April 1, 2013

A brief media foray

I've been reading a lot of comics lately, but most of them haven't been worth the paper they're printed on. I'll skip those and just go to the good ones...

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man - vol 3 - Bendis continues to knock this series out of the park with this third collection.

Mile Morales, who took over the mantle of Spider-Man after the death of Peter Parker, grows further into the role of hero here as he stands up to his uncle, the Prowler; meets with and gets approval (and some key technology) from Gwen Stacey, Aunt May, and even Mary Jane; heads straight to Captain America asking to join the Ultimates; and eventually becomes a national hero for saving the president's life.

I'll admit that I don't have a clue what the heck is up with the cross-over that drives the late action in this volume - something about the United States being at war (here and here) - but it gives Spider-Man a chance to raise his profile and move toward becoming the center of the Ultimate universe, something that a proper Spider-Man should be.

And this one is nothing if not a proper Spider-Man. Get on board and start reading this one, folks.

Fables - vol 18 - Cubs in Toyland - It's rare that a comic book brings me to tears, but this is one of them.

The prophecy about Snow and Bigby's Cubs...
  • The first child will be a king. (Winter)
  • The second child a pauper.
  • The third will do an evil thing. (Therese)
  • The fourth will die to stop her. (Darien)
  • The fifth will be a hero bold.
  • The sixth will judge the rest.
  • The seventh lives to ages old, and is by heaven blessed
...is coming true and is the exclusive focus of this volume an Therese and Darian's fate comes to pass...tragically for each.

In the entire volume, no more than a few pages are spent in the Mundy/Fable world dealing with the fallout from the confrontation with Mr Dark and the Fables' move into his castle - populated by the vindictive and plotting Nurse Sprat and her new beau. The entirety of the volume tells the tale of how Darian and Therese come to their fates on the distant shores of Discardia.

This one's probably not one to jump into if you've not been reading all along, but it's a marvelous story that is worth reading all the volumes to get to.

Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe - Right there on the cover it says, plain as day, "Not For Kids!".

It's definitely not for kids as Deadpool butchers, tortures, slaughters, and brutalizes just about every superhero or villain in the Marvel universe. It sounds like it would be a very one-note, repetitive story, but it turns out to actually be pretty interesting with Deadpool finding rather creative ways to destroy even the most eternal of the heroes (Hulk, Wolverine, Taskmaster).

I was pleasantly surprised that this was a good read, but it was.

The Beaver - I'm a fairly shallow person, and I'll have to admit it right up front that the thing that drew me to this movie was the strong graphic design of the poster there to the right, the same as the cover of the DVD.

The back cover of the DVD had a couple of quotes about the movie being a great comedy, and that is seriously misguided. The film - in which a depressed Mel Gibson finds himself only able to communicate with the world via a beaver hand puppet - is an impressive exploration of a man on the edge of suicide who is just barely able to keep things together but only by taking an entirely left turn that initially freaks out everyone in his world but that actually turns out to be remarkably productive - particularly as the Beaver takes over as the CEO of Gibson's toy company.

The story of Anton Yelchin as Gibson's son who is terrified that he is going to turn out like his father, and his would-be girlfriend played by Jennifer Lawrence is every bit as engaging, particularly Yelchin takes some rather dramatic steps to draw Lawrence out from her reluctance.

The film is far from the laugh riot that the box promised, but it's a film well worth seeing.

50-50 - This one, on the other hand, is a bit surprising in that is is far more funny than I expected as it's the story of a man - played by Joseph Gordon Levitt - who is told that he has a fifty-fifty chance of survival after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Admittedly, Seth Rogan is his usual crass self, something I entirely blame him for as he is one of the producers of the film, but Levitt is outstanding showing a great balance of the humor and pathos that would be alternating throughout his treatment. Plus it's got Anna Kendrick who's cute as a button. I wasn't necessarily thrilled with her subplot, but she's still cute as a button.

Pina - It's a movie about ballet. I'm sure it's nice and all, but it's a movie showing ballet - which just bores me to tears.

Flight - There's a bit of predictability in this one as it's the story of a man who is a recalcitrant drunk. He drinks and uses marijuana and cocaine before piloting the titular flight which crashes into a field outside Atlanta after some remarkably serious piloting from Denzel Washinton's character.

The predictable arc is that Washington needs help but refuses help. People in his life tell him he's a drunk and that he needs help, but he refuses the help. He gets away with things...barely. He promises to get clean, but he drinks. He refuses help.

And in the end, he comes clean and accepts the help that he's needed for years.

Just because it's a predictable story doesn't mean it's uninteresting, though. as Washington acts the part marvelously. He deserved all his accolades.

Wreck-It Ralph - It's cute. It's nothing spectacular or anything, but it's very cute, really, really cute.

Superman: The Black Ring - I saw the second volume of this collection at the library, so I grabbed both volumes 'cause it's been a while since I read the first.

Turns out that the first volume is far more interesting than the second. The creation by Lex Luthor of a robotic Lois Lane to challenge his intellectual ideas is far more interesting than the entirety of the second volume which culminates in a battle between Lex and Brainiac which mostly just involves the most boring trope of each combatant topping the other with 'but I knew you'd do that, so I had already..."

The two volumes are Lex Luthor's tour through the villains of the DC Universe - Gorilla Grodd, Brainiac, Vandal Savage, Deathstroke, and a few more - and looking at Lex's emotional failings as the only way for Superman to defeat Lex...or for Lex to defeat himself.

It all started out so promising...

No comments: