looked an awful lot like her dead boyfriend Steve Rogers.  This issue picks up at that very moment and goes from there.  We're quickly told that this isn't Steve but in fact the ressurrected body of The Grand Director, some Cap stand-in from the 50's who's had lots of issues in his life.  She's quickly discovered by Faustus and Lukin/Skull though and that's the last we see of her.  Meanwhile Bucky and Falcon are tracking some baddies to a remote location.  Turns out Arnim Zola is ordering his minions to pack their shit and get out as our heroes arrive.  Battle ensues, Zola pulls a Cylon (downloads into another body) and our heroes barely escape what they figure out was probably a distraction.  Oh and there's some political stuff going on with Skull's 3rd party candidate for president and a predictable but nicely played bit of dialogue in the last panels.

Overall this issue is a "filler" piece.  No major revelations (unless you really believed that was Steve at the end of last issue in which case you haven't been paying attention at all) but all the big storylines are serviced.  Bucky and Falcon's storyline continues to build their relationship and its nice to see Bucky still having doubts about himself but also realizing he's part of the bigger picture.  I'm really enjoying the serialized nature this book is taking and Brubaker is doing a great job.

The artwork here is incredible as always.  Epting is really getting a good feel for the new Cap-suit and it looks better and better the more I see it in action.  The book has a real noir-ish mid-century sci-fi suspense movie feel to it and I don't think anyone could pull it off better than Epting.  And the fact that his Sharon Carter is smoking hot doesn't hurt either.

All in all this issue isn't anything ground-breaking.  Its definitely an issue that moves the bigger story along but it does it in such a way to make it interesting and fun.  This will read incredibly well in trade format but doesn't feel like its written that way like some other books.  There's enough here to full 22 pages while not losing sight of the big picture.  Not too shabby.

Of course that's just my opinion.  I could be wrong. 

Next time ... Astonishing X-Men the Whedon years...

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Once more... with feeeeeeeeling


Let's try this again shall we?  I've started this blog a couple times, each with the best of intentions and no success.  Now I'm hoping the third time is the charm so we'll see how it goes.  I plan to update regularly with my thoughts and opinions on comics, comics news, life, love and the pursuit of a paying gig.  So wish me luck!  And with that, here's my first official post...

Iron Man - Went to see this on Monday.  Will be seeing it again.  Sure the "big bad" is easy to figure out from the get go but what a fun ride it was getting there.  I've said this from the beginning.  Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark.  He loved this part and you can really see it on screen.  Favs did a great job casting Downey as his leading man.  And the rest of the cast is great as well.  I almost cried when Stark gets off the plane after being rescued and is greeted by his assistant Pepper.  That small scene spoke to their relationship in so many ways and really sold me on it.  And Terrance Howard gets his own moment to shine as well.  Its brief and doesn't happen until near the end but yeah it works.  Jeff Bridges exudes slimey corporate evil so easily it made me squirm in my seat whenever he was on screen.  The effects were near flawless, the script had just the right amount of drama and the funny and the score and music really set the tone.  Overall its no wonder this film did $100 million opening weekend.

Recent Comics - I'll be covering a few comics in the next few days as I catch up on my reading.  There are a few issues in particular I want to ramble about but in the meantime here's a quick recap on my Pull List.

Captain America (Marvel) - seriously, you need to ask why I'm reading this?
Buffy The Vampire Slayer "Season Eight" (Dark Horse) - Joss Whedon, need I say more?
Astonishing X-Men (Marvel) - yeah its almost over but I'm curious how the new creative team will do
G.I. Joe America's Elite (Devil's Due Press) - this one too is almost over but its getting to be a good read
Green Arrow/Black Canary (DC) - I honestly don't know why I'm reading this
Green Lantern / Green Lantern Corps (DC) - Johns on GL is amazing and the Corps book is just as good
Justice League of America (DC) - I'm hoping this will get better, doesn't suck but the consistency isn't there
Battlestar Galactica Season Zero (Dynamite) - don't care what people say, Jerwa is a good writer
Battlestar Galactica Origins (Dynamite) - its BSG and I'm a whore
Project Superpowers (Dynamite) - Alex Ross is what got me in this one
Thor (Marvel) - never been a Thor fan but this is really pretty good
Ultimate Iron Man II (Marvel) - better than Ultimates 3... way better
Ultimates 3 (Marvel) - its gonna get better... right?
X-Force (Marvel) - my Wolverine fix
Secret Invasion (Marvel) - more on this one later
Avengers/Invaders (Marvel) - again, Alex Ross, he draws pretty
Kick-Ass (Marvel Icons) - Millar has one more issue to keep me interested... if it comes out on time

I'm also picking up the Secret Invasion tie-ins that have stories I'm interested in, like Nick Fury in Mighty Avengers.  And the final issue of Serenity: Better Days comes out this week so I'll probably recap the miniseries when I read it.  Final Crisis will be on my pull list because I can't resist a Crisis no matter how convoluted the story might be.

So there ya go. 

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I'm not a huge fanboy. At least not in comparison to most bloggers. I'm just a guy that likes the funny books and I thought the "blogosphere" could use the casual perspective. Take it or leave it, makes no difference to me.

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