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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stuff So Good...Halloween Edition

Here are some pix that may (or may not, depending on your level of freak-tolerance) freak you out. Some really creepy stuff...

This is a real image by the way. The parents actually named their child Re-Run (I have to ASSUME no one, or their parents, in their right minds would inflict this kind of mental torment on a living human being.)
Here is being a few REALLY example of a FREAKY Malaysian Englandlah. Are you really enjoy?


For those who have had absolutely no access to Newpapers, TV, Magazines, or Internet (hmmm, moot point.) in the past year, this is actually a REAL fish!
Here is another one.

Examples of great architectural design or for "strange visitors"? (Mwuah-hahahahahahah)

Now, this is how you do Sex Education if the costumes don't freak the neighbours out!

Fresh food is good for u...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Comic Review - Dr Voodoo - Avenger of the Supernatural 1


Title/Storyline
Dr Voodoo - Avenger of the Supernatural 1
Publish Date/Year
2009
Creative Team
Rick Remender & Jefte Palo
Publisher
Marvel

Story
This issue demonstrates the power the New Sorcerer Supreme (as of New Avengers #53) wields in just the first 6 pages! Dormammu – 1 of the most powerful and feared extra-dimensional demons in the Marvel Universe – rendered into a simpering wreck and trapped forever in the Dark Dimension (or however long that may be in comic book time) by Dr Voodoo (Jericho Drumm, formerly known as Brother Voodoo) without breaking a proverbial sweat! All that just to send a message that he is the new Sorcerer Supreme (OK – so it was also to act on a warning the Vishanti had given about a foreboding evil that will apparently swallow the universe)!

Attacked by a Petro Loa (Haitian Spirit) in his clinic. However, we soon learn that Dr Doom is in cahoots with it. Dr Voodoo takes the battle away from his clinic and innocents. Both the good and bad doctors tumble across dimensions in their battle. Exhausted from 5 days of sleep deprivation and the earlier throw-down with Dormammu, Voodoo loses to Doom and seizes his coveted prize from Voodoo – the Eye of Agamotto, but sees something that makes him throw the Eye back to Voodoo. Even Voodoo himself wonders what Doom saw from the Eye.

Art
Jefte Palo's style is reminescent of Mike Mignola's early work. It's rather refreshing, BUT I really was put off by the un-flattering way in which he draws Dr Strange because he was made to look like an older and overweight version of Hitler.

Additional Comments
Remender has a penchant for using the words “Gaaaa” for his characters. Try counting how many were in the book.

There are some back-up pages (in the Marvel Universe Handbook format pages) that are designed to help both new and seasoned readers get a better grip on Voodoo’s history (as he had been a C-Lister up until now).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Movie Review - Whiteout


Movie Title
Whiteout
Year
2009
Genre
Action, Suspense, Comic Adaptation

Story
The movie starts 50 odd years ago, with a few Soviet soldiers trying to kill each other over some mysterious loot on a plane flying over the Antarctica. Their actions causes the plane to crash in the desolate Antarctic wasteland.

Cut to the present where U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale),, ready for a transfer back to warmer climate, is just 3 days away from leaving the Antarctic research complex before the winter arrives (that would leave the continent in darkness for the next 6 months). However, a dead body is discovered at remote location on the continent and piloted by resident pilot, Delfy (Columbus Short), she flies there to perform her investigative duty. As this is Antarctica's first ever homicide, the United Nations wanted the case “handled” well, and Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht, whom we last saw in the Spirit. *), a UN investigator, is brought in to assist.

*Review for the Spirit: http://jmerb.blogspot.com/search/label/Comic%20Hero

In the course of her investigation, she encounters the murderer, a mysterious bad guy, clad in winter-gear & wielding a pickax in temperatures of -55 (note the negative!). Although she manages to escape the assailant‘s clutches in their first encounter, the scuffle causes her to lose two fingers to frostbite.

All this leads to a final showdown with the murderer after the entire research facility and staff have left Antarctica. Those who were, due to contextual circumstances, stranded behind were Carrie’s trusted friend, Dr John Fury (Tom Skerritt), the pilot Delfy, UN investigator Pryce, Carrie and of course the villain!

Flashbacks were liberally inserted thru’out the movie to shed some light on Carrie’s battered self-confidence and trust issues due to some bad stuff that went down with her partner in Miami, Florida.

