Efficiency, sarcasm, and natty fur!

This monkey and this robot once had a system: three blogs for three subjects. But it was complicated and vague and usually ended in feces throwing. So we have combined all three into a melange of media reviews and links and excessive blather, so as to reduce the burden on your short attention span.

In the right column, Monkey + Robot have compiled for you a compendium of sassy, savvy and in the know media reviews and tidbits, for your time-wasting pleasure. And lest you poke at us with sticks or cut off our power supply, the reviews are now selectable through those perky drop-down menus. Monkey + Robot Film and TV reviews, Wrongrobot's Comic Stash, and more.

Grab a chunk of melon and some Demoral, because in the left column, we have accumulated for you every snappy link we found amusing, entertaining, provocatively witty, or frankly, just colorful, with easy to understand small words so monkeybites can follow along. Such is Robotic Root!

Entertainment Media Ratings System:

Wrongrobot's Robot Rating: 1-10 Clicks, more indicating a happier robot!

Monkeybites' Monkey Rating: 1-10 Ooks! More indicating a mouthful of rotting simian teeth and lips curled in monkey pleasure!

IronLung's Robot Rating: 1-10 Clanks! More indicating a red-eyed, slack-jawed, blissed-out, ride-pimped dizzy droid! [this is good]

Vicbot's Robot Rating: 1-10 Whirrs! More indicating data that computes well with others.

Google
WWW http://monkey-plus-robot-reviews.blogspot.com
Wrongrobot's Fantasy Film Casting:
Casting Batman: Year One
Casting The Losers
Casting Richard Zach's Pirate Hunter

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Film Reviews [M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks]

Adventures of Baron Munchausen: 8 Clicks
Aliens Vs. Predator: 1 Clank
Bad Santa: 9 Clicks
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever: 2 Clicks
Bend it Like Beckham: 8 Clicks
Bourne Supremacy: 10 Clicks
Bowling for Columbine: 8 Clicks
Bubba Ho-Tep: 8 Clanks
Cirque du Soleil- Allegria [stage]: 10 Clicks
Cold Mountain: 7 Clicks
Cutthroat Island: 2 Clicks
Elf: 8 Clicks
Equilibrium: 6 Clicks
Escape From Alcatraz: 7 Clicks
Finding Nemo: 10 Clicks
Girl With a Pearl Earring: 7 Clicks
The Graduate [stage]: 7 Clicks
Hero: 7 Clanks
House of 1000 Corpses: 5 Clanks
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: 5 Clicks
Hudson Hawk: 6 Clanks
The Hulk: 7 Clicks
Identity: 3 Clicks
Igby Goes Down: 5 Clicks
Intolerable Cruelty: 6 Clicks
I, Robot [trailer commentary][IronLung]
I, Robot [trailer commentary][Wrongrobot]
Kill Bill Vol.1: 10 Clicks
Kill Bill Vol.2 [IronLung]: 9 Clanks
Kill Bill Vol.2 [Wrongrobot]: 10 Clicks
The Last Samurai: 8 Clicks
LotR: Return of the King: 7 Clicks
My Architect: 9 Clicks
Original Kings of Comedy: 7 Clicks
The Phantom: 1 Click
Pirates of the Caribbean: 9 Clicks
The Punisher: 5 Clanks
Secretary: 9 Clicks
Shanghai Knights: 4 Clicks
Spellbound: 7 Clicks
Spider-Man 2: 8 Clanks/ 8 Clicks
Starsky & Hutch: 8 Clicks
Star Trek- Nemesis: 6.5 Clicks
Terminator 3: 5 Clicks, 2 Ooks
The Thin Red Line: 7 Clicks
To Live and Die in LA: 10 Clicks
Troy: n/a
Van Helsing: 4 Clicks, 0 Clanks!
Whale Rider: 8 Clicks

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Comic Film Adaptations News [Film and TV]:

