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Review of Captain America 35 (4 stars) February 28, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The issue starts not where one would expect, given last issue’s ending, with a somewhat peaceful shot of the Falcon flying around a closed down factory. He gathers some information for Tony, who is about to go to a press conference, and that is where the ramifications from last issue cut in. We see some of Brubaker’s much used news scenes (which are a great idea on his part, it lets us know what is going on without unnecessary narrating, it’d be nice if more writers used the news to tell the story), which tell us not only how last issues “massacre” turned out, but also introduces us to a certain crooked senator, who is later revealed to be a pawn in the Red Skull’s master plan.

This then cuts to a mob scene in DC (more compliments to Brubaker for taking us out of New York for a change) where we see a suspicious lady handing out water (must say, I suspected her from the beginning). As the true nature of the “water” is revealed, we move on to yet another piece of the puzzle as we discover that Morovin, the new “leader” of Kronas is just a hologram.

After having all of these puzzle pieces handed to us, another part of the Skull’s plan goes into motion and the action finally starts. Bucky, who thankfully decided to station himself nearby, does his first “alley change” into Captain America (anyone else get chills reading that part?) and we finally get to see him saving some public butt (and kicking terrorist butt of course). Between last issue’s fight scene and this one, I don’t see how anyone can have doubts that Bucky is indeed the perfect choice to take up Steve’s mantle. (Perhaps we should start calling him James now? It sounds much more heroic than “Bucky.”)

Our two last shots are new Cap coming face to face with the Serpent Squad, and Zola preparing to do some mysterious procedure on the pregnant Sharon. So once again we see that Brubaker has a flair for good cliffhangers, and for making his plots like a too enjoyable jigsaw puzzle. Compliments also have to be given to Guice, who certainly isn’t Epting, for maintaining a very similar look in the art, I almost couldn’t tell that there was a change in artists (likely because Epting and Guice had worked together on Cap before). All in all, another great issue for Captain America, here’s looking forward to what Brubaker will give us next…..

Please leave comments!

-LOTKing

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Review of Mighty Avengers 9 (4.5 stars) February 27, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ha ha! Now that was an Avengers issue! Easily the best issue of Mighty yet!

The issue begins with not only some beautiful artwork from Djurdjevic, but also an interesting scene involving Morgan Le Fey (and some interesting “armor notes” from Doom, nice to see both sides of the coin in this issue). How exactly is Le Fey going to play into this arc I wonder? Perhaps more time travel will be involved, and her “present” will be the Avengers? Time will tell….. (No pun intended).

After quick time jump, and Doom enters at exactly the right (or is it wrong?) moment, as the Avengers are about to launch their attack. After killing the messenger in a very Darth Vader way (I half expected to hear Doom say “apology accepted”), Doom launches his defenses, and Ares launches his offense (quite literally). Let the battle begin! In this corner, you have the Avengers, Earth’s mightiest heroes! In this corner you have 77 Doombots, one of Doom’s most fearsome creations! Who will win? Only three beautifully illustrated splash pages by Bagley will tell! Seriously though, anyone else find the big battle scene, what with the crashing Quinjet and destruction splash pages to be reminiscent of Disassembled? Personally, I thought it was a nice touch, it shows chaos and destruction for the villain for a change.

From here we move on to the Iron Man and Doom battle, one of the great instances where the hero fights his evil mirror image. (Someone remind me again why Doom is the FF’s archenemy, and not Iron Man’s? I mean, look at them, so similar, yet so opposite.) This battle sprawls on with more beautiful artwork from Bagley, until Doom pulls out the one weapon Iron Man can’t fight: magic! Just when all looks lost, Sentry flies in, causes more beautifully drawn explosions, and the Sentry, Iron Man, and Doom all get thrown back in time. Cutting away from that, the other Avengers are concluding their battle, before they discover the glitching time pad and realizing what it means for Tony, Bob, and Doom. We end with a shot in the past (probably the 60s or 70s from the looks of things) with Doom and Tony looking to continue their epic battle.

