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Review: Deadpool #8

It’s so refreshing to see Deadpool with his own series again.  I have to admit, for all my love of Thor and the Cap being such amazing heroes, Marvel has some damn great anti-heroes, most certainly including Deadpool, who always sets off with the intention of selling to the highest bidder, and more often than not, tends to come home with no cash at all because much to his dismay, he did something stupid… like the ‘right thing.’

Lead up to the Story

Deadpool has been engaging in shenanigans as usual, been jumped by random b and c list villains, most recently Tiger Shark, out smarted friend and foe alike, and served up enemies to zombies.  Through all of this, he’s found out that both his friend Bob and Tiger Shark were hired to take him out.  The hit was put out by none other than Norman Osborn, or Oscorp.  Basically, if you weren’t paying attention, Norman Osborn is the new Tony Stark and runs the new SHIELD (called HAMMER).  He tricked the world into thinking he was a savior by killing the Scrull queen, using information that Deadpool got for Nick Fury.  All in all, Deadpool is pissed, and this is part 1 of what we can hope is a good old showdown at noon.

Plot Synopsis

Daniel Way has Deadpool begins his assault on Stark Tower.. Osborn Tower?  I don’t know.  He’s assaulting it anyway (this review is starting to sound more and more like a Deadpool comic).  As I said above, this is the first part of the story arc, called Magnum Opus, and is part 1 of 4.  It starts with just a little back story, and goes straight into action really.  Deadpool initially runs into some robotic traps, steals the Iron Man chest piece, throws some bad hair jokes Osborn’s direction, and begins his ascent.  We are then plunged into a classic Deadpool hallucination.  This one is a Jack and the Beanstalk parody, and although it is only a few pages in length, it falls sort of flat.  Not that it is bad, it just seems to be an unnessessary stopping point in the story, a storyline bottle neck of sorts.  As unfortunately for us that it does, things start going worse for Deadpool when he gets into a fight with his inner monologue, or readers.  I can never tell if the white boxes are supposed to be readers, a voice in his head, and if the yellow boxes are him thinking.  No matter what the case, they’re ignoring him, because when he reaches the top, it’s not Osborn who’s waiting for him, it’s the Thunderbolts.

Art Critique

The art is pretty well done, Paco Medina has the Deadpool look down to a T.  Explosions, guns, action scenes, he can do them with great skill.  Basically, everything that you are most likely to encounter in a standard issue of Deadpool.  Sometimes faces are an issue, and can come out disproportional (for example, see the recap page), but this is the exception rather than the rule.  The hallucination, which I mentioned was not my favourite part of the story, really gives Medina a chance to shine, and he takes it.  Everything is much more comic than usual, and I mean that in two ways.  First, it’s absolutely ridiculous, which is awesome, the adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk is right on target.  Secondly, if you look behind the action, you’ll see that the background is actually made up of dots, as the old comics and newspapers were.  The only major criticism that I have is that when Deadpool takes the Iron Man chest piece, it’s not immediately apparent.  I had to look back and check a few times, and maybe this was intentional, but there could have been a larger colour and size difference.  That said however, the third page or so, the full page spread with Deadpool decked out to assault Stark/Osborn tower is pretty fantastic, it’s always great to see how each artist will render Deadpool fully equipped for action.

Is it Worth Buying?

I would say absolutely, this looks to be a good story arc.  We know that Daniel Way can write a good story, and he’s set it up perfectly for a high action comic in the next issue, with a great cliffhanger.  Even to non-deadpool fans, I would recommend picking up the next few issues of Deadpool.  The story is great, the art is great.  Daniel Way has come into his own with his ability to deliver one-liners befitting Deadpool, with just enough humor, and a few thrown in there that probably only make sense to Deadpool himself.  I will be looking forward to the next issue, to see how the merc with a mouth settles the score not only with the Thunderbolts, but also with the voices in his head.

EDIT: Magnum Opus is Deadpool 8-9 and Thunderbolts 130-131.

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Filed under Comics, Marvel, Reviews

Reasons to Dislike the Watchmen

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I noticed the first time I saw watchmen (the second time I went during work/school hours, and it was empty, something Scott Kurtz might have preferred), quite a few people got up and left.  I’ve been mulling over in my mind not just the obvious “I didn’t like the attempted rape scene,” because any two-bit pundit can do that, but delving deeper into the reasons why some were so appalled by the film that they chose to leave.  So dedicated am I to providing absolute top quality blogging that I have done the unfathomable, I have come up with reasons to dislike the watchmen…

All verbosity and showmanship aside, the question of why people were so affronted or bored by The Watchmen that they decided that they would burn the $10.75 they spent, rather than sit through the rest of the movie is a topic worth addressing.  I mean, c’mon, less people walked out of Batman and Robin than the Watchmen from what I saw!  The first, and most obvious reason that people may have been offended is simply that we as a population are pretty desensitized to seeing breasts, or even full frontal nudity on women.  This movie had penises, and lots of them at that however, none were real though, I don’t think so anyway, most looked CGI or prosthetic.  Pretty immediately you are exposed to Dr. Manhattan, who lives and works in the nude, and let’s be honest, nude men are not all that photogenic.