Appleseed OAV 2004 6/18/04
Aeon Flux: 2/27/04
9/1/04
9/10/04
Akira Live-Action Film 9/29/04
Animated Batman 2004 9/2/04
Batman Begins: 2/12/04 2/19/04 2/24/04 3/02/04 3/03/04 3/04/04 3/08/04 3/9/04 3/17/04 3/19/04 3/31/04 TRDL Concept Illustration 4/3/04 4/5/04 4/12/04 TRDL Concept Illustration Part 2 4/12/04 4/21/04 4/22/04 4/23/04 4/23/04 4/29/04 5/4/04 Costume Critique 5/4/04 Script Excerpts 5/7/04 6/01/04 6/04/04 6/09/04 6/10/04 6/15/04 6/16/04 7/6/04 7/13/04 7/20/04 7/26/04 7/28/04 Trailer 7/29/04 7/31/04 8/2/04 8/3/04 8/4/04 8/5/04 8/8/04 8/10/04 8/12/04 8/17/04 8/20/04 8/24/04 8/30/04 10/19/04
Battle Angel Alita: 9/10/04
Black Widow 4/29/04
Blade 3: Trinity: 5/4/04 6/11/04
Catwoman: 2/18/04 5/21/04 Game Concept Art 5/21/04 6/11/04 Suckage! 7/29/04
Comic Adaptations 10/13/03
Constantine: 3/08/04 5/14/04
Dazzler?!? 7/7/04
Elektra: 2/19/04 3/29/04 4/23/04 5/14/04 4/29/04 5/4/04 6/10/04 6/18/04 7/1/04 7/2/04 7/6/04 7/29/04 9/20/04 10/13/04
Fantastic Four: 6/16/04 7/8/04 7/14/04 7/15/04 8/3/04 9/20/04
Ghost in the Shell 2: 9/18/04
Global Frequency: 6/15/04 7/16/04 8/17/04
Good Time For Comic Films! 5/14/04
Green Lantern?!?: 7/24/04 Koboshed 8/8/04
Hawaiian Dick: 4/21/04 Interview 4/22/04
He-Man: 10/11/04
Hellboy: 2/12/04 Interview: Del Toro 2/20/04
3/03/04 3/9/04 3/17/04 Personality Test 3/17/04 Figures Released 3/29/04 Toys Addendum 3/30/04 Choose the Next Figures! 4/21/04 Hellboy: An Introduction 3/30/04 Interview: Selma Blair 3/30/04
Interview: Spectral Motion 4/5/04 Caught On Film in '62! 4/21/04 Interview: Selma Blair, CafeFX 4/28/04 Hellboy Collaborator Medical Fund Auction! 5/4/04 DVDs 7/7/04 7/28/04 8/3/04 8/5/04 8/25/04 8/31/04 Hellboy 2: 3/29/04 4/8/04 6/03/04 8/27/04 9/1/04
9/14/04
Hulk 2? 5/4/04 9/7/04

Hulk Op-Ed 7/14/04
Iron Man: 3/03/04 4/23/04 6/10/04 6/28/04 9/14/04
8/2/04 8/10/04
Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD 9/8/04
Preacher FX 4/29/04
Sin City: 3/19/04 4/04/21 4/04/29 4/05/19 5/21/04 6/01/04 6/11/04 7/1/04 7/26/04 7/28/04 7/20/04 8/11/04 9/15/04
Spider-Man 2: 2/18/04 3/29/04
Spider-Man 3: 5/4/04 5/14/04 6/10/04 7/13/04 Spider-Man 2 Game Screenshots 6/8/04 Spider-Man 2 [trailer commentary]
Superman: 5/21/04 6/03/04 6/09/04 6/10/04 6/28/04 7/1/04 7/13/04 7/14/04 7/20/04 8/5/04 8/10/04 8/27/04 8/31/04 9/10/04 9/15/04 10/19/04 [2] 10/19/04
Transformers: 9/10/04
Wanted 3/03/04
Watchmen: 4/4/23 4/7/24 7/24/24 8/12/04 9/10/04
Wolverine: 10/13/04
X-Men 3: 7/20/04 5/4/04 6/18/04 7/7/04 7/8/04 7/14/04 7/15/04 7/20/04 8/27/04 Aborted Sentinel? 9/2/04 9/7/04 9/15/04

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Film News, General:

