If anyone's done this before (and it's not hard to believe someone has), I don't know about it. So, in the grand tradition of The Llama Song, I give you....

Note: the click-thru big version is 400x400 and over 4MB. So be warned.

Edit for derped HTML.

Double Edit for the video version. Sorry, no sung lyrics. You do not want to be subjected to my singing voice. It is a wretched, terrible thing.
sigma7: Sims (Sims)
( Jun. 8th, 2012 02:35 pm)
Been reading more and more about DC's insistence that not only did everything prior to 2011 not happen in their continuity, but that the '90s were a good thing and should be revived. It's like saying everything was horrible about the Renaissance except the plague: that was a keeper. They've been giving books to Rob Liefeld -- bit like handing your car keys to Gary Busey1 -- and seem surprised that they've been getting zero-star reviews. And zero issues are a thing again, which might serve some purpose as post-Flashpoint your characters have literally a dozen (at best) issues of definite continuity to them. And they're at the point they get to every ten to 12 years where they try to launch Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld again, and in this climate, there's no way that book lasts 12 issues -- I'm betting eight. Not sure who to give ultimate credit to, Bob Harras or Dan Didio: who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who edits him? Guh.

Oh, and Green Lantern is gay now. No, not Ryan Reynolds. Or any of them from the movie. Or the animated series. Or the other one from the animated series. Not even Crab-Faced Guy. It's Alan Scott, your great-grandpa's Green Lantern who isn't even on what they call Earth-1 anymore (he briefly called himself "Sentinel," but nobody cared). For a longtime fan, it's not...even a blip on the radar. (And, as Andrew Wheeler noted, this retroactively removes Alan Scott's gay son Obsidian from continuity, so the GLBT net is actually zero: conservation of gayness in action. Though we missed the Heathers reference possibility: "I love my gay retconned son!") It's a big deal because it's still a big deal; Marvel's approaching inclusiveness with a GLBT cast that can't be encapsulated in 140 characters with room for emoticons and hyperlinks. DC has Alan Scott, Batwoman (remember the media flurry surrounding that little revelation? Neither does anyone else; pity, as she's an excellent character), and, of course, Apollo and the Midnighter, who've had their marriage and relationship retconned into oblivion -- but some things are just inevitable. And there's Voodoo, but she's too boring to even hyperlink.

It's just amusing to me -- this is one of those social issues I don't really have a horse in, but God, but I reserve the right to be pissed off about lazy narratives and abysmal storytelling. It's not even really my fandom anymore -- haven't bought a proper DC book since All-Star Superman (still worth every penny), and don't see myself moving to change that under the current regime. I did watch Justice League: Doom, though, and I love how they managed to keep just enough of Tower of Babel to keep it recognizable, they did suck out plenty of character moments and the entire language-bit in lieu of explosions and punching. Voice cast was great. Otherwise tedious. Read the Tower of Babel Wikipedia entry for a better narrative experience.

In other news, downloaded the entirety of Red Dead Redemption and Mortal Kombat -- the former because I'd heard it was pretty nifty and the latter because, some days, I just need to beat something up and see bones break in slow-motion x-ray vision (Sniper Elite V2 has spoiled me). Red Dead is quite fun -- pretty much the first thing that happened to me when I got into the sandbox part of the world was to get bit by a rattlesnake. Double-fun: one of my cousins (the twin brother of one of my two favorites, in fact) was named Marston -- same as Red Dead's protagonist -- with the same first initial, "J." He also got bit by a rattlesnake. But then, that's almost a rite of passage around here.

And I finally got around to finishing Batman: Arkham Asylum (the game). Until I get to Arkham City, Asylum must simply be content the best Batman game ever, and it actually succeeded in freaking me out at one point. In short, I have too many games to play and there's not enough weekend to play them. ...Hrm. Surely this would qualify for sick leave, right?

Also, apropos of nothing: I would totally have this turtle tortoise's "yeah" as a ringtone.

1I swear to GOD that that was "Lindsay Lohan" before I changed it, deciding, "No, she hasn't been in any trouble lately, so we'll ease off her for now." Weird.
sigma7: Sims (Default)
( May. 30th, 2012 08:33 pm)
Got to see The Avengers in IMAX 3D. UNF. Worth it, worth it, worth it. The movie has purchase on my soul now.

