X-Men Apocalypse Review (Spoiler-Free)

“Everyone knows the third movie is always the worst” – Jean
  • still too much focus on Jennifer Lawrence/Mystique
  • some great soundtrack choices
  • Quicksilver scene maybe just a tiny bit too long. Tradition of defying the rules of physics continues (I hope someone does the math on how fast he was probably moving)
  • nice 80s wardrobe lol
  • not particularly faithful to the source material
  • plot is all over the place, a lot of WTF moments here and there. OMG that stupid arrow D:
  • lots of faults, but you’ll probably enjoy it anyway if you’re an X-men fan just for all the random easter eggs you spot (“Hey, it’s random third-string comic book character in a completely different role!”)
  • post-credits scene? YES
  • I’m kind of hoping they go for Dark Phoenix Saga next (Aliens!) but the PCS tells us they have more sinister designs in mind…
  • Will Mama like it? Probably not.
  • I’d rate it worse than DoFP, probably around the same or slightly worse than First Class

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review!

Well, I haven’t written anything in a while, so I figured I’d write some words on the new Spider-Man movie. Spoilers abound!

Action-packed! The web-swinging is fun and looks and feels just like Spidey from the comic books. Spider-man moves and fights and banters pretty faithfully to the comic book version of our favorite wall-crawler, so that’s a definite plus. Peter’s Spider-sense is portrayed as a slow-motion bullet-time kind of deal which allows him to react quickly and save all the people while dodging everything. It doesn’t really translate exactly to the comic-book Spider-sense, but I suppose it’s better than having squiggly lines around his head.

Peter Parker, haunted by…the ghost of Dennis Leary? We get it, you’re breaking the promise you made at the end of the first movie and you’re putting Gwen in danger. What, did he become the physical embodiment of the Spider-sense? If I was Captain Stacy I’d haunt you too for stalking my daughter from the rooftops! Not even Uncle Ben haunted Peter like this!

And the deep dark secret of Peter’s parents is…what, is that it? Seriously, that was a lame reveal after all the drama at the start of the movie; it didn’t seem entirely too relevant and more like a subplot that didn’t go anywhere. The mysterious party who would’ve benefited from Oscorp experiments and was willing to hire an assassin to kill the parents on a plane was never elaborated on. Maybe it’s something they’ll explore in a future film, but for now it feels like they were just forced to create a link because of the mysterious disappearance of the parents from the first movie.

Norman Osborn, Spider-man’s greatest enemy! No? Decrepit old man on his deathbed? Dying of some weird goblinitis disease? Okay, at least Harry’s here, right?

Harry Osborn, Spider-man’s best friend turned worst enemy! Or at least we’re told they’re good friends, we just have to take their word for it. There they are joking like old pals for two minutes, surely we must be convinced they are best buds! BTW Pete, old-friend-of-mine-who-I-havent-had-contact-with-for-10-years-even-though-social-media-should-already-exist-at-this-time, can you get me some Spider-man blood? I’m dying brah

Max Dillon! Electro! Mild-mannered electrical engineer with low self-esteem who ignores safety procedures and gets bitten by radioactive electric eels! Seriously? I’m looking forward to the Sinister Six movie where Adrian Toomes gets bitten by a radioactive vulture. We get a high-power-level version of Electro here, he’s able to teleport around as electrical charges or something and he’s even able to magically generate underwear and later a bodysuit! But he’s no match for Peter Parker’s questionable movie science!

Not enough villains? Let’s add the Rhino! Well, just for a quick scene at the end to lead into the Sinister Six movie, maybe? A scene that we’ve already seen in the trailers too! I suppose it’s a blessing that they didn’t try to shoehorn a Rhino subplot, there’s already too much going on as it is.

Oh no, two airplanes might collide because there’s no electricity! How was this even relevant to Spider-man’s battle? It’s not like he knew what was going on at the airport!

“You need me, I know the specs to the grid thingy!” Uh, it turns out all you needed to do was know how to pick up a key from a dead guy’s hand and unlock a panel. And I thought her field was in biochemistry or something, not electrical engineering?

