Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CW's "Arrow" evokes both Green Arrow and Batman

Green Arrow has had something of a television resurgence in recent years with new generations being introduced to him on "Brave & The Bold" and "Smallville", and now he's headlining the CW's most-watched-ever new show debut. I was excited for the premiere because the creators of some of my favorite things, Marc Guggenheim ("Young X-Men", "Eli Stone") and Greg Berlanti ("Everwood", "Eli Stone") created it.

What they've come up with is sort of a GA/Batman hybrid, heavy on the Batman. The setup is mostly familiar to comic book fans: Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen gets shipwrecked on an island for five years. While there, he becomes an expert archer and a martial arts badass. When he's finally rescued, he returns to Starling City with a list of names of the powerful and corrupt who he must take down as a dark nighttime vigilante. By day, he keeps up the playboy facade so that no one will suspect his true purpose. Unlike either Batman or Green Arrow, Ollie has a family in this version: a dad who was in the shipwreck, a mom who's remarried to dad's business partner, and a little sister he's nicknamed "Speedy".

Stephen Arnell is engaging as Oliver Queen/Arrow with a distinction between his playboy and vigilante sides that reminds me of early "Batman: The Animated Series", and a lot of the watchability of the show comes from him and the other young actors playing his sister, his ex Laurel Lance, and his best friend Tommy Merlyn. (I also love poor doomed Jamey Sheridan as Ollie's dad.) Unfortunately, the villain in the pilot is a cartoony mobster type and the two main police detectives have no personality whatsoever, even though one of them has good reason to hate Ollie (not adequately explained until almost the end of the hour).

My only major complaint is that I hate that Ollie is a killer. As I mentioned, he somehow learned ninja skills on the island, and during a kidnap attempt shortly after he returns home, Ollie deliberately breaks the neck of one of his attackers to keep his Arrow mission secret. I think superhero characters usually work better when they're above that -- Punisher and Wolverine being a couple of exceptions that prove the rule -- and that's especially true of the iconic DC characters. I could maybe forgive the scene if Ollie seemed tortured by it or if there was some indication that he was working to find a different path, but he seems utterly remorseless.

Still, I liked this better than early "Smallville" (not to mention the New 52 GA) and I certainly will watch it for a while and see if some of the characters improve and if maybe it wouldn't kill them to add just a touch of humor. Based on their names, some of the supporting characters have the potential to evolve into familiar names, and as you can see in the trailer above they'll be using DC's Huntress, Deadshot and Deathstroke too.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

NYCC Announcement: “She Blinded Me With Science”

 

from the official press release  = NEW YORK COMIC CON 2012 ANNOUNCEMENT:

GT LABS & COMIXOLOGY ANNOUNCE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION DEAL
FOR THEIR LINE OF COMICS ABOUT SCIENTISTS!

Deal debuts with three titles:
Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb

Two-Fisted Science: Stories About Physicists

and
Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards

October 13th, 2012 – New York, NY – Today during the comiXology panel at this year’s New York Comic Con 2012, G.T. Labs, a boutique publisher that specializes in graphic novels about scientists and comiXology – the revolutionary digital comics platform – announced an all encompassing digital distribution deal. Now comic fans everywhere can go to comiXology to read three critically acclaimed G.T. Labs titles: Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb, Two-Fisted Science and Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards.

All G.T. Labs’ titles will be available across comiXology’s entire platform - including iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 and the Web.

G.T. Labs is the exact type of addition to comiXology that speaks to providing comic books that have appeal to a wider audience. They have built themselves quite a following with their line of graphic novels that singularly focus on science and scientists,” said co-founder and CEO David Steinberger. “We’re very pleased to add these titles to the nearly 30,000 comic book and graphic novels already on the comiXology platform.”

“Our line of graphic novels and comiXology are an excellent fit,” said G.T. Labs publisher Jim Ottaviani. “ComiXology’s Guided View provides a great reading experience, and it’s appropriate to see their technology bring stories of science to comic fans around the world.”

Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb focuses on the lives of two scientists: J. Robert Oppenheimer and Leo Szilard. The graphic novel chronicles their personal stories, starting in pre-WWII Europe and continuing through the Manhattan Project to the height of the Cold War. It is a cautionary tale about the uneasy alliance between the military, the government, and the beginnings of “big science.”

Two-Fisted Science features true stories - some serious, some humorous, and some both - from the history of science. The graphic novel highlights scientists such as Richard Feynman, Galileo, Niels Bohr, and Werner Heisenberg, along with cosmologists, mathematicians and more.

Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards tells the story of Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, two scientists who found and fought over the fossil treasures discovered in the American West in the late 1800s. It also introduces the young artist Charles R. Knight who almost single-handedly brought dinosaurs back to life for an awestruck public.

About comiXology
Founded in 2007 with the mission of bringing comics to people everywhere, comiXology revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel world. With the development of the comiXology digital comics platform - with buy-once, read-anywhere availability across iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 and the Web - comiXology provides the easiest way worldwide for people to enjoy comics anywhere they happen to be! Regularly ranking as the top grossing iPad app in the entire iTunes App Store, comiXology is one of the leading drivers of the iPad economy. Providing the most digital comics on the most devices, comiXology will not stop until everyone on the face of the planet has been turned into a comic book fan.

About G. T. Labs
G. T. Labs began publishing true stories about scientists in graphic novel form in 1997. Its books have been honored with award nominations (and some actual awards, too!) from the American Library Association, Booklist, the Texas Library Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the comics-specific Eisners. They also comprise the only body of work to have received positive reviews in both Physics World and Vampirella Magazine and everything in between, from The Comics Journal to Variety to Discover to Entertainment Weekly to Oprah.com

Horrorween month: Little Green God of Agony

 

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The Little Green God of Agony Takes Over The Web
First web comic exclusive on
www.stephenking.com

from the official press release . . . . . . .


October 13, 2012- The first horror web comic content exclusive to www.stephenking.com, The Little Green God of Agony, will go live on October 15th, 2012.   Stephen King’s short  story is the opener of Stephen Jones’s 2011 anthology, A Book of Horrors, and is also  included in Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four. 

The comic tells from the point of view of his doubting nurse the tale of a paraplegic millionaire who wants to exorcise his pain. Adapted and illustrated by well-known comic artist Dennis Calero (X-Factor,Legion of Super-Heroes) the web comic will run in serial installments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for eight weeks.
greengod
I have been a huge Stephen King fan for as long as I can remember,”explained Calero. “To be able to work on ANYTHING with him is an honor. And to make this announcement at New York Comic Con is icing on the cake!”


Full Synopsis of Little Green God of Agony:
Katherine "Kat" MacDonald is an RN hired to care for wealthy client Andrew Newsome, who has gone from doctor to doctor trying to find a quick cure for his lingering pain to no avail. She is convinced that he would overcome the injuries he sustained in an airplane crash but he is unwilling to endure the pain of physical therapy. In desperation Newsome has hired a healer, Reverend Rideout, who promises to "expel" his pain.

About Dennis Calero

Calero is an award-winning writer and artist who helped developed "X-Men Noir" for Marvel Comics, as well as having worked on DC and Dark Horse Comics.  In addition, Calero has worked on entertainment projects for CBS Films and Weed Road Pictures and also adapted "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury as a graphic novel for Hill & Wang.

He is currently working on "Masks" for Dynamite Entertainment, "I,Vampire" for DC Comics and recently co created X-Men Noir and Devil Inside with his writing partner Todd Stashwick. (www.toddstashwick.com)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, ROUND TWELVE = Sum things up

avengersvsxmen12preview1jpg-9d946f_640w

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #12 (Marvel, December 2012) Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman, story. Jason Aaron, script. Adam Kubert, pencils. John Dell with Mark Morales & Adam Kubert, inks. Laura Martin with Justin Ponsor, colors. Chris Eliopoulos, letters.

**** SPOILER ALERT - - - I just can’t help it! ****************

This series has now pulled off what I did not think was possible at Marvel - -a big mega-event that did not confuse and confound, and that actually impacts on the Marvel universe and future stories. Marvel finally put out a cross-over event that keeps the main storyline confined to the core book (rather than force wallets and purses to open for all the related titles in order to follow the story). Throughout a twelve issue run AVENGERS VS. X-MEN remained engaging, entertaining, and amusing. The team of writers managed a carefully-crafted blend with a nice and deft balance of humor and seriousness. A smaller team of artists kept things interesting and maintained a premium quality level of illustration.

Avengers-vs-X-Men-12-cover

As things move forward with the new Marvel NOW universe and the changes yet to come, AVENGERS VS. X-MEN will probably be seen as the end tale of the previous universe and the bridge to the new world. For that reason it will have a place of prominence among other recent epic stories - - such as AVENGERS DISSASSEMBLED, CIVIL WAR, and SECRET INVASION (ranked in my order of preference with AVENGERS VS. X-MEN as #4). . Marvel NOW promises not to be a complete makeover = just the same players but with different perspective.

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN was a good run, and a good read. However, I’m relieved that it is finally ending. Most readers could figure out after Issue #10 where things were heading and it became a little slow to follow as it played out. For that reason, the end is a little less satisfying than anticipated. It’s clearly a case where the sum is not greater than the whole of the parts but rather the parts are greater than the sum. Here are some things worth noting in the final Issue #12:

1) FOREGONE CONCLUSIONS DEPARTMENT: In the opening pages Tony Stark shares the answer to stopping the Phoenix after weeks of isolation as he spent many sleepless days and nights searching for the solution. But before revealing the new plan, Tony shares his thought process (pure conjecture, as he says) and puts an unusual spin on the motivations of the pure Phoenix energy. It was upset when Wanda/Scarlet Witch used her chaos magic to proclaim “No More Mutants” and so the Phoenix then declared “More Mutants” beginning with Hope (apparently created by the Phoenix , says Tony.) This man clearly needs some sleep. Then, his big reveal is that Scarlet Witch and Hope must work together to halt the Phoenix. Isn’t that something that The Avengers have been working towards for some time, especially since early on they decided to get Hope away from the X-Men and train her at K’un Lun? So, Tony is just stating the obvious here and trying to put his stamp on it (like a true politician). All of which he says he learned through the “radical new idea” of “faith”. Ben Grimm/Thing’s response is a classic: “Soon as he starts passin’ around the Kool-Aid, I’m out.”

2) Credit the art team for effectively depicting the severity of Cyclops now containing all of the Phoenix Force as its’ destructive tendencies begin to set the Earth afire. There is a great two-page panel that opens the final battle that needs no words to indicate the powers at work.

3) The modifications to Cyclops’ appearance as he fully absorbs all the power of the Phoenix Force (no more protective eye visors, yet another change to the costume) remind me quite a bit of the appearance and look of the current Phoenix over at Atlas Comics. Oops!

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4) Surprise ending! ( Sure, nobody except Professor X gets killed. Hard to believe, but you know in the comic universe it takes an awful lot to kill a hero - - they usually just get stunned pretty bad.) Here’s what surprised me: In an about face, the Phoenix Force does inhabit Hope for awhile. So the very thing the Avengers were trying to prevent they help to make occur. And the very thing that Cyclops was trying to attempt (at first, before he was corrupted) - - teach Hope how to control the Phoenix Force so she could save mutant kind – he helps to make occur through his loss of the Phoenix energy force.

5) Because Hope learned her lessons well at K’un Lun she does have control and releases and disperses the Phoenix Force, scattering the powers across the universe, and creating scores of new mutants in the process. Who knew? (Sounds like the beginnings of a new title to me - - - The New NOW Mutants Academy.)