I am sick, but two of my favorite teams are winning: Boston, and whoever's playing Miami, so, bonus. Orlando will be sitting the rest of this one out, sadly enough. Wah. Throat scratchy, sounding like Christian Bale Batman. Uncool So here's something cool to alleviate it.

59 pics below.... )
So after being struck senseless by the digital effects in The Avengers, I wondered which movie I'd seen with the worst effects...and you know, I didn't even have to finish the thought in my mind. Of course it's Birdemic: Shock and Terror (entire thing online here, but...really, why?). No Syfy movie rivals its raw awfulness -- not Sharktopus, not Ice Twister nor Alien Tornado, or even, I'm sure, the upcoming (and I am not joking) Piranhaconda. It also helps that Birdemic's acting is a raw wad of suck, too.

Feel free to disagree with me, but you are wrong.

Anyway. Plenty of Avengers- (and really Coulson-) related images below, still. No huge spoilers, though, I don't think (about as many as in the last installment).

51 pics below.... )
Didn't like The Avengers? Then maybe you should just lay down and sit this one out. Yes, you'll probably notice a bit of...repetition, you know, because Nyan Cat and owls aren't repetitive enough on their own.

One pic is somewhat spoilery for the film, but not a game-breaker, I don't think. Feel free to correct me. Consider this impetus to see it. You got sick days, use 'em.

42 pics below.... )
Remember back when they unveiled the dream-team cast of The Avengers, with Joss Whedon helming it, and visions of sugarplums danced in our heads? Well, hope you put up your stocking, because this cinematic Christmas right here. Unabashed recommendation. It is everything you would expect in a Joss Whedon Avengers movie. Would like to know how non-comics fans (or especially anyone who hasn't seen any of the preceding films) felt.

But then, half of you reading this have seen it already and the other half have seen it twice.

I think that's the third time I've heard an audience cheer in a movie theater (the other times being Return of the Jedi and T2: Judgment Day), but that's probably because there aren't many conditions worth braving crowds and prolonged tedium for. (Though everyone at the jam-packed theater, who stood in lines that completely filled the lobby to the point where you couldn't tell where the movie line(s) and concession lines separated, was perfectly well-behaved and even courteous. No cell-phone lights, no blathering; you could hear a pin drop during the Dark Knight Returns trailer. Brilliant.) This film needs to be soaked in again. Glorious.
sigma7: (Butcher)
( Oct. 25th, 2011 07:43 pm)
So one of my favorite recent comic book runs was Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's turn on Astonishing X-Men. It was quite the trip. You're not going to find many artists with the level of detail and depth Cassaday brings to the table, and Whedon's got a compelling passion for and awareness of the series and its legacy. They each have a downside or two -- some find Whedon's characters sound too similar, have disdain for a few particular plot twists he seems compelled to bring to every series he works on, and some of us could put our kids through college between Cassaday completing issues. But now that it's over and we're not clawing down the door to our LCS for the next issue, I think we can appreciate it all more.

Before Joss's 25 Astonishing issues, Grant Morrison (the delightful Scottish madman who gave us We3 and The Invisibles) took over New X-Men for a lengthy run, and while he saved most of his typical wide-eyed ideas for the last arc (set 150 years in the future), the duration of his run breathed new life into characters we'd given up on (Scott, Jean, even Emma Frost gets a new level of complexity and empathy) and added quite a few new wrinkles to the series mythology (Cassandra Nova, the Stepford Cuckoos, and the then-unthinkable Scott/Emma pairing) while subtly foreshadowing one hell of a revelation we all should've seen coming. Whedon doesn't quite serve so many screwballs with the established characters (except maybe Lockheed), and his few good fake-outs just aren't quite on the same level as Morrison's -- but they're not bad (except for maybe the identity of the second arc's antagonist, which is a conceit I still have trouble with), and he gives us Abigail Brand, for which I'll always be thankful.

The only reason I'm blathering about Whedon's Astonishing instead of Morrison's New X-Men is because the former has received the motion comic treatment. It's been tried before with other series (most notably Watchmen) and is not without virtue -- from what I could tell of watching the adaptation of Whedon's first arc, "Gifted," it seems verbatim (and panel-for-panel) from the comics, which is only occasionally jarring when referencing outside the history of this particular series (the state of Manhattan, Jean, the particular X-Man who appears suddenly in the fourth chapter). Otherwise understand that it's Joss Whedon dialogue, and if you're into that sort of thing, you should be quite happy. The first chapter's...uhm, not quite "animation," really, but its "movement," I guess, is pretty choppy (with no mouth movement whatsoever) -- later chapters have lip-synch and some interesting breathing-like effects on torsos that make it a bit more kinetic. The voice acting is...serviceable -- Emma's accent (or lack thereof) grates, but otherwise it's still better than Australian Wolverine or, for that matter, Halle Berry. And while "Gifted" is the first and only arc up at the moment, word is the three subsequent Whedon/Cassaday arcs, "Dangerous," "Torn," and "Unstoppable" are also getting the motion comic treatment, and I'm...curious as to how they'll turn out.

