Thursday, January 31, 2013

Entry#3: Un-Deadpool Presidents

This entry reviews DeadPool NOW issues 1-4.

Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
Artist: Tony Moore

The Merc with a mouth is back. He’s bad, he’s badass, and he’s got bullets, blades, and attitude to spare. DeadPool is re-launched in new Marvel NOW series, Dead Pool.

So far, the series is four issues into its run. From the very beginning my first reaction was, “I’m laughing so hard I have to put the comic down.” This has happened many times while reading this series. I haven’t read something this funny in…well, longer than I can remember. The humor is fresh, and holds up to a repeating reading. It comes to us courtesy of stand-up comic Brian Posehn. A self-confessed comic nerd, Mr. Posehn is a frequent guest on Chris Hardwicke’s Nerdist show, as well as AMC’s The Talking Dead. Most readers will be familiar with Posehn through his work on the stages of various nightclubs; as a stand-up comic, not a stripper.

This series sees Mr. D-Pool on a mission to search and destroy. Specifically, he’s been recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to do some dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. Canada’s least-favorite son is out to snuff all the dead presidents. It seems that Mike, a warlock with a severe Braveheart fetish, has resurrected all the deceased commanders-in-chief. The likes of Nixon, Reagan, Ford, and both Roosevelts are out wreaking havoc on our great nation, again! Overcome with an inflated sense of “purifying America,” these suit and tie psychos are jacking things up. Only Wade Wilson…well, actually, every other character in the Marvel universe could have stopped them. But, well, it would be bad P.R. if Captain America was seen putting the hurt on George Washington. It would be just as bad if Iron Man did it (Tony Stark has government contracts). And it would be equally bad if Spider-Man (Peter Parker, the boy next door) were to wail on Tricky Dick. Imagine what Mary Jane would say if she caught him doing that!

As Mr. D-to-the-pool is told, “You’re not the hero we want, Wade. You’re the scumbag we need.”

The comic itself is, at times, a smart take-off on the Tea Party mentality. It confronts the concept that America is somehow irrevocably flawed, and needs to be remade. The comic spoofs, to an extent, the drastic polarization that our country has experienced over the past twenty years. And while it doesn’t go too deep into finding answers--hell, it doesn’t answer anything, except, “How badass is DeadPool?” The comic generates genuine laughs with a smart dose of satire and social commentary. And the writing feels like a screen play, with its fluid motion. Both Posehn and Duggan are superb together. They are writing a comic that is both funny, and action packed. Bringing those action sequences to life are pencils by Tony Moore. His humorous zombie caricatures of dead presidents are sure to both repulse and delight readers! Mr. DeadPool himself moves like lightning on the page. The action sequences practically come to life! They are among the most outrageous and highly magnetic action sequences I’ve ever seen.

Some highlights on these awesome sequences include DeadPool’s duel with Richard Nixon inside The Watergate Hotel! His hunting of Teddy Roosevelt (in issue #2, aptly titled We Fought a Zoo) must be read and seen to be believed. And I won’t spoil the sultry way he takes down J.F.K. Let’s just say, “You won’t look at The Seven Year Itch in quite the same way again.”

There’s also been guest stars from Captain America, Thor, Dr. Strange, and Benjamin Franklin! Yep, Old Ben is going Ben Kenobi, and acting as guiding spirit to Mr. Pool. Some of the funniest moments are delivered in dialog by this most intelligent, and amorous founding father.

I would go on, but I’d run the risk of spoiling the intense humor in this very funny, very entertaining comic series. I should point out that despite the history lesson this is not a comic for kids. Mid-to-late teens and adults are recommended for this one. Also, the trademark fourth wall breaking is there. This is a comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously. DeadPool even recommends listening to Pantera’s classic thrasher Five Minutes Alone while he takes care of business. And if you don’t have that, you can just listen to “whatever crap you want.” In the spirit of fair play, I put on some Pantera during that particular sequence; a battle on the Golden Gate Bridge. Let me tell you, Moore must have been listening to Cowboys From Hell when he drew this. The action is so frenetic, the sequence needs a soundtrack.

