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Commentary Track for the August 18th Buy Pile

Posted in 104, blame society, buy pile, comics, comics reviews, creativity, effectiveness, entertainment, humor, narcissism, randomness, ranting, wakanda on August 19th, 2010 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

What? This week’s reviews

Super sleepy and a little cranky. Be warned. Also need to post the gang of blogs I have in half-assed states of development. Maybe tomorrow … let’s move on.

DELICIOUS: It’s a hard line to cross, talking about Layman and Guillory’s Chew, which is like a really good TV show that doesn’t penalize you for missing an episode or nine. This issue, however, introducing a new undercover agent and using Tony’s relationship with Amelia to drive plot points ahead without making her some kind of milksop loser. I liked the humor and the action here, and I’m interested in seeing where the Mason Savoy thing is going.

What’s crazy about this series is that it reminds me of a lot of “TV good” books (see my mobile site for definitions therein) that could get purchased if they just pushed a little harder. I especially remember Executive Assistant Iris as an example of that, which needed both brighter coloring and more compelling plotting. Chew’s problem is that sometimes it lags in its plot momentum and sometimes the character work takes a back seat to things being ridiculous. That’s not to say there can’t be great humor with character and plot development (please see Joe Kelly’s run on Deadpool and the Giffen/DeMatteis classic Justice League Antarctica) but it requires a certain manic focus that sometimes kicks in on Chew but mostly doesn’t. If this were a digital-only book at $1.50 per issue or so, I’d subscribe. Just saying …

WHAT UP WITH THAT? The rest of the buys are pretty de rigeur, and I turned the photo work over to CBR’s editorial staff (which explains why no captions on images, they’re super busy), so let’s look at what didn’t make it work.

Avengers Academy was doing great as an insular potboiler … so let’s take it out, jam in some guest stars and see what happens? Thunderbolts took the smarter tactic in the crossover, leaving the guest stars in the periphery and focusing on what needed to happen (John Walker and Luke Cage, handling business, with even Songbird making a good showing for herself), but even that just kind of spun the hamster wheel in terms of plot. Two titles that need to stay to themselves, I’d think.

On the contrary, Secret Avengers needs to “go hard in the paint,” ratcheting up the spycraft (see the original Red as well as Queen & Country) while putting the unique superhero spin on it. Maybe some episodes (not issues) of Alias (from the first two seasons) would help.

I’m sorry, but CBGB could learn a lot about tone and communicating its message from Phonogram, especially The Singles Club. Just saying.

Yes, I’m still super hot about that Wakanda madness and I will not let it go. “Shadow physics,” my entire ass.

The maudlin sentimentality of “Amazing Spider-Man” and “Justice Society of America” help show how not to do spandex-clad love. Yawn city.

I need to give up on the idea of an Early Forecast before midnight on Wednesdays. Sheesh.

Short commentary track because — again — I’m sleepy and cranky and actually way busier than I need to be. Suck it up, buttercup.

Playing (Music): “I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull

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Commentary Track for the August 11th Buy Pile

Posted in 104, bad ideas, blame society, buy pile, cheap publicity, comics, comics reviews, entertainment, randomness, review, writing on August 12th, 2010 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

What? This week’s reviews

First of all, let me start off by doing a bit of shameless self-promotion: as I blogged a couple of weeks ago, I will be reading poetry at The Power of Words 2010, part of The Power of Art, “an annual three days cultural celebration sponsored by Redondo Beach Art Group (RBAG) with the help of many other community groups.”

I’ll have $5 poetry CDs for sale which will be a revision of my 2002 bootleg from my appearance on KPFK-FM’s “Inspiration House” show. As an added treat, I have updated this with a newly produced and mixed recording of “Salsa Con Soul Food,” a piece focusing on the Arizona immigration law and many of its implications, which has never been available for sale before. The CD features a brand new cover created by Suuru Designs as well, and is a limited edition.

Enough about politics and poetry, let’s go with the comics!

IT JUST KEEPS CALLING ME: This week, TV Tropes almost ate my whole brain. I won’t say it will ruin my life nor that it will enhance my life, but my sixteen and twenty six hour gaming binges prove that I can get super stuck saying, “just one more level,” so I’ve delved and laughed and what have you. I didn’t discover the site this week, but I’ll surely note that this is when got it hooks in me, as this week’s reviews reveal. My bad. I’ll try to dial it back. Maybe. Or not. Hard to tell.

THE STAR ON MY CHEST AIN’T FROM HOLLYWOOD: If you’d have told me two years ago that I’d be jazzed to read about Steve Rogers, the Aryan-looking octagenarian ubermensch who literally cried into the flag once, asking if there was something he could hit, I’d have laughed at you like your name was Chris Tucker. What? I randomly laugh at people named Chris Tucker, what’s wrong with that?

Anyway, no lie, Ed Brubaker is hauling ass on this story, and his artistic partners are wonderfully used. Avoiding all the political trappings that could be tied up with the character, making him a simple super-powered espionage agent is more like the TV show The Unit in tone — crisp, providing bursts of violence, thoughtful and developing character in the slower moments. The “death” of Captain America may have been the best thing to happen to the franchise creatively in, heck, maybe ever (outside of the mechanics of it — “time bullet?” Dude, what the hell? That was dumb).

IRON AND COAL, CHROMIUM STEEL: Pick up the pace, Invincible Iron Man. Seriously.

LOOK UPON MY WORKS, YE MIGHTY: I’ve never seen Farscape. I’ve got only the vaguest idea what it’s all about, how Luxans and Peacekeepers and all that fit together … but I know that I like Scorpius. He’s a wicked piece of work, a wild mix of tricksters and warlords, working from disadvantage to advantage based solely on his wits and determination. In short, he reminds me of me … but paler … and in space … and in tight leather … well, maybe not so much like me. He’s a magnificent bastard along the lines of Grand Admiral Thrawn, Victor Von Doom and Keyser Soze. Fun, fun stuff.

Anyway, the twists and turns that brought him from a cave on a forgotten world (was it Ceti Alpha Five? I can’t say) to the brink of vengeance on his most hated foes … well, they’re compelling. I’m enjoying this series and I have zero idea about muppets or the original run or John Crichton or any of that. Which is, surprisingly, fine — this story is crafted (so far) to be self contained, which is another plus.

BWA-HA-HOO BOY: I want to like Justice League: Generation Lost. It’s an update with characters I like doing things I’m mostly interested in. But they talk a lot, and that talk’s only marginally funny, like a Bendis chatterbox session.

ANYTHING ELSE BEFORE YOU GO? I do love the art in that Sin City book.

My only wish for that Transformers book would have been for the character on the last page to have been shaded black, not blue. I can’t spoil it, but fans would know what answer I Seek. Still, thats an interesting idea, more than vehicle mode ‘bots fighting the Combaticons, who even the Predacons would think twice about messing with.

How did we go from the wonders of World War Hulk to hugging it out now? Sorry, but … spirit, how weepy.

Speaking of “stop it,” the vampires thing? Here’s a short story about that: no.

THAT’S THE NEWS AND I AM OUTTA HERE: I’m keeping the mobile site updated more than this, and most of its visitors are desktop users. Weird.

Gotta run, play nice, kids.

Playing (Music): “Live Fast, Die Young” by Rick Ross feat. Kanye West

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