Acting
The acting is all around believable (can’t really say the same for the physics applied for the story environs) except for Gabriel Macht as Agent Pryce, whom I find to be quite stiff.

The villain was a little over the top (kinda like how Samuel Jackson and Al Pacino are over the top).

Overall
Some viewers may not know that this is yet another movie that is based on a comic book of the same name by writer Greg Rucka.

Kate looked absolutely stunning in the movie. Audiences may find it a tad hard to believe Kate as a US Marshall based in Antarctica where temperatures are sub-zero on a good sunny day. So it would be impossible for people to be moving around a snowstorm with their noses and mouths exposed (see photos).

The Flashbacks in various lengths repeated several times over the course of the movie weren’t used effectively and were quite distracting instead of helpful. The frostbite effects and CSI & autopsy processes were a tad too graphic.

Aside from those gripes, I quite enjoyed the movie despite it getting a lot of flak from the reviewing community.

Rating: 6/10

Friday, October 16, 2009

Comic Review - War of Kings 1-6


Title/Storyline
War of Kings 1-6
Publish Date/Year
2009
Creative Team
Abnett and Lanning, Paul Pelletier
Publisher
Marvel

Story
This event builds up from previous events including
- X-Men Deadly Genesis
- Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire
- X-Men: Emperor Vulcan
- X-Men: Kingbreaker
- Silent War

The above stories tell of the Return of Vulcan, Vulcan’s rise to power becoming Shi’ar’s new Emperor. Vulcan is an Omega Level Mutant*, who is Cyclops (Scott Summers) and Havok's (Alex Summers) long lost younger brother, often referred to as the 3rd Summers Brother in X-Men lore. Why the Inhumans changed their status quo and left Earth’s Moon to pursue their destiny in the stars among the Kree.
* meaning you wouldn’t want to have him as your enemy

The Series starts off with The Starjammers (now led by Havok and Polaris after Corsair's demise) arrive at the wedding of Crystal and Ronan The Accuser on Hala, the Kree Homeworld. Meanwhile, Vulcan was getting to know his Imperial guard and prep them for an opportunistic attack on the Kree during the wedding. The attack was vicious and abrupt, resulting in both sides sustaining major casualties. On the Kree side, Cho’d loses his right hand, Gorgon’s right leg is broken while Ronan was seriously hurt in the attack and L’ilandra abducted.

This prompts a militaristic response from the Inhuman/Kree. Mobilizing Maximus’ powerful new giant-robot machines that are powered by Black Bolt’s voice for the counter-attack.

most of the Shi'ar scenes were told from Gladiator’s viewpoint and we see his internal struggle between his duty to the Shi’Ar Throne, now ruled by a madman, and his personal loyalty to the now captive Lilandra, the rightful Shi’ar leader.

Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers execute Lilandra’s escape. With Gladiator on duty, they fail. However, this is when Gladiator switch sides!

#4 brings the Fraternity of the Raptors (see http://jmerb.blogspot.com/2009/07/comic-review-war-of-kings-darkhawk.html) into the series while Gladiator and Lilandra loyalists are staging a coup to re-take the throne from Vulcan. Vulcan retaliates by sending the Shi’Ar Death Commandos to quell the uprising. In the midst of all the mayhem, Lilandra is assassinated by a Raptor (who happens to be Darkhawk! Seriously!).

With Lilandra out of the picture, a peaceful resolution was no longer an option for Inhuman/Kree. Thus, the only way to end the war between Shi'ar and Inhuman/Kree Empires is with a massively destructive weapon Black Bolt & Maximus had devised – the T-Bomb (or terrigen Bomb). Once detonated, it will transform everyone within range a la Inhuman Terrigen-triggered Transformation. Hence uniting all as they will alas all be Inhumans. The only catch is, the T-Bomb is powered by Black Bolt’s voice. So for the T-bomb to reach Shi’Ar, Black Bolt must sacrifice himself!

Meanwhile back on Chandilar, Shi’Ar’s capital, the Shi’Ar have accepted Gladiator as their new ruler or Majestor.

