Monday, April 24, 2006

Today's Video

The Distillers - The Young Crazed Peeling

Music Video Codes by VideoCure.com

Last video: The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

Kung Fu Cinema

Pointing everyone's attention to a great database of martial arts movie reviews. The place is called Kung Fu Cinema and it even has up to date news.

Also includes a guide to wuxia, one of my favorite sub-genres.

My Current Movie Collection

Sorry for the lack of updates but my internet service was down on my two days off last week and work's been kinda busy.

The Retro Reviews will be returning soon.

In the meantime, I thought I'd take a moment to catalogue my movie collection just to break the silence here. Plus it'll keep me from buying multiple copies...

The Amazing Mr. X
The Amazing Transparent Man
The Ape
The Ape Man
The Arena
Assignment: Outer Space
The Astral Factor
Atom Age Vampire
The Atomic Brain
Attack of the Giant Leeches
Attack of the Monsters
The Bat
Batman: The Movie ('60s)
Battle of the Worlds
Beast of Yucca Flats
Black Dragons
Blood Tide
Bloodlust
Blue Beard
The Brain Machine
The Brain That Wouldn't Die
Bride of the Gorilla
The Bride with White Hair
Bruce Lee: The Man, the Myth
A Bucket of Blood
Carnival of Souls
Chamber of Horrors
Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV
Colossus and the Amazon Queen
The Corpse Vanishes
Cosmos: War of the Planets
Crash of the Moons
Creature from the Haunted Sea
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Dead Men Walk
Dementia 13
Destroy All Planets
The Devil Bat
Devil of the Desert vs. Son of Hercules
The Devil's Hand
Doomed to Die
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Dragon Gate Inn
Eegah
The Fatal Hour
First Spaceship on Venus
Fist of Fury
Flash Gordon and the Grain Machine
Flash Gordon and the Planet of Death
Flash Gordon: Deadline at Noon
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
Frozen Alive
The Galaxy Invader
Gamera the Invincible
The Giant Gilla Monster
The Giant of Marathon
The Gorilla
Hellblock 13
Hercules Against the Mongols
Hercules Against the Moonmen
Hercules and the Captive Women
Hercules and the Princess of Troy
Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon
Hercules Unchained
Horror Hotel
Horrors of Spider Island
The House on Haunted Hill
The Human Monster
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
I Bury the Living
The Incredible Petrified World
The Indestructable Man
Invisible Ghost
Jackie Brown
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
Kill Bill I
Kill Bill II
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
The Killer Shrews
Killers from Space
King of Kong Island
King of the Zombies
Laser Mission
The Last Man on Earth
Last Woman on Earth
The Little Shop of Horrors
Lost Jungle
The Mad Monster
Maniac
Menace from Outer Space
Merlin (tv mini-series)
Mesa of Lost Women
Metropolis
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet
The Monster Maker
The Monster Walks
The New Legend of Shaolin
Night of the Living Dead
Night Tide
Nightmare Castle
Ninja Wars
Nosferatu
The Odyssey (Animated)
One Body Too Many
Phantom from 10,000 Leagues
Phantom from Space
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom Planet
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Planet Outlaws
Prehistoric Women
Pulp Fiction
Queen of the Amazons
Rage of the Masters
The Real Bruce Lee
Resevoir Dogs
The Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms
Return of the Street Fighter
Revolt of the Zombies
Robot Monster
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
The Screaming Skull
She Gods of Shark Reef
Shogun's Ninja
A Shriek in the Night
Sister Street Fighter
The Snow Creature
Son of Hercules: The Land of Darkness
Spooky Encounters
Street Fighter
Swamp Women
Teenagers from Outer Space
The Terror
They Came from Beyond Space
Tormented
The Toxic Avenger
Unknown World
The Vampire Bat
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
Warning from Space
The Wasp Woman
Werewolf vs. Vampire Women
White Pongo
White Zombie
The Wild Women of Wongo
The World Gone Mad
Zontar, the Thing from Venus


And that's my collection so far.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A New Quiz Thingie

Couldn't resist...

Your Stripper Song Is

Master and Servant by Depeche Mode

"There�s a new game
We like to play you see
A game with added reality
You treat me like a dog
Get me down on my knees"

Yawn, dancing is so boring without a little spice.


Wonder what that says about me...

Netflix vs. Blockbuster Online

Well... I had to choose one or the other and after what I've deemed the "Netflix Nightmare", I've chosen Blockbuster.