I’m giving DeadPool NOW…five dead presidents out of five!

That’s a lot of Benjamins! Um, yeah, he wasn’t a president, I know. But he is on the hundred-dollar bill. Or, as Wade puts it, “That money I can’t afford.”

Review Copyright 2013 Johnny X.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Entry #2: The Alright Arachnid Dude

The Alright Arachnid Dude

Hello, true believers!

Peter Parker’s not dead. He’s just hanging with Elvis, Jim Morrison, and Bigfoot. That would make a better storyline than the one Marvel did use to wrap-up The Amazing Spider-Man. Technically, the series isn’t over; it has simply morphed into The Superior Spider-Man. This current spin-off picks up where The Amazing Spider-Man issue #700 left off.

To explain a bit of back story first…

*Spoiler Alert*

Spidey did a Freaky Friday with Dr. Octopus. I don’t mean the original with Jodie Foster. I mean the remake with Lindsay Lohan. Just picture Peter Parker with red hair, freckles, and legal battles. And picture Doc Ock as Jamie Lee Curtis. On second thought, the good doctor was never that sexy.

Anyway, Peter Parker swapped bodies with Dr. Octopus. Otto Octavius body had “lost the will to live,” much like Padme in Revenge of the Sith. It would seem as if Peter Parker had gone to the four-color heaven in the sky. One wonders if he’d have entrance to Thor’s Valhalla. Perhaps maybe the blonde barbarian badass could give him a rainbow bridge ride back to Earth? It would appear that won’t be necessary, as Peter Parker is now a ghost. His soul is lingering around like Obi Won, and intervening when needed. He even stopped Dr. Octopus from pummeling a perp into the pavement (try saying that three times fast!)

There’s also the issue of Mary Jane, and how she’ll react to Peter/Otto’s eccentric behavior. One wonders if the famous pottery wheel scene from Ghost will be reenacted in the next issue. Though I joke about it here, I’m not putting anything past Dan Slott.

That being said, I did enjoy this comic. I used to read Spider-Man when I was a kid. And I did enjoy the new movie, starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (future mother of my children). Spidey was a childhood favorite of mine in any medium; animated, illustrated, action figure, and live-action. With all the spin-offs out there, it was time that Marvel started to streamline things a bit. It was also time they rebooted the series. New readers would be intimidated by the 700 issue girth of a forty-odd year series. And old readers would want something new, in the wake of Marvel’s “NOW” series. You can’t blame an old dog for trying a new trick.

The series begins with an action sequence. There’s no weeping and moaning in this book. In addition to high octane action, this book has liberal doses of humor. And it is the humor that helps to carry this story. It provides a much needed release from an awkward situation. They’ve avoided many obvious clich├ęs, like the kind we’ve seen in body swap movies (see 80’s classics Vice Versa, Summer Switch, 18 Again, and Father/Son) However, I don’t see this as a long-running series. My prediction is that it will probably run for about a year or so. Once the next Amazing Spider-Man movie is released, Marvel will reboot the original series.

Many of my cohorts at the comic shop agree. The general consensus is that Marvel ended The Amazing Spider-Man on a weak note; like an out-of tune Daily Bugle. I would have to agree. I also feel that The Superior Spider-Man isn’t really superior. It is a good read, but not a great read. It is also a continuation of a story arc started in issue #699. One wonders if this story arc should have been included in The Amazing Spider-Man proper, instead of in a separate series.