A Scanner Darkly Film Adaptation
Akira: Kaneda's Bike in Production? 8/28/04
Aliens Vs. Predator: 6/2/04 Chess Set 5/26/04 6/8/04 Trailor 6/11/04 6/28/04 7/8/04 [trailer commentary] 8/5/04 8/8/04 7/15/04 8/12/04
Anchorman 7/13/04
Big Lebowski Day! 5/5/04
Bloodrayne 8/10/04
Bond? Who Bond? 8/3/04
Bourne Supremacy: 1/6/04 Trailer: 5/4/04 7/8/04
Cage Deserves Happiness 7/31/04
Clooney/ Tarantino in the News 10/15/03
Dodgeball 6/01/04
Domino 8/3/04
HEAT vs. R:HD: Dialog Analysis 10/22/03
Heat/ GTA III: Lawsuits Imitate Life 10/23/03
Incredibles 8/23/04
Jim White Documentary 3/23/04
Kill Bill 2 Poster 2/18/04
Kill Bill Interview: Uma Thurman 4/8/04
Kill Bill Vol. 3?! 4/12/04
The Life Aquatic 1/15/04
Matrix Explained? 8/31/04
National Treasure 8/4/04
Nowhere Man 7/26/04
Pierce is Bond No More 7/27/04
Sky Captain 7/15/04
Sky High 8/17/04
Soderberg Joins Che 4/5/04
Speed Racer: Vince Vaughn 6/25/04
Stealth 7/8/04
Summer 04 Films to Watch 4/22/04
Team America Puppet Porn 8/25/04
Transporter 2 6/16/04
Van Helsing: Van Helsing WHO? 3/16/04 Interview: ILM 5/5/04 Penny Arcade 5/18/04
Underworld 2 9/7/04
WB Kills ESC F/X 8/18/04
Will Smith Lexicon 5/18/04
Zatoichi: Blind Swordsman 6/25/04
No Mas James Bond
Miami Vice on the Big Screen

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TV Reviews, and the M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks

24 Season 3: 10/29/03: 8 Whirrs 11/5/03: 6 Whirrs 2/08/04: 7 Whirrs 2/12/04: 8 Whirrs 2/18/04: 8 Whirrs 2/24/04: 9 Whirrs 4/06/04: 7 Whirrs 4/26/04: 6 Whirrs 5/03/04: 3 Whirrs 5/11/04: 9 Whirrs 5/18/04: 8 Whirrs Finale 7/8/04: 3 Whirrs
Apprentice: Robin and Carolyn 4/16/04
ATHF and Space Ghost Links 2/25/04
ATHF: Revenge of the Trees 10/13/03: 8 Clicks The Shaving 10/27/03: 7 Clicks Super Trivia 9/22/03: 8 Clicks Battlestar Galactica 1/13/04: 3 Clicks
Carnivale: 9/22/03: 10 Clicks 9/30/03: 9 Clicks
Christopher Columbus: Secrets From the Grave: 3 Clicks
CSI: 8/11/03: 1 Ook 9/26/03: 5 Clicks CSI: Miami: 7/30/03: 1 Ook 7/31/03: 6 Clicks 9/26/03: 7 Clicks
Deadwood 3/24/04: 8 Clicks
Dinner for Five: 9/26/03: 7 Clicks 9/30/03: 7 Clicks
Ed: 9/26/03: 3 Clicks Series Finale 2/12/04: 7 Clicks
Emmy Nominations 04 7/15/04: 7 Clicks
Enterprise 10/13/03: 6 Clicks
Everybody Loves Raymond 9/26/03: 6 Clicks
Friends 9/26/03: 7 Clicks
Grammys: Outkast's Andre 3000 2/9/04: 10 Clicks
Law and Order Family: 9/30/03: 8 Clicks
Law and Order: 10/13/03
Law and Order: CI: 1/12/04: 8 Clicks
Marvel Comics Guide to NYC: 10 Clicks
Method and Red: 9 Clicks
MI-5 10/28/03: 10 Clicks
Mix It Up 1/12/04: 8 Clicks
Mr. Show: What to Think 9/10/03: 10 Clicks
Penn & Teller's Bullshit: 9 Clanks
Reno 911!: 9 Clicks 9/7/03
Space Ghost C2C: Baffler Meal: 11 Clicks! Flipmode 2/25/04:20 Clicks Survivor 7 9/19/03: 8 Clicks
Survivor All-Stars: 2/12/04: 8 Clicks 2/13/04: 7 Clicks Tour de France 2003 8/4/03: 8 Clicks
Will & Grace 9/26/03: 7 Clicks