If you're just coming over from the movie timeline, well...things are a bit convoluted. Forget X-Men: The Last Stand (please). Scott and Jean married, but Scott drifted into having a psychic affair with Emma Frost (who is their contemporary and not a '60s-era character and trying to reform) -- before he could choose between Jean and Emma, Magneto turned Manhattan upside-down and killed Jean, only to be beheaded (yes, really) by Logan. Colossus (Kitty's boyfriend) died to stop a mutant-only virus from killing them all off. The Professor battled his genocidal long-lost twin sister (!) who he thought he strangled in the womb (!!) and has apparently absconded for parts unknown, leaving the school in the hands of Scott and Emma, who're now in a relationship. That's about all you need to know to delve into the motion comics, and really, as far as X-Men continuity goes, that's probably the best jumping-in point there will ever be. Yeesh.
Time was I would have killed to have this. Or, alternately, would've paid $180 for this.

Arguably the most eagerly awaited DC Universe multipack, this Legion of Super Heroes set features a dramatic dozen of your favorite characters in 6” scale. The set also includes a 24-carat gold plated Legion Flight Ring you can really wear, a PROTY slug sidekick figure, and an empty (or is it?) slot for Invisible Kid.

Brainiac 5
Chameleon Boy
Colossal Boy
Cosmic Boy
Karate Kid
Lighting Lad
Matter-Eater Lad
Saturn Girl
Superboy (with 24-carat gold plated Legion Flight Ring)
Timber Wolf
Ultra Boy

Of course there's a Superboy, because there just aren't enough action figure variations of Kal-El. And the ring doesn't look that impressive. Still, three out of my four favorites ain't bad. And Matter-Eater Lad! And Proty!
From my take on the series as a whole earlier this month: The book to this point is about a knife's-edge balance of opposing forces that's tipping into pandemonium (and looks to take that first fatal step in the very next issue).

So. My three-word review? Quite spoilery, I guess.... )
Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and The Female are The Boys: a CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most lethal force on Earth -- superpower. Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them -- sometimes -- need to be taken out of the picture. That's when you call in The Boys.

To get this right out of the way, let me contrast The Boys with Y: The Last Man in a very important regard -- I wholeheartedly recommend Y to anyone who enjoys a strong sci-fi story with engaging characters and intriguing concepts. The fact that Y just happens to be a comic book is incidental; even those not fans of illustrated narrative may well find themselves convinced of its virtues. But not only is The Boys inexorably tied to its medium, it's all about its medium, specifically superheroic comics. But it's not the sharp scalpel-like dissection and deconstruction that Alan Moore gave us with Watchmen -- it's a brutal, unforgiving dismemberment via chainsaw. You need to not only be acquainted with comic book history to get most of the references in The Boys, you also need to be willing to watch them get dragged through the mud until they can take no more. If you're still inordinately sentimental about comics (or, really, anything), this is not for you. Writer Garth Ennis said that this book would out-Preacher Preacher, and if that makes sense to you, maybe you'd enjoy it, but otherwise...mmm, keep on moving.

So why do I like it? A few big pics and truly disturbing ideas below.... )
The ever-awesome [livejournal.com profile] alasdair at his blog makes a bold statement:

Of late, the subject of DC’s reboot has come up in the sort of conversations I mention. And I think it’s worth saying this: DC’s new reboot, when viewed collectively, is one of the most creatively bankrupt pieces of shit the medium has ever put out, and if there is any justice in this world, it will be remembered as the moment that DC began the death spiral that ultimately lead to the collapse of the American comics industry.

Seriously: if you are buying any one of these fucking pieces of crap, just stop. If you’re telling yourself that one of the titles you’re buying is better than the rest, even if you’re right about that, just stop. Every single week, in addition to a load of titles that are just an undifferentiated mass of bland crap, DC manage pump out a couple of pieces of hideous crap that fall somewhere on a spectrum between “unfortunately sexist” and “outright misogyny”. From where I sit, if DC are managing to publish one or two titles that aren’t complete shit, I assure you, it’s a mistake that they’re bound to be rectifying soon.

