Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Random Comics Review: Man-Thing #22, 1975

Alright, this was the last issue of the first Man-Thing on-going series. Man-Thing was a scientist who was transformed into a mindless swamp monster who had the power to burn people who felt fear in his presence. Although mainly a horror comic, some of the stories took a mystical bent featuring sorcerers and other worldly beings.

The story in this issue is by Steve Gerber who wrote the majority of the tales in this run and the art is by Jim Mooney. This issue wraps up several bizarre plot lines involving demons, wizards, "emotion boxes" and of course, the end of the universe. It's pretty off beat to say the least. The title is "Pop Goes the Cosmos!" The splash page depicts Steve Gerber himself sitting on the floor of his wrecked apartment writing a letter to editor Len Wein explaining why he can't write the comic anymore. Basically all the adventures were real and told to Steve by the wizard, Dakimh. But now Steve was becoming too involved and his life was at risk so he was quitting the book. Dakimh gets Steve embroiled in a journey to defeat Thog, the nether-spawn from building a pyramid of emotion boxes that will allow Thog to plunge the world into madness...or something. There's demons running around and Steve is sucked across dimensions, of course Man-Thing shows up to save the day. Most modern comics fans credit Grant Morrison for being "post-modern" and putting himself into the comic book he was writing, here's Steve Gerber doing it 15 years earlier! Interestingly enough, Chris Claremont used the exact same device in the last issue of Man-Thing vol.2 (Chris went as far as to have himself transform into Man-Thing).

The art by Jim Mooney is serviceable and professional. It doesn't knock my socks of but it's moody and just stylistic enough to hold my interest. There's no noticeable credit for the cover. If I had to guess, I'm pretty sure the inks are by Klaus Janson (who went on to fame on Daredevil) and the pencils are probably(?) Gil Kane. Gil was doing a lot of Marvel covers at time including Man-Thing. It's just that Klaus's inks are so heavy it's hard to tell.

Man-Thing #22 is the end of the series, so it feels a little rushed and loose at the same time. One gets the feeling Steve would have liked one more issue to tie it all up a bit more neatly, but maybe the editor told him "Forget it, it's done." However, the storytelling is clear and the reader is never confused as to who the characters are or what their motivations are. Definitely off the beaten track, but absolutely worth a read.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Non-Sequitur #2: Pork Chop Sandwiches!

Last week for my job I had to sit in a major chain coffee house for 5 hours. A guy who looked like a thinner Alfred Molina came in 4 times.

New Avengers #3: I am still digging Stuart Immonen's art. It's gorgeous! The script is starting to meander just a bit. The agent Hand bit should've been one page and the Iron Fist scene should've been maybe two. The Thing's dialogue didn't feel quite right. On the other hand...Stuart's art is gorgeous!

Secret Avengers #4: More action packed fun. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't learn more about Nick Fury's motives, but I guess that's coming next issue. Something I'm a little more bothered by has to do with Mike Deodato's art. I know this is the black ops team, I know it's supposed to be all shadowy and on Mars but why oh why doesn't he draw more clear depictions of Val and Natasha's faces? I've been following this series since the start and I've known the characters since I was 10-11 years old and I could barely tell them apart! If it weren't for their different hair dos I'd been lost!

"My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder is a wonderful wonderful song.

I was going to buy some ham hocks for dinner, but I changed my mind and got chicken instead. I'm boiling instead of frying. That's healthier right?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Non-Sequitur #1:Uh...

The movie "Salt": I thought it was solid chase movie. Not ground breaking, but competent and fun.

Secret Avengers #3: I'm still enjoying this title. It delivers exactly what I want out of an Avengers comic; varied characters, an intriguing plot, action, nice enuff art, and very little decompression. So far I'm still wondering about Nick Fury's involvement with the Shadow Cabinet and I don't feel like I'm being strung along. Yet. STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THIS COMIC.

Superman #702: Even though I knew the entire story before I bought this, I still thoroughly enjoyed this issue... alot more than I thought I would. Very eye engaging artwork, and nice little heart warming story. I didn't buy it 100% but I still recognize the emotional intent. One thing though, after Superman's speech to the aliens, is he going to give some of that JLA teleporter tech to EMT workers? Yeah, I didn't think so...

I gotta do field work at my job next week. It's not my favorite thing, but if I say no then I'm staying at home at least three days and not getting paid, so it's time to put on my happy public face...

On State St in Chicago today I saw a dad walking with his two sons. The boys were very young 6-8 years old. Dad was wearing a red t-shirt with the Flash symbol on it. He was also wearing a matching red cap with the same Flash symbol. This made me smile...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Random Movie Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire, 2010

Ok...Cubs game? Nah. Biggest Rock fest of the summer? Nah. Grim foreign thriller about long term abuse...with sub-titles? I'm in!!

This is a sequel to the earlier film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Noomi Rapace is back as Lisbeth, the goth computer hacker as is Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomqqvist, the mild mannered yet driven journalist.This film was directed by Daniel Alfredson.

The plot picks up a year after the events of the first film. Mikael is back working as a reporter for Millennium magazine and Lisbeth has been living abroad. The conflict occurs when Lisbeth is framed for three murders. Two victims are reporters investigating human trafficking and the third is a man who was Lisbeth's case worker from the previous movie. Of course, Lisbeth is innocent and we follow our heroes as they undercover the true guilty party and how this case ties to the government and to Lisbeth's own past.

I really like the two leads of this film. Michael is understated without seeming boring or wimpy. Noomi plays her role with just the right amount of weird charisma. I especially enjoy the way Lisbeth's character is portrayed as someone with very serious emotional problems, but never made light of as if she's just "quirky" nor is she an object of pity. In real life some people would describe her as "damaged goods". However, Lisbeth is that rare breed that truly doesn't care what others think. It's acknowledged in the film that she's a person that it's sometimes difficult to be friends with, yet admirable enough in other ways to make her likable.

One thing I did have a problem with is there's a scene where Lisbeth interrogates a man that's a little too similar to the confrontation with the case worker in the first movie. Also, during this same scene she's in a disguise that makes her look like a member of a Scandinavian death metal band. Personally, I think she looks cool...but if you're breaking and entering and threatening someone are you really going to take the time to make yourself up to look like King Diamond? Or are you more likely to just put on a ski mask or something? Another thing is I wish a little more had been done with the human trafficking aspect of the story. Perhaps it'll be touched on again in the next movie.

I felt The Girl Who Played With Fire was a solid thriller.Not as daring and original as Dragon Tattoo, but an enjoyable film none the less.

Also, on the way to the theater I stepped in dog poo. I was walking past a church and a camera man was filming a wedding. Not wanting to interrupt his shot, I walked on the grass around the camera man and stepped in poo! I thought maybe I can turn this into a funny story! An existential metaphor for ....something! I got a wedding, good intentions, and poo! But after thinking about it all day I got nothing. Just poo on my shoe.