Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Reading: Grimjack Omnibus

Summer Reading is a series that I plan to update on Monday's during the Summer that highlights some books that are good for throwing into your bag while on the way to the beach, vacation, or even to work.
I've been enjoying the recent trend of releasing Omnibuses (omnibi?) of older, very influential work by some of the smaller publishers.  I've long wanted to give Grimjack a try, I've enjoyed both of the creators work for a while and this has always been th work that many have cited as their seminal work.

Grimjack is a pretty simple set-up.  A mercenary named John Gaunt (nicknamed Grimjack) lives in the city of Cynosure, a city that is the nexus of many realities, all in a constant state of phasing in and out of phase with each other.  Gaunt has had a long and checkered past, having been a criminal, a cop and now a man for hire.  Both the setting and Gaunt's history allow for incredible flexibility in story telling.   In this book alone, we get westerns, science fiction, noir detective mysteries and political intrigue.  All of the stories are grounded by the presence of Grimjack, who could very easily be written off as a typical Eastwoodian "Man With A Dark Past Who Does Good", but the character is very well written by John Ostrander (Suicide Squad, Hawkworld) so that the character shines through.  Also, the art by Timothy Truman (Scout, Hawkworld) is incredibly detailed and clear.  The art makes it worth while to re-read the book just to see the easter eggs sprinkled through out.  For stories that are over 25 years old, it feels very fresh and new.

As for the format, IDW Comics prints the first 8 Grimjack stories that were originally backups in the First Comics series Starslayer and the first 13 issues of Grimjack's solo title (along with a brief framing sequence that I believe was created for the last re-print of these stories) here in a 6x9 softcover.  It's a great package and I wish Marvel & DC would modify their Showcase/Essential series to this format.  I'd gladly pay the extra money for color pages and the smaller trim size which makes for a much more portable read. Both IDW and Dark Horse are publishing a lot of books in this format and I look forward to grabbing more of them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reviews @ PopSyndicate: Siege #4

Also this week @ PopSyndicate, I review the rather lackluster conclusion to Siege: 

Marvel's event comic to end all of their event comics (or so they say) comes to a close, not with a bang, but with a whimper. This is especially disappointing following on how strong the three previous issues were. Where did it all go wrong?
Check it out!

Reviews @ PopSyndicate: Sweet Tooth Vol. 1

This week I'm reviewing Sweet Tooth Vol. 1 over at PopSyndicate:

Jeff Lemire's new Vertigo series releases it's first collection this week. A post-apocalyptic adventure featuring a strange, and very sweet protagonist who shows us that even at the end of the world, there's still time for candy.

Gus lives by five rules his Father has imposed upon him:
5. Never have a fire in daytime, cause people can see the smoke.
4. If I ever see anyone other than my Dad, I run and keep running.
3. Always say my prayers so as God don't decide to come make me sick too.
2. Never forget to pray for Momma, cause she was the prettiest lady God ever made.
1. Never, EVER leave the woods.
Head on over here to check out the full review.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thoughts on IRON MAN 2

Overall, I enjoyed the heck out of the movie. It was fun, though it had some fat that could have easily been trimmed. There was also one moment at the end that bugged the shit out of me. But, if you enjoyed the first one, this delivers more of the same. Maybe a little bit too much more. But you'll have a good time. Anyway, here are some SPOILERIFIC bullet points:
  • Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer was great as the anti-Tony Stark, Justin Hammer, but was almost a little too cartoonish.  And the fact that he didn't get punched in the face at least once was a little disappointing.  Regardless, Rockwell is fast becoming an actor who improves anything he's cast in. 
  • Scarlett Johansen was really good, but I went in thinking she was going to be really bad, so I guess low expectation paid off there.
  • The final battle just went on...and on.  After a while it was just metal crashing into other metal with some explosions.  They could have cut it down by half and made it better.
  • Two dudes in Iron Man suits drunkenly duking it out to "Robot Rock" by Daft Punk?  YES.
  • The biggest thing that bugged me was that they built up Pepper Potts over the course of the movie as being a strong, capable leader (especially towards the end when she took over the situation) to then have her freak out with the, "I'm a girl! I can't do this, save me Tony!" reaction at the end.  It was just a completely puzzling choice, unless they thought they had somehow emasculated Tony by making him no longer CEO. 
  • During the opening at Stark Expo, when Tony checked his blood toxicity for the first time, my girlfriend leaned over to me and asked, "Is his suit killing him?" I was confused for a second, looked up at the screen and saw the awful, shiny tux he was wearing in that scene and almost replied, "Well, it's certainly killing me."
  • The shout-outs to future Marvel movies were distracting and far from subtle.  I half expected Agent Coulson's last line to be, "I'm needed in New Mexico." *turns to camera* "Where you can seem me next Summer in The Mighty Thor!" 
  • And yeah, the easter egg after the credits was OK, but not nearly as cool as the last one.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Review @ Popsyndicate: Free Comic Book Day Round Up

Today over at Popsyndicate, I offer up a round up of my favorite books from last Saturday's Free Comic Book Day:

Another Free Comic Book Day has come and pass, and by the anecdotal evidence of the giant crowd I experienced at my local comics shop, and the glowing notices I have seen around my circle on twitter, it looks to have been a success. After reading through the pile, the rather large pile I might add, of books I picked up, it also looks to have been one of the best in terms of the actual comics that were produced for the day. Almost all of the larger publishers actually produced new content for their books and most of those were full issues of series. Here's a run-down of some of the highlights of the books I picked up.
Overall, it was a pretty great haul, with some minor disappointments.  Head on over here to read the full run down.