All being said, I did like reading this premiere issue. And I will continue to read the series. I’m a curious sort, and have a desire to see what happens next. While old school purists may be put off by the radical story arc, I recommend they give it a chance. A comic like this is an acquired taste. It’s fun to see a famous villain in the Marvel Universe wear the tights of a hero. The concept of an anti-hero fascinates me, and we may have found one in The Superior Spider-Man, albeit for a limited time. Dr. Octopus is still the same smug s.o.b. he always was. When he takes down a fellow villain, he’s doing it for selfish reasons. Though he’s trying to redeem himself in some fashion, his arrogance shows through. Despite the oddity of the story, Dr. Octopus’ personality is still consistent.

In conclusion, I’d say, “Give it a chance, and see what you think. You’re under no obligation to buy. Act now, operators are standing by.”

My rating: Two-and-a-half webs out of five.

Excelsior, Web-heads!

Review Copyright 2013 Johnny X.



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Entry #1: The Return of the Return of the Jedi (Times Two)

Some FORCEful Thoughts From Johnny X.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard about something good from a galaxy far, far away. While I’m optimistic about the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, I’m also hoping we avoid another Jar-Jar Menace. It seems that all too often we get massive amounts of Expanded Universe Star Wars, but not enough classic Luke, Han, and Leia action. Well, my rebel friends, fear not! Dark Horse has just launched into hyperspace a new series of Star Wars comics! And to help wash the midiclorian taste out, they’ve gone old school!

The new series, simply titled, Star Wars takes place two months after the Death Star did the big firework. The Rebel Alliance is scrambling to find a new home, after Alderaan was nuked by Peter Cushing (in-between his gigs as a mad scientist, and vampire slayer, respectively).

Our heroes in orange jumpsuits aren’t the only ones looking for new digs. In a scene reminiscent of Robot Chicken’s Star Wars spoof, Palpatine gives Vader a dressing down for, “Not protecting a two meter exhaust vent from a bunch of f*cking teenagers!” Needless to say, The Emperor has some serious anger management issues. May I recommend Zen, and the Art of the Force? Balance those chakras, dude. You’ll live longer (at least till Return of the Jedi.) Darth gets mauled verbally for his failure to prevent the loss of the Death Star. As a form of punishment, his sweet Sith ride gets revoked! This sets The Dark Lord of the Sith on a path of “redemption” that will lead to the legendary events depicted in The Empire Strikes Back. All the while, Princess Leia, Luke, and Wedge are on a mission to route out a spy. And Han goes crusin’ with Chewie in the Falcon!

This comic is BEAUTIFULLY illustrated. I’m very impressed with Carlos D’Anda’s artwork. His style is fluid and realistic. The images seem to come alive with each panel. He captures the likenesses of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamil, and Dennis Lawson perfectly. A Star Wars comic should have great art, and this is that book. Also, kudos needs to be given to the amazing colors, courtesy of Gabe Eltaeb. He must have used NASA photos taken by the Hubble for color reference. The colors are so vibrant, and yet real. Tying together this worthy combo of words and images is Brian Wood’s wonderful script. The best-selling author brings fresh and exciting ideas to a beloved franchise. He gives the characters emotional weight, while penning snappy dialogue. There’s a real sense of the dire straits that both Alliance and Empire are in. If the new Disney-produced movies are anything like this series, then we’re in for a real treat in 2015.

Anyone who knows me personally will know my connection to Star Wars. Fandom for The Force runs in my family. My late Uncle Boba was a massive fan and collector of this franchise. He would have been most pleased with this new series. I feel that fans old and new will love this comic. And I also feel that among a massive backlog of E.U. books, this is a much needed return to the three classic films that inspired it all. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, you owe it to yourself to read this issue. Buy, you must, this book. Read it, you will. It is the Star Wars you’ve been looking for!

Rating: I’m giving Dark Horse Comics Star Wars Issue #1

Five Spacemen out of Five!

And once more…BOBA FETT is on the cover of Issue Two!

Review Copyright Johnny X. 2013

Video of the Week
And now, enjoy the title sequence to a show that never was. Ironically, Tom Selleck was the original choice to play Indy.