Cranky Geek Bites

I’m in a pissy mood, but apparently there are THINGS YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT zipping around in the ether. I would provide links and whatnot; but I’m cranky. I don’t want to be bothered right now. This should get you through any casual geek conversations for another week:

  • Bryan Singer is getting the gang back together for “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” McKellen and Stewart have already signed on to reprise their roles as Magneto and Xavier, respectively; and there are rumblings today that Jackman is being wooed to SNIKT the claws out one more time. I couldn’t be happier. Those roles have always been the best cast in all the X-Men movies; and since we’re dealing with post-apocalyptic future X-Men, it makes sense to have the mentors and the immortal still kicking around.
  • Guillermo Del Toro’s kaiju flick, “Pacific Rim” has teasers galore spouting up around the web. So far there has been a monster attack video, a PSA, and leaked memos and giant robot blueprints. The robot design is impressive and the blurry-cam shots of the first kaiju is…Cloverfield-ish. So I’ll give this a 50/50 good news/bad news rating. Fingers crossed for giant nuclear dinosaurs!
  • Yesterday marked the release of IDW’s first of their ongoing “My Little Pony” series (don’t lie – I know you care about it). It’s fun, true to the new cartoon, and looks great. My five-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were equally rapt. I would say that’s a nice accomplishment.

There…that’s all I got. Now go away while I glare at toys I can’t afford on BigBadToyStore.

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The Splash Page: Mark Millar Saves Fecund Fox Follies

News came down yesterday that Fox finally did something smart with their moribund Marvel properties. Y’see, the reason we’re not seeing Galactus, the Fantastic Four, or the X-Men in the current Marvel movie-verse is that Fox owns all of them. And currently they’re doing a craptastic job. Both Fantastic Four movies were nigh unwatchable (literally, I couldn’t bring myself to view any of the second). And the third X-Men movie (which was the last movie in that continuity…no one’s yet sure where “First Class” falls) – to say it was a mistreatment of the greatest X-Men story ever would be underselling it. It was a horror show. Now, the aforementioned “First Class” might redeem the X-Men property (and the fact that Patrick Stewart is going to reprise his role in the sequel, “Days of Future Past” has me giddy); but it’s far too late for the Fantastic Four. So then why did Fox turn down Marvel’s offer a few months back, they’d get to keep their licenses for Daredevil and FF, all they had to do was let Marvel have Galactus back. Seemed like a no-brainer; unless Fox had a plan after all.

Enter Millar.

If modern comics had a gonzo writer, Millar would be it. He’s enormously successful; mostly because he’s not afraid to let his characters get drunk with power. Hell, they don’t just get drunk on power, they get wasted on it, then puke it on to a little boy playing on the playground, then they laugh at him, then they pass out in their own sick. Edgy is what his superhero depictions pass on the way to the “Full Asshole” treatment where most of them end up. And despite the fact that sounds like the worse thing ever; it’s refreshing. In Millar’s hands, Captain America flips his middle finger at the apple-pie nostalgia over his generation; Reed Richards is the smartest nerd in the room and he’ll fuck your sister in the next room while the rest of him is over here solving the problem of nth-level dimensions just to prove it; Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver finally realize that their relationship is more than just special…it’s special. These are heroes abusing their power and behaving badly; because the stress of the changes they’ve undergone and the things they’ve had to do for the “greater good” push them to their breaking points on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Millar does superheroic realism better than most and it’s something that Fox needs if it’s going to make a break from its script-by-committee superhero movies of the past 10 years.

The Splash Page: Scott’s a Dick

I haven’t been reading “Avengers vs. X-Men” (or “AvX” if you’re a cool kid); but it seems to follow Marvel’s typical summer event arc thusly: “Hey, one superhero with this is cool. How about we give this to A WHOLE SHITLOAD of superheros? That’d be AWESOME. Also. NEW COSTUMES! Yaaaaaaaay.”

The McGuffin last year in “Fear Itself” was Asgardian hammers…and fucking everyone got one. This year, they restrained themselves and decided to only empower five superheroes with the power to destroy the cosmos. Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Hope Summers, and…Namor? all got a little chunk of the Phoenix force and remade the Marvel universe in their own, mutant-friendly, image. Obviously, there’s been a lot of scene-chewing going on; but the biggest, most lasting, takeaway is this:

Scott Summers is a dick. Spoilers after the jump! Continue reading

Friday Diversion: Patrick Stewart on Extras

Here at Sweep-the-Leg we know that work time is precious. A time to put your head down and get be productive. Work harder, get ahead.

Well… then there’s Friday afternoon. We all need a diversion on Friday afternoons. So, here’s your Friday Diversion (and, as always, we can’t promise that these are all SFW, but we’ll try).

Today’s diversion… Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: TNG” and “X-men” among other noble pursuits) once guest starred on the show “Extras.” The result was… Pure Awesome. Watch it. Make It So.

Four-Color Face-Off: Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe vs. Animal Man

Again, another light voting week made it oh so easy for me to tweak the Marvel results to my heart’s desire (though I will admit, Janie, I heard great things about the new “Hawkeye” series). DC was particularly difficult, though, as everyone voted for something different (so I just went with the top result alphabetically…which was also the one I wanted). This week’s face-off: “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe” #1 vs. “Animal Man” #12.

They’re all dead here

The Deadpool title is the first of a 4-part miniseries that follows in the great Marvel “What If?” tradition. We open in classic form, with the Watcher, egg-headed alternate-universe space voyeur, discussing the gravity of the carnage we are about to witness. Also in classic form, we dive right into the action, with Reed Richards dying in his wife’s arms, orange rubble all around them (the remains of The Thing). A couple of decapitations later (not all by Deadpool) and we’re knee deep into a flashback that’s one part Arkham Asylum, one part standard quippy Deadpool, with white and yellow internal dialogue boxes intact. Luckily we don’t spend a long time on set up here, just enough to give us the lay of the land, then we get to find out what happens when the silly voices in Deadpool’s head stop and something darker (literally) takes their place. The ending comes way too quickly (which is partially because I want more and partially because Marvel’s page count is too low) and sets things up for what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining unmaking of a Marvel-verse. I’ll be picking up the rest of the issues, for sure.

