Saturday, December 31, 2005

Comics and stuff

Little recap with my comments about the few comics that came out this past week now that I've been able to read them.

Batman 648
I still feel a little in the dark about the whole Jason Todd arch, mainly becuase I reread A Death in the Family to see if there was any question of his death from slips in the artwork or hole sin the plot. As far as I can tell, it was pretty much a given fact that he died - and confirmed - and DC wants to feed us the fact that this really is Jason, and I suppose I am still in denial.

I liked the touch of sending the little gift to Bruce, and the was Jason is playing Black Skull. The art wasn't solid through the comic (occasionally Black Skull's head seemed too wide/square), but everything else seemed fine. The story is a little more kind to my mind than the recent City of Crime arch, so I can accept what's going on more easily (especially with the flashbacks giving a little ground for comparison and precident).

I don't know really - I suppose I'm still very skeptical with what DC is doing to Batman.

Superman/Batman #23
Wow...this story is just getting more and more twisted, and I love it. Red Son Superman and Batman Beyond, countering Bizarro and Batzarro - as a sideplot. It was also fun to see Batman beat up on Superman, even if it wasn't really Batman (and then watch Superman improvise with what was available, MacGyver style).

Ever since I started picking this series up it hasn't disapointed me as raw entertainment, though I will admit I started with this recent plot arch. I haven't read the previous plot arches, and there for avoided the Supergirl arch that I hear wasn't very good by some people.

Also the fact that Bizarro breaks into Supergirl's room, Superman and Batman keep changing through realities, Superwoman and Batwoman, and the massive twist at the end (which I dare not spoil) really made me feel like a kid again.

That's it for this week, well, this most recent week. Rann/Thanagar also came out in trade paperback, the last one before the actual Infinite Crisis I think (aside from Sacrifice, which bleeds into OMAC). Also slowly chewing on Green Lantern stuff provided by Kalinara.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Green Lantern: Rebirth

Finally finished reading Rebirth after much distraction from reality. I have to say it was pretty decent - solid story telling at least. Overall it was a fun read, but I did have a few problems with it.

First I have to say they could have easily spread the story over several more issues, prolonging to miniseries, by having the rest of the justice league get corrupted by Parallax as it jumped from body to body to provide distractions via possesion for the lanterns. I'm glad they didn't, becuase it would have really dented into the flow of the story. It felt like they were almost about to do it starting with Batman, who is a logical starting place since he benifits and uses fear as a major weapon.

Speaking of Batman, boy was he out of character the whole time. I can understand he can often be the pessimistic side of any discussion, but he wasn't just that in the story. He was the counter argument to everything the Green Lanterns did, and served only as a plot device. Much of the time Batman was only a black shape, helping the image of only an object to furthor a point. A shade like Batman can work well if the atmosphere is right, but usually the atmosphere wasn't set right - Batman was a black shape standing in a lit room. But I digress, this was a Green Lantern book and not a Batman book.

The different lanterns were personified very well, and their personalities and ring powers really helped bring themselves into individuals that were interesting. I haven't seen much of John, and now I have a little better understanding of him. Guy was just Guy, just more of him and still a good distraction from the seriousness of whatever he's in. Hal is finally starting to make sense to me (thanks to the whole arch being devoted to him). Kyle is also slowly become a favorite (no thanks to Kalinara, but that's a different story), since he was ever bit as important to the story since he pulled all the pieces together to set the story off).

I also am starting to like Kyle out of similarities in personality, at least as presented in the arch. Something along the lines of being an artist, constantly sketching and revising, and never satisfied with the end result. I can relate to that easily, being an artist as well with touches of perfectionism and some obsessive behaviors.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas and fires

Yesterday had dinner with father, and built a bonfire out of an old building he tore down on his property. Was fun, except not those clothes now smell powerfully of smoke and I tracked some ash back home. Also got a little sickly feeling, probably garlic in the seasonings at dinner.

Turns out comics are a day offset thanks to the holiday, something I didn't even think about. Tomorrow I'll check again if I can, but today I spent some of my christmas money on back issues and another large box for storage.

Still reading Green Lantern: Rebirth, and I'll stick up a little review when finished.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Comics and thoughts

Ok, here are my thoughts and comments about what came out last week. No particular order, except as how they were pulled from my folder...

Justice #3
The first two issues were really building an interesting premise, and this issue seems to be on the same track. I really like how most of the dialogue is still internal, and obviously I still love artwork. I'm not big on spoiling, but I'll say there are major events happening. It's annoying that Justice is bimonthly, but I guess that's the price of the realism in the art.