For those who may remember, I signed up for both Netflix and Blockbuster on the same night.
A few days later I received my first discs from Blockbuster and nothing from Netflix. I waited and still nothing. Meanwhile, my Netflix queue kept saying "We expect to ship your movie (the next day)..."

After a week of this, I called customer support. Surprisingly, I wasn't even in their computer. The lady on the phone, however, was quite helpful and said that not only would she find out what the cause of the problem was but she also said that she'd extend my free trial for another ten days.

Smacky!

Unfortunately, the movies still didn't get sent.

Disgruntled, I decided to cancel.

Calling customer support again, I was told that I still(!) wasn't listed in their computer. During the course of the conversation, I discovered that Netflix authorizes your credit card for the monthly fee before they process your membership. Apparently, this is where the problem stemmed from as I use a Netspend card for all my credit card purchases.

For those not aware, Netspend is a debit card type thing, from Mastercard, that you put money on and use like you would a regular card. You put amounts of money in increments of $5 on it, with a charge of $2 each time. And it charges $1 for each transaction you use it for.

At the time of applying for membership, I only had $3 on my card. I don't put money on it until I'm about to use it.

Now, I had previously found that Netflix looked to have a couple seasons of The Avengers that Blockbuster didn't. I was mistaken. For some reason, just typing "avengers" in the search bar turns up only some of the sets. You have to type "avengers 67" or "avengers 68".

So, with my new knowledge of their search bar, I was happy to find all the sets available at Blockbuster.

This, coupled with my current frustrations, made me positive about cancelling.

But seeing that I wasn't in their computer, I couldn't cancel.

So I asked they guy on the phone if it was likely that it would keep trying because I didn't want to put the money on for Blockbuster and have it taken by Netflix, thereby messing up my Blockbuster account.

He advised me to change the card number on my account and I should have no problem. So when I got home from work that night I did just that.

Next day, I get an e-mail saying that my first dvd has shipped! It appears that the new card number (which is an older Netspend card from the same account) passed the authorization and accepted me as a member!

Once the discs arrived, I was already set on cancelling and sticking to Blockbuster, so I sent them right back and emptied my queue list to prevent it from happening again.

I even changed the card back to the one I'm using now (the one it didn't accept the first time). I'm just hoping that it won't intercept my Blockbuster payment.

Another thing that led me to choose Blockbuster (as if I needed another reason) was that I get a free rental each week at my local Blockbuster just for being a member. Which is really like having four movies at a time instead of three.

Meanwhile, I just received disc four of Avengers '65 and I have Spartacus lined up to break the sets up a bit before I dive into '66.

I also found out that there's a sequel to the excellent Merlin movie (mini-series) that starred Sam Neill. It's called Merlin's Apprentice. It's been added to my queue, as well.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sega Making a Comeback?

Sega's handheld, currently dubbed "Hedgehog":


Set to hit shelves in early 2007.

For more info, go here.

Heroes For Hire Preview

Here's the promo pic of the HEROES FOR HIRE cast which is flying around the 'net:


Left to right: Humbug, Misty Knight, Black Cat, the new Tarantula, Colleen Wing, and Shang Chi (Master of Kung Fu).
Also in the team but not pictured: Paladin, American Samurai, and Orka.

Take out Humbug and Orka and put in Luke Cage, Iron Fist and El Aguila and it'd be perfect!

I'm surprised they left out Cage and Fist since those two WERE the original Heroes for Hire team.

On the plus side, I was wondering if Shang-Ghi was going to be left out of all this '80s vigilante revival stuff.

Now we have a new MOON KNIGHT series, an upcoming SPIDER-WOMAN series, a WHITE TIGER mini-series and a new HEROES FOR HIRE. And of course, DAREDEVIL and PUNISHER are still going strong.

Great time to not be a mutant.

I just wish they'd put Cage and Fist in a book again. Besides AVENGERS. They honestly don't belong in AVENGERS.
Don't get me wrong. Bendis does a great job at street level storytelling.

However, the AVENGERS team seems like it was put together to cater to his skills. And he was only put onto it because of his name.

He would fit more with, say, THE CHAMPIONS (which I hear is also making a comeback).

EDIT: Justin Gray announced on their forum that the original mention of Sable was a typo and that the character is actually American Samurai.

