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Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol


I recently finished reading the trades for Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol.

The Doom Patrol was originally published in My Greatest Adventure in 1963 by DC Comics. At that time it was really something very different. A band of misfit heroes consisting of a Robot with a Human Brain, A former Test Pilot attached to a Negative being, and size changing actress, all lead by a wheelchair bound genius.(two months before a certain Prof. X)

The Doom Patrol team was considered very strange and different. Also their villains broke the current mold set at that time also. They included  an immortal, a talking gorilla, a vegetable, animal and mineral man and a disembodied brain just to name a few.

The original run of the book lasted until issue 121, and again DC did something rare and different when the book concluded, they killed the entire team off.

Of course death in comics is temporary, and so the Doom Patrol returned to comics in the 70s, the only surviving original member being Robotman. However by the time they returned they seemed less strange more mainstream. That is how they remained through a couple of additional runs including one in the late 80s written by Paul Kupperberg. Over the years the team became much less weird and pretty standard for the times. That all changed when Grant Morrison took over the book with issue 19 in 1989. He not only made the book strange again but it borders on bizarre, The new team consists of Robotman again, a hermaphrodite negative being, a monkey girl with amazing mental powers and the strangest of all, Crazy Jane, a multiple personality, each having their own super powers. As an added bonus the wheelchair bound genius Niles Calder was back as the team leader.

Even stranger now are the villains of the book in Morrison’s run, The Scissormen, Red Jack, Mr. Nobody and the Brotherhood of Da Da, the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., The Cult of the Unwritten Book, aliens at war, The Shadowy Mr. Evans, the secret of the Pentagon and the Candlemaker.

Morrison writes the book as though he is writing from a stream of consciences. The ideas come fast and furious throughout this run, almost too fast to keep up with. The ideas are so different, so complex they take time to process and you can never fully understand what is going on.

Also each main character have their own story arc during the Morrison run, and no one character is the same when it’s all done.

It is also noted that Doom Patrol started out as a regular DC book but became part of the Vertigo line along the way. So it went from standard Super-Hero fair to an edgy mature read in just a couple of years. This allowed Morrison to explore some stuff that was a little taboo for mainstream comics at the time.

I collected this book issue by issue back in the 80s and 90s. Back in those days there were only a hand full of books which I could barely wait for from month to month, Doom Patrol being one of them.

So can I recommend the book. Hell ya, although it is different from the mainstream, and the stories and the characters are so bizarre, it keeps your interest up. Although some of you might not really be up for the whole destination, you can’t help but go along for at least part of the ride.

The complete Morrison run is available to purchase in six trade paperback volumes which can be found on amazon.

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Comics

 

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DCnU week one, I’ve read every single issue.

The DC universe has once again rebooted itself. This time everything starts anew, right after the conclusion of events in the mini-series Flashpoint.

DC has decided to launch this new Universe (DCnU) in 52 all new #1 issues.

Lets start off with one week prior. Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 were released on the same day, showing the readers how the new universe started and instantly showing us some of the differences in this universe.

Flashpoint #5 is the conclusion of Barry Allen the Flash’s story of being trapped in a alternate universe, in which he never became the Flash, Thomas Wayne is the Batman, Superman is an imprisoned alien, and Cyborg is the big gun in the DCU.

All along in the story, Barry Allen is convinced that The Reverse Flash is responsible for the new time line, however the real answer is surprising. In “fixing” the problem, The Flash actually creates a third time line, creating DCnU and introducing a mysterious character along the way.

I liked the Flashpoint storyline. It was a very interesting and entertaining way of creating this new universe as well as giving the creation a little depth and tragedy. So I think I can easily recommend Flashpoint as the introductory storyline for this new DC universe

 

 

Justice League #1 written by Geoff Johns, and drawn by Jim Lee.

It is noted that this issue takes place 5 years prior to all other DCnU titles. There is a lot of action is this book and some really great artwork. It shows a Batman being hunted by the law. The storyline hints at a return/introduction of a main DC villain, and the hunt for clues leads a younger version of Batman and Green Lantern to confront Superman for the very first time. I love the last line in this book, and look forward to the next issue.

OK, week one of DCnU

I’m going to go through these titles in alphabetical order.

Action Comics #1 written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Rags Morales.

