Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Panel of the Week: 7/22/15

I can't even lie, this week's winner was chosen (late, I admit) out of pure fanboy nostalgia. It comes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #17, written by Christos Gage (who I have long been a fan of) with the art done by the very talented Rebekah Isaacs, whose art is just gorgeous.

It's the first time in a long time that Buffy, Angel, and Spike are all together in a very long time. What I love most about it, aside from the aforementioned nostalgia, is the detail Isaacs puts into their faces. She really does capture the essence of all the characters, including Willow to a lesser extent in the background. My choice might be further biased by the fact that I met Isaacs at the Special Edition Comic-Con in Manhattan last year, where she signed a really beautiful print for me:

Looks like some things never change; Buffy really will always win with me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - Storm Riders

Storm Riders (Dragon Brigade, #2)Storm Riders by Margaret Weis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's been about four years since I read the first part of this trilogy, so I didn't remember much of it. I went back and read my review of that book and saw I didn't like it, so I was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed this one a lot more. My lack of memory wasn't a problem as everything is recapped well. And while there is a decent amount of exposition, it isn't as repetitive as before and there is more action spread out. The political intrigue is a lot of fun as well, as alliances form, shift, and break apart only to reform in different combinations. Some of the plot is predictable and it's a little frustrating to watch the characters flail around in the dark for answers that seem obvious but I suppose that's the nature of omnipotent narration; it just feels more prevalent here. But the main thing is I enjoyed the book enough to want to pick up the final part of the trilogy as soon as I finished reading this one.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Panel of the Week: 7/15/15

Most comic book fans are familiar with the publishing company Zenescope and their Grimm Fairy Tales series, a series known for it's... well, let's say buoyant female stars. But the series gets a bad rap; yes, the woman are drawn with an amount of sex appeal that doesn't just border on unrealistic absurdity but blows past that border doing 95mph, but the stories can actually be really good, and GFT exemplifies that. It started as an issue-to-issue retelling of different fairy tales and soon grew into its own universe with its own mythology. One of the biggest parts of that was the Wonderland series, a series that spawned multiple sequels and eventually its own ongoing. So it's only fitting that, as Zenescope releases a series of one-shots commemorating their 10th anniversary, that one of those books be Alice in Wonderland (this issue written by Donald Joh, art by Gregbo Watson), which is where this week's winner comes from:

The central conceit of the Wonderland series is that Wonderland is a land of madness that lives to infect our world, and only sacrifices of people like Alice Liddle and her family keep it at bay. In this story, we flashback to a young Alice and a troubled young boy named J.W. who finds his way to Wonderland periodically, coming back again and again because Alice is his only friend. Meanwhile, his life becomes more and more twisted. When he finds that Alice has escaped from Wonderland herself and doesn't remember any of it, he turns into a deranged serial killer. The whole time reading it, I was waiting for the sucker punch I knew was coming, as they always are in a Wonderland one-shot (the ongoing has become a bit more ridiculous than anything else). The sucker punch comes on the last page with the realization that Alice's friend J.W. was a young John Wayne Gacy. Is it silly? Maybe. But it's also a great way to tie the madness of Wonderland to the real world in a concrete fashion. Besides, it's a beautiful page of art. The sadness on the waifish Alice's face as she looks into a mirror, mirrors being gateways to Wonderland, and sees a sheepish, sad vision of her former friend as the readers learn the truth. Plus, it helps that Alice in this image is probably the most realistic a woman in a Zenescope comic ever looks...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh

William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #2)William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh by Ian Doescher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one was definitely an improvement over the last one (yeah, I know, that's probably due to TPM being completely unsalvageable in any form), but I still think this series would have been better off being left as a one-off novelty book with A New Hope. That being said, Star Wars being spun as Shakespeare is an enjoyable concept, and it actually does make the painful "love story" between Anakin and Padme in AotC better. And there's the fun bonus of picking out which Sam L. Jackson movie is being referenced in each of Mace Windu's lines. Still, I'm looking forward to the Revenge of the Sith installment coming out so it can be over, as these are the only Star Wars books I still buy. In short, it's a fun book, but nothing memorable as the joy of the conceit has worn off.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Panel of the Week: 7/8/15