Read excerpts from Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws online. Don't buy them. Flip through them. Those are just the two most egregious pieces from this week. There've been worse. There'll be worse still. There may be one or two titles in the lineup that are, by some statistical anomaly or the result of a pact with a chaos lord, good books. There are others which are merely mediocre and they stand out as the paragons of the line. The rest is four-color slurry, best left to sluice through the grates and into the sewers, never to be polybagged.

They had the whole of reality to retcon and start afresh and managed to distill each comic to its barest essence -- so they could foul the very soul of the title, insuring it would never bear edible fruit. It's a garden fertilized with mulch made in the 90s, sprouting with swords and spikes and impossible knees and pouches and capes...this is not a proper garden; nothing green can stay.

Alasdair is right: And even if I’m wrong about that, you know what: if a few good comics have to fail, just so this reboot can die on it’s arse, and ultimately put the shambling corpse of the comics industry out of it’s misery, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

Which reminds me, I do need to review one of the series Alasdair talks about above, one of the few still readable, and write a lengthy piece as to why you probably shouldn't read it. Maybe later.
Rediscovered an old favorite while looking for something to read during my recent misadventures. Consider this:

In the summer of 2002, a plague of unknown origin destroyed every last sperm, fetus, and fully developed mammal with a Y chromosome (with the apparent exception of one young man and his male pet).

This "gendercide" instantly exterminated 48% of the global population, or approximately 2.9 billion males. 495 of Fortune 500 CEOs are dead, as are 99% of the world's landowners. In the United States alone, more than 95% of all commercial pilots, truck drivers, and ship captains died... as did 92% of violent felons. Internationally, 99% of all mechanics, electricians, and construction workers are now deceased... though 51% of the planet's agricultural labor force is still alive....

The only thing better than the premise of Y: The Last Man is, somehow, the execution. Almost all of the clichés you'd expect in this scenario are addressed and most are almost instantly dismissed. The plot -- the titular character's quest to find his girlfriend on the other side of the world -- unfolds elegantly as a few kinks are thrown into the premise and as characters' motivations bloom and branch. And those characters are vivid -- there's a reason two of them made MightyGodKing's top 50 comic book characters of all time list (a brilliantly accurate list, I may add). It ran a surprisingly consistent run of 60 issues, and you can read the first one here (PDF). The narrative is interesting -- it goes pretty much where you think it's going, and yet it will still surprise you. Maybe the premise is inherently sci-fi, but it wears a frightening plausibility throughout, without straining the suspension of disbelief. Though a few plot turns may render you completely despondent.

I'm fighting the urge to pick up all the collections in one fell swoop -- that and the deluxe edition of We3, which I saw multiple times last week. Sigh.

Try the first issue and let me know what you think (or, if you've read the series, feel free to rebut my assertions as to its quality). If it catches your eye, try the first collection, "Unmanned," and see if you can stop then. I think you'll enjoy it.
From the Wikipedia entry on Roy Harper, aka Arsenal:

Afterward, Slade and his team arrive at South Pacific Island to kill cult leader Drago over the arena production of blind warriors; however, his team, Arsenal, and Cheshire betray him, revealing that they had been working with Drago.[13] While Shade is captive, but Drago refuses to allow Roy and Cheshire leaves his decision, which angered Roy and Cheshire to attack Drago, as fails that Drago is signal handle. When Roy is imprisoned with Shade and confided in Roy about his and Drago past.[14][clarification needed]

[clarification needed]

[clarification needed]
Bite-size edition today. Am ill in a picturesque way. As a special bonus, one of the pictures below is a picspam exclusive. No points for figuring out which, though. 37 pics below.... )
"What I hope is that people take from it the unlikelihood that a piece of paper, with little ink drawings of figures, with little written words, can make you cry, can make your heart soar, can make you scared, sad, or thrilled. How mental is that? That piece of paper is inert material, the corpse of some tree, pulped and poured, then given new meaning and new life when the real hours and real emotions that the writer and the artist, the colourist, the letter the editor translated onto the physical page, meet with the real hours and emotions of a reader, of all readers at once, across time, generations and distance."