This book takes place 6 years prior to all the other DCnU titles. I have to confess right from the start, I absolutely love Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman, so I was really looking forward to this title. Right off the bat it is a totally different Superman. This Superman is an outlaw, a renegade vigilante, trying to right perceived wrongs anyway he can, and fighting the law while doing it. Also in this issue is the standard cast of characters Lois, Jimmy, White, and of course Lex Luthor. In this story Luthor is working with the authorities to capture Superman. This book had a lot of surprises about the characters I know and love. I really enjoyed it and will continue reading this one.

 

 

 

Animal Man #1, written by Jeff Lemire, art by Travel Foreman

Once again I hold a special place in my heart for this character because of Grant Morrison’s brilliant run on the book twenty years ago. The character of Animal Man (Buddy Baker) is very much the same as I remember him, a family man. The book has scenes with his family from the start and then moves into some superhero stuff and then comes this dream sequence which is kinda awesome and creepy and had me thinking, “is this a horror book?”. The dream sequence also introduces the main villains of the book as well . The book ends on a creepy note that are related to events in the dream. I really enjoyed the book and this would be one of the titles that I would tell someone, they should buy.

Batgirl #1, written by Gail Simone, drawn by Ardian Syaf.

Barbara Gordon is Batgirl again (hooray!). The book is written by Gail Simone, who really knows how to write female hero characters. The book starts off with a mystery, and adds back story about “the shooting” and then mentions the miracle. So there is lots of superhero action, but a cut above the standard fair. The artwork is great and Batgirl is just plain fun.

Batwing #1 written by Judd Winick, art by Ben Oliver.

So this book is about an African Bat Character. It also establishes that Batman Incorporated is still around and funding heroes across the globe. Judd Winick has always been hit or miss for me and I consider this one a miss. Ya, it okay superhero stuff, but just okay. Nothing special and I can’t see any reason from the first issue why I would be compelled to buy any additional books.

Detective Comics #1, written by Tony S. Daniel, art by Ryan Winn.

Okay a Detective #1, there has not been one of those in over 70 years. Bruce Wayne is batman, the only Batman and he is in pursuit of the Joker. Everything is the same but just a little different, something is going on between Batman and Joker and a mysterious third party. The cops are after the dark knight but he still has an alley in Gordon. Good story so far and solid art work. ……and is Alfred a hologram?

 

 

 

 

 

Green Arrow #1, written by JT Krul with art by Dan Jurgens.

This is a younger version of Green Arrow, who owns a large corporation which funds his superhero activities as well as other heroes as mentioned in later DC books. This is very standard superhero stuff, nothing new, nothing exciting. There have been much better Green Arrow books in the past, the recent past. So pass this one by.

Hawk and Dove #1, written by Sterling Gates with art by Rob Liefeld (ya, Rob Liefeld)

So this is crap, garbage, shit. This book could have been released in the 90s. Oh wait Liefeld was drawing this in the 90s. The story is stuff covered in the past, oh by brother is dead, poor me. It is absolutely horrible. The only thing you really get out of it is that Crisis did happen in the new DC universe.

Justice League International #1, written by Dan Jurgens with art by Aaron Lopresti

Again we have another title that seems to be almost right from the 90s. An International version of the Justice League which is lead by Booster Gold. The series is written by Booster Gold creator Dan Jurgens who had some popularity on his 90s run of Superman. The Team consists of Guy Gardner, Rocket Read, Fire, Ice, Vixen, , August General of Iron and Godiva. Batman is also among them as an unsanctioned member. This version of Justice League, unlike Justice League #1 takes place in current DCnU continuity. Now I was a fan of the 90s version of the team, but that had to due a lot with the humor of the book. This current title has no humor and is pretty much playing it straight. I’m not really sure what the point of the book is and why the need to have a title filled with lots of unknown characters, but it was a pretty decent first issue and I’ll stick by it (for a while).

Men of War #1, (Joseph Rock, written by Ivan Brandon, art by Tom Derenick, Navy Seals, written by Jonathan Vankin, art by Phil Winslade.)

Okay So there are two stories in the first issue. The first introduces a new Sgt. Rock (ugh…), thats right the grandson of the original, but now deployed in the Middle east. I can’ tell you how much I hate this concept. Sgt Rock, was not only a DC character he was pretty much Joe Kubert’s character. I feel that the two are so much part of each other, you cannot have one without the other (even if its a new version).

The next story Navy Seals, just seem to be a really cliché war melodrama, piece of crap.