Moving swiftly and gracefully away from male nudity (or at least, I am, you may linger if you so choose), we move onto the fact that the Watchmen deals with a whole host of generally uncomfortable, or generally avoided topics, such as child murder, more realistic violence, and rape.  Herein lies the true core of why many viewers were shocked by the Watchmen.  The movie-going population has become used to the idea of a superhero movie, we are getting inundated with them recently, and most are fun action movies with some corny one-liners that are really typical of 80’s-90’s authors.  This was an Alan Moore comic turned movie, and a faithful one at that, not V for Vendetta.  This was written as a progressive “in your face” novel.  We are used to bones breaking in movies, but they’re always in a jacket, or the skin doesn’t break.  I’ve got news for you, that’s not how it works.  I have heard many complaints about the scene between the Comedian and Jupiter, about how it was too much, or not appropriate for the movies.  My response to this has been to remind them that this is a rated R movie, and for good reason.  If you’re going to see a movie, and you’re unsure about it, the best course of action is to look a little bit into the subject material first.  A few chapters into Watchmen, and you’ll soon find that it’s not your average superhero flick.

Another general quality of the modern super hero movie is that feeling inside you that in the end, the good guy won.  Today’s culture does not seem to appreciate the old style of film noir.  And the Watchmen goes even one step further beyond that, the Watchmen is ambiguous, it’s not even a cliffhanger.  Nobody has any idea if Rorschach’s journal does get published, or if anyone believes a word of it, it IS Rorschach after all.  Even beyond this notion lies the uncertainty about if the ‘villain’ was evil or not, or even if Rorschach was ‘good.’  Make no mistake, this is intentional, beyond the plot, subplot, and everything else, it is by firm believe that Alam Moore wrote the Watchmen to make his readers question what they saw, to make them think and reach beyond their comfort zone, something we should all try to do from time to time.  In this he was successful.

There is a line in the book, as well as the film, in which a news reporter states that “God exists, and he is American,” he then goes on to say that if this makes you a little uncomfortable, then you should not worry “it only means that you are still sane.”  The same can be applied to the Watchmen.  If the scenes of graphic violence, attempted rape, and child murder made you even slightly uncomfortable, you should know that it’s ok, it means you are still rational.

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Filed under Comics, DC, General, Reviews

No Comics Today!

I know I mentioned it yesterday, but I wouldn’t want any of my readers to miss it and end up at their local comic book store only to find there are no comics today.  For example, I have to drive half an hour to the closest comic store.  Just so we’re clear, because of Thanksgiving, comic delivery day is Thursday, December the 4th.

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Ebay Week Day 1 – Finding Single Issue Bargains

Attention all! Ebay week if (finally) underway! After many false starts, including yesterday (my job started that day and I completely lost track of time), I almost failed uploading tonight as well due to the storm, but I think I have a window of time big enough to get this post up. This week should prove to be fun, I even have a guest post from Mike Haynes of Panels of Awesome, but that’s for later. So, let us begin, how many times have you missed a single issue that isn’t in your pull box, or you have a run of old comics and are missing a few issues? Well, Ebay can be a wondrous source of single issue comics, even if you are not looking for one particular comic, but you’d like to collect some back issues anyway. While the amazing deals are out there, We, as the comic book community are still feeling the effects of the comic speculation bubble, and as a result there are a lot of overpriced comics due to overspeculation, and a lot of general crap floating around. But hopefully with these few tips will help you accurately search out what you are looking for. Before I start however, I have to say that this is merely a bargain hunting strategy, and if you happen to be looking for Ultimate Spiderman #1 Variant, you’re going to have to be prepared to pay top dollar.

Speculation, What is it, and how does it affect me?

