Archive for DC Comics

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Nobody by Jeff Lemire (2009)

Posted in comic books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 7, 2015 by Paxton

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The Nobody is the first graphic novel for Jeff Lemire. It was published by Vertigo in 2009.

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The whole comic is sort of a re-imagining of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man novel. The setting is changed from the English countryside to a small town in what I presume is the New England area of America.  We have this drifter named Griffen, covered in bandages and wearing goggles, mosey into the tiny fishing town of Large Mouth and by just being there he causes a stir.

People speculate about why he has bandages and he generally becomes the gossip around town.  Griffen winds up befriending the town sheriff’s daughter, Vickie.  They strike up a platonic friendship that sort of grounds the book.  Soon, a few strange occurrences happen around town and all of a sudden everyone wants to blame the weird bandaged drifter.  Queue town mob and frantic search for the truth.

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I’m a fan of Jeff Lemire, especially as a writer. He’s written a lot for DC including being heavily involved in the New 52 including the titles Superboy, Justice League Dark and Animal Man. He has a quirky, dark style that I kind of enjoy so when I discovered that he had written a re-telling of The Invisible Man for Vertigo, I had to check it out. And to be honest, the only reason I found it was because I was doing The Invisible Man for AWESOME-tober-fest. So, thank you for the billionth time AWESOME-tober-fest.

The story is quirky but endearing.  It’s slow moving but fun.  It’s light until the very end when it gets a bit dark with a great “sort of” twist ending.  The artwork perfectly reflects the tone of the story.  Stark blacks and whites, tons of shadows with accents in blue and simple yet oddly complex drawings and page layouts.  This whole comic is quirky and odd but in a perfect way.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it’s fun to see the slight parallels to the source novel, but make no mistake, it certainly goes it’s own way in a pretty cool story that I’m glad I discovered for this Halloween.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Batman vs the Invisible Man (2009)

Posted in Batman, comic books, monsters, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2015 by Paxton

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You may remember a few years ago when I did vampires for AWESOME-tober-fest 2011 that I covered a Batman vs Dracula comic by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones called Red Rain.  Well, 18 years later, Moench and Jones reunited to pit Batman against another monster.  The Invisible Man.

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Batman Unseen was released in 2009 as a 5 issue mini-series.  It seems very appropriate they got Moench and Jones to do this particular story.  Especially Jones.  I’m not a huge fan of Jones’ particular style when it comes to normal Batman stories.  He’s all odd angles, deep shadows, giant cowl ears and ridiculous f**king capes that’s more weird than it is enjoyable.  However, that style works perfectly in these off-kilter Elseworlds tales that mix Batman with the supernatural (vampires, ghosts, invisible men, etc).

The gist of the story is that The Black Mask has hired a scientist who has been fired and disgraced from his previous job to work for him.  His task?  Continue work on an invisibility serum and get it to work.  The story follows the scientist as he works on the serum and uses himself as the guinea pig.  The serum starts to work but it also drives the man insane as he constantly has to administer an overdose of the chemicals to keep the effect working for longer periods of time.

Batman Unseen - Invisible Man

I really like how the creators have the scientist working on making each body layer invisible a bit at a time.  First he makes his skin invisible, then his musculature, then his skeleton, then his organs, etc, etc.  As the serum’s effectiveness (and the scientist’s insanity) progresses, he begins taking advantage of his invisibility by getting revenge on people he believes has wronged him.  Batman follows the trail of dead bodies and the eye witnesses who say they only saw floating gloves or knives.  Can Batman get to the scientist in time?

The story is very good.  It’s also fairly violent.  Batman takes a beating from the invisible scientist.  Hardcore.  Plus there are several graphic murders.  All perfectly in tone with the story Moench (and Jones) is trying to tell.  Moench also does a great job of deftly working in layers of story elements.  Besides the scientist’s revenge plot, there’s a subplot about Batman losing his intimidation factor among the criminals in Gotham.  It seems they’ve become used to Batman being around and they aren’t scared of him anymore.  Batman is worried about this and tries to think of ways to fix it.  It drives some of Batman’s motivations at the end of the comic.  Very fun and atmospheric read.

Like I said, the art works perfectly for the story they are trying to tell.  But damn, Kelly Jones likes his cape porn.  I thought McFarlane loved to draw capes, but Jones may have him beat.  Some of the panels in this comic have some of the most ridiculous Batman capes that have ever been drawn.

