Reading Material

September 19, 2016

It is no secret that one of my favorite things to do is read.  A couple of months ago DC comics revitalized their line with the “rebirth” event. They wanted to return creatively to what made their staple of characters great. They have done such a great job that I am reading all DC comics currently because they are so good! I have always been more of a DC guy but I did follow a lot of Marvel books for awhile.  Unfortunately for Marvel their comics have been pretty terrible of late and so DC gets all of my comic book money. Two books in particular have been my favorite reads the past few months.

Green Arrow has been amazing. It has been great seeing Green Arrow with Black Canary again. The art and story have been intense!  Green Arrow is a long time favorite for me so seeing him in well written media makes me giddy! In a manly nerdy way of course.

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The other comic that I have been loving is Detective Comics. In it Batman has assembled a team of heroes to train and help him patrol Gotham. It has been a lot of fun seeing Clayface fight for the good guys.  The art and story have been fantastic.

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I have also started the Brimstone Angels series of Forgotten Realms novels. It is a darker take on the Realms then I have previously read. Of course it is to be expected when the main character is a Tiefling Warlock.  The best thing to me about it is that Erin Evans writes believable three dimensional characters.  The main characters and several of the side ones have a lot of depth and add a lot to her overall narrative. It has kept me hooked. I am in the second book of the series now called “Lesser Evils”.

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So what have you guys been into of late?

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What Kept Me Going This Past Year

December 3, 2014

It goes without saying that everyone goes through hard times in their lives. Personally I have dealt with a lot of disappointment and frustration this past year. In the midst of all of the questioning and tears there have been a few things that have brought me some measure of comfort during the tough times.

One of the great loves of my life are good stories. I enjoy the story and I enjoy the synergy between writer and artist that the comic book medium provides. It takes me around 10 minutes to read a comic book. It always cheers me up and more importantly it gives me a moment to step back and catch my breath. It helps me calm my brain for a few moments while I read about how Batman or Spider-Man save the city or let my skin crawl as I watch the demons emerge from the forest in the horror comic Wytches. I also appreciate the different art techniques used by the many different artists in comics today.  That is what happens when one of your parents is an art teacher.

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Another form of art that has helped me get through the year is music.  I have always loved music. There is something special about that melodious noise. It is like someone plucked an emotion out of the air and stuck it in a jar. When you open the jar you can take out the emotion and either wrap it around you like a blanket or drive it into your heart like a blade. Music gives us the ability to express emotions and relieve the tension they can cause.  One particular album that came out this year that has helped me a lot is “Extremist” by the band Demon Hunter.  I love metal and I love the brutal honesty that it can convey.  Demon Hunter is made up of a group of guys that were pastor’s kids or grew up in church. Their lyrics and the way they approach life and religion in them connects with me.  Their latest album “Extremist” has some songs on it that inspire me to keep moving forward. “I will Fail You” , “Artificial Light” and “Cross to Bear” are my favorite songs on that album.

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Finally Brian Welch the guitarist for Korn and his side band Love and Death wrote a book called “Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality” where he shares in short chapters the struggles of his life and how he has worked to overcome them.  Once again his honesty is what I enjoy most in the book.  His points aren’t all that deep. Don’t expect anything on the level of Kierkegaard or Lewis. Just expect the story of how a guy that loses his temper and does some selfish things finds his way to a measure of peace and learns some life lessons on the journey.

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So what works inspire you? What are some escapes that help you relax and decompress?


My Favorites of 2013 Part 1 Uncanny Avengers!

January 5, 2014

Best ongoing comic book series: Uncanny Avengers

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Of the titles I read monthly THIS is the one I look forward to the most.  It has been a crazy read thus far and I would argue it is more eventful than any of Marvel or Dc’s “event” books.  This team was formed after the calamities that occurred in 2012’s Avengers vs. X-Men mini- series. Captain America decides that  a unity squad with a roster made up of half Avengers and half X-Men is needed to show the world that mutants and humans can coexist together.  Great idea Cap! What could go wrong?

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Years of mistrust and anger between different characters in this book causes….

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I don’t want to give it away. You’ll have to either read it yourself or hit up Wikipedia. All I can say is it is EPIC!

This series draws heavily from past Avengers and X-Men stories.  For me that is one of the reasons I love this comic so much.

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However if you have never read Marvel comics then this probably wouldn’t be the book to jump into.  2013 made mine Marvel…

That does it for today folks. My favorites part 2 (movies) will be coming soon!


A Spider, An Archer and a Super hero war Oh my!