Comic prices are very interesting, as there is no simple linear rule to defining the prices (eg, older = more expensive), as the aforementioned speculation. First though, we must address the issue of, what is speculation? Speculation, put simply, and in the context we are viewing it, is the act of speculating or guessing that a particular item, in our case comic books, will one day become valuable, or that it can be resold for more later. Speculation, literally defined means trading with the purpose of making profits, and I’m sure you’ve seen this, such as when Captain America #25 was released, and it was immediately being sold, or attempted to be sold for $25 dollars on Ebay even though my local comic shop was selling them for the standard $2.99. The first printing was fairly limited however, and they probably sold. As much as this is something that does not please me, I don’t believe my hobby should really be belittled by others for profit, it is a viable trade strategy. We saw the same attempts with the Death of Superman, but DC printed an incredibly large number of those issues, and they’re now found in bargain bins pretty much everywhere. So, the most expensive comics will be the old rare ones, followed by more recent comics being sold by people trying to make a quick dollar, but if you’re searching for something a little more obscure (ie, not a hot item), from the 70-90’s, you’re sure to find a great deal.

What should you, as an honest comic collector take from all this? The short story is, if you are hoping to pick up an important issue you may have missed, Ebay is probably not the place. Heck, the internet is probably not the place you want to look. My advice would be to check out other comic book locations in your local area. Chances are one of them heard the issue was going to be big, and ordered some extras, especially if there is a comic book store located in a cit around you, such as midtown comics in NYC, or a very small comic shop, that probably doesn’t get many patrons is also a good candidate; basically anything on either extreme if your first choices aren’t working out.

Finding Single Issue Bargains

Moving on to what Ebay and the internet can do for you, instead of what it can’t. For this installment of Ebay week, I will be giving some examples and pointers of good search methods, some of which can be applied to finding just about anything on Ebay. First off, know what you are looking for, or alternatively, know that you are not looking for anything in particular, and just browsing. If you have never used Ebay before I suggest you do some browsing, and test searches before committing to anything, it can be daunting, and you want to make sure you are getting the best deals. First off, make use of the categories if you are just browsing, but if you are looking for a particular item, it would be best to not limit your categories due to poorly categorized items, a good example of this would be listing an autographed comic under collectibles, or memorabilia. Also, while browsing/searching, be sure to look to the left hand of your screen. The upper section allows you to limit your search to categories and sub-categories, such as only silver-age comics. Below that allows you to limit or expand your search to include Ebay stores as well as those who offer free shipping. Now, onto the specifics, when searching Ebay, instead of just searching “Signed Thor comic” and taking the first thing that pops up, do alternate searches using synonyms, such as autographed, graphic novel, or include the author or illustrator. Doing this requires you to make good use of the watched items feature. Just click “Watch this item,” and come back to all your favorites later. Doing this allows you to really see what the bargains are. I’ve picked up a good number of comics for exceptionally cheap, such as Journey into Mystery #123 for about $12 US, or the occasional bargain for $3-5 US like the last issue I needed my for Official Marvel Handbook series. However, don’t be afraid to be patient, if you’re in a rush you’ll make mistakes. In my hurry to collect and read all the issues of Civil War I had missed, I ended up spending way more than I had to, and then shipping on top of that! Remember to look for deals on shipping, many sellers will offer them.

Addendum: For examples of what I’m talking about, see my other blog “Life of a Welshman” for proof that great bargains DO exist out there! Today’s entry can be found here.

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Review: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness

Yes, I know I’ve been away again, but graduation/real life will do that I guess, those seeking an explanation may skip to the bottom, but I want to talk about the new game from Penny-Arcade.  On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness, or RSPD as it is often abbreviated, came on the market last week, for a pricey 1,600 Microsoft points (roughly ~20 American dollars for anyone keeping score).  A high pricetag for an xbox live arcade game, however alternatively it can be bought for $20 USD for personal computers, either mac or PC.  The game, which marks the first videogame review on this dedicated comic blog, which runs somewhere between 5 and 10 hours on the first complete playthrough is pretty spectacular.  It is fairly obvious that Jerry and Mike, the creators of Penny-Arcade had a decisive role in the creation on this game, and that they were not willing to settle for anything less than perfection when it came to faithfully recreating the atmosphere portrayed by the webcomic.  This is something that their readers take very seriously, and their work shows through with great clarity.  The best way I could describe the game is, you know that feeling when you’ve been away for a week or two, and get like 6 comics to read at once?  Well, its like that but multiplied by a year or so.  This is a whole lot of PA condensed into one place, and to me, that’s just what I was looking for.  The game chronicles the story of your character, gabe, and tycho as they chase the giant robot with a great desire for fruit.  During the course of your adventure, you will battle fruit loving robots, mimes, hobos, living garbage, clowns, babershop quartets, and even possibly a dark god.  If this does not grab you, I’m not sure what will.  The battle system is a little tricky to work out at first, and the blocking can be troublesome, but once you get the the timing down properly, the game gets much easier.