Both stories have cardboard characters in cardboard situations with no cartoony war stories which you can’t feel invested in at all. Seems to me the only reason they did this book was to try(and fail) to keep the Sgt. Rock franchise fresh and modern. Maybe in the future, with a better writer, but not with this guy.

OMAC #1, written by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen with art by Keith Giffen.

I’m a big Jack Kirby fan. I really loved the 70s stuff he did for DC, and OMAC was no exception. So that being said I really enjoyed this version. Unlike the original series this one takes place in present DC continuity and not the future. Also this book contains a new version of the Cadmus Project, another Kirby creation. The story in this first issues does not have much of a storyline so far, just OMAC breaking into Cadmus and stealing something and hints about upcoming stuff. What sells me on the book is the Giffen/Kirby style artwork and the energy it gives off. The panels are fun to look at and really has a very Kirby feel to them. I want to see what happens and I really just want to stare at the pages each month, so I’m In.

 

 

Static Shock #1, written by Scott McDaniel with art by John Rozum.

I never read the original Static Shock series or watched the cartoon. The book is set in a future version of the DCnU future. It an okay read, lots of standard superhero stuff going. However, I did not love the character, or really care about him. Also since this is the future of the DC universe, if its not Legion who cares? No, I don’t think this is my taste. Gonna skip it from now on.

Stormwatch #1, written by Paul Cornell with art by Miguel Sepulveda.

I’m not really sure how to take this one. Apparently Stormwatch is now part of the DC universe. So the question is how can a team like this exist along side of the Justice League, would the Justice League let this team go on, if so why? Also I am sure there are gonna be lots of geeky Apollo vs Superman stuff going on. A surprise is Martian Manhunter is in this book, but it also refers to him belonging to Justice League in the past. So this one has lots of question for me. Therefore, I am going to keep picking it up, until I get my answers.

Swamp Thing #1, written by Scott Snyder, with art by Yanick Paquette.

I have been a Swamp Thing fan, since I discovered the character back in the 70s and then just went wild about the character during Alan Moore’s run in the 80s. However, after that there was never really a writer who, well could write the character. It was like Alan Moore created this Swamp God, and nobody knew what to do with him. Recently the Swamp Thing came back to light, during Brightest Day (heh).

The book starts off with Alec Holland, thats right Alec Holland alive and (maybe not so well). Also there is an appearance by Superman in the book who is acting very much like the old Superman we know, other than a costume change.

In the end we do finally see the title character, in a I can’t wait for the next issue kind of way.

The story is moody and well written and the artwork is amazing and I love the Swamp Thing, so of course I’m gonna keep picking it up. 🙂

Okay thats week one, I know not a lot of detail about each book, but just enough to let you know if I’m gonna keep collecting each issue. So far the DCnU is really not so so new, but its kind of fresh, and still there are larger question about what really has changed in this universe and why? Well I guess for that reason alone, we all will probably keep reading DC, to find out 🙂

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Comics

 

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Review of Captain America:The First Avenger

This is my review of the movie Captain America : The First Avenger.

Captain America is a comic book character which was first created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Captain America was one of the first patriotic heroes in comics and was followed by many other prior to and during America’s involvement in World War II.

The original Captain America series lasted till 1950 and had a short revival in 1953. The Character was brought back from suspended animation in 1963 by Marvel Comics in the fourth issue of the Avengers and later was given his own series again. That series has been in print ever since.

The original comic told the story of Steve Rogers, a meek man, made into a super soldier by science in order to defeat Hitler and the Axis. Later during the 1960s revival it added an additional layer to the character as also being a man out of his own time.

 

It is noted that I saw the 2D version of Captain America: The First Avenger.

The film follows the original story very well, even adding layers to the character, giving him dimension and depth. Steve Rogers is a main who desperately wants to fight for his country, in the most heroic fashion. He knows a bully when he sees one, and feels compelled to do something about it. The character feels very genuine, wholesome and brave without being hokey.

Much of the character’s presence has to go to Chris Evans portrayal of Captain America. I did not like Mr. Evans in Fantastic Four so I went into the film having little hope for his performance. And although not stellar, it is very solid and believable. I liked him in the film and that made a big difference in accepting the character.

The film also features Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, who did a very good job and just oozed evil whenever he was on the screen.