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TV News

24/Law and Order/CSI "That Guy" Character Actor Tracker
24: Comic Adaption 3/25/04 Season 4 Casting 8/9/04
Amazing Screw-On Head Cartoon 4/8/04
Cigarette Smoking Man Action Figure 5/26/04
CSI: CSI in Comedy Culture 6/24/04 CSI's Peterson 2/18/04 Sick outs Everywhere 7/27/04
CSI: Miami Drinking Game 2/27/04 No Mas Rory Cochrane 8/9/04
CSI:NY: 3/8/04 3/16/04 Drawn Together 8/20/04
HDTV ScreenCap Archive 8/25/04
Jessica Simpson 10/21/03
Mastershake Speaks 9/7/04
Nike's Lance Commercial: Magnet 8/18/04
Law and Order: Trial by Jury Casting 6/04/04
NBC Hijacks TiVo 1/15/04
Simpsons' Shearer Balks 8/12/04
Survivor All-Stars Cast 1/12/04
Survivor 9 8/18/04
Robbery: Homicide Division Music 9/30/03

French Connection Made for TV


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Wrongrobot's Comics Stash- Comics and Sequential Art Reviews

Comic Reviews, and the M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks

Comics Reviews Intro
100 Bullets: 48: 7 Clicks
52, 53: 8 Clicks
9-11, Artists Respond Collections
Alias: 24-25: 10 Clicks 26-27: 10 Clicks 28: 9 Clicks
Astonishing X-Men: 2: 8 Clicks 3,4: 9,10 Clicks
Avengers: 500: 8 Clicks 502: 7 Clicks
Batgirl Year One TPB: 10 Clicks
Batman: 620: 5 Clicks 621: 7 Clicks
Batman: Long Halloween: 7 Clanks
Bloodstream 1: 1 Click
BPRD One Shots: 9/7 Clicks
Cla$$War: 4: 8 Clicks 5: 10 Clicks
Daredevil: 50-52: 9/3/5 Clicks 54: 4 Clicks 56: 9 Clicks 57: 7 Clicks
65: 6 Clicks
Domino:Perfect Weapon: 8 Clicks
Exiles: 30-33: 6/4/4 Clicks 36-37: 3/6 Clicks
Ex Machina: 2, 3: 7 Clicks
Global Frequency 11: 10 Clicks
Gotham Central: 10-11: 9 Clicks 13: 9 Clicks 16-18: 9 Clicks
Hellhounds 1-3: 7 Clicks
Human Target: 4: 9 Clicks 5-6: 8 Clicks 7: 8 Clicks
12, 13: 9 Clicks
Iron Man: 73-75: 8 Clicks 76: 2 Clicks 77: 5 Clicks 86: 9 Clicks
JSA: 51-52: 7/8 Clicks 53: 8 Clicks 54: 4 Clicks 56-57: 7 Clicks 58: 3 Clicks
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2: 3 Clanks, 8 Clicks
The Losers: Ante Up TPB: 9 Clanks 6: 10 Clicks 10-11: 8/10 Clicks
16: 10 Clicks
New Invaders 0: 3 Clicks
New X-Men: 144-146: 5 Clicks 149: 3 Clicks 151-152: 2 Clicks 153: 3 Clicks
[Renamed X-Men] 159-162: 4 Clicks
Paradise X: A: 9 Clicks
Planetary: TPBs (1-12): 8 Clicks 16: 5 Clicks : 8 Clicks 18: 9 Clicks
Powers: 33: 8 Clicks 36: 9 Clicks 37: 10 Clicks V2, 1: 10 Clicks
2-4: 10 Clicks
Pulse: 5: 7 Clicks
Queen and Country: 20: 10 Clicks 21: 10 Clicks 25: 8 Clicks
The Ride 1: 9 Clicks
Secret War 1: 8 Clicks
Sleeper: 8: 10 Clicks 11: 10 Clicks 12: 10 Clicks Sleeper Season Two: 1: 10 Clicks
Supreme Power: 1-2: 10 Clicks 4: 10 Clicks 7: 10 Clicks 8: 9 Clicks 11: 8 Clicks
Tokyo Storm Warning TPB: 5 Clicks
Ultimates: 12: 10 Clicks 13: 10 Clicks
Ultimate Fantastic Four 1-2: 7 Clicks 3: 8 Clicks
Ultimate Nightmare: 1: 10 Clicks
2: 8 Clicks
Ultimate Six: 1: 10 Clicks 4: 10 Clicks 6: 9 Clicks Ultimate X-Men: 36-37: 2 Clicks
Ultra: 2: 9 Clicks
Uncanny X-Men: 429-431: 4 Clicks 433: 2 Clicks 437-441: 1 Click 444-445: 5 Clicks 446: 6 Clicks
Wanted 2: 10 Clicks
We3: 1: 10 Clicks
Wildcats 3.0: 13: 7 Clicks 16: 7 Clicks 18: 7 Clicks
X-Statix : 2: 4 Clicks 13-15: 6 Clicks 18: 4 Clicks 19: 3 Clicks

