Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Morning Glories: The Best Comic You Really Should Be Reading

Did you enjoy Lost? You probably did. How about Saved by the Bell? Yeah, I thought you did. The Harry Potter series? Of course you did; everyone in existence loved that one.

So what would you say if I told you there was a comic book series that was basically the kids of Saved by the Bell being plagued by mysteries and time travel and whatnot like the castaways in Lost while in a school that is sort of like Hogwarts, except, while at Hogwarts there was only one evil professor amongst all the good ones, at this school there is only one good teacher mixed up with all the evil ones?

Mind-boggling, isn't it?

That's basically the premise of the Image Comics series Morning Glories, written by Nick Spencer (whose work I really enjoy), with art by Joe Eisma and covers by Rodin Esquejo.

That's some seriously pretty art.

The series revolves around six new students who have been accepted to the prestigious, mysterious Morning Glories Academy... where they study things like math and literature, plus learn survival skills and experience torture at the hands of their professors Mister Gribbs and Miss Daramount, who work for a shadowy headmaster we have yet to see, who seems to have some seriously sinister goals. Also, they're pretty much never allowed to speak to their parents again. Plus, there's like a monster in the sub-levels... because, you know, all schools have sub-levels... decontamination areas you have to go through to enter the school grounds, time travel, teleportation, and whatever else is going on.

I say whatever else is going on, because one of the beauties of this book is that as much as I've loved every page of every issue so far, I still have no idea what is going on.

There isn't a whole lot I can tell you about what's happened so far in the comics because there's literally a twist and a reveal in every issue, and I have been kept guessing the entire time. What I can do is tell you just a little about the kids. There's the beautiful, brainy blonde Casey, who is sort of the leader of the group and the one most determined to get away from the school and/or destroy it, because... oops, can't tell you why. Spoilers! There's Zoe, the mean-girl cheerleader type, who barely likes any of the other kids and who has some seriously dark skeletons in her closet. Hunter is the comic book nerd who became a fanboy to hide from some harsh realities in his childhood, and who can't read clocks or hear their alarms for some reason. I kid you not. Spoiled rich kid Ike is pretty much hated by everyone else, which is fine with him since he couldn't care less. Jun, the serious Asian student, has so far been the most heroic of the kids in his actions... except for the fact that he knows much more about the Academy than the other kids, but isn't sharing what he knows. Lastly, there's the emo girl Jade, who... well, I honestly can't tell you anything at all about her without spoiling anything.

Click to enlarge. You know, for some seriously pretty art.

The interior art is fantastic, full of great facial expressions and action sequences. The writing of the series is such a high caliber that I've been drawn into every page, analyzing every word because it all means something. There have been times where, after reading the new issue, I had to go back and read the old ones because of the things I missed, or have had to look at in a new way. Morning Glories is like a giant jigsaw puzzle where each new piece makes you have to totally reexamine how all the rest of the pieces fit together, and, sixteen issues in, I still have absolutely no idea what kind of shape the puzzle is forming... and I love every minute of it.

If you enjoy comics and what something new to read, or don't enjoy comics but just want to read a great story as it unfolds, I strongly suggest you enroll in the Morning Glory Academy. You'll thank me for it... if you survive.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Mediocre Mid-Season Replacements

If you've been reading along since I started blogging with any sort of regularity again back in September, you might have noticed I watch a lot of TV, and blogged about it quite a bit during Fall Premiere season. I haven't blogged about the Winter Mid-Season Replacement premieres yet because I've been busy, but that doesn't mean I haven't been watching. So far there have been four-and-a-half new shows that I tried watching (half? how? I'll get to that later!), and I thought I'd share my opinions of them with y'all now, whether you like it or not.

Spoiler alert: 60% of them suck.

House of Lies
I know; it got renewed for a second season after, like, the second episode and everybody loves it. It's just me. Maybe I don't like Don Cheadle enough to watch it. Honestly, there's too much of him and not enough Kristen Bell for my liking... and can you blame me?

Neither do I, Kristen. Neither do I.

And all the freeze-frames to explain things about marketing or whatever just lost my interest completely. Sorry, Cheadle, it was fun when Zack Morris did it, but you ain't Preppie, Slater.

I love J.J. Abrams. I do. Lost, Alias, Cloverfield, Star Trek... he's one of my geek gods. Seriously. I'm prone to occasionally, for no reason at all, yelling "Bad Robot!" But other than Sam Neil doing his mysterious is-he-a-good-guy-or-a-bad-guy routine, everything about this show just bored me to death. I can see that routine on repeats of Happy Town... now that was a fun show, but I digress. If you're that interested in Alcatraz, just watch The Rock again and skip The Further Adventures of Hurley.