I have to admit, the death at the end caught me off guard. I knew it had to happen sooner or later, but given that they cut MJ out of this movie and had a subplot of Gwen flying off to England (which she did in the comics and she managed to come back to New York before the big deal at the bridge), I assumed it would be happening in the next film. Though by the time they had her falling from the tower, I would’ve been annoyed if they didn’t go through with it after the build-up. But now I’m worried that they’re going to rush the Peter-MJ relationship in the next movie the same way they rushed the Peter-Harry friendship in this one, since they didn’t get the chance to introduce MJ while Peter and Gwen were still a thing.

Where’s the scene where the New Yorkers come together to help Spider-Man? Isn’t this a franchise staple by now?

End credits sequence teases the Sinister Six lineup. Well, that was fine.

Overall plotting and pacing felt weird, with some scene transitions feeling like they could be better handled. The whole thing at the end with how Peter deals with Gwen’s fate felt weirdly out of place. They could’ve ended the second movie on a down note, and have Peter coming back strong in TASM3 (an Empire Strikes Back sort of thing), but no, they wanted to get the grieving out of the way quickly. Well, the movie was fun and enjoyable to watch, and had quite a few recognizable names for comic books fans (I’m sure all the comic readers noted the name of Harry’s assistant and Max’s boss), but all the nitpicky problems above pull the movie down especially when we just came back from the awesomeness that was Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Next: Days of Future Past!

On writing regularly and reading comic books

Writing regularly is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do but like most things I have trouble with, it’s the lack of discipline that gets me.

Take this blog for instance. I randomly think of things to write about while I’m idling or commuting or waiting in line or any of the dozen or so other opportunities during the day when my mind wanders, but because of laziness and/or lack of discipline, these ideas never get very far. I think one of the problems is that because this is a personal blog, I don’t have any focus. That is, in this space I can literally write about anything I want so I end up not writing anything. Does that make sense?

Anyway what I decided was: I’ll just start a new blog. What the hell right? But this time, I’ll focus on a topic for the blog. Restrictions breed creativity, or something. I needed to choose a topic that (a) I was fairly knowledgeable and passionate about; and (b) I would have something regarding that topic to write about on a regular basis. I’ve actually tried this before for Magic the Gathering, since I pretty much enjoy that game a lot, but the problem with MTG was that I was an irregular player and rarely had something new to write about. So I’m going to choose something else right now.

The easiest area that covers the above requirements for me right now is easily reading comic books. I read a ton of them and I enjoy them and I follow the regular weekly releases and am usually excited for the next week of releases. So it seems like something I would be able to write regularly about. So, here we go: I Read Comic Books (originally I was just going to go with a wordpress.com site, but I was like aw what the hell, domains are cheap)

Hopefully it helps me get into the groove of regular writing, and somehow that groove propagates back to this blog.

The DC New 52 Review Part 3: Everything Else

The last two entries (here and here) took too long to write, and there’s a helluva lot of other titles to go through. And many of them don’t deserve much comments, so I’ll just go through the rest quickly or I might never finish.

Action Comics – the younger Superman stories are interesting, but occasionally Morrison goes off on one of his weird tangent stories. Superman’s early years are largely re-written, and that’s understandable, he’s never had particularly interesting events in his history anyway
Superman – meh, needs more spice
Superboy – interesting, but the character has yet to find a status quo
Supergirl – interesting, but the character has yet to find a status quo

Green Lantern – interesting, though it implies Hal is currently a GL in the league with a “fake” power ring. Most of the GL history seems to be intact, and the GL books are all leading towards some sort of “third army” event, I hope it happens soon.
Green Lantern Corps – interesting enough for me to want to read it before AvX #6 this week
Green Lantern: New Guardians – interesting, but I don’t see where this is going. Is it possible for Raynier’s “Rainbow Guardians” to become a real team?
Red Lanterns – mildly interesting, but I don’t see where this is going. I’m not convinced the Reds were the best corps to give their own series

Teen Titans – interesting for me, but only because Red Robin is here. The team’s “coming together adventure” has been going on for far too long and they need to reach some sort of status quo
Blue Beetle – interesting, but the character has yet to find a status quo
Legion of Super-Heroes – interesting storylines, but way too many characters, not very accessible
Legion Lost – interesting, but they can’t get back to their own time without changing the book title, so it kinda limits what’s going to happen and makes them always on the run