Only you can fight against Swamp Thing crotch

Animal Man I had heard good things about. How the writing was above-average. How it was revitalizing DC horror comics. Maybe I got a dud issue, but I couldn’t work up much interest in this one. I think part of the problem was that it was mostly a recap issue (ostensibly for people like me who said to themselves “Huh, it actually made it a whole year? I suppose I should check it out.”). Now there were some other things in there, cool things like Animal Man discovering he could track down Swamp Thing via a digested bit of plant in the gut of a rabbit (who was in the gut of a gator); but they were bogged down by the oh-so-tired mechanic of “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my entire backstory, so let’s save the world maybe?” I will give the creative team credit for intelligent writing (they obviously have a deep story they’re working with here) and art that is lush and uncompromising (there’s more detail work in the page borders here than there is in entire splash pages of other books). But despite it being a soft-introduction to the current plotline, it didn’t grab me.

Obviously, Deadpool and his stabby-stabby, bang-bang tour of the Marvel universe get my vote this week. So that’s twice that Marvel comes out on top! I’d love for a DC title to rise to the occasion and break my Marvel predisposition (just more history there). Keep an eye out for next week’s poll and give me something good to chew on!

The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies (Anthony’s Take)

Because 10 items is just too damn much for Monday morning.

While I agree with some of what my compatriot says, I have no compunctions about adding new or recent movies to my top lists. Nor do I have some sort of nostalgic hang-up where Christoper Reeves’ Superman brings back memories of hot vinyl backseats and trapped B.O.

However, I will readily admit that my love for various characters, and various portrayals of them, will promote movies to a higher standing than they likely deserve. Then again, we’re talking superhero movies; not “Citizen Kane.” Characters are the tent poles upon which the gauzy veil of plot and logic is draped.

My list after the jump!

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The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies

This weekend’s Top 3 is something, that I imagine, we’ll revisit in time. It is also one that I think will have some fun disagreements.

The top 3 superhero movies is an interesting idea. There is no question that superhero films are in the midst of a fantastical rebirth (that can be traced to either “X-Men” or “Iron Man” depending on your viewpoint. But, ever before that, a smattering of great “Superman” films by Richard Donner graced the screen (and let’s not forget the first real superhero juggernaut film in Tim Burton’s “Batman.”)

Spoiler Alert… “The Dark Knight” doesn’t appear on my list. This is really for two reasons:

  1. It is 30 minutes to long. More to the point, you can actually take whole chunks out of that movie and you wouldn’t miss a beat (like anything to do with China). It is horrible bloat that makes the final product suffer.
  2. It is obvious that Nolan would love to make a Batman movie without the pesky Batman. That comes up again in “Dark Knight Rises.” Batman is completely “shoe horned” in to an otherwise great movie. “Dark Knight” may be the greatest Michael Mann movie that Mann didn’t direct. As a crime-thriller, it is great. As a Superhero movie… it isn’t.
  3. (I know I said 2…) I honestly enjoyed “Dark Knight Rises” a lot more. DKR isn’t as good of a film, but it’s a better movie.

So, what are my Top 3…?

Assemble3. “The Avengers” – I hate, hate, hate putting a recent movie on this list. I feel that movies (especially Superhero ones, for some reason) live “in the moment” of the cultural mindset. I’m afraid that upon re-watching this I won’t like it as much. I fear that a viewing at home will render a fantastic cinematic experience moot. I hope not. For now – I love the “Avengers” and it has assembled in the Top 3. It is almost perfect (although, again, it is bloated. Trimming 15 minutes from this would have upped the amazing). The dialogue, the action, the set pieces, the end battle – this is a great comic book movie.

2. “Superman 2” – this has an assist to “Superman” as well. They are interchangeable to me in the terms of this list. I think “Superman” is the best origin story ever filmed (and, honestly, one of the two things I think “Superman Returns” got right was not retelling it). “Superman 2” was the perfect action Superman IIfollow up. I vividly remember being trapped on a month long car trip vacation the summer “Superman 2” opened. Somewhere halfway through it (probably around Virginia) my parents bought me a “Superman 2” movie magazine. I read it constantly the rest of the time time. That memory means more to me now, as I buy my son similar magazines, and I watch him rifle through them. I’ve recently re-watched “Superman II” with my son and it still holds up.

1. “Spider-Man 2” – From start to finish Sam Raimi knocked this out of the park. It is, without a doubt, the most “Character-centric” superhero film ever. Character drives everything in this movie and it does it fantastically. But, that’s only half the equation. If this was just a great character study it wouldn’t have made the list. It is also exciting, fun, thrilling… let’s sum it up with “spectacular” or “amazing” or some other adjective that has appeared as a comic book title with the Spiderman masthead.Spiderman 2

Feel free to disagree below. Maybe you think that I should have throw in “Dark Knight,” or “Iron Man” or “Condorman.” Throw down with some thoughts below.

Four-Color Face-Off: X-Treme X-Men vs. Superman Family Adventures

Each week, you pick two comics for me to review. On New Comic Book Day, I grab the winners and pit them against each other in a no-holds-barred grudge match to see who I’d read again. Two comics enter! One comic leaves!

Welcome to the inaugural Four-Color Face-Off. And thanks to all seven of you who voted in the poll. Made it a lot easier to rig the results so that I got the comics I wanted. On with the show!

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