Overall, an insanely awesome issue! Exactly what an Avengers book should be! (Did I ever mention that it was beautifully illustrated?) Doom was perfect! FF fans owe it to themselves to pick this one up. Likewise, the contrasting ending and beginning leave many questions that need to be answered: how are Tony/Bob/Doom going to get back? When are they? How will Le Fey play into this? How are the rest of the Avengers going to play into this? I’ll definitely be back next issue to find out!

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Review of Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure February 26, 2008

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First off, I’m not giving this review a certain amount of stars simply because of what this book is. Not only is it the Lost Adventure of the FF by Lee and Kirby, but is also a comic from a completely different era, and should therefore be rated with a different system of ratings, therefore, I’m exempting this one from getting stars. For once, I’m not going to go through the story. I’ll explain at the end.

One thing that cracks me up about Stan’s writing is how it still sounds so similar all these years later. Given, some pages were reincorporated from the flashback in 108 verbatim, but even the pages that weren’t were still written in Stan “The Man’s” same old style (which is a praise, not a complaint). Of course he could have done this on purpose to ensure the dialogue flowed, but either way, the writing was very smooth and read like it really was written back in the 70s. Well, except for two “hiccups” that were perhaps my only complaint. Once Stan Lee mentions a digital camera and later a D.S.L. line. While I realize with the whole time scheme of comics problem makes it so that issue really could have taken place ten-ish years ago, I personally would have liked it if this issue really sounded like it was completely written in the 70s, instead of only partially. But those are my only two small complaints, other than that, Stan Lee’s writing was flawless.

Kirby’s art was also perfect for the story, it is a shame he never got to see this issue published in full. Compliments to Ron Frenz are also required for where he had to finish penciling, as his work fit in seamlessly and I can’t tell which is his and which is Kirby’s. Some people may not appreciate this “old school” comic art, but even if it is radically different from modern art, Kirby’s story telling is perfect, there is never confusion as to what is happening. That said, for those who do appreciate said art, this book is Kirby at his usual best.

My final comments: buy this book! It will be some of the best $5 you ever spend. Not only is it the last ever chance that you will have to read “new” material from Lee/Kirby, but it is a piece of comic book history, one that deserves appreciation. As for why I did not go into the specifics of the story, well now you don’t know anything about what happens, so what better way to find out than by buying the book? 😉

-LOTRKing

Review of Fantastic Four 554 (4 stars) February 25, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Time: a little over a hundred years ago. The place: the Old West. The characters: a family of travelers. The problem: being chased by Indians. For those who haven’t read this issue yet, I’m not describing a scene from a Little House on the Prairie rerun, I’m describing the opening scene of this issue, and a good one at that, even if it only lasts three pages. After a quick time jump back home causes Ben to get ejected from the “time sled,” we get a comical scene with the Human Torch. This small scene (in which Johnny describes his plans for the future), give us a great quick look into Millar’s/Hitch’s style. In this small scene Millar establishes the characterization of all four, and shows us he understands their characters. Likewise, Hitch gives us pretty good renditions of the characters, except for Johnny. While Hitch does seem to be a pretty good artist, I really can’t say I liked how Johnny looked: he looked too old, he had a big nose, and his hair looked wrong. Thankfully he didn’t appear much in this issue, so maybe Hitch has got another month to improve him.

This is followed by another comical scene at Ben’s old school (literally, not figuratively). I love the conversation that goes on between the two women in the office. One sounds like a giddy preteen girl because Mr. Fantastic is coming, and is getting all made up for the superheroes, and the other one is being mature about it. Following a “fun” lecture from Reed (have to admit, the looks on the faces of the children that Hitch drew were priceless!) we see some poetic justice. Ben asks the mature teacher out on a date, and the giggly teacher is no where to be seen. Nice.

Cut to yet another comical scene at the would-be normal looking Richards residence (if you of course ignore the servant Doombots and giant green lady sitting on the couch). This particular scene, while not necessarily relevant nor spectacular, gives us a brief look at what at-home-life means for world famous superheroes. (Did I mention I loved the way Hitch draws Sue?) In this case they aren’t interrupted by a phone ringing, or a knock at the door, but by yet another woman teleporting into the room. It’s the little bits like this that make Millar writing have a “real” feel to it (well, as real as any superhero story can feel). So after Reed leaves with the aforementioned woman to once again help save the world, we get a comment from Ben about the looks of said woman and a priceless response from Sue (and also wordless).