Batman Unseen - Cape Porn

How would Batman get around with a cape like that? It’s absurd.  And that’s just one example.  Jones also likes to draw giant shish-kebob ears on the cowl.  Like I said, not really my favorite but honestly, it mostly works in this book because of the subject matter and tone.

I would recommend this book, especially if you enjoyed Moench/Jones’ previous Batman and Dracula team up.  It’s a cool, weird little story.  But lots of fun.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: DC’s Blackest Night mini-series (2009)

Posted in comic books, monsters, Superman, The Flash, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by Paxton

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Summer of 2009 began the DC event, Blackest Night.  At the conclusion of the Sinestro Corps War, DC teased the coming of the Blackest Night prophecy.  The Guardians of the Universe told of the coming of 5 new Lantern Corps, each backed by a different color of the emotional spectrum.  This fracturing would lead to a war of light, the coming of the Black Lanterns, the dead rising and the eventual destruction of the universe.

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The Blackest Night mini-series was eight issues long and first appeared in June 2009.  The story starts with Black Hand walking amongst the tombstones of a cemetery. He grabs Bruce Wayne’s skull and carries it with him (this was obviously during the time just after Bruce Wayne’s fate is revealed in Final Crisis).  Black Hand keeps talking about a coming war and retribution.  And the coming of “him” (who we’ll discover later).

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We see black rings invade the Lantern crypt on Oa and start reviving all of the formerly deceased lanterns.  These “zombie” lanterns become the beginning of the Black Lantern Corps.

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Superman Week 2013: Favorite Scene Friday on To the Escape Hatch blog

Posted in comic books, movies, nostalgia, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , on June 21, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week

For Superman Week, Robert over at To the Escape Hatch asked me to write another Favorite Scene Friday. This time, themed, obviously, for Superman. If you remember, I’d previously written a Favorite Scene Friday involving Young Guns.

So for this week’s Fav Scene, I talk a lot about the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.  And specifically about Lex Luthor as played by Gene Hackman.

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(Via Criminal Movies)

Head over to To the Escape Hatch to read all about it.

There’s a very slight possibility that I may get to see Man of Steel this weekend.  If that happens I’ll post a review of it next week mainly because I know there are precious few reviews of that movie out on the ‘net right now.  So, let’s hope that happens.

Superman Week 2013: BB Hiller’s Superman IV novelization (1987)

Posted in books, comic books, movies, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week

So the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, made it’s theatrical debut on Friday.  To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to do another Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

Continuing Superman Week 2013 with another look at one of the Superman novelizations.  Here’s a review of the Superman IV movie novelization from 1987.  And yes, I’m pretty sure I hate this weird cover.

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The book is written by B.B. Hiller who is a veteran of movie novelizations. This guy has penned novelizations for Little Monsters (the one with Howie Mandell and Fred Savage), Ghostbusters II, Big, ALL of the 90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies and ALL of the Karate Kid movies.  So this guy has been around…so to speak.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at these things, Hiller didn’t adapt any of the other Superman movies.  Only this one.  The last one.  And, ostensibly, the worst one. However, to be perfectly honest, I’m a fan of this last Superman movie.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely f**king terrible but I love it anyway.  And I wanted to see if the book makes an attempt at explaining ANY of the crazy ass insanity that goes down in the movie.  A quick check of the page count (144) tells me that, no, this probably won’t explain a g**damn thing.  But I decided to try it anyway.

The verdict?  It’s actually not that bad.  Somehow, the ridiculous story on the page comes across better than it does on the big screen.  However, there are several added scenes and subplots that help explain some of the ridiculousness.  Just so you know, about 45 minutes of footage was removed from Superman IV including an entire subplot about a first failed attempt by Lex to create a Nuclear Man.

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Superman Week 2013: William Kotzwinkle’s Superman III novelization (1983)

Posted in books, movies, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week
It’s Day 3 of Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

For Superman Week in 2006 (“celebrating” Superman Returns), I reviewed all of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. So, for the release of this new Superman movie, I thought I’d go back and read the novelizations to two of those same movies. There weren’t novelizations of the first two Reeve Superman movies most likely due to a clause in screenwriter Mario Puzo’s contract that forbade anyone other than him from writing the novelizations. But for whatever reason, Puzo never got around to writing the books.  So Warner Books only released novelizations for the second two movies.  I looked forward to reading these novelizations because I love the two Superman sequels in a retarded sort of way and I wanted to see if there was any more awesomely insane weirdness in the books.