Today's Video

The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

Music Video Codes by VideoCure.com

Last video: Rancid - Ruby Soho

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Retro Reviews

June 1982 - week 2


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #229
"Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut!"
Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: John Romita Jr. and Jim Mooney
Editor: Tom DeFalco

In this entertaining tale, Spider-Man meets Juggernaut for the first time as he tries to keep him from abducting Madame Web, a feeble old woman with psychic powers.

The entire issue pretty much chronicles Juggernaut's trek through New York in search of Web's abode, while Spider-Man scrambles to stop him. Or at least slow him down until he can get help.

Unfortunately, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men and even the good Doctor Strange are nowhere to be found and so Spidey must rely on his own abilities to thwart the foe.

This was a very solid story and it did well to display the overlapping of the Marvel Universe. There's even an iconic panel with Spider-Man swinging over backed-up traffic as New Yorkers lean out of their cars to see what's going on.

Most amusing was the frequent phone calls that Madame Web made to Spider-Man, regardless of where he was at the time.

Grade: B.


CAPTAIN AMERICA #270
"Someone Who Cares"
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Mike Zeck and John Beatty
Editor: Jim Salicrup

It wasn't hard to figure out what the theme of this issue was.

Cap and current love interest Bernie aren't seeing eye-to-eye on what love means. Mostly because he comes from a world long since passed while she in the reality of today.

Their relationship isn't going the way Cap envisions it should since he's not head over heels in love with her as he thinks he ought to be. He determines that her love for him is unfounded as they haven't been together for a long time.

Soon thereafter, both Cap and Bernie encounter what the power of caring does in the modern world.

Bernie through the eyes of a homeless woman who had given up on hope. Cap through those of a long forgotten childhood friend who seeks help to free his roommate.

There's a lot of haziness in the story to keep it accessable on both the young reader level and the adult level, as we all know from the allusions given what Cap's old friend, Arnie, has at stake with the abduction of his roommate.

After Cap witnesses the emotions of his old friend, he comes to terms with his naive conceptions and goes to Bernie for comfort.

One of the best stories of the week, despite the villain never being revealed or even dealt with.

Grade: B+


DOCTOR STRANGE #53
"Land of the Pharaohs"
Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin
Editor: Al Milgrom

This was another one of the best stories of the week and what made it so was Roger Stern's seamless integration of a classic FANTASTIC FOUR tale.

Time travel is always a touchy subject and it's hard to tell a good story revolving around the premise without goofing somewhere. However, here we get Doctor Strange travelling back thousands of years to the same exact spot and time that the Fantastic Four did during their encounter with Rama-Tut, who's yet another time-traveller from the far future.

So you have Rama-Tut from the future, Doctor Strange from the present and the Fantastic Four from the past (from before Strange met them, even) all converging in the same place and time. It should be a headache to orchaestrate. Stern proves to be very talented as he makes it work remarkably well.

Of course, that's just part of the fun as Doc is there searching for a previous incarnation of Morganna Blessing, a mystically aware person who's had a nasty experience which caused her to send a shockwave through all her past lives.

Things appear to be direly serious as even Nightmare, one of the Sorceror Supremes most dangerous enemies, is spurring him on. It's revealed that once the shockwave hits the dawn of time even he will be destroyed.

Roger Stern has truly proven that he is worthy of continuing Doctor Strange's adventures. He grasps both the cosmic and the humane and mixes them both into an engaging read.

Grade: A+


GHOST RIDER #69
"Personal Demons"
Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: Bob Budiansky and Dave Simons
Editor: Tom DeFalco

Unfortunately, as much as Stern impressed me with his DOCTOR STRANGE, I was pretty much uninterested in his GHOST RIDER.

From the opening scene where Ghost Rider bullies a motorcycle cop to the ending where he cleanses a town drunk, I simply got the feeling that Stern was just going through the motions.

There were some moments where I thought maybe I would be lured into it. Once with the appearance of Red Fowler, a man who was once upstaged by Johnny Blaze (the human persona of Ghost Rider) but now secretly harbors the knowledge of who Johnny is. And then again with the introduction of Cynthia Randolph, a reporter digging into Johnny's persoal life.

Nevertheless, the Evel Knievel antics through a maze that would seem more at home in the X-Men's Danger Room brought a pause to the rather trivial story about a man, his girl and his best friend.

Budiansky's art was nice as far as the character renditions go, but I felt that some pages had way too many panels which left you with smaller images. With more panels you'd expect faster action but instead there was much more dialogue which sometimes slowed it down.