August 5, 2012

After a long hiatus I am back and blogging like a secret agent that is staring at a gold laser that is about to melt my private parts….I have no idea where that analogy came from. Moving on!

This past Wednesday saw the debut of the new Hawkeye series being written by Matt Fraction and penciled by David Aja.

As far as writing goes Matt Fraction has always been hit and miss with me.  From what I have read of his stuff I enjoyed his Iron Man work but his Thor stories were awful. I didn’t care too much for his “Fear Itself” event either.  I debated whether or not to pick this up but a review on another site convinced me it was worth a try.

So what was my verdict? It was a cute story that had little to do with super-heroics.  The premise of this book is “This is what Hawkeye does when he is not being an Avenger”.  Poor Clint can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He falls out of a window, and gets into it with some russian Mafia “wanna bes”.  The end of the issue left a warm happy feeling in my heart.   David Aja’s art is gritty and stylized and is perfect for setting the mood of this book.

So how was this as a story. It was good. I wouldn’t call it great. I wouldn’t call it amazing. Just plain good.  Will I be back for a second issue? Probably not.   So in that sense I would say that for me at least it failed.  If you like dogs and comics about an archer that doesn’t use his bow on an off day then this one is for you.

Rating 6 out of 10.

 

Next up we have the ninth issue of this year’s marvel event “Avengers Versus X-Men”.

 

Of all the events to hit comics in the past 10 years I would say that this one is easily my favorite so far. Followed closely by DC’s “Blackest Night”.    I think that part of what has contributed to this event being so good is that Marvel’s top writers all plotted this out together.  This is also a truly stand alone event. Nothing is hinted at that you have to read a tie in issue to understand.   You can just read this mini series and become invested in what is transpiring.  This issues was Spider-Man’s issue to shine.   He does something that is so heroic and so “Spider-Man”!  I loved it!   If you haven’t been following this event you have been missing out.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

 


Reviews for 2-1-12

February 2, 2012

It’s that time once again! Comic book reviews! I know you can hardly contain your excitement.

Today Marvel released the first issue of Winter Soldier:

Ed Brubaker continues the Bucky Barnes epic that he started in Captain America.  The larger Marvel U believes that Bucky is dead…again.   So Bucky has begun his journey of redemption with his girlfriend the Black Widow.  One of the reasons I love this book is because it is not the typical super hero comic.  It is a spy book through and through.  Butch Guice’s artwork is fantastic and Bettie Brettweiser’s colors truly enhance Butch’s pencils and add to the overall feeling of the narrative.  If you like crazy spy stories and Apes shooting machine guns then you will love this book. This one is going on my pull list for sure.

Rating 8 out of 10.

On the other side of the comic book coin Dan Jurgens continues to craft an emotionally charged and action packed Justice League International book:

The JLI have overcome their first threat and now their parent organization the United Nations is trying to decide what to do with them.  This issue gives us a chance to catch our breath and learn more about the characters before the explosive last page kicks off the next story arc.  We see Batman continue to mentor Booster Gold on how to be a leader. We also learn more about Godiva and August General in Iron.  Booster has to face the UN security council and convince them that JLI should continue its existence.   Marco Castiello does guest pencils this issue and delivers some solid artwork.  It isn’t breathtaking but it works.   All in all a solid issue. I am looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

Rating: 7 out of 10


My Favorites From 2011

December 30, 2011

On a personal level 2011 was a another tumultuous and hellish year for me.  However it was a great year for the various “geeks” trapped in my head.

Comic book Geek:

DC comics decided to relaunch their entire universe. The event mini series “Flashpoint” put an end to the previous DCU and jump started the new DCU or DCNU.   This was a ballsy move for DC and so far it has worked. At least as far as sales are concerned.  I will admit that as a whole I prefer the pre-flashpoint DCU to the new one. However, the wingnut in me was thrilled with the relaunched Nightwing book.  So far it has contained the best Nightwing stories I have read since the good old days when Chuck Dixon wrote the book back in the 90’s.  Another stand out book for me was Frankenstein Agent of SHADE.  It is just a fun comic book to read.  Frankenstein leads a team of monsters against crazy threats from other dimensions.  If you haven’t tried that book yet then you are missing out.

 

Marvel’s Ultimate line was on fire this year. Not only did Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe die but a new Spider-Man emerged. Jonathan Hickman has written some great stuff in the Ultimates while Nick Spencer has scripted some amazing stories in X-Men.   In the main Marvel Universe Wolverine’s black ops team Uncanny X-force has also been a great read.