Infinite Crisis #3
Wow. The buildup is over and the real fireworks are begining. As frustrated I have become with the Batman side of the DCU, I love what he's doing in this line. Also, crazy stuff going on in the rest of the universe - I can almost hear people saying "I told you so" in one particular instance.

Batman: Journey into Knight #5
Originally I thought they were simply recycling the Contagion plot from way back, as more issues have come out it really feels like they are churning out a half-way original story. Batman in this series is one of the most human versions I've read in a long time - he talks a normal amount and gets in real harm's way to escape halfway by a knowledge of physics (even if they are a little skewed). Also, this miniseries seems well written, or at least a good amount of time has been spent on it. I'm really enjoying this series, thanks in part to the main titles feeling shoddy.

Batman: Gotham Knights #72
Finally a decent story in the main Batman titles. It's a single shot story that barely has an appearence of the caped crusader, mostly flashback and character drama. I enjoyed how it came across, though I do have a fondness for Batman - I don't know if everyone would enjoy it since the most action was Bruce getting slapped by an old woman.

I'm still new to the Green Lantern side of the DCU, so you can take these opinions with as little weight as you want. Much of what I know has been told by Kalinara, so you can imagine how that could be a little slanted. Still, I'm sure at least she is a little curious.

Green Lantern: Recharge #3
About time this showed up, could use a better cover too - Guy's face looks like a tomato and Kyle has huge teeth. Aside from those petty details the story is shaping up well. You can tell who are going to be the major players, and who will be teamed with who, and I think they are good match ups for now.

Green Lantern #3
Great how the gremlins are really aliens, and that German is an alien tongue (and Egyption). Didn't feel like a whole lot happened aside from the fight, though if anything important occured in the flashbacks I didn't catch it. Next issue may be more interesting, since this one flowed as more of an inbetween chunk of story. Also found it funny how everyone seemed to know who Hal was.

Okay, that's it for the DC chunk. I also pick up Darkhorse titles from time to time, and I regularly read Conan. I'm a sucker for sword and scorcery when it is well written and well illustrated - so here's my review of Conan #23...

Looks like Nord took a break from this issue, but the sketched art is still there with Ruth's own style - I don't know if Nord will return though. The afterward also said that Busiek will be leaving as script writer, who has given the series a strong narritive. I hope the comic doesn't suffer.

Essencially the entire issue is a massive flashback, with a flashback inside the flashback. Part of the story of Conan as a child, and is pretty straight forward in content. What really drives the story, and why I love the title, is the art. The comic is absolutely raw in its portrayal and energy.

The next issue's cover was previewed in Demons of Khitai #3 by accident, and I'll quickly touch on it simply becuase it is in my mind at the time. The cover featured full frontal nudity, which I hope is kept simply beucase it was a good work of art (and yes I consider it art, thanks to the context) - but I am afraid and sure it will no doubt be censored but cloth of some type. It will be sad to see if it is, but if they didn't I'm pretty sure comic shops and the publishers will get yelled at if it is put on the shelves that way.

Also worth noting, the Green Lantern: Rebirth graphic novel came out in hardback. That's it for (last) week's comics, in another few days I'll repeat this all over again...and maybe something of other interest will come around.

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9th Doctor visiting America

Just had a news post that the new Dr Who series is finally coming to DVD in America, legally. Region 1 set is coming out in the US on Valentine's Day so keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile the Christmas special has aired, and I have yet to get a copy.

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Playing catch up

Retail outlets were a madhouse this morning, thanks to Christmas and unsatisfied people. Still, there was plenty of deals going on for everyone else.

My main goal was to cash in on a preorder I had sitting with Media Play. I had specially ordered a book almost six months ago when I still dealt with the store, and it kept getting pushed back by the publisher. Just before leaving last week I learned that the company was going out of business, and I wanted my five dollars back.

Also dropped by the comic shop to pick up my outstanding subscriptions, and behold almost ten comics sitting for me. I'll read what I can today and type up anything that stands out this evening...

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

And so vacation has ended...

As mentioned before, this past week I have been up north in the land of ice and snow. I didn't suffer the cold as much as others feared I would due to the lack of leaving the safety of indoors. Being up there was a bit exhausting, but I really enjoyed myself (I had my sleep schedule adjusted, and wasn't long enough of a stay to fully adjust).

The last few days rushed by, and here I am typing about them the day after returning to my home in the south. In case you are wondering, I have reason enough to type. I hid a small gift for my girlfriend until the final night, in order to make the presentation something special. She appeared to like it which boosted my spirits from the anxiety of what could have happened otherwise.