I've never really liked Superman as a character. Always had a hard time relating to him, especially contrasted against...well, pretty much anyone, particularly Batman, probably his most common foil. Where Bruce Wayne's alter ego is a product of fantastic wealth, Olympic-level training, peerless deductive skills and deep-seeded childhood trauma, Kal-El is...just an alien, gifted by his inhuman biology to be almost invincible, unless you happen to have a specific green radioactive crystal lying around. He's an easy character to write poorly (as JMS proved pretty handily with his "Grounded" arc, the success of which would fit neatly on a microscope slide), but so damn hard to write in a manner that's true to his nature and still dramatically resonant. By my count, three relatively modern stories have done it well -- Alan Moore hit it twice with "For the Man Who Has Everything" (the animated adaption of which being possibly the only adaptation of his work Moore has ever enjoyed) and "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" which would've served as the perfect end of the Silver-Age Superman.

In the tone of the latter tale came Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman. Given that Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin gave us a laughably outrageous take on the Caped Crusader that the [ahem] iconic "I'm the goddamn Batman" bit is pretty much the only aspect of that series salvageable, that Frank Quitely's art is an acquired taste at best ("Oh God, it's the potato-faced people again"), and that Grant Morrison's approach to his subjects can be charitably described as "eccentric" (and not-so-charitably as "insane" or "deranged" or "utterly incomprehensible"), I was expecting the title to flicker into obscurity and be entirely avoidable.

It is the complete opposite. It is indispensable. No one who is the slightest fan of the character should be without it. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of the medium should at the very least read it, and if that leads to eventually buying a copy, I wouldn't be surprised.

When I'd heard that there would be an animated adaptation, I was...excited, if a mite worried. It didn't strike me as a good choice for adaptation, if only in that a lot of Quitely's art was powerful in its invocation of motion and continuity while being static images -- some of the majesty is lost in moving it from the printed page. And there's simply no way to compress twelve issues of concentrated awesome (well, okay, ten if you discount the Bizarro issues, but that's my personal preference) into a coherent DVD, and slavishly trying to do so gets you Watchmen, and let's not do that again, okay? I knew that Dwayne McDuffie -- who'd brought us the better moments of the DC animated universe -- was a talented storyteller, but he had a hell of a lot on his plate this time.

Like Watchmen and V for Vendetta, I had one must-have deal-breaker scene that had to be in the adaptation. Unlike those two, my scene didn't make it in this time (yes, it's Regan; what, was it too dark?), and that colored my impression of it greatly. Part of why the adaptation didn't gel for me as a whole is that necessary omission that ran against my personal grain -- lose the Bizarros, fine, I'm all aboard that, but why do we get the two pompous Kryptonians and we lose the Chronovore in Smallville? We miss the Jonathan Kent scene? Thank God the prison break bit stayed in, at least, or else I'd have been no end of pissed off. Adaptation decay's to be expected, I know, but I question the judgment of anyone who'd keep the Kryptonians -- or five additional minutes of punching, really -- and lose the most emotionally effective parts that made the original so brilliant. On whichever level those choices were made, I think they were made poorly, and the whole product suffers as a result.

Which is not to say I didn't like it -- the Sun-Eater, the aforementioned jail break, Ed Goddamned Asner, Alexis Denisof, Luthor's super-powered realizations -- I just didn't like it as much as I think I could have. The animation for Solaris in particular (and some of his fight scenes) was awful, the new Luthor/Quintum ending rang hollow, and I don't blame anyone for being disturbed by Jimmy Olsen's perplexing peripheral inclusion in this little endeavor. Maybe I'm just too close to the original work to be entirely objective -- if it leads more people to hunt down the original comics, it's a worthwhile endeavor, but I see this movie as a seriously flubbed opportunity, and that's kind of crushing.

"In the one Mythic moment we’re all united, kissing our Lover for the First time, the Last time the Only time, honouring our dear Dad under a blood red sky, against a darkening backdrop, with Mum telling us it’ll all be okay in the end. If we were able to capture even a hint of that place and share it with our readers, that would be good enough for me."
sigma7: Sims (dammit)
( Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:31 pm)
I was looking forward to watching Dwayne McDuffie's adaptation of Grant Morrison's simply exemplary All-Star Superman for video when it came out today. But now word reaches me that McDuffie died today.

He made his biggest splash primarily in animation, but his comic work would stand on its own impressively in its own right.

I'm just...damn. I don't know.
She gets ventricular arrhythmia right. Also she reminded me that I needed to get my Flecainide refilled.


sigma7: Sims (Default)


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