Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weekly Comics for May 12-19, 2010

American Vampire #3 (Fantastic stuff, I'm very much enjoying both stories, although Snyder's lead story is head and shoulders above King's back story)

Girl Comics #2 (Amazing artwork on this one from Colleen Coover, Jill Thompson, etc. Really dug the Shamrock and Inhumans stories, too)

Origins Of Marvel Comics #1 (One- or two-page origin stories with unbelievable artists. The choices for who gets origins seem a bit random, but there's a lot of good stuff here. A pleasant surprise)

Enter The Heroic Age #1 (Wasn't crazy about the Black Widow story, but every other one in here I really liked, and I *loved* the Hawkeye/Mockingbird and Thunderbolts stories)

Daytripper #6 (Depressing, but still gorgeous)

Unwritten #13 (Another promising new story starts, and this is by far my favorite new Vertigo series, even over Sweet Tooth and American Vampire)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why I Loved This Week's Lost (But Understand Why You Might Have Hated It)

Seems like Lost has been getting more and more divisive with the fans as it nears its conclusion. And this week's episode, which features none of the main characters in anything but a tiny cameo role, really pissed some folks off. For me, I thought it was as good, and as important, as the Richard Alpert-focused Ab Aeterno.

Spoilers, obviously.

There are still a *lot* of unanswered questions. And I think it's clear, with basically four and a half hours left, that we're going to have unanswered questions. Probably some big ones. And while I'm a bit worried we'll get the "It was all God, OK?" crap ending like Battlestar Galactica, causing me to recant any love I had for the series, it's a mild worry.

There were so many great thematic parallels going on in this week's episode that answered questions about why things on the island have been they way they've been. Echoes of things in past episodes. Like:

*Raised by another. Obviously, that's a big one. If Janney's unnamed mom hadn't dashed the brains out of the real mom with an "I'm sorry," the whole thing with Jakob and Smokey never happens. Maybe the Well of Souls remains unguarded from the corruption of man, etc. but most of the bad things that have happened to the characters we care about on the island never come to pass.

*Crazy moms in the jungle. Janney's character is the beginning of the archetype for Rousseau and for Claire.

*Black and white. They've been hitting this one pretty hard all season, but clearly Janney set up the dichotomy early, dressing the infants in black and white and introducing them to the game, playing them against each other to determine which was better suited as the guardian of the island.

*"You're special." Walt's specialness eventually disappeared down the memory hole, Aaron's specialness became less of an issue too now that he's back on the mainland being raised by Grandma, but there's still Ben, plus the "special" implied by being a candidate, and it's clear that such a thing either began here, or was being carried forward here. The notion of special children with a destiny, and what happens when they either fulfill it or rebel against it, has been part of the island's DNA from very early on.

There were also concrete answers to "Who are Adam and Eve in the cave?" which was never a mystery I really cared if they solved, but it was nice to get a concrete, emotionally resonant answer. And a pretty good explanation of who and what Smokey is, even if there are some pretty major gaps left to explain *exactly* what happened when Jakob pushed his brother into the golden light. And what exactly the argument is between Smokey and Jakob about people, whether they're good or bad, and why Smokey and Jakob can't kill each other.

So... lots of answers, great acting, and some nice thematic resonance with what Lost has always been about. Great episode for me.

That said... this whole season has been stop and start, pacing-wise, and they've wasted a lot of time on side stories that had little to no impact on anything, and this episode, like the Desmond episode, would have been just as effective three or four episodes in, when there was still plenty of time to explore the ramifications. As is, it does look like the last few episodes are going to have either an unfortunate breakneck pace or they're going to leave out a lot of the moments and answers we've all been waiting six seasons for.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekly Comics for May 5, 2010

Or, as we call it around these parts, "the weekly comics that nearly killed Randy." Seriously, flooding in Tennessee and incompetence on the parts of some members of Diamond and UPS led to me driving to San Antonio unexpectedly on Thursday so I could get my comics a day and a half late. After two competitors in town had gotten theirs practically on time.

Not my best week ever. But a good week for comics, as it turns out.

Captain America #602-604 (Lost interest during Reborn, but finally decided to give this one another look, and I like the updated Watchdogs. Still unconvinced bringing Steve Rogers back was a good idea, but the Bucky/Falcon stories continue to be pretty strong)

Demo Vol. 2 #4 (Another great one-off from Wood and Cloonan. This is actually a stronger series than the first one, and I loved the first one)

Hellboy in Mexico (Hellboy and Mexican wrestlers battle vampires, witches and the Devil in '50s Mexico. Written by Mignola, art by Corben. And it's actually *more* awesome than that sounds)

I, Zombie #1 (Fantastic artwork by Allred, and an intriguing, funny premise from Chris Roberson. Fans of Dead Like Me or True Blood should give this a look... as should anyone else, really - it's a great Vertigo launch for $1)

The Killer Modus Vivendi #1 (Reminiscent of the excellent first issue of the original series, as the Killer comes out of retirement and gets involved in something political, big and dangerous)

Orc Stain #3 (Stunning artwork on this one, and Stokoe is really creating an interesting world with his grungy orcs)

Sweet Tooth #9 (The origin of Jefferd continues, and it's as heart-breaking as his betrayal was at the end of the first arc)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Weekly Comics for April 28, 2010

Usagi Yojimbo #128 (Another great one-off story with Usagi as he travels around the country and meets a family... the Usagi/kid thing has been getting more focus since the introduction of Johtaro, and I find that really interesting)

The Terminator #2 (Really enjoying this so far... great art, compelling characters)

Marvel Zombies 5 #2 (The series is increasingly less about zombies and more about weird C-list characters working for A.R.M.O.R. - and I am totally OK with that)

The Guild #2 (Fun, great art by Rugg, interesting look at the early days of these characters)

GI Joe Cobra II #4 (Not as strong as the opener, but still really good)

A-Team War Stories Murdock (In a similar vein, not as entertaining as the Hannibal one-shot, but kinda fun)