All-Star Western – interesting, but weird. Not really a superhero book, though it has ties to Gotham City. I’m not particularly interested in the backup stories though
Deathstroke – not interesting, seems to be mostly just Slade killing a bunch of guys for one reason or another. I’m not confident about it with Liefeld coming on, but I’ll probably still read it for a while since I can’t resist a  train wreck
Suicide Squad – meh, the squad composition at the moment isn’t very interesting, the only real personalities there are Deadshot and Harley (at least they’re giving her something to do aside from being a Joker fangirl)
Stormwatch – mildly interesting, if only because they’re going to need to be fighting the JL at some point. Some of their science-y explanations are ridiculous though
Grifter – meh, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere serious.
Voodoo – meh, not sure where it’s going. Also, with all this Daemonite activity going on, how is it Stormwatch isn’t seriously cracking down on them?
Resurrection Man – I like the concept, but the storyline seems to be going nowhere serious
Man O War – I tried to bear with this, but it just bored me. I only managed to read up to issue 7

Justice League Dark – interesting, though they’re not really a real “team” at the moment. But the team composition is solid, especially they dropped Shade who wasn’t really doing anything for the book. Andrew Bennet seems a better fit
Swamp Thing – interesting, but might be a bit too weird for some, since a lot of the book feels like Alec Holland being on an acid trip of some sort. Feels very Vertigo.
Animal Man – see Swamp Thing. Art is pretty good, but still weird.
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE – interesting enough. Art is… unique.
I, Vampire – surprisingly interesting, even if I’m already reading another Vampire series (American Vampire). Curious to see where it goes.
Demon Knights – surprisingly interesting, the team composition is nice and varied (Vandal Savage, wut) and the storylines are a fresh reprieve from superhero stuff

DC Comics Presents – Deadman was ok, Challengers less interesting for me. Good series for them to keep around and showcase lesser-known characters

And the second wave of the New 52, of which we are only one or two issues in:
Batman Incorporated – looking good, easily better than both Detective and Dark Knight
Earth 2 – the second issue was a bit slow, but it looks interesting enough
Worlds’ Finest – the first issue wasn’t the best, but I like the idea of this comic so I’ll keep reading it
Dial H – off to a good start, but I can’t help but wonder whether they’ll be running out of hero ideas at some point. Also, Pelican Army!
GI Combat – okay, I didn’t like the last war book, I’m not gonna bother with this one.
The Ravagers – giving this a shot, although at the moment it just seems like another “bunch of super teens on the run from evil forces” kinda deal, and that’s already what Teen Titans is doing at the moment.

I’m probably going to keep on reading a good 70-80% of the books going forward, I don’t feel compelled to read every single one of them any more. It’s still a good chunk of books to read, and makes me look forward to the new releases every week.

DC New 52 Review Part 2: Batman and Gotham

This is part 2 of my DC New 52 Review. Part is here. Hopefully I finish this series before the reviews become too out of date.

Batman

I decided to read every book of the New 52 to widen my horizons regarding my comic book reading, and one of the greatest advantages has been exposure to Scott Snyder’s work. I have a tendency not to remember writers and artists of comics I read, except for the very famous ones, so I wasn’t aware that I had read his work before during the Black Mirror arc in Detective Comics pre-New 52. But he’s quickly become one of my favorite writers to date, with his work on Batman quickly bringing me to appreciate his work on other books like Swamp Thing and the phenomenal American Vampire. His writing on Batman is up there with those other books. He’s introduced a whole new mythos and underbelly to Gotham, adding a new dimension to Batman’s fight to keep his city sane. And the artwork by Greg Capullo  is simply fantastic, an awesome backup to Snyder’s plots. Capullo is another creative whom I wouldn’t have encountered if not for the New 52, his work previously been mostly Image-related. The excellent creative team easily makes Batman my favorite of the DC New 52 so far (it helps that I’m quite the Batman fan.)

Detective Comics

Detective isn’t the best, but that’s okay. The art is above average, I kinda like it, though it smells a bit like the usual gritty comic-book art I’ve grown up with. The story lines so far have involved the Dollmaker and the Penguin, and they involve a lot of Batman knocking around thugs to get information. The stories are always narrated in Batman’s third person voice which gives it a weird edge. Not sure what’s the final fate of the Joker, based on what happened to him at the start of the book. The book is promising, but needs to show something excellent to gain attention. Still, it’s not like DC’s gonna cut the titular Detective Comics, so neither am I.