Vulcan, of course will not let this happen lying down and heads for the incoming T-bomb with Black Bolt on board for the FINAL Showdown between the 2 kings. Crystal and Lockjaw teleport aboard the T-Bomb in a last ditch effort to save their beloved king and also render the Terrigen Crystals inert, but they return to Hala empty handed. The T-Bomd explodes with both monarchs aboard.

The explosion had caused a rift in the fabric of time and space. Something that Adam Warlock and the Guardians of the Galaxy,had been trying to prevent from happening in their series.

Art

Pelletier is another one of those unassuming & under-appreciated artists who consistently deliver solid good quality art. Altho’ his art is not as flashy as Jim Lee or J. Scott Campbell, he conveys much power and subtlety in his story-telling.

Additional Comments
Written by Marvel’s premiere Cosmic Scribes, This is how an EPIC event would be like when done right. One of the best reads this year that easily invokes that nostalgic feeling of suspense & awe when you were a kid. The story has that Epic sense of excitement that is rare in comicbooks these days.
One of the most shocking moments for me was when Ronan knelt down before Black Bolt (in the Prologue issue). Ronan, who has single-handedly fought both the Avengers and Fantastic Four to a standstill!

Despite having a massive cast of characters to play with, the characters all get good “screen time”. Gladiator, Ronan and Crystal each get their moments in the spotlight, foretelling their increasingly important roles in this and the aftermath of the WAR. Throw in the Starjammers, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Nova Corps and the Raptors and this event has all the right ingredients to be a successful epic story.

My only gripe is that the series doesn’t really end with the 6 issues but that readers will need to pick up additional issues to see how the loose ends are tied up. Other than that, I would only have this to say – PICK IT UP!


Order your copy at a MASSIVE 34% OFF:

War of Kings

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comic Review - Dark Reign:The List - X-Men


Title/Storyline
Dark Reign - The List - X-Men
Publish Date/Year
2009
Creative TeamMatt Fraction & Alan davis
Publisher
Marvel

Story
This Is more of a Namor story than X-Men but because he is technically an X-Men, hence the title.

Norman Osborn, Director of HAMMER, has declared war against Namor & Atlantis after Namor & Emma Frost betrayed him and the Dark Reign Cabal. His weapon – Marrina, Namor’s ex-wife, a former member of Alpha Flight, who has been turned into a giant (is 300 feet big enough?) sea-monster (because of he alien hybrid origin) that preys on Atlanteans.

Having no recourse but to swallow his pride and seek help from the X-Men (who now resides in the abandoned Asteroid M, floating off San Francisco’s coast), they devise a plan to address the problem. Most of the visceral action of Namor vs. Marrina happens off panel.

The issue ends without any real resolution to Namor & Norman’s situation other than Namor sending a message to him by flying to his office a la Superman and Lex Luthor.
Art What can I say about Alan Davis that hasn’t been said before? His work is consistently top-notch and under-appreciated. He delivers solid work every single time without skipping a beat. To some degree, his work, like George Perez’s & John Cassaday’s, is more consistent than even J Scott Campbell’s or Jim Lee’s altho’ their work is much sexier.

His composition/layouts, detail to lighting and bodily/facial expressions are flawless.

Additional CommentsIt is a great 1-shot to be read independently from the Dark Reign or The List issues. It’s also a great primer for fans or casual readers to pick up on what’s happened before in the Marvel Universe:
- Alpha Flight
- Marrina’s Marriage to Namor and her eventual monstrous transformation
- How Namor and Emma Frost betrayed Norman (Utopia Storyline)
- Why the X-Men’s HQ is now on Asteroid M

It was really good to see many of the older X-Men (pre-2000) back in action as a single team – Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Iceman, Angel & Psylocke.

I think this issue marks the beginning of a new era for the X-Men because as a fan, I had been kind of lost and disappointed with how the X-Men series had been developing (from House of M until now). Time to prime myself by catching up on my Astonishing, Uncanny & adjective-less X-Men.

There is a 2nd story in the issue: a reprint of Matt Fraction's first published work for Marvel: a Wolverine story. Guess this is a rather fair way for Marvel to justify their cover price of USD3.99. So far, the List issues have been pretty strong with good stories and art. This one is no different. A solid, albeit quick, read.

Pre-Order your 33% discounted copy here:http://astore.amazon.com/eareotbi-20/detail/0785142363

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not the same person, seriously!

Altho' they are both hot and resemble each other, they are NOT the same person!