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Friends of Robot: Artists:

FoR: 36Oh.net FofR: Enrico Casarosa
FoR: Terra Major's Horns of Hattin
FoR: Losstarot
FoR: Prometheus
FoR: Studio Kosen

Comic News:

Check the Film News section for updates on comic-related film adaptations! 100 Bullets FPS Game 4/2/04
Ale Garza on Batgirl 8/5/04
Amazing Screw-On Head Cartoon 4/8/04
Apparat Line: Warren Ellis 8/25/04
The Atomic Revolution Comic 3/23/04
Authority: Nguyen Interview 5/14/04
Authority OGN 7/20/04
Avengers 500 Preview 7/1/04
Brent Anderson on Pulse, Astro City 3/25/04
Batman Begins Costume Illustration [Wrongrobot]4/3/04
Batman: War on Crime 8/31/04
Bullseye Origin Series 6/28/04
Comics For Intellectuals 9/1/04
Decompression and Pacing 9/23/03
Dillon on Bullseye 9/7/04
Doc Frankenstein by Burlyman 9/2/04
Doc Ock Year One 6/16/04
Earth's Mightiest Mini 9/3/04
Ellis and Granov on Iron Man 5/25/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Iron Man 7/31/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Explodo 8/2/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Bad Kids 8/27/04
Fox Sued over LoEG Script 9/26/03
Hawaiian Dick Bk 2 8/23/04
Hack/Slash book 2 6/18/04
Hal Jordon and Copyrights 8/20/04
Hellboy: An Introduction 3/30/04
IDW's 24 Comic 3/25/04
Iron Man Facelift 9/12/03
Iron Man 87 Outtakes 8/27/04
Joss Whedon Interview: Astonishing X-Men 8/10/04
JSA vs. JSA 8/12/04
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 3 6/1/04
Marvel Vs. DC 8/31/04
Masamune Shirow 10/15/03
Micro-Heros Animated GIFs 4/6/04
Morrison on JLA: Hyperclan and Superman 6/1/04
Morrison's WE3 9/1/04
New Avengers 8/18/04
Nguyen Confirmed on Authority Vol.3 5/14/04
Nouvelle Manga Manifesto 6/11/03
Ocean 8/9/04
Orson Welles as Batman? 9/26/03
Phoenix Mini-Series 8/20/04
Poorly Drawn Animals 8/2/04
Remains: Niles/Dwyer Interview 3/12/04
Scurvy Dog: Yount Interview 1/15/04
SD Comicon Visual Oddities 7/31/04
Space Ghost 7/31/04
Spandex vs Leather 4/6/04
Steven Grant on 'Literature of Ethics'
The Losers: Diggle/Jock Interview 3/11/04
The Picture of Everything 1/15/04
The Question: Rick Veitch 9/1/04
The Question: Tommy Lee Edwards 9/2/04
Teddy Roosevelt From Mars 8/20/04
Tom Coker: Batman in Monolith 8/30/04
Tony Harris Pages from new Iron Man Arc
Ultimates: Bryan Hitch Interview 9/12/03
Ultra 8/18/04
Watchmen Remembered 8/12/04
WizardWorld LA Promo Art 3/22/04
WonderCon 2004 Buzz 8/13/04
WonderCon 2004 Buzz 2 8/17/04
WonderCon 2004 Dance-Off 8/18/04
Worlds Finest Film 7/26/04
World's Finest Interview 8/4/04
Young Avengers 8/20/04
Identity Crisis Covers
Honey Moon, The Ride, Rex Steele, Shirow, Megacity909
Comic Preview: Intimates, Iron Man
TSR Illustrator Terminally ill
Twinkie Comics, Avengers Dissembled Toy-style
Interview: Mark Millar of Ultimates
Interview: Cliff Chiang of Human Target
Star Trek Manga Anthology from Tokyopop
Pop Mahn to TokyoPop
Granov Iron Man Preview Pages
Image Comics Moves to Berkeley

Comic Reviews: Powers 37, Ultimates 13, Gotham Central 16-18
5/13/2004

Well, of course this was bound to happen sooner or later.