The only indie comic I got into this year was IDW’s Dungeons and Dragons comic. It translated everything I enjoyed about the game into a highly entertaining and well written comic.

Gaming Geek:

This year I drifted away from miniature gaming and back to tabletop role-playing.  The Heroes of Shadow book for 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons offered some great options for players.  It added several interesting classes like the Assassin, Vampire and Black Guard.  It also added some new races and some interesting options for the existing classes. Nethermancy anyone?

Movie Geek:

This was a great year to be a comic book fan as many of this past years best movies were pulled  from the pages of the funny books.  Thor is my “movie of the year”. I also loved Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens.

The movie Immortals made my greek mythology nerd happy and it also demonstrated how awesome over the top CGI gore can be.

Music Geek:

Some of my favorite bands released great albums this year. Opeth’s “Heritage” is amazing.  Evanescence rocks it on their new album. Amy Lee once again makes me wish that I had a vagina so that I could fully emote with her…Don’t tell anyone I said that.  On the Christian front Sleeping Giant put out a metalcore record with some crushing rifts and non seeker friendly lyrics. “Kingdom Days in an Evil Age” crushes compromise.   Becoming the Archetype’s “Celestial Completion”  proved once again that Christians can make excellent Proggessive death metal!

 

TV Geek A.K.A I can’t get a date so I watch:

To be honest it has been a while since I found a TV show that I get excited about watching. Like most people i’ll watch the occasional episode of one of the CSIs or NCISes to pass the time.  I don’t go out of my way to catch them though.  The show Person of Interest caught my interest. It has everything I love in it: drama, action, mystery and a compelling back story that is slowly unfolding throughout the series.  It helps that it stars two of my favorite actors: Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. I have noticed a few other LOST alums popping up throughout the course of this show.

Now all of the geeks that are trapped inside of my brain have had their voice.   What have you guys enjoyed most this year?


Reviews!

December 2, 2011

This week was a light comic book week for me. The only books that came out that I normally get were Ultimate Comics Ultimates #4 and the second issue of the Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Origin mini-series. On a whim I picked up Avenging Spider-Man #1. For me this week belonged soundly to Marvel. Read on to find out why:

Legion Of Super-Heroes Secret Origin #2

This was the second issue of a “Secret Origins” mini series for the Legion written by Paul Levitz who is currently writing the Legion Of Super-Heroes ongoing book.  So far this has left me seriously underwhelmed.  In this issue the eccentric rich old guy bankrolling the Legion( RJ Brande) is the target of several assasination attempts. All of which are foiled by the Legion.  Levitz tried for some humor between Saturn Girl and Brande. Let’s just say that Levitz is not a comedian and move on.   The art is far from the eye candy that one expects from comic book artists.  It isn’t bad but it isn’t good either. It is bland. The inks and coloring on this book are bland as well. In fact there is nothing note-worthy about this comic at all. If you want to read a good Legion of Super-Heroes book than check out Legion Lost or Legion of Super-Heroes. Stay far away from “Secret Origin”.

Grade: 4 out of 10

Ultimate Comics Ultimates #4

The fourth issue of the Ultimates was a solid comic.  Esad Ribic’s excellent pencils perfectly potray the epic story that Jonathan Hickman is telling. The characters are expressive, the tech looks “cool” and Thor is pissed!  All of which makes for great storytelling.  The stakes are high for the Ultimates. I can’t wait until the next issue! This is worth a read.

Grade: 8 out of 10.

Avenging Spider-Man #1

Finally we have Avenging Spider-Man #1. This comic is what so may other comics aren’t today. It is a fun read! This is going to be a team up book where Spidey teams up with different Marvel heroes to stop the bad guys from doing what bad guys normally do.  This first arc is a team up between Spider-Man and the Red Hulk.  Zeb Wells did a fanatstic job scripting this book. The humor is top notch as is the adventure.  To put it bluntly he made me interested in a story that has the Red Hulk in it. I hate the Red Hulk. I think his creation is one of the dumbest things Marvel has done in the last ten years. Yet I loved this comic! I even started to care about this Hulk. That my friends is good writing.   The reason I gave this book a chance is becuase it is drawn by one of my favorite artists Joe Madureira.  His art did not dissapoint.  The action and the characters are bueatifully pencilled.  If I were to recomend any comic book to someone right now it would be Avenging Spider-Man.  

Grade 10 out of 10

I had two great books from Marvel and one dud from DC this week. Marvel wins this week.