Batman: The Dark Knight

Batman seems to be the Wolverine of DC Comics: he has a lot of his own books, and he even makes appearances in other books to help shore up their popularity (see: Hawk and Dove, I Vampire) . As a Batman fan I’m glad to read more Bat-stories, but the character might just be stretched a little bit too thin. And if we had to cut one Batman book from the New 52, I’d choose this one (we certainly can’t cut any of the other three). Batman: The Dark Knight‘s storyline so far has involved a mysterious white rabbit and a hodgepodge of Batman’s enemies escaped from the asylum. Seriously, there’s a new one every issue: Two-Face in #2, Clayface as  Joker in #3, Deathstroke in #4, Scarecrow in #5, Venom in #6 and #7, Mad Hatter in #8. Then there’s the cameos by Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman. It’s like the writer finally got to his dream of drawing Batman and just wants to play with all the characters he can use. It’s not really a bad thing, but I’d appreciate more story arcs that didn’t just involve Batman punching a new supervillain every month. The art is so-so and reminds me of every guy who ever graduated from the Kubert school. The style is very much the same. The book is ok, I’d keep reading it if it were around, but probably wouldn’t miss it if they cut it.

Batman and Robin

What makes the current combination of Batman and Robin interesting is that unlike Bruce’s relationship with the previous Robins Dick and Tim (and even Jason) where having a partner was seen to improve Batman’s temperament and bring a lighter side to the superhero team, in Damian’s case he’s very much as grim as his father what with the whole being raised by assassins bit. And we get exactly what we can expect – Bruce trying to teach Damian how to become a better person despite his upbringing and despite forces around them trying to bring Damian down into the dark side. The art is a bit uneven but it works, and the book is well worth the read.

Batgirl

It was a bit controversial when they revealed Barbara Gordon would be getting her legs back with the reboot. Oracle had been a staple of the Batman family for so long that fans would surely miss her, not to mention the fans of previous Batgirls Cass Cain and Stephanie Brown (neither of which have been seen in action in the New 52). While the events of The Killing Joke haven’t been retconned away (Barbara explicitly recalls the shooting incident in several flashbacks), they haven’t explained yet as of this writing the “miracle” that gave Barbara back the use of her legs. The current storylines haven’t been particularly exciting; I think I enjoyed Stephanie’s schoolgirl problems more, but they’re entertaining enough I suppose. The art is okay, if not a bit too shiny. Will continue reading.

Batwing

I like Batwing if only for the fact that a superhero from Africa has his own titular book. Most of the first story arc (which spans the first eight books) takes place in Africa and delves into the history of superheroes on that continent. It also shows a bit of what life is like under the grip of African warlords. The exposure to something non-American is nice, although the story arc manages to drag itself over to Gotham for the finale (and it looks like Batwing is going to become part of Justice League International‘s roster). The art style is crisp, unique and refreshing, I approve of this book.

Batwoman

I really like the artwork here and the panel layouts. They all feel so crisp and I love paging through them. The stories are okay, except that they don’t put enough effort towards the accessibility of the character. I’ve read some of Batwoman’s history before so I know a bit what she’s about, but this book mostly just dives straight in and expects the reader to “get it”. It’s nice that Batwoman doesn’t end up as one of Batman’s “formal” allies. Instead she ends up working with a certain government agency. (This book is also not part of the Night of Owls crossover I think). However, I find some story details a bit tough to follow, not sure if it’s because of the unusual layouts or the lack of introductory detail – I find myself having to read each issue one more time to get most of the details. They’re usually worth it though, and this is a book I’m going to keep following.

Nightwing

The story arcs so far dig into Dick’s background with the Haly Circus, something I haven’t been too familiar with before. Near the end of the first eight books it ties in to the Batman Court of Owls storyline, adding a deeper back story to Haly’s Circus than previous story lines had shown. The book is interesting and the art is okay, though it’s not one of the titles I feel like I have to read immediately.

Catwoman

This book has trouble keeping my interest. It’s mostly Catwoman getting into thieving hijinks (and occasionally having sex with the Batman). Well, at least the story gives us a different perspective of life on Gotham’s streets. The art isn’t spectacular, but it’s not bad. I’ll probably keep reading it, at lower priority.