So, today, let’s take a look at the novelization to Superman III.

Written by William Kotzwinkle, the guy who also wrote the ET novelization.  The overall structure of the movie story is intact in the novelization.  The biggest difference with the book is that Kotzwinkle adds a sh*t ton of internal dialogue by nearly every character, but mostly Superman/Clark and Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor).  Many of the internal monologues are weird and in the case of Superman/Clark, completely against character.  A lot of Clark’s internalized conversations are him saying how he could fly someone he doesn’t like to the moon and leave them there.  You know, stuff like, “If only you knew I was Superman…” or “If I could, I would <fill in the blank with some super powered vengeance>”.  I’m fairly certain these are supposed to setup the evil Superman later in the book, but I wasn’t buying it.  It was against everything you think about Clark and Superman.

And as for Gus Gorman.  Ugh.  I didn’t really like Pryor’s character in the movie.  Pryor did good with what he was given, but the character was dumb.  This guy who can’t hold a steady job discovers that he’s some idiot savant when it comes to “computers”.  What?  And it’s even worse in the book.  It’s made more clear in the novel that Gus literally has no idea what he’s doing or how he’s doing it.  It’s like all of his computer skills are some sort of super power he can only barely control.  Pryor makes the character somewhat likeable, but you don’t have that luxury in the novel.  And it’s painfully clear that Pryor ad-libbed many of his lines in the movie because in the book, the dialogue for Gus might be some of the worst written crap I’ve ever read.  Filled with weird late 70s-early 80s colloquialisms that make no sense.  Pryor must have agreed because in the movie, he gets the same information across but in a better way.

As for the villains, the characters of Ross and Vera Webster and Lorelei aren’t much better in this novel than they were in the movie.  Their back stories are fleshed out a little.  We get that Vera is fiercely protective of her brother and craves his approval in everything she does.  There are even a few flashbacks to their childhood.  Lorelei, is still mostly one dimensional.  A poor man’s Miss Tessmacher.  She’s pretty and the book expands a bit more on the fact that Lorelei is actually smarter than everyone thinks she is.  But it’s honestly to no further end.

Unfortunately, there’s no extra story to the evil Superman stuff.  I was hoping we’d get more scenes, but we really don’t.  Although, the book does say that Superman’s suit turns fully black and his eyes glow green.  THAT is pretty awesome and I wish the movie would have taken it the whole way.

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I’m Superman. BITCHES.

The book’s climax is essentially the same.  Not really much to add.  No further explanation about how Gus came up with the Super Computer idea.  It’s essentially taken from drawings on napkins to fully realized in the cave.  Who developed the AI software the computer runs on?  Gus?  He acts like he’d never seen the computer before when he walks into the cave after riding the donkey down the mountain.  Don’t you think he would have supervised the entire construction?  When the computer shoots the “correct” Kryptonite ray at Supes, how does the computer synthesize the .052% of unknown in the chemical makeup?  It’s UNKNOWN to humans.  Stuff like this needed a better explanation.

I was very disappointed with this book.  I love movie novelizations and it’s rare that I don’t actually enjoy one.  Especially if I like the movie.  I didn’t like this and I can’t recommend it.

If you want a peak into the Superman III movie that could have been, take a glance at this unused Ilya Salkind story treatment.  Prepare for appearances by Supergirl, Brainiac and Mr Mxzyptlk.  It’s weird, but I think it could have been spectacular.

Superman Week 2013: Nerd Lunch Episode 90: Superman retrospective

Posted in comic books, movies, podcast, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , on June 18, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week

Welcome to Episode 90 of the Nerd Lunch Podcast.  Since this week is Superman Week, CT and I recruit Michael May and Thom Holbrook to take the place of a missing Jeeg and join us for a lively discussion about Superman during his 75th anniversary.

Superman 75 years

We talk about our first exposure to the Man of Steel, we talk about our favorite incarnations and we even cast a dream list of Superman actors. So leap iTunes in a single bound and join us for the discussion.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.