Captain America is of course a summer action movie. I think as far as this goes it succeeds very well. The film moved along nicely with never a dull moment. I enjoyed the action scenes but the story was never sacrificed for this. Also the special effects are very low-key and not heavy-handed, which is very refreshing, and this lets the story carry the film.

Can I recommend this film. Yes, I really enjoyed this one, one of the better comic movies this year, far superior to Green Lantern and Thor.

Also, once again there is a little bonus footage after the credits. All Hail Joss Whedon!!!!

 

One last thing. Nazis are the best villains: Example, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the villains are Nazis,  good movie. Last Crusade,  the villains are Nazis, good movie. Temple of Doom, no Nazis, sucked. I rest my case 🙂

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Comics, Movies

 

Green Lantern

This is a review of the Green Lantern movie, Starring Ryan Reynolds, written by Greg Berlanti and Michael Green and directed by Martin Campbell. It is noted that I had seen the 2D version of the film.

Green Lantern is based upon the DC Comics character of the same name. The comic character was first introduced in Showcase #22 in 1959, written by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Gil Kane.  It is the story of test Pilot Hal Jordan who receives a magic ring from a dying alien.

Over the years the story and the character has been updated, to stay with the times and refresh the title. However, it has always stayed true to the essential parts of the origin.

The movie also keeps these essential part of the Green Lantern origin.

The Green Lantern movie is of course a summer movie. By this I mean It is an action movie which is designed as part of the summer blockbuster season, and it’s goal is to fill seats and sell popcorn, with this goal in mind it has already succeeded.

I did not like this film.

Although, all the elements of the character were there, the story felt empty and  prolonged and many times I would think to myself “please just get on with it”. The film also included a subplot that was completely unnecessary. The film would have benefited if the editing had been tightened up.

Also , this film is wall to wall CGI to the extreme. In many cases the CGI appears poorly done and many of the scenes do not appear “real” and because of this there is no suspension of disbelief, therefore I could not buy into the premise. Really it is way too much when even the heroes costume is CGI.

One of the biggest faults of the film is casting Ryan Reynolds as the lead. He portrays the character much the same as he portrays most of the characters in his other films, wisecracking, brash and with too much humor. This is a movie about a comic book hero that does not act very heroic. Please don’t think that I do not like Ryan Reynolds, there are other films that I enjoy him in very much, most of those are comedies.

I also hated the design of the film, it was way over the top, from costume design to the design of the power battery, planet OA and the rings themselves. Obviously no one in this film had ever heard the motto “less is more” more like, more is not even close enough.

I have been a fan of the Green Lantern comics for many years and never in my wildest dreams ever thought there would ever be a movie. Now I feel like there will never be a good movie.

The movie industry keeps making films based on comics, because they see dollar signs. However, it is only those rare times when some film directors are fans of the characters that the films succeed and everyone wins. You can’t expect just because the main character wears spandex that your gonna hit it out of the park, …. and certainly Green Lantern is no home run.

Although, Green Lantern is not a terrible film, I cannot recommend it, there have been better films this season, Super 8 being one of them.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Comics, Movies

 

Alan Moore’s From Hell

From Hell

This is a review of Alan Moore’s graphic novel From Hell.

Alan Moore is the British comic writer, who has written such book as V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, Miracleman, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and of course Watchmen.

I first accounted the prologue of this comic in the Anthology book Taboo in 1991. To be honest, at that time, reading it out of context as a lone story I did not  “get it” Still, I collected the next two issues of Taboo and then………it was canceled. From Hell however, would continue on a couple of years later as its own comic. This book did not have a regular release schedule and sometimes it would be years till the next issues. Therefore I stopped collecting……….and never followed the story after the second issue (the fifth chapter).

Years later Alan Moore would finally complete the book and it was collected in its entirety in 1999 published by its artist Eddie Campbell.

From Hell is the story of Jack the Ripper. It is a historic fictional tale set in the time and place of the original killings, 1888, London (Whitechapel).

Alan Moore has created an engrossing tale about the Jack the Ripper murders of five prostitutes who were killed and mutilated. Jack the Ripper is considered by many to be the first serial killer. It has remained a focal point in history due to the fact that the killer was never caught and his identity never revealed. There have been many speculations and theories about the killer and Alan Moore explores one of these theories in his story.

The story that Mr. Moore has expanded on, within these pages is that the murders occurred to cover up the birth of a child by Prince Albert with a Common woman Annie Crook, and that the five women tried to blackmail the royal family to keep it quiet.