Overall I would absolutely recommend this game to any fan of Penny-Arcade, as well as to any fan of RPG video games.  The art is what one might expect from a webcomic gone animated, and is very similar to what LFGcomic did, as well as Ctrl-Alt-Del in their animated endeavors.  As good as the art is, the dialog is where the fun is at.  I would probably play this game even if the rest of it were terrible, just to see what they say next.  It’s that good, but not with too much over the top language of the blog posts that accompany each comic posting, and in the case that there is, it is either not important, not all that verbose, or Gabe translates for the player in his own indignant way.  I am eagerly awaiting the next episode of RSPD, and although I feel that it was worth the price, I hope it may be a little cheaper, it probably won’t be.  Gabe/Tycho explained their pricing, and it makes perfect sense.  Achievements on the 360 are well assigned, and are not overly taxing without being incredibly simple.  I am generally adverse to providing an out of ten rating in my reviews, but there is such a convention for it in the video game industry that I will; I give Penny-Arcade’s On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness a 8.5 out of 10.

Ok, as promised, here’s my excuse: I’ve been busy.  I spent the last 4 weeks of college working on paper after paper, not having time to read comics, and now having graduated, I’m stuck job hunting, working, and running errands for my family while I try and save enough money to move out.  This is coupled with studying for the GRE’s so that I can go to gradschool to get my Ph.D, because a base level degree in science won’t get me where I want to go.  I will do my best to return to a normal posting schedule, and am still working through reading well over 200 comics to be caught up in what’s going on.  Also, must to my chagrin, I have been failing to read other blogs because I don’t want to expose myself to unnecessary spoilers.  This said, I know I missed Ebay week, and it is still on, just postponed to start next Monday (for real this time I promise).  Mike, if you could email me your article at yourcomicreliefblog@gmail.com along with any preamble you would like me to attach that would be awesome.  Anyone else looking to contribute should contact me there or via comment.

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Filed under General, Reviews, Web Comics

Happy Mday, and an Announcement

I hope everyone had a good Mday (I’m proud, I came up with that by myself).  I myself went out to dinner with my mother at a nice snazzy restaurant.  Things are getting busy for myself right now, with five (5) days left until graduation, this year has been pretty crazy.  Not that I’ll be talking about that now, I may elaborate on it in Life of a Welshman, my fairly new personal blog to discuss all that, but suffice to say I’m excited.  In addition to a diploma, I will also have upwards of 200 new comics to read.  Why 200?  Well, possibly even more than that, you see, I’ve been busy recently.  So over the past 4-7 weeks (probably since midmarch) I have not found time in my schedule to read comics, yet I have continually gone out and purchased them every few weeks, thanks to the box I have at my local comic shop.  Assuming 5-7 comics a week, that’s already around 50 comics.  I picked up another huge haul from Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd.  Then on May 4th, a town near where I live hosted its semi-annual rummage sale, where I found comics going for 50 cents a pop.  Needless to say I think I spent around 30-40 dollars there, and they were all good deals, mostly from the late 70’s to the mid 90’s.  Plus the occasional ebay shipment over the past few weeks – Ebay is a HUGE weakness of mine.

It was with this realization that I decided that next week, or the week after depending on the feedback I get (either through comments or email to yourcomicreliefblog@gmail.com) will be Ebay week.  In which I will discuss the joys and possible pitfalls of Ebay, as well as elaborate for all of you my massive comic acquisitions, complete with full bodied reviews, and rapid fire review sections.  It is now that I come to ask something of you.  For this week long extravaganza, I would like to have one or two guest articles, comics, or reviews.  So, if you are interested, send me a message or an email, again my contact email is yourcomicreliefblog@gmail.com, or even just leave a comment.  Let me know if what you would like to do, and what topic you are planning on addressing.

One last thing, I have recently started using twitter.  I’d like to start using this as a feedback and discussion tool with my readers, as well as a notification system for when I post a new article.  So, go ahead and follow me, and I’ll do my best to follow each one of you.

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Filed under General, Holiday

I’m not dead yet!

So, last I was here, I mentioned I was sick. Well “I got better” (ok, last Monty Python reference). I haven’t been around as the end of semester has been hell. I’ve got a pile of probably over 300 comics (I found myself at a rummage sale with comics at 50 cents a comic, some good finds which I’ll write a post about later) that I have to read. That’s well over 4 weeks of comics, rummage sale stuff, a few random Ebay purchases, and Free Comic Book Day acquisitions. Hope everyone is doing well, I’m not gone, still around, and will be back exceptionally soon. I will be getting my undergraduate degree in biochemistry in EIGHT DAYS!

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