6) There are some nice reveals in the ending conversation between Cap and an imprisoned Cyclops. Cap feels responsibility for allowing “the world to hate and fear them (mutants) for far too long. I won’t make that mistake again.” I really don’t think he should get all the credit for that, but whatever. And this paves the way for Cap’s solution - - integration a la THE UNCANNY AVENGERS. The revelation concerning the Phoenix Force is that it isn’t a force of destruction (Oh really? What about all the planets and civilizations it destroyed on its’ pathway to Earth?) but rather a true force for mutant salvation. (I’m sorry . . . I feel this connection is fragile but let’s give it up for artistic license and an easy way/rationale for the writers to pull together what’s coming next). So, that means that the Dark Phoenix wasn’t really the true Phoenix, but rather the dark manifestations of that force when used by people with troubled or dark personalities (like Jean Grey and Cyclops?). Writer Jason Aaron uses Cyclops to try and make the definitive statement about this on the closing page when he has him proclaim: “That’s the thing about the Phoenix . . . . there always has to be destruction . . . before the rebirth.” If you say so, blinky.

**********

For the last time, here is my five-star scale to rate the spin-off and secondary titles in this series = one star for good writing; one star for good art; one star for a well-done stand-alone story that can be enjoyed as is; one star for effectively connecting to the bigger main storyline and either moving that along in an important way or revealing some important background information and/or insight; and one star for making me want to read further and return to this particular title.

UNCANNY X-MEN #19 (December 2012) Kieron Gillen, writer. Dale Eaglesham, artist. Matt Milla, colorist. VC’s Joe Caramagna, letterer. WARNING: The events of this issue take place at the same time as AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #12.

As events progressed in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN the Phoenix Five struggled with the pure energy force corrupting their intentions and bringing out their darker natures. All the power ended up being absorbed by Cyclops who went over the top in a destructive frenzy. Throughout the storyline, readers could see the changes occurring in his character as he became more and more influenced and corrupted by the power.

uncanny xmen 19

Now it’s left to writer Kieron Gillen to play “damage control” and make us sympathetic to the character of Cyclops and see that’s he’s still a good guy underneath. It’s a weighty task and Gillen attempts to achieve it by giving us a glimpse inside the innermost thoughts of Scott Summers /Cyclops. It’s the simple tale of a man who took on too much power and responsibility and struggled to control it while maintaining his sanity.

One thing that can be said for “The Passion Of Scott Summers” is that it’s a noble attempt to portray him in a favorable light once again. The only thing I’m convinced of is that Scott Summers is now mad. If that is what Gillen wanted to accomplish, then he succeeded. (I kind of doubt that’s what Marvel wants). Even more noble is the artistic interpretations here of Dale Eaglesham, which are absolutely great to view and worth checking out.

Actually, one of the more satisfying images for me this issue (and it’s pure imagination) is Wolverine plunging his claws straight into Cyclops’ head. I almost wish it ended like that.

It ends with The Beast/ Hank McCoy confronting Scott in prison and summing up the destruction for him. He then concludes “Yes, Hope cleaned up after you. But you made a terrible mess.” And then he finishes with my favorite line of the issue: “Do you want me to show you the view? I could quote a little Shelley as you behold your works and despair appropriately . . ..”

More Beast: “It’s such a damn mess, Scott. Mutants were hated before? Your legacy to all these new mutants is to be hated more than ever . . ..”

And hysterical Scott is happy to learn there are “new mutants” and states “I’m happy to spend what remains of my life paying for my crimes. But I’d do it all again.” Really? He is cuckoo in my book. The last page shows Cyclops crossing his arms overhead as he faces a new skyline - - in an apparent sign of triumph.

I’m not really sure I like what I see/read here, but I have to give a FIVE STAR rating. You need to check it out and make up your own mind.

AVX VS 6

AVX: VS #6 of 6 (November 2012) Scarlet Witch Vs. Hope = Kieron Gillen, writer. Jim Cheung, penciler. Mark Roslan + Mark Morales + Jim Cheung, inks. David Curiel, colors. VC’s Joe Caramagna, letters & production. PLUS: Eight more one or two-page “throw downs”by various writers and artists.