From Hell is rich and complex in story and character motivations. We are introduced to an abundance of characters, so much so that From Hell reads like an assemble cast, never focusing on one or a few characters but expanding on many. Every character is given their reasonings for their actions and some historic evidence for these actions.

It is very important to note that this is not a murder mystery. We are aware of the killers identity from nearly the beginning. It is this knowledge which most of the story comes from……. We as voyeurs are allowed to watch as different characters have their own ideas about the killer and his identity.

The artist for the series is Eddie Campbell, who also published the collected volume.

It is noted that one of the reason I had so much trouble “getting it” with the original prologue is the artwork. Eddie Campbell artwork can be best described as scratchy in nature. The characters are not drawn clearly and in many cases I can only tell apart the characters when their names are mentioned in the story. However, it does fit the story in many cases, giving an older feel. Also Mr. Campbell does a very good job recreating Victorian England. Would I ever seek any of his other work out ? NO.

Here I must mention, that From Hell, is very much for adults, with many adult themes. Above murder and killing there is much nudity and also scenes of homosexuality. I would like to point out, that none of this is done for shock and that it all has to do with character motivations. Meaning it is all about the story.

Also included in the book are two Appendix, the first being text which Alan Moore explains page by page his sources for the story elements and his reasoning for using them……..it is amazing, to see all these different books (facts and speculations) on the Ripper murders used to create his own work of fiction. The other appendix is a graphic representation of all the theories of the Ripper murders even ones not used as part of the book.

Is From Hell a good comic………. Yes, it is probably one of the best things Alan Moore has ever written. It is one of the best examples of the use of comics as a real grown up medium and not just Superhero stuff.

Who should read From Hell, anyone who enjoys a good story and does not mind the adult themes within.

From Hell: The Movie

So………………There is a movie with the title From Hell, it is about the Jack the Ripper murders…….it is set in Victorian England……………run run away as fast as you can.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Comics

 

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Thor

This is my review of the movie Thor, released by Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment. It is written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne and directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is rated PG-13.

Thor is based on the Marvel Comic of the same name. It is the story of the Norse God Thor, set in the modern age. The comic and movie both, blends mythology with superhero action.

The comic has been continually released by Marvel comics for nearly fifty years. Thor’s first appearance was in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug 1962). That issue was written by Stan Lee (who makes a cameo appearance in the film), penciled by Jack Kirby and Inked by Joe Sinnott.

The high points of the comic has been the Lee and Kirby run, a long storyline in the 80s by Walt Simonson and recently a storyline by J. Michael Straczynski, who gets a story credit for the film.

I just want to note that I saw the 2D version of the film (my rant about 3D versions for another time).

The film, pretty much mirrors the characters of the comic, with some slight changes and updating. However I think that the character of Loki, Thor’s brother is handled slightly better in the film and given better motivation for his actions.

The modest summary of the plot is Thor finds himself banished to earth, and must save the girl, and his father, and become a better Norse god for doing so 🙂 I HATE SPOILERS, so I won’t do it (ever).

With that being said, lets get this out of the way, right now, Thor is an action movie. No highbrow message to be found here, this film is all about special effects, explosions and popcorn. Does that necessarily make this a bad film. No, it’s actually a pretty good film. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and found it to be very entertaining. The special effect are living large in this one, as the entire realm of Asgard is created, as well as a planet populated with frost giants and the super cool Destroyer.

All I can say about the cast is they do an adequate job. There are no stunning performance here. Although the cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman and that guy from Good Will Hunting. They have all done better jobs in better movies. I think the stand out and underplayed performance in this film is Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki. As for Chris Hemsworth, I believe that he did a much better job in his ten minutes of screen time in Star Trek.

Is this film for everyone? No. Many will find the fantasy aspect, too much, or plot line too little. I don’t think many of my married friends will be bringing their wives to this one either.

Thor is one of many Marvel Entertainment movies that have been released, including the upcoming Captain America which are leading up to next years Avenger’s movie. Like the other films this one also includes post credit scene with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

If you love comics or action movies I think that you will be highly entertained by Thor. If the typical summer movie season is not your thing then pass it by.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2011 in Comics, Movies

 

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Google Celebrating Will Einser’s 94th Birthday

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Today I noticed that google has posted an image celebrating Will Einer’s 94th Birthday.

that is geeky cool !

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2011 in Comics

 
 
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