Birds of Prey

I’ve never read the previous Birds of Prey series, so I’m not sure how this compares, but the book is interesting enough. I like the team’s variety – there’s one of Batman’s archvillains here, Black Canary is always cool, I’m not entirely sure Katana is sane, and I like the way Starling handles things. The art is passable, though not really standing out for me. No reason to drop this title.

Red Hood and the Outlaws

This series kicked off with a bit of controversy regarding the mangling of Starfire’s character. In fact it confused me a bit with Starfire’s vague recollections of being with Dick Grayson; I’m not sure whether the New Teen Titans era exists in the New 52 (the Teen Titans book seems to imply that the New 52 incarnation is the first one). Despite the problems with Starfire’s characterizations, I’ve found the stories so far pretty interesting. The plots mostly delves into Jason Todd’s background and what happened to him between the time he was brought back by the League of Assassins and when he resurfaced as the Red Hood. The art is pretty good, it’s probably one of my favorite in the entire New 52. It’s nice and shiny and not too conventional. This is one of the books I read immediately when it comes out.

Ugh, these reviews are taking longer to write than I thought. Next up: Superman and Green Lantern.

The DC New 52 Review (Part 1)

If you’re reading this, that means I’ve done it: I’ve read the first eight issues of every DC New 52 book. I’ve always been a Marvel fan more than DC, my previous DC reading having been restricted to JLA and the Batman books, so I figured exposure to the New 52 would widen my appreciation of the DC stable of heroes. Here are my reviews:

Justice League

While the art is Jim Lee-fantastic, the first story arc left much to be desired. It was basically a meet-and-greet where we’re introduced to the team members and after a while they knock Darkseid back down a boom tube. Nothing overly complicated, and it would be okay for an introductory arc if it didn’t take six issues to get to that point. (By comparison, Morrison’s far more interesting White Martian arc that launched the JLA book in 1997 finished in four issues). The characters aren’t particularly fleshed out, which is fine. Justice League books have always been more about the powers and big epic battles than serious characterization, though hopefully Geoff Johns can sneak in something more than a “Hal Jordan is shallow” joke every once in a while. They’re starting a new story arc with issue #9, and based on the FCBD DC New 52 book, they have a Trinity War story arc coming up next year, so hopefully the book picks up the pace.

Justice League International

Reading this book feels like watching the animated Justice League Unlimited series. That’s where I was first introduced to some of the characters like Fire, Ice, Vixen and Booster Gold. Booster is a great character, and while he doesn’t have his own New 52 book, it’s nice seeing him take the helm in this one. The art here isn’t exceptional and like Justice League the story is more about the powers than the characters but at least the pacing is better than the Justice League book. Guy Gardner’s problems with Booster are a nice touch, but it’s kind of overkill to have started this book with Batman as part of the team in the main story arc; I’m not sure if Batwing will be taking his place in the team after issue 8.

Aquaman

It’s nice that the book is really meta about Aquaman’s status as a Justice League member, implying he’s the butt of jokes even in the actual DC universe. The stories so far have been entertaining, and the characterization of Arthur and Mera have been okay; Johns’ writing is better here than in Justice League so far. The art looks nice, though not spectacular. The ongoing “The Others” storyline seems to have promise, hopefully we’ll see some epic Aquaman arcs. Not sure if I miss the hook from Peter David’s days.

Wonder Woman

The art style here is weird and unusual, but I kinda like it. The storyline so far has dealt mainly with Greek myth stuff and has made significant changes to Diana’s origins linking her more to the Olympus pantheon. It’s a good read especially if you’re into all the mythological references.

The Flash

Barry Allen is back as the only Flash in the DCnU, though we’ll see how long that lasts. The first story arc was ok, showing us some details of how Barry interacts with Iris West and the police, while the second story arc brings us some new details on how The Flash interacts with The Speed Force in the DCnU. The art is okay, I like it a bit better than Aquaman. The only obvious question at the moment is: where is Wally West?

Captain Atom

So far the art on this book hasn’t been very appealing to me. The story line is a lot of “oh no, I’m having trouble controlling my powers and the norms don’t trust me”. I’m not sure what his range of powers were pre-New 52, but the way it’s described here he’s basically able to do anything, including time travel, matter transformation, etc. Anything except FIND LOVE. The book is meh, I wouldn’t mind losing it.

