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The Obligatory “I Just Saw ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’!” post

I just saw The Amazing Spider-Man.

Definitely a much different creature than the 2002 film from just over 10 years ago (end of my junior year! Where HAS the time gone?!?).

And yet, this film was a heckuva lot more enjoyable than Spider-Man 3 from just a few years ago.

In fact, this was the most I’ve enjoyed ANYTHING Spider-Man in a number of years.

I got to thinking, during a scene in the high school: THIS is how you go back and re-live the spirit of the early Spidey comics by Lee & Ditko & co. Other media. Not constantly restarting stuff in the comics or waving a magic wand (er…devil) at stuff and resetting things to the status quo from 20+ years ago. You get your movies, and video games, and cartoons and such to revisit that old stuff “reimagined.”

I also found myself trying to decide if this film “could” fit in-continuity with the 2002 series (nope, just gotta enjoy it as its own thing). I suspect if you’ve seen the earlier films, some elements of this one will have a bit of familiarity in a way…and I liked that.

There was a certain amount of “echo” to me from the 2002 film in this–so long as I’m not crazy, you’ll recognize a Lizard/Goblin parallel. And there’s another scene that reminded me of that “you mess with him, you mess with us!” from 2002.

Given this is a movie, I had zero problem with the costume (but doggone it, WHAT is with that mask not staying on?!?). The costume simply “is” Spider-Man; I couldn’t even tell you offhand if it’s more one version or another, though I’m sure you’ll find that around online.

While I much prefer Mary Jane, didn’t have any greater problem with Gwen being “the love interest” in this film than I did this being a reboot. Different series, different supporting characters…works for me.

For having only seen this once, and less than an hour ago at that–I’d have to say this was on par with 2008’s Iron Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2. Well worth seeing, especially in the theatre.

Highly recommended!

Life With Archie: The Married Life #2 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Star Trek: Where no DVD has gone before?

I’ve been waiting MONTHS for the release of the new Star Trek film on DVD.  I’ve been amazed in recent months to note the likes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and GI Joe and such already being released to DVD.  After all, Wolverine debuted 5-7 days BEFORE Star Trek, yet that DVD’s been out for a month or more now.  GI Joe came out a couple weeks ago, and it debuted 3 MONTHS AFTER Star Trek.  Says something about the “legs” ‘Trek had, right?

Recently, I did some searching online and discovered that a Blu-Ray edition would come with 4 badge replicas (of the officers) if one purchases from Best Buy.  OK, fine ‘n dandy…but what about the DVD edition?  Nope–you’ve got a “bare bones” edition, a 2-disc “special” (hah!) edition, or the Blu-Ray (3-disc) edition with the cool exclusive.

Oh, and get this: the discount pricing (which for the last 6-some years I have been aware of it and buying DVDs at all has been day-of-release and lasts at least until that Saturday) is being offered by Best Buy for a mere two hours.

For the first two business hours only, your local Best Buy is open, you can purchase the DVDs or Blu-Ray at a discount off Best Buy’s regular pricing.  (And if your store has a midnight-release of the movie, it’s the first two hours from midnight, AND the first two hours of “regular” business hours).

The best part of all this? It’s DOORBUSTER pricing.  Over a week before Thanksgiving and “Black Friday” and all that.

Blu-Ray-only for an exclusive? Strike one. Discount pricing offered for only two hours instead of all week? Strike two.  Calling it a “doorbuster?” Strike three, Best Buy…I’m not buying.

Target has a special edition for $26.99 where the case actually transforms into a replica of the Enterprise. The idea of having the Enterprise be the dvd case was, until 20 minutes ago, merely something I thought would be amusing, but never thought they’d actually DO.  (Presumably, the saucer section will hold the disc(s) themselves).

Yet, awesome as that is…the price is NOT awesome.  $26.99 + tax puts the thing darned near $30, which is rather expensive for a single movie, even if I do expect to watching it a number of times. (Sure, $30 isn’t bad compared to certain tv seasons on dvd, but at least with those you typically get a heckuva lot more entertainment time for the monetary investment…to say nothing of one perhaps being able to justify a less-than-$20 purchase, but $30 really pushes it.) Especially when the Blu-Ray has an extra disc of content (3-disc) while the “special edition” DVD is only 2-disc. It’s probably just me, but somehow, a 2-disc DVD held to a 3-disc other edition seems somehow an inferior product.