Grade: C.


MICRONAUTS #42
"Knave, Thy Name is Nemesis!"
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gil Kane and Danny Bulanadi
Editor: Al Milgrom

We catch up with the Micronauts as they've found themselves trapped on earth trying to find a way back to Homeworld.

Each is having different reactions to their plight. Some brood over lost friends and lovers while others reflect upon what they still have.

Meanwhile, near where the team is stranded, Janet Van Dyne (the Avengers' Wasp) is holding a glamorous banquet which is crashed by an old enemy. Bug, sensing Wasp's troubles through an "insect" connection with her, leads his comrades to defend her.

The old enemy, Doctor Nemesis, had discovered Hank Pym's adamantium armor that he was going to use to make himself a more useful Avenger. This, coupled with Nemesis' ability to shrink things to nothingness, makes him almost unbeatable until a mishap turns the tables. And changes the team in the process.

Gil Kane's art in this issue was great to behold as he is one of the masters, in my opinion. Devil and Bug stood out as his best. And of course nude Wasp...

But please... That helmet looks silly on Arcturus!

Grade: B


MOON KNIGHT #20
"Cut Adrift Off the Coast of America"
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz and Steve Mitchell

And now we come to the last of the three best stories of the week.

Moon Knight is on a mission to keep a terrorist named Arsenal from destoying Manhatten through an elaborate scheme involving oil tankers.

In frightening detail, Moench establishes what the villain intends to do and how he plans to go about it. While it may seem a bit far-fetched, it also comes off quite feasible.

Through infiltration of Arsenal's base, Moon Knight and girlfriend Marlene manage to defeat the maniac and keep the city safe. All this and kung-fu chicks in bikinis!

This was one of the books that really seperates Moon Knight from other super-heroes. There's a grittiness to his world. A kind of harsh reality that he just seems to skate the edge of. Unlike other heroes of his kind he is more at home in the streets and on the same level as those that he helps.

Grade: A


THOR #320
"Blake's Managerie"
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Keith Pollard, Stone and Tartag
Editor: Jim Salicrup

One of my favorite topics is mythology. When I was in junior high I was more interested in the Greek Gods than I was in American History. So, it'd be no surprise that Thor would be one of my favorite characters, as well.

However, this issue finds Thor spending most of his time sort of babysitting a group of Asgardians who had been imprisoned on Earth and set free accidentally by his visit to a museum.

All would be well and good, except that each one requires a human host to manifest in physical form, of which one is Thor's friend, Shawna Lynde. This means that the humans or the Gods could exist but not both.

Before long, though, the Asgardians learn that their revelry on Midgard (Earth) is too intense for frail humans and agree to return to whence they came. Then they learn that someone else had a hand in their return...

It was a good read but a bit too heavy on the situational comedy. Plus, not enough Asgard for my tastes. Although, with the subplot brewing in the first few pages, we may be seeing something coming up pretty soon.

Grade: B

Next review stack:
AVENGERS #220
CONAN #135
INCREDIBLE HULK #272
MARVEL TALES #140
MIGHTY MARVEL CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #1
POWER MAN/IRON FIST #82
ROM #31
X-MEN #158


Previous Retro Reviews:
June 1982 - week 1

Heroes For Hire Returns

HEROES FOR HIRE, the series that started out as POWER MAN AND IRON FIST in the late '70s will be making a comeback.

Rumor has it that Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON, HAWKMAN) will be writing, while Billy Tucci (SHI) may well be the artist.

According to the CIVIL WAR checklist (see pic below), the first three issues of the ongoing series (which spins out of DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON) will tie into Marvel's big event.


More news as it develops.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Femme Noir Returns


Christopher Mills and Joe Staton's FEMME NOIR series returned this week with the first installment of "Blonde Justice".

The story (originally intended for print publication) will be presented in webcomic format, generally with a new page (strip) each week. It will run for twenty-eight weeks.

"Blonde Justice" also brings on board inker, Horacio Ottolini. Ottolini has previously worked with Staton on the Batman Elseworlds tale, "Citizen Wayne", as well as on several issues of SCOOBY DOO for DC Comics. His inking really brings Staton's work to a whole new level.

As for FEMME NOIR's future, Chris already has the next feature, "Killer in Steel", lined up after this one to ensure that the fun won't be stopping anytime soon.