The Scarlet Witch and Hope battle is very well done and fun to read/view. Of course, if’s you’ve read the AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12 first (and you should) you know that Captain America convinces both sides that they need to work together – so essentially this is a draw. Yet, the last page has a surprise which I won’t ruin by revealing here.

There are some fun and somewhat “catty” exchanges between Wanda and Hope with my favorite being Wanda saying: “I manipulate probabilities. . . . There’s a probability I’m not in the way of your fist.”

The remaining battles in this issue are weak, stupid or just not funny with one exception: Cyclops Vs. Captain America by Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Mahfood and VC’s Joe Caramagna. That made me laugh.

And, if you are a completest like most of us, you’ll want to get this issue to make a full set.

RATING FOR AVX: VS #6 - - - - - THREE STARS (Good story, good art. Good stand-alone story. But only one-half of this book.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

100 Million Downloads? Who Knew !?


From the official press release . . . . . . . . . . . . .


ComiXology Counts Down to 100 Million Downloads of Digital Comics and Graphic Novels

The Revolutionary Digital Comics and Graphic Novel Platform Spotlights a New Free Comic Every Day Until the 100 Millionth Download Happens!



October 3rd, 2012 – New York, New York — ComiXology, the revolutionary digital comics platform — available across iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 and the Web — revealed today that they are about to exceed 100 million comic and graphic novel downloads. To mark this major milestone, comiXology will be giving away a new free comic every day on comixology.com until the 100 millionth download.
“This has been a banner year for comiXology,” said co-founder and CEO David Steinberger. “We have dedicated ourselves to expanding the comic book audience by delivering the best consumer experience, and it’s fantastic to see that unfold. We started the year cresting 50 million downloads, two and a half years after launch; we added the next 50 million more than 3 times as fast. We are spreading the love of comics.”

“It’s dizzying to look back at the last 12 months and see that we’ve been the top grossing iPad app in the entire iTunes App Store almost 90% of all Wednesdays,” said co-founder John D. Roberts. “ComiXology’s mission is to bring comics to everyone everywhere and – looking at crossing this 100 million download milestone – it certainly feels like we are making good on that promise.”

ComiXology launched their digital comics platform in July of 2009 as an app on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The digital comics platform was then extended onto the iPad with the iPad’s debut in April of 2010. As 2010 continued, fans saw the extension of the platform to the Web in July 2010 and onto Android at the tail end of that year. In 2011, digital comic fans saw the platform add Amazon’s Kindle Fire, with the comiXology app available pre-installed when the Kindle Fire launched that November. The end of 2011 also saw comiXology powering three of the top 20 grossing iPad apps — with Comics by comiXology topping number 11 for the entire year. In July of 2012, comiXology once again extended the revolutionary digital comics platform with the release of a reader app for Windows 8, which was universally hailed at its debut.

With the quickly approaching milestone of 100 million comic and graphic downloads, and with a selection of over 28,000 comics and graphic novels to choose from – with over 900 of those available for free — comiXology securely stands as the market leader in the digital comics and graphic novel space and the go-to platform for newly interested and lapsed comic and graphic novel fans.

ComiXology was most recently in the news this summer during the week of Comic-Con International, when they announced the launch of their all-new Windows 8 reader, followed by unveiling the addition of three new publishers to the comiXology platform — ABRAMS ComicArts, Bongo and Fantagraphics Books. ComiXology and Bongo also launched the Simpsons Comics iOS app that week.

About comiXology
Founded in 2007 with the mission of bringing comics to people everywhere, comiXology — in just five short years — has revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel world. From creating the revolutionary platform for digital comics to tools and services for brick and mortar retailers, comiXology has lead the charge in exposing new audiences to the rich history and culture of comic books. With the development of the comiXology digital comics platform — available across iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 and the Web — comiXology provides the easiest way worldwide for people to enjoy comics anywhere they happen to be! Regularly ranking as the top grossing iPad app in the entire iTunes App Store, comiXology was selected as a preloaded app for Amazon’s Kindle Fire debut. Providing digital comics across multiple platforms, comiXology will not stop until everyone on the face of the earth has been turned into a comic book fan..


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