I’ve been increasingly put-off lately by the fact that the “single-disc” or “bare bones” editions of movies are priced at what the “full edition” DVDs were just a few years ago, that often were what enticed me to purchase the films at all. The “special editions” being what contained most “extras” being significantly more expensive (simply for BEING “special,” apparently) has been a growing point of frustration for me.  Most recently, I’ve been all the more frustrated at the shift to the aggressive marketing of Blu-Ray; with Best Buy being the primary guilty party, seeming to mostly advertise the Blu-Ray while almost as an afterthought noting that a DVD edition is also available.

This film–til now–has been my favorite film of the year, and instantly ranked with some of my all-time favorites. From the moment the end credits rolled opening night, I made intention to buy this immediately upon home release.

But with the points made above…the shenanigans with pricing, exclusives, and format…

I’m actually considering simply not buying the thing at all.

I mean, I refuse to buy a comic book when a single image is split among two or more covers of the same issue. Shouldn’t I hold movies to at least a similar standard?

Invincible #62 [Review]

Conquest part two

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Aubrey Siterson
Cover: Ryan Ottley & FCO Plascencia
Publisher: Image Comics

This is actually the third consecutive issue of Invincible that I’ve picked up. I was drawn in by reviews for #60, the “summer event in one issue” bit, and decided I’d stick with the title for a bit and get a feel for things. (After all, that’s how I’ve wound up following other long-running series through the years: snag a crossover issue and then stick around finding out about the title post-crossover). I’m still far from really knowing who all the players are in this book beyond the title character, but I can follow along recognizing faces and what little I do recall from reading the first TPB (and the #0/recap issue that came out a couple years back).

Someone recruited alternate-universe/reality Invincicibles, and invaded earth. “Our” Earth’s Invincible–with a little help from his friends–was able to save Earth…but not without massive destruction, a lot of deaths, and plenty of other things now in the aftermath of that event. Someone from Invincible’s dad’s home planet is the big-bad of this issue, basically forcing Invincible to prove himself worthy of that planet’s heritage, and giving our hero quite the run for his money. There’s what seems like a bit of a “reveal” at issue’s end that’s certain to have further ramifications in coming issues…and I’m sufficiently hooked to at least stick around for this story arc.

The art’s quite good. There’s a consistency to it that fits it in with every other visual I can think of that I’ve seen of the character(s)…something very welcome, and yet highly unusual to me in contemporary comics. The art by itself isn’t entirely a selling point, but it definitely enhances the reading experience in the way I expect comic art do so.

The story’s interesting–maybe not as interesting as it could be, but I definitely enjoy the fact that the same writer (the creator of the character) has been on the book since its beginning–another rarity in comics found from the bigger companies.

All in all, not a bad point to jump into the series. It by no means explains everything up front, but allows one to pick up on things as we go along…just like comics I enjoyed in my youth. All the more if you can pick up the prior two issues, this is worth picking up if you’ve any interest in checking out the title.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7.5/10

More toys

Continued inspiration struck today, so I’ve decided to share some of the other toys that I have scattered around my apartment.


First up are my Mighty Muggs. You’ll find these in the toy aisle at most Targets and Walmarts, and probably at some comic shops. Here are my Star Wars Mighty Muggs:. Obi-Wan, Yoda, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and 1 (of 2) Storm Trooper.


Next are my Marvel Mighty Muggs–Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man on the heroic side, Galactus on the villains’ side.  Sharing the hanging rack (from left to right) are Chip Harvey (named by a friend), a Burger King Yoda; a McDonald’s (I think!) Batman. Then Elvis-inspired M&Ms minis found at a drug store. Then Mike and Sulley (Sulley’s from McDonald’s, I’m not sure where Mike came from). On Galactus’ other side, a BGSU (my alma mater) falcon, and a plush Care Bear I snagged from one of those claw machines, that never got given away.


Some more Mighty Muggs, these from the Indiana Jones line. That guy who did the thing with the heart; a couple of Cairo Swordsmen, and of course, Indy himself.  Sharing shelftop space is an M&Ms dispenser, and the Marvel Legends Sentinel with X-Men Origins: Wolverine 3.75″ Comics Wolverine.


These are my oversized Heroclix figures. Spectre, Galactus, and Dark Phoenix were convention-exclusives in ’04-’06. Anti-Monitor came out last spring; the Sentinels and Sinestro-in-Ring-Construct came out back in ’02 or ’03.


Fin Fang Foom was the oversized Heroclix convention-exclusive in ’07. Here he’s holding a GCPD officer from the DC Infinite Heroes 3.75″ line…they’re presently filling space on my Marvel shelf.