Despite knowing better, I wrote today's blog entry directly into the web dashboard and not as a text file first, which I absolutely NEVER do and lambast those who DO…then Blogger.com down randomly, wrongly, and took my post with it. That's bad. It hurts. To quote Danny Trejo in Heat: "My Anna's gone. She's GONE, Neal!"

But to make it worse, I'm telling you about it. Nothing irks me quite like being told in an email that the sender had written me a long, juicy, gossipy, heartfelt, I've Had A Crush On You For Years, serious letter, only to have it lost in an email error, and so instead, I'm getting a Cliff Notes style second draft that cuts out the good stuff. Worse than not getting the good email was finding out it exited in the first place. Like, hey I bought you a delicious sugary confectionary! But I dropped it. Sorry!
Ah well, here's your second draft.

:::

Something happened to my comic reading habits. I went from a weekly comic reader to a monthly reader without even trying. I've been distracted: good books, lots of social calender type stuff, and my own comic project, so definitely this robot has been overbooked with the free time associated with reading the funny books as they come in. But it was a serious blow to the pocketbook at the local comic shop when I picked up my 4 week's worth of books and saw how they piled up. I'm reading these titles three or four issues in a row consecutively in some cases now, and if I was smart, I'd just wait for the trade like lots of other people do (twisting the knife in the soft underbelly of the local comics retailer and the industry as a whole, maybe) but I still want to read the books in comci form, and I still feel a random, misplaced urge to give these companies my money on the periodical products so as to do my part to keep these creators gainfully, consistently employed, and the market healthy enough that publishers will still give left-field projects a try at all. I love trades, and I buy them on the books I enjoy, redundantly. But I fear that if the industry moved to all trades and anthologies, lots of projects would never see print. That's bad. No likey. So, I'm the chump that buys the monthlies AND the trades. And no house.

I've dropped a few books from my subscription:

Exiles- I keep waiting for the sweet spot, where they pair up an imaginative writer willing to explore the What If? Qualities of the book, with the artist with the chops to design alternate versions of characters, and provide a dynamic action-oriented style. Mckone sort of had it in the beginning, I thought. Caliofore killed me every time. Clayton henry actually brought an interesting, action-oriented manga approach to the book, and I sure thought his linework, and costume design, looked pretty sharp, but as some of the reviews of his books I have read mentioned, he does seem to lack the ability to darken the mood and provide a certain tension to the layouts. That's OK. His was my favorite of the pencils on Exiles. Now, what I'd LIKE to see, is a return to comics by Juvaun Kirby. He made his mark with Wildstorm on the Backlash, Wetworks and Gen-13 boks, and my favorite, the early DV-8 issues. This guy's pencils are TIGHT. Best musculature and physicality I've ever seen. I love it. He's done commercial design projects since those days, and remains with Illuminati Entertainment. Kirby could do the design work AND the action stuff better than just about anyone I can think of. Plus, I think a title like Exiles needs a street savvy, fresh eye, and Kirby's always had it. Read a bit about him here: Illuminati: Kirby and here's an example of his pencils:



JSA: I thought this book was the best written team book on the market the last few years. While the art was consistent, it looked great too. The only hurtle, not being a DC kid, was little familiarity or interest in much of DC's golden age. Granted, I'm aware enough to be familiar with the characters, just not particularly concerned with the subtle details of continuity and homage that Geoff Johns brought to the title (while when writers like Busiek, Wade and Morrison brought lots of tidbits into Marvel books, I ate it right up) and frankly, one or two issues dealing with obtuse, retro material are bearable, 8-issue arcs dealing with Obsidian or whoever was a lot to swallow. I always reviewed them well, and Johns' scripting was personable, character-driven and compelling. Somewhere around the hokey holiday issues, I just lost the thread, and never caught it again. Disappointing.

Promethia: Still a top-notch book, but somehow, I just got the feeling that I'd like it better in a complete volume rather than individual issues. So, my first ever "Wait for Trade" title.
Iron Man: LOVE the character. Favorite ever, since early childhood. But the rotating creative teams have killed me, and I just can't afford the low batting average on the current title. However, I bought and appreciated the Iron Secretary arc recently, and reviewed it reasonably favorably, and I know the upcoming post-Avengers Dissemble team is going to rock (TonyHarris on pencils!!!) so I'll be back…when it's worth it again.