The Fury of Firestorm

I seem to remember that there was a previous Firestorm incarnation where it was two people trapped in the same body. It’s different this time around, they have two teenagers who are both Firestorms, each with a different power set. (Only one of them can do transmutation, et cetera). Additionally, they can combine into a bigger, badder Firestorm! Also, other countries have Firestorms too, albeit most are flawed versions. Firestorms seem to be kinda like nukes here. The art is nothing to write home about. The book is ok I guess.

Green Arrow

Ugh, the art is mediocre and the storylines are uninteresting and feel unnecessarily convoluted, especially the latest one. Oliver Queen here is shallow and uninteresting, playing out the lazy heir to a fortune while secretly fighting crime in a costume. I think we already have one of those (Batman, and he’s already pretty overexposed), so Green Arrow needs some way to differentiate himself. So far he hasn’t shown any of the grit or social consciousness that was characteristic of the previous incarnation.

The Savage Hawkman

The art here is a bit unusual, but I kind of like it. The storyline revolves around Carter Hall and his archaeological pals accidentally unleashing some sort of evil alien that had previously been trapped on Earth. There’s some changes to his powers as well, as the Nth metal which enables him being Hawkman is now ‘bonded’ to his body such that he can transform into Hawkman at will (sort of like how Iron Man’s current armor is just nanomachines in his body). Well okay, I’m not exactly sure how the previous incarnations worked, but my impression was that the Nth metal was just a harness he put on. It’s still unknown how Carter Hall in this universe is related to Katar Hol, the Thanagarian who was previously Hawkman, or whether we’re going to see Hawkgirl/Shayera anytime soon, but this series has potential.

Ok, I can’t do everything all in one post, so let’s save some for later. For the curious, I’m doing these in Wikipedia order, which means the Batman family will be in part 2.

X-Men, Green Lantern and a little bit of Batman

So Metro Manila is at the peril of heavy rains, flooding and traffic again (as often happens this time of the year) and I thought I’d do some actual blogging for a change.

I didn’t want to brave the rush hour traffic last night so I finally got around to watching X-Men First Class (luckily it was still showing at Mega). I had actually seen Green Lantern first despite X1C showing two weeks before the DC movie. It’s a good time to be a comic book fan with all these comic book movies coming out; I saw Thor a couple of months ago and of course we still have Captain America to look forward to next year.

At some level though I’ve started thinking that being a big comic book fan is actually a bit of a handicap when watching these big Hollywood adaptations of our favorite spandex-clad heroes, if only because we cringe twice at much at every small fault or piece of bad writing that we find in these movies.

I may have subconsciously delayed watching X1C because one of my brothers had watched it while I was in Singapore and didn’t really give the gushing review “regular” people had given. And GL wasn’t getting such rave reviews on opening weekend either and there were rumors that even the studio was not confident in the movie. So I came into both movies with a bit of lowered expectations.

My quick reviews of the two movies first then: X1C was fun and it was nice seeing an entirely new crew of mutants (more or less). I can forgive the ridiculous recruitment and training montages (and lol’ed at the cameo). It looks they didn’t bother keeping in continuity with the first trilogy and Wolverine: Origins, which is fine since Wolverine: Origins was ridiculous anyway. The ending felt a bit contrived in the same way that the ending of Smallville and Wolverine: Origins did – mainly because they need to wrap up things to sync with whatever “continuity” they’re supposed to have. The movie feels a bit campy at times and it’s far from the “Dark Knight of X-Men” that some reviews made it out to be, but still a good watch.

Green Lantern was fun as well, though the writing left a bit to be desired for me. At some points the abrupt transitions and especially the poor portrayal of Carol Ferris reminded me of Smallville-quality writing at some point. It’s still a good movie to watch and the scale is definitely more epic than X1C, but it kind of left me hanging the same way Thor did: it’s like there wasn’t much that happened in the movie aside from the telling of the origin story.

Maybe I was just spoiled by Nolan, but Batman Begins set a new height for me in terms of superhero origin movies, and the latest set have yet to reach that bar.