Kilowog fills the space on another shelf between my zombie series and TMNT/GI Joe/Disney volumes. I forget which line he’s from–but it’s one of the DC Direct. I’d like to eventually add Hal, Kyle, and Guy…but we’ll see.


Here’s an Akira figure I picked up years back. This sits on one of my manga shelves (appropriately enough).


Mongul is from one of the older DC action figure lines from a few years ago. I think I had a Superman and Bizarro from the line–never did manage to snag the Cyborg Superman or Steel…still would sorta enjoy locating the ones from the Death/Return of Superman line from DC Direct, though. He sits on a high shelf with the background he came with, next to my Harry Potter paperbacks.


Thor here is the sole Marvel Legends figure I purchased after the line changed hands. As a fan of the Thor: Lord of Asgard period with the comics, this was far too cool to pass up on at the time! (I might eventually dig out my classic Thor, which was the first-ever Marvel Legends figure I’d picked up–and offhand the figure that started me back into occasionally collecting such toys back in my college days).


These guys chill on a computer that’s been waiting to get fixed up…if/when I do anything new with non-book shelving, they’ll probably have top billing there. Robin’s from the DC Direct Teen Titans line; Batman and Nightwing come from the DC Direct Batman: Hush line. I also have Commissioner Gordon and Alfred from this line, though haven’t had room to have them out yet. Nightwing was a birthday/Christmas present; I later tracked down these other two to complete the “set.”


This Superman was given to me by a friend years ago. When attached to the cord he came with (or fishing line) and properly hung from the ceiling, you flips a switch under the cape, give him a push, and he’ll zoom in circles around the area until the batteries die. Right now, he guards the freezer/fridge in the kitchen for lack of better place to have ‘im.


And though not comic related, Red here hangs out on the couch along with his (not pictured here) buddy Yellow. Though not to a serious degree, I’m also a fan of certain M&Ms stuff (if not so much the candy itself).


So, that’s a quick look at some of the toys around this apartment. I also have a bunch of Ninja Turtles, primarily from the 2k3 series; a small handful of 3.75″ DC figures, and a whole slew of Star Wars and Marvel Legends that don’t currently have any place to be displayed.

Old toys–AND new!

Inspired by a friend’s post.

I dug out my old Marvel Legends B-a-F Sentinel, and with my new Wolverine (from the “comics” subset of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie toys) wound up staging the following “scene” while experimenting with camera angles and no background/etc.

The sentinel has caught Wolverine…or so it appears!

What to do with this mutant, hmm?

Perhaps blast it with the hand-ray thingie?

…or perhaps not, as Wolverine’s craftier than to be done in like that!

Cut off an arm, get up here and then…

…bring it down. Victory for the mutant! (and that arm? Who needs continuity, anyway?)

Whatmen?! [Review]

Whatmen?!

Written by: Scott Lobdell
Pencils by: Alejandro Figueroa
Inks by: Aldo Giordanelli
Colors & text page design by: Amber Shields
Lettering by: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Edited by: Chris Ryall & Scott Dunbier
Publisher: IDW

I wasn’t going to buy this book–I enjoy some parodies/spoofs, but was going to avoid the various Watchmen spoofs. I also tend to avoid IDW because I refuse to pay $4 for a standard-size comic, and care nothing for cardstock covers and high-quality sturdy gloss pages. I just want to read a good story from a comic, and I’ll get a collected volume if I’m interested in a high-quality version that’s not going to sit in a box for years.

But this is a one-shot, and felt thicker than usual, so against better judgment I bought it. If you know the story of Watchmen, you know the basic elements found in this book. We follow along roughly the same story, but at breakneck pace and with a “_________ Movie” twist to numerous elements (including a nice use of Dr. NYC “spoiling” a couple of subplots since there’s not room in a single issue to adapt a 300-page graphic novel).

Given that this IS a spoof, not too much to be said story-wise, except that it hits on some of the main “moments” fans of Watchmen would probably expect to see in any abridgment.

The art is good, and actually does in most places remind me of Gibbons’ work on the source material. The art certainly goes with the story, and I have nothing here to complain about. There are some amusing sight-gags: watch for Spider-Man, and Snoopy clones, among others–when one looks past the “simple” exterior of these gags, there’s further amusement to be had realizing what they stand in for.

All in all, this is a fairly amusing book. I don’t think it’s on the level of being a “must-read!” or anything, but if you’ve an extra $4–and don’t mind spending $4 for 28 pages of visual story and 4 text-pages (all in the general style of Watchmen)–you’ll find yourself with a decent comic if you snag this.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 8/10

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