Yeah, the Walking Dead wins again. This week's winner comes from #144, which was easily the bloodiest issue with the highest death count... and most shocking... since the 100th issue. Something like a dozen characters were killed off, most of them minor, but two of them fairly major (including someone who is still alive on the show). The panel of the week goes to the big reveal of the 12th and final death:

Striking image, isn't it? Poor King Ezekiel. At least now he'll be reunited with Shiva. How pissed off bloody vengeance murder rampagey do you reckon Michonne will be after this?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - The Walking Dead: Descent

The Walking Dead: DescentThe Walking Dead: Descent by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The fifth book in this series, this is the first to be credited as written solely by Jay Bonansinga without Robert Kirkman co-writing (he's listed only as "created by"); sadly, the difference in quality without Kirkman is glaring. Don't get me wrong, all the zombie violence you'd expect from a Walking Dead novel is there, as well as the usual living-on-living violence as well. The problem sets in when you look at the characters themselves. They lack the emotional depth and character growth Kirkman is so good at. Character arcs come and go, people switch sides, all in a blur without any real explanation. Plenty of things in the plot happen too conveniently, as well, like a character suddenly being claustrophobic when in at least two prior books it had never been mentioned. Don't get me wrong, it's still an entertaining enough zombie tale, but it lacks that Kirkman spark. There's another book coming out in October, apparently. I'll need to give some real thought as to whether or not I'm still interested between now and then.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - First Lord's Fury

First Lord's Fury (Codex Alera, #6)First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's amazing how much I came to enjoy this series and thrill at the events of this final installment given how underwhelmed I was by the first nook in the series. I suppose it's a testament to both Butcher's growth as a writer between point A and point B and his ability to grow a world and characters into people and things readers care about and are fully vested in. The only complaint I have about this book, because I surely have none about the action or characters, is that the plot didn't unfold the way I wanted it to; that's a selfish criticism, however, and has no bearing on the talent and skill with which the book was written. I went from unsure I wanted to continue with the series after reading the first one to wishing there was more to come after reading this one. If that doesn't say something about the writer and his work, I don't know what will.

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Panel of the Week: 7/1/15

Happy Day After 4th of July to everybody out there. Or, y'know, Happy Sunday. Whatever. As long as it's not Monday, right? Anyway, time for this week's installment of what I think was the best panel I saw in all the comics I read from this past Wednesday. Or as I like to call it, something almost none of you out there care about. Which is a shame, because this week's panel is actually meaningful.

Enlarge it for the full effect.

The above panel (which was a full page) comes from Years of Future Past #2, from Marvel Comics. It's part of the alternate reality Secret Wars event, which is how an aged Colossus can be talking to his and Kitty Pryde's daughter while Wolverine's son listens in the background. It was drawn by Mike Norton, who did a stellar job on the facial expressions. Marguerite Bennett is the issue's writer, and she's the reason this panel wins. She hearkens back to what X-Men, at its core, is all about; what it should be about and what it has wandered from for a long time: the fear mutants face is a metaphor for what anyone different faces in the real world. It's one of the things that has always drawn me to X-Men, and to see it revisited is a beautiful change from what has been going on in the X-Men books for the last decade or so. Plus, putting all that aside, just read the message in the words. It's a message worth listening to.

Friday, July 3, 2015

"Ted 2" Review - Written by Jim Herling

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Panel of the Week: 6/24/15

Incredibly lazy post this week because I'm tired and, above all, starving. So without further ado, this week's winner comes from The Walking Dead #143 (it's the third time a panel from TWD has won; it's written and drawn by the same people as the last two times, look it up if you want to know their names). Okay, there's a little more ado because the panel is a huge spoiler for anyone who watches the show but doesn't read the comic, so first, a zombified spoiler alert:

Look away now if you don't want to be spoiled. If the show ever goes this route, that is; who knows? Anyway, here we go.

Anyone want to take a stab at guessing who Carl the One-Eyes Wonder said that to? Yeah, he said it to Rick. Way to be a dick, Carl. I really hope they shoot his eye out on television...