That all said, so far my monthly catch up has been very exciting. Great stuff! Here's the first batch of reviews for May 04:

:::




Powers 37: This was the first of two titles finishing their first runs, this time around. Both Powers and Ultimates are ending 'volume 1' and beginning the next volume this year. Where Ultimates will continue much in the same vein, so it sounds from Hitch's forum, Powers may become a different animal. We'll have to see. To quote [the only] good line from The Fifth Element: "I have a doubt." Bendis, who writes Powers and now 3/4 of the Marvel titles, with consistent quality, pacing and tone, is bringing this former-Image creator-owned title into the Marvel fold. He already killed Alias and rebooted it as The Pulse, sans the edgier content, adult themes and beautiful Michael Gaydos artwork, this robot has no intel how much of that was a regime-shift editorial issue. But most of what made the Powers project exciting was the uninhibited tone of no holds barred realistic content: multiple takes on the superhero mythos from a human perspective, with passions, feuds, jealousy, contempt, awe and conflicting values, fully-realized characterization, and superb art and coloring. I just can't get enough of this book, and I really do hope the move to Marvel is an unperceptible end user experience for the reader. Fear content change! Fear! Click!

This volume wraps with the final issue of the period-jumping, time-spanning, genre-knocking imoortal origin story of former cape Detective Walker, and his sper-powered immortal-ish peer group of sexed out, ultra-violent caped heroes (and villains.) This arc was imfamaous fast for the first issue, the Conan-analogy that was about thirty pages of dialog free neanderthal back door action. Subsequent issues chronicled Walker and his associates in different eras, slowly adapting to, and being subverted by, the mores of the day, which also alowed Bendis and Oeming to play with different genres, like the shaolin temple action, the bootlegging gangster action, the 80's boom-pow widescreen super-hero action, and finally, in this issue, real life. Walker is human now, mortal and tired and haunted by the ghosts of what has now been revealed to be a very, very, very, very long past. And now, his immortal enemy, Wolfe, has escaped from prison in an interesting power twist, and is jacking up Walker's apartment. The finality, the inevitability of the final confrontation between them is simply thrilling, and the added complexity of his partner, Detective Deena Pilgrim, and her ixed emotions about him, his former identity, and his attachment to some very powerful women (and a centuries-old intimate bond that must be damn intimidating for a young, mortal woman to compete against while retaining her own self-identity) make for an extremely compelling final chapter in the arc. Pentazis' colors do half the work this issue, bringing Oeming's high-contrast, dynamic pencils to life in a remarkable way. This guy creates energy in a fabulous way I totally stole from him. Love it. Great issue, great arc, great series. Let's have more of the same. Fortunately, the wait is short: two weeks.

10/10 Clicks!





Ultimates 13: This was the Star Wars: Episode I of contemporary comics, in my mind. HUGE hype, sensationalized anticipation, long delays in publication, a wildfire of critical slamming for tardiness that completely missed the point that perceived delays can frequently be attributed to poor marketing practice, but far too often blamed on the artist, and frankly, just unrealistic expectations. And then it hits, and the experience is…underwhelming. Well, that's not quite right. It's not Star Wars. Lucas was unfocused, indulgent and sloppy with his new film, and all the pretty FX in the world couldn't save it from itself. Ultimates 13 suffers from virtually no flaws. But it has become something greater than itself in the eyes of it's readers. I think many of us read Ultimates, and obsess over Hitch's art, and revisit Millar's scripts, and in our minds they sort of become like Plato's Cave, when really, we're talking about a kick-ass book illustrating the last seven minutes or so of a massive battle taking place over four or so issues, published over a year and a half. Something like that. It's easy to see how overhyped you can get.