In truth, in the back of my mind I was wondering before the trip if we would still have the chemistry we had in the past. We have stayed in good communication for (I think) about six years, but only became serious midway this past year. All those fears were gone when it was time to leave yesterday, and it honestly felt like I was leaving something behind. I now view us as close as ever, and eagerly await our next meeting in person (which will unfortunately be several months at earliest). She will likely tell you I have a habit of thinking far too much about everything.

Enough of the silly romantic ramblings - on to the craziness. It didn't take too long to pack up everything since I didn't spread out very much. I wanted to arrive maybe 2 hours prior to take off, just out of paranoia and a habit of arriving early.

It was a good call...

After our final hug and handing over my luggage, I headed off toward the concourse. Before not too long did I realize it was the wrong one, and made the correction - wasn't a bad mistake and didn't cause any slight embaressments.

Security was a bit of a pain. Coat in one bin, laptop case in another, laptop in a third, shoes and pocket stuffs in a fourth, and finally slid my backpack through. I took up the entire counter space ahead of the metal detector. A guard checked my boarding pass and ID, and signed the ticket. As I had quickly packed everything back up a guard came over and asked if the boots belonged to me, which they did. Turns out I had forgotten about my Swiss army knife that serves as part of my keychain. They didn't catch it on the flight up, so I didn't even think about it. Strike one for me.

I couldn't just give it up due to sentimental value, so I had them escort me out of the checkpoint. At check-in I had to explain everything that occured as well as present my luggage ticket and boarding pass. They took my knife and keys and slid them with a printout in a bid along the conveyer to the hidden void behind the counter that magically puts your bags on a plane (hopefully the correct one). I had to put blind faith in the workers that they would put my knife and keys in the right bag, or else problems would arise fairly quickly.

I lugged my bags and coat back through security. By this time a line had formed, so I had a little longer wait than before. No matter though, I still had a good chunk of time left before boarding was scheduled. I lined everything up in practically the same order as before at the same station, and slid them through as routine required. Different guards were stationed this time, and upon inspecting my ticket the new gaurd signed off to the side of the first. Shortly after I had nearly finished repacking everything up once again I heard a now familiar line. "Do these boots belong to you?" Strike two.

Turns out I still had a small folding knife in my wallet. Totally forgotten about since I aquired my Swiss army knife, and religated to the status of an emergency blade. The last time it was picked out was returning home from Japan the second time I visited, and even then it wasn't picked up when I traveled to there. It wasn't picked up by any security for any other flight, and so it has never crossed my mind - until it was caught this time.

Again I was escorted out of the checkpoint, and again I walked up to the check-in terminal and spoke to the same guy, about the same situation, and handed over a second knife. Who knew quiet little me was armed so well?

Security checkpoint, third attept. I was hoping I would have something else that would throw off the alarms so I could win the jackpot, but I finally cleared the checkpoint. The guard looked at my boarding pass and chuckled, not bothering to add a third signature to my collection. I packed everything up in what felt like record time thanks to recent practice, though I stuffed my coat into my bag (finally too worked up for the warmth).

I couldn't help but grin as I walked off.
I had an hour left before boarding time.

After arriving at my destination, 20 degrees warmer, I discovered my knives were in my bag as promised and fell asleep in the car on the way home.

I like to let my mind wander from time to time to try to think about the abstract connections thing tend to have. I tend to not pay any attention to them, but sometimes I can't deny how strange some things come together. For all the wierd coincedences bringing my girlfriend and I together, I can't help but think the minor hardships I encountered as I left were a way of fate trying to keep me there.

It's silly and I don't believe in fate, but I can't help but try to rationalize what I observe when logic breaks down. Either that, or I should pay more attention to how many knives I carry on a plane...

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Friday, December 23, 2005

This and that

I'm starting to think of ways to use this weblog, and the possibility of spreading out a little by topic. This one could be one dealing with personal life type stuff and little updates about other things like my novel and webpage, whereas I may set up another for other things. I don't really know at the moment, and I'm not giving it any serious thought. I'm still on vacation up in Michigan, and there are more important matters to give my attention to...

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And so it was...

Quite obviously, I was talked into making a new weblog. I stopped updating my livejournal account because, well, I'm over that chunk of my life now. I also do not update my website nearly enough, partly because it is always under revisionment in the code area, and most recently hosting has been in a state of change.

So now the question is how well this one will work out. First the interface is much easier than livejournal, so that will not drive away my aversion to actually typing stuff up. Second, I'm thinking I can crosslink this weblog with my website for larger reviews (also a sneaky way of directing traffic my way).

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