The River
This is the one I was the most excited about. I loved the premise... a TV crew and family members hunting for a missing TV adventurer who is also the husband and father to those family members, the whole show filmed through the lens of that TV crew... sounded so good. I should have realized the fact that it's by the Paranormal Activity guy meant anything interesting here would be ruined by an over-reliance of everything that sucks about the whole "found footage" genre. The camera shakes too much, crappy editing cuts for effect are horrible, and anything remotely scary or surprising is telegraphed by the fact that you know it's coming whenever the camera is looking at something the characters aren't. Not to mention how generic everything is; from the one-dimensional characters (angry son, desperate mother, greedy producer) to the unoriginal scares (a tree with dolls hanging from it... because we've never seen that before)... yeah, I'll pass.

The Firm
I hadn't expected to like this one at all. I enjoy shows about lawyers, although I'm picky about them, but hadn't really enjoyed the original movie version of The Firm, of which this is a continuation. Imagine my surprise, then, when I was hooked after one episode. The cases of the week are fun enough usually, but that isn't the hook. The hook is how Mitch McDeere (originally played by Tom Cruise, who is outshone in my opinion by the current portrayal by Josh Lucas)

Sorry, Tom. I know the truth hurts, but it had to be said.

once again finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy cooked up by a dirty law firm that places him and his family in mortal danger. Plus, the mob is after him due to the events of the movie. I'm really into it. Which, of course, is why NBC moved it from Thursday nights to Saturday nights and there are only two more episodes left...

And now here's the half I mentioned earlier. I watched the special premiere of this a few weeks ago and liked it enough to want to see another episode, but I can't say I'll stick with it past that. I enjoyed the way the numbers were connected and how they connected to people and events, but I feel like that might get to be too much of a stretch as it gets repeated weekly. Also, the show's sentimentality might annoy me after awhile. A father trying to connect with his son autistic son who doesn't speak while they both try to get over the loss of their wife/mother on 9/11? Ugh. But we'll see what happens.

So that's it. One, maybe two shows added to my slate so far. That's not a lot at all. Anybody agree or disagree with me on these shows, or have any other ones to suggest I try out? Let me know!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - The New "Worst. Movie. Ever."

Once upon a time, about ten years ago, actually, me and a few friends decided on a whim to see a movie that was out at the time called Ghost Ship.

Really, the "Sea Evil" pun should tell you all you need to know.

Have you ever been in a movie theater and there was a group of people there that did nothing but loudly mock the flick the entire time and it annoyed the crap out of you? I have to admit, during Ghost Ship, we were that group of people, with one difference: nobody was annoyed, because we weren't the only ones. This movie was honestly so bad that there was not one person in that theater who was taking it seriously. There was literally only one good part of the entire movie:

The only watchable 1 minute 40 seconds of a 91 minute movie right here, folks.

Ghost Ship quickly became known by us as the worst movie ever. Over the years there were some challengers, but with the exception of The Unborn in 2009, nothing ever came remotely close to unseating the champion.

Her ass on this poster was the best part about the movie, because
her ass in those panties wasn't even in the movie.

Yeah, a flick about such nonsense as unborn twins, and changing eye colors... at least I think that was what the movie was about, it honestly didn't make a lick of sense... and Gary Oldman as a rabbi (worst casting ever) wasn't bad enough to dethrone Ghost Ship from it's "lofty" perch. Ever since, the hierarchy of awful movies has been:

3) A tie between every SyFy original ever
2) The Unborn
1) Ghost Ship

After this weekend, though, I can announce that a new champion has finally overtaken the top spot, knocking everything else down a peg.

I don't know if I can find words for how bad Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is, but I'll give it a shot.

It's so bad it made my friend wish he was watching Nic Cage's recent craptastic movie, Season of the Witch. At least that had Ron Perlman. All this had was Idris Elba competing with Ciaran Hinds as to who could be the biggest, most annoying over-actor... like no one told them they had no chance of outdoing Cage in that regard.

It's so bad, I took my 3D glasses off multiple times because I honestly thought it might be more enjoyable blurry and out of focus. I was right.

It's so bad that it makes the first Ghost Rider flick look like The Godfather, Part II.

It's so bad that literally the only bright spot of the movie (other than when it was over) was Anthony Stewart Head showing up briefly.

It's so bad that a Ghost Rider CGI-ed onto Cage's stop-motion performance pissing fire and cackling about it was one of the least absurd parts of the whole affair.

It's so bad that I briefly thought about downloading Ghost Ship so I could watch it and feel better about the movie industry. Yes, it's so bad it makes Ghost Ship look positively endearing.

Hmm. I guess I could find words for how bad it is, after all.

Congratulations, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. You are the new "Worst. Movie. Ever."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Goodreads Book Review - Star Wars: Choices of One

Choices of One (Star Wars)Choices of One by Timothy Zahn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As much as I love the EU and the further stories told in it, seeing Luke strong enough in the force to move a Star Destroyer with the Force and whatnot, I can't help but love anything set in the "classic" era. There's so much to love about a Luke who doubts himself and barely knows what he's doing, or a Han who isn't sure he wants to be in the Rebellion at all. That being said, there's clearly a lot for me to love in this novel set between A New Hope and Empire, and while I did enjoy it, something about it felt flat to me, but I can't put my finger on it.

Maybe it's just that R2 and 3PO weren't in it...

View all my reviews