Speaking of Batman I’ve also just finished watching the DC straight to video animated feature “Under the Red Hood” which covers the death and resurrection of Jason Todd (duh, spoilers) and to be honest I found the climactic scene more well-written than the above two movies. But then again Under the Red Hood follows the comic book story arc more closely so I guess it’s closer to the type of stories I enjoy on a regular basis. In fact I find that the DC animated film line to be pretty good; not something I’d watch in a cinema or anything but enjoyable enough.

This is just really more or less random ramblings about comic books and comic book movies so here’s something else I thought of while watching X1C: the problem with the character of Magneto or in general any character whose origin story or background is tied to a real-life historical event the same way Magneto’s is tied to the holocaust. See the problem is that comic book characters live in some sort of time-distorting reality bubble where they don’t grow old as fast as the readers do. Characters like Magneto however, have no choice but to grow old at the regular rate, since we cannot move the historical dates upon which their characters are based. In twenty to thirty years, Magneto will be a hundred years old regardless of what happens in X-Men continuity. How will they make X-Men movies then, will they have a hundred year-old Ian McKellen take the role? With the character of Magneto anchored in time, the fictional world of the X-Men remains tied to a particular era. They’ll probably come up with some handwaved solution about how his powers include not aging; or maybe they’ll take a bold leap and actually kill him off permanently (hey, they haven’t brought back Jean Grey for a while right?)

On a side note, the first character that I ever noticed had this problem was Bab from Pugad Baboy.

Anyway maybe that’s enough rambling for now. Looking forward to Captain America, Transformers 3, etc, etc. Despite my not being 100% satisfied with the current wave of superhero movies, it’s still a good time to be a comic book fan. 😀

 

Pinoy Comic Strips: Beerkada

I’m not sure how popular or well-known Beerkada is among the non-UP crowd, but right now I consider the slice-of-University-life comic (that has now graduated into slice-of-adult-life stories) probably the second best local comic strip. First place being of course the seminal Pugad Baboy, which has been running what, almost twenty years now?

I digress. If you’ve read Beerkada, it’s far from perfect. It’s often corny, and sometimes he has too many of his own in-jokes. In the early strips, the author Lyndon Gregorio often blatantly rips jokes from other sources. I’m not surprised it hasn’t received as much mainstream attention as Pugad Baboy has.

The strip has its’ moments however, and the cast will often remind you of real-world people (with their idiosyncracies exaggerated of course). Personally, I prefer those strips where the author parodies common pop-culture references, and the sheer inaneness of such parodies is where Beerkada trumps Pugad Baboy.

I recently found out Beerkada had its’ own website at beerkada.net. In an attempt to attract a more global audience, the author actually translates those strips that have Tagalog content into English. Aside from the current (daily) strips, he seems to be posting the older strips online as well, albeit the archives still currently have a huge gap between 1998 and 2006. Still, it’s awesome that Gregorio recognizes the power of the internet to publicize his work and willingly distributes his strips online. Hopefully, Pol Medina of Pugad Baboy fame would follow suit.

Not being a regular reader of the Philippine Star, and the last Beerkada book I read having been 3-4 years old already, I went through the archives to catch up. Some choice strips so far:

Not surprisingly, most of the strips I linked were related to 80’s cartoon characters in some way. I guess one of the reasons I enjoy Beerkada is that Lyndon Gregorio and I are obviously of the same generation.

Comics – Batgirl

Cassandra Cain was raised as an assassin. Growing up, her father never taught her to read or write, only to fight. She grew up knowing only one language – body language. Her mind processes human motions as fluently as ordinary people speak their native tongue. She can see moves before they happen or read a person’s intentions simply by following their movement patterns. She was an experiment to create the ultimate human fighting machine. At the age of eight, she made her first kill. Then she ran away. She wound up in Gotham, under the tutelage of the Dark Knight. She has become Batgirl.

I read through the current 70 issues over the weekend. It’s pretty good. Batgirl almost always faces up against normal people – goons, thugs, mafia and whatnot. She’s not metahuman either, but her superior abilities allow her to dodge bullets and kill with her bare hands (Not that she does kill mind you, but she CAN.) The fact that she’s illiterate and basically ignorant of how to interact with the rest of society makes the comic all the more interesting and provides a lot of room for her to grow as a character.

The only thing I don’t like about trying to follow a single comic series – crossovers. You read an issue, and suddenly there’s several other comics you need to read to get the whole picture. I can see why they do it.