That said, it was fabulous. Hitch's pencils were some of the most detailed I've ever seen, and together with some very amusing and clever twists from Millar, the last chapter of the Chitauri arc was immensely satisfying. To recap for those who, you know, read issue 12 last YEAR, Captain America initiated a secret weapon in the final battle against the Skrull-esque Chitaurans, a human bomb by the name of Bruce Banner, pissing his PJs as he plummetted out of a helo, still bound in a strait jacket, hurtling into the heart of the battlezone from hundreds of feet in the air. In the space between issue 12 and issue 13, I'm sure most readers, like me, just kind of imagined that one classic scene from the Incredible Hulk: Bixby wigging out, green eyes getting nutty and dilated, DUH duh duh DEHHH DUHHHH! So, issue 13 opens with the Hulk making a crater out of whatever buildings were below him, and coming out swinging in Hitchy textural madness. Somuch shrapnel, flotsam, wreckage, particulate and shards of broken somethings in each panel, Hulk seems to be defined by negative space: he's the mass of gray behind all the detail in the foreground, he's huge as hell, and he's making a beeline like araging bull, straight for "Blue Man", Captain America, who's been duking it out with little result against the Chitauran leader, Nazi-bastard Kleiser. Miller cleverly writes Hulk like a stereotyped macho male with a scale factor of intensity, a male ID with infinate potential energy. Captain America merely challenges Hulk's manhood, and attributes his comments to Kleiser, circa Junior High, and off Hulk lumbers, beating the living shit out of the alien warlord until he's made, literally, into an ass sandwich. I don't know if Kleiser's demise is a homage to Alam Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2, or what, but it works effectively here (as does the epilogue, wherein the literal results of this xenobiological smorgasborg must be quarantined.)

As incredible as these Hulk Smash panels are, the real gem in this issue is a scene where Black Widow (hinting at Stark's romancing prowesss) desperately summons Iron Man out of his ID4 moment in the sky to come, you know, save the planet from this mega-Doomsday device buried beneath the plaza on which they stand. Hitch shows Iron Man awkwardly dragging this massive device out of the ground in extremely realistic physics, and launches into the air with it, and sudeenely Millar slaps our (and the other characters') pre-conceived image of Stark the brilliant problem-solver right into left field by having his solution being an apparent pie-in-the-sky reliance on Thor's presumed delusional dimension-spanning Godliness. I loved it. It was literally a "magic bullet" and Widow's reaction to his blunt honesty about his inability to solve the problem otherwise was hilarious. It was more or less Iron Man just laying it down: "What the FUCK do you WANT me to do with it? Take it into space and sacrifice myself like a Superman book? Haylll NO!" Loved it.

The final moments of the book show us the Ultimates adapting to their newfound publicity and celebrity status, in which Stark again tekes a romantic lead, and Wasp takes center stage in the final pages. Tack on a Hollywood widescreen ending with Nick Fury, and you've just finished the definitive widescreen action comic. Now, Volume 2…any month now…

10/10 Clicks!





Gotham Central 16-18: Michael Lark and Greg Rucka on this title were a dream team doing whatthey do best: gritty, urban procedural tales bout real people in complex, often mundane beats, dealing with extraordinary circumstances. No one draws a cluttered, deep depth panel like Lark. His stuff is brilliantly rough and textured. Artists with similar styles, like Javier Pulido, Cliff Chiang, and John Paul Leon similarly capture my interest, but the only other artist I canthink of that will consistently blow me away with his loosely dense backgrounds is Paul Pope. As in Pope's books, the setting is a character, and Lark's ability to craft such a consistent urba tone to the pages of Gotham Central was invaluable. New artist Greg Scott has huge shoes to fill, and I think it's going to take him a few arcs to get the hang of it. The art is certainly successful, I just still lament the exit of the man who left such an imprint on the book. This arc explores a fairly routine investigation into two poisoning murders at a pharmaceutical company. The mob is involved. One of the detectives, Vincent Del Arazio, has secret mob ties. The Huntress is briefly involved. And the case is wrapped up tastefully and sublimely.



The real magic, as is often the case with Rucka's scripts, is in the subtle characterization. He takes a page from classic Law and Order, allowing us brief peeks and dialog references to the complex personal lives of these dilligent career cops, without digressing away from the frequently mundane procedural points of the investigation. Every issue of Gotham Central comes away feeling like a small film, and a satisfying one. The super-hero references in the book are frequently low-key, peripheral mechanisms that partly tie the book to mainstream DC continuity, but more importantly act as catalysts for the cast's ambivelant feelings about doing their job in a world that outscales them, which I think is a metaphor for how crime overpowers the law in our world. A great arc, and I hope for more of the same, despite the lagging sales on the book.

9/10 Clicks

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