If you're not familiar with the character, Thrilling Detective tells us that Femme Noir is "...a very private private eye working the mean streets and bloody alleys of a city where crime and corruption are the status quo and the nights seem to last forever. She takes on the cases that the cops can't or won't solve, and if the system fails -- which it does with an alarming regularity -- she exacts harsh, swift justice with a pair of pearl-handled automatics."

Check out FEMME NOIR each week (updated on Tuesdays) at Supernatural Crime.

All of the previous stories are still availble for viewing there, as well.

And if you happen to like what Chris is doing, hop over to the Atomic Pulp Forums and let him know!

White Tiger Preview

Marvel continues bringing back non-mutant vigilantes...

WHITE TIGER will be written by Tamora Pierce and drawn by Phil Briones. No release date, yet.

Go here for CBR's recent interview with Tamora Pierce, and here for Newsarama's.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Today's Video

Rancid - Ruby Soho

Music Video Codes by VideoCure.com

Last video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion

Eye Candy

Pascal Ferry










Click here for more Eye Candy!

Moon Knight Interview

Here's one of those rare finds...
It's current MOON KNIGHT writer, Charlie Huston, having a talk with Moon Knight creator, Doug Moench...
Read it here!

A Second Look at Identity Crisis

Now that INFINITE CRISIS is winding down and the DC Universe has jumped a year ahead, I thought I'd go back and re-read IDENTITY CRISIS.

Of course, it wasn't much of a re-read as I only read the first few issues when it originally came out. Being one of those Giffen/DeMatteis JLI fanboys, I was pretty quick to put the book down after reading Sue's death. Heh. Imagine how I felt after COUNTDOWN...

But now that I see that the story wasn't just for shock and that DC really did have a game plan, I went back and filled myself in on the whole story. Unfortunately, with a story as big as this one, all the key moments had already been spoiled for me. I already knew who all died and who the killer was.

In hindsight, Sue's murder was much better handled than I originally expected. I can see why they used her for a couple of key reasons. The first being JLI was DC's biggest hit in the late '80s and Sue was well known by the readers so you get the emotional connection. The second being that it's Sue, not some costumed character that would be brought back years later to preserve copyright, which means it can be a permanent death. IDENTITY CRISIS would be totally ruined if five years later Sue came back. It had to be someone that was likely to stay dead.

Captain Boomerang's son was a nice addition, even though he did seem a bit quick to accept his father's reappeance.

Jean Loring... About time they did something with her. While Sue was busy with the League, Lois and Vicki Vale were getting lots of coverage in Superman and Batman's worlds, Iris Allen had been killed and Hawkgirl and Black Canary were fighting in tights, Jean was just... there. No wonder she went crazy.

And the Calculater becoming the villain's Oracle was a great upgrade of the character. I think I can take him a little more seriously now.

As for the retcon of the JLA's mindwiping... That, too, was done quite well as it comes off very plausible under the circumstances. And who's to say that the villain's didn't get a good look at themselves when they were mind-switched?
It didn't void any previously told tales and yet... it strengthened some on-running subplots and character tensions (like Green Arrow and Hawkman's rivalry).

The only thing I was expecting but didn't see was Batman's leaving the JLA for the Outsiders somehow being referenced as partially influenced by the mindwipes. Especially with Katana and Black Lightning making a couple appearances in the book.

All in all, the series did really well as far as telling a complete and entertaining story. I reccomend at least checking it out to get a feel for how the DC Universe is now.

BTW... the art by Rags Morales is awesome. He did a fantastic job and at some times I got a Neal Adams vibe from his work.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Today's Video

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion

Music Video Codes by VideoCure.com

Last video: Juliette and the Licks - Speaking My Language

Space Filler

I was planning to post one music video each day but I've discovered that they all autoplay.
With the way my blog was set up to display posts from the last seven days on the front page, that would get a little messy and everyone would have a bit of trouble going through the whole page stopping six other videos to hear the new one.

So to remedy that (for now), I've limited the front page to the last five posts. This just means that I need to make four other entries before I add a new video.

If I can figure out how to stop the autoplay, we may be returning to the old format.

Up next... a video!

Moon Knight #1 Preview

MOON KNIGHT #1, by Charlie Huston and David Finch.
On sale April 5th.







From CBR.

Eye Candy

Tony Daniels










Click here for more Eye Candy!

Checkmate #1 Preview

CHECKMATE #1, by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz.
On sale April 12th.


From Newsarama.