The issue concludes with Slartibartfast taking Arthur to Earth Mark Two and ….. wait, what? *whisper whisper whisper* Ah yes! I wondered why Arthur had abandoned his bathrobe for a FF uniform. Excuse me, the characters decide to reenact the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in which Reed plays the part of Arthur, Dr. Castle plays the part of Slartibartfast, and Nu-World plays the part of Earth Mark Two. Where are the mice I wonder? (Perhaps is prison 42, which is of course the answer to life, the universe, and everything?) So aside from some possible copyright infringements, it was a pretty good ending, definitely leaving me waiting for the next issue.

In seriousness though, does anyone else think this “Earth Trust” group seems a little dodgy? My theory: they are constructing a new Earth, simply so that they can cause a mock disaster, which everything will think causes the end of the old Earth, and so that they can start their own government on the “nu” Earth and rule over all humanity. The mastermind behind this evil plot? Why, Dr. Doom, of course.

So, all in all, this issue had me laughing, enjoying the characters, getting in to the story, and theorizing. Definitely a great issue, I would highly recommend it, as the Millar/Hitch run looks to be, erm, fantastic! Also a great jumping on point for noobs! So no excuse, go pick this up!

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Let it be known… February 25, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Stuff.
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Your results:
You are Spider-Man

























Spider-Man
90%
Superman
70%
Green Lantern
70%
Hulk
55%
Robin
53%
The Flash
45%
Supergirl
43%
Iron Man
40%
Batman
35%
Catwoman
20%
Wonder Woman
18%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Your results:
You are Apocalypse



































Apocalypse
60%
Dr. Doom
59%
Mr. Freeze
57%
Venom
45%
Magneto
45%
The Joker
44%
Lex Luthor
44%
Riddler
43%
Dark Phoenix
42%
Juggernaut
40%
Two-Face
40%
Green Goblin
32%
Kingpin
30%
Mystique
20%
Poison Ivy
19%
Catwoman
15%
You believe in survival of the fittest and you believe that you are the fittest.


Click here to take the Supervillain Personality Quiz

LOTRKing’s Choices for the Academy Awards February 25, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Other Random Stuff.
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You know you do it. Pick in your head who really deserved what, especially if they weren’t nominated. So now that we all know who won what at the real Oscars, I’ve decided to list who I think who should have won (and in these cases, weren’t even nominated). Of course, I only have a limited list of categories, but I am by no means a professional in knowing what all the categories are/what to look for. (If I was, I’d probably be an Academy member). 😉 So here’s my limited list, along with some justifications:

Best Visual Effects: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – Regardless of whether you liked the film (personally, I thought it was pretty good) you have to admit, between the Four’s powers, the Silver Surfer, and especially the destruction caused by Galactus, this was one of the most visually stunning movies of 2007.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Stardust – A wonderful movie, and one of my favorites of 07, which was also a very rare case where I actually enjoyed the movie more than the book. ‘Nuff said.

Best Original Screenplay: Martian Child – One of the most original movies I have seen in quite awhile, and also one of the best. The writing was nearly flawless, and each character was extremely well developed. I’d call this movie a real tearjerker, but I never cry in movies.

Best Animated Film: Beowulf – I’m actually very disappointed that this wasn’t nominated, the Academy seems to forget sometimes that not all animated movies are for children (and Beowulf definitely wasn’t). Even if you didn’t necessarily enjoy its closeness (or lack thereof) to the original material, it was a very well done movie, with a great story and great animation.

Best Original Song: A Hero Comes Home by Idina Menzel from Beowulf – A beautifully written song, sung by a beautiful voice. This one song captures the spirit of the movie, and the title character.

Best Original Score: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End by Hans Zimmer – This is a category very close to my heart, as I am huge fan of soundtracks. Not only was this some of the most beautiful music that I have heard, it has also earned the spot of my second favorite soundtrack ever (second, of course, only to The Time Machine). [I have to mention, Beowulf by Alan Silvestri gets a very close second place in category].

Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush for his role as Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – I don’t care what anyone says, Barbossa is the best character from this series, and Rush is perfect for the part. I’ve decided that the reason that the second movie wasn’t as good as one and three was due to the lack of his presence.

Best Actress: Dakota Blue Richards for her role as Lyra Belacqua in The Golden Compass – This was a wonderful movie, and Dakota’s acting was well beyond her years and a perfect fit for her role. I suspect this is my most controversial choice of the evening (and not just because of the movie) but because she is such an unknown actress, but I truly think she deserves this spot.

Best Actor: Matt Damon for his role as Jason Bourne/David Webb in The Bourne Ultimatum – Have you seen this movie, and the amazing acting involved? ‘Nuff said.

Best Director: Matthew Vaughn for Stardust – As I said before, this was a great movie, definitely one of the best of 07, and when nearly everything in the movie was perfect, who else can ya blame besides the director?

Best Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Okay, you can start the disagreements now, but this was truly the best movie I have seen in years. Many people complain that there was way too much plot, and that the ending didn’t fit, but I personally felt the plot fit together perfectly, and that the ending was one of the best and most unexpected film series consummations that I’ve yet seen. This has become one of my favorite films, and is by far the best movie that came out last year.

Best Movie of All Time (I really wish they would award this once every decade or so): The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Yup, I still haven’t changed my mind! 😉

Well that’s it for me tonight! Please leave your thoughts/comments, and if you want to, ideas on who you think should have won!

-LOTRKing

Review of New Avengers 38 (3.5 stars) February 24, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I’m actually going to open with some comments about the art again (but just this once). While the art was certainly nothing spectacular, it fit the tone of this issue fairly well, perhaps because of this (something I did not know until after I read the issue). Gaydos’ facial expressions were also extremely well done, and he did what was probably the best representation I have yet seen of Jessica (once again, likely because of the info found at the previous link). With another artist (like Yu *ugh*) the conversation may have seemed boring, or drawn out, but Gaydos made it feel real. One thing I didn’t like was the look of superheroes in their costumes. I can’t put my finger on what exactly it was, but it just didn’t look right. So overall, the art was great for what this issue was trying to accomplish, but I don’t think I’d want to see Gaydos take over for New Avengers’ art.

Hopping on to the story, I rather enjoyed Luke and Jessica’s discussion/argument, and I felt it was necessary. Their last few discussions in previous issues bored me, to be frank. I’m not sure if Bendis wrote this one better, or if Gaydos’ art brought it to life, or some combination of the two, but for some reason, this one worked. (Of course, it could have also been that Yu’s art for those scenes was horrible, as usual, and didn’t fit with the discussion). Likewise, I’m not sure who to side with in this argument. Being against the SHRA is an ideal that Luke heavily believes in; likewise, his paranoia about the Skrull invasion is not only very real, but also very justified. On the other hand, being on the run from the government, and from killer supervillains isn’t exactly the most ideal place to raise a baby, and I think Jessica was justified in what she did; she is being a good mother, and is doing what is best for her baby. Of course, if any of those three are Skrulls (Luke, Jessica, or Danielle), this is all a moot argument. 😉

Moving on, the Mighty Avengers enter the scene, and we have yet another hilarious moment with Ares. Not only is he completely cute towards the baby (which somehow manages to be completely uncharacteristically characteristic of him and completely hilarious), he then pulls a 180 and makes another one of his arrogant “manly-man” remarks; these are just some of the reasons I love him as a character. Also, another blooper on the artists’ (and editors’) part: why is Simon in his old costume? (And why do the editors appear to be more lax on the Avengers books than anything else? It seems that these types of bloopers happen in every other issue of MA or NA. I’m not even going to touch on the “Black Widow short hair/long hair Avengers/Captain America” issue.) Of course, Luke letting the “Skrull cat” out of the bag in front of the MA begs the question: who was acting Skrully? As far as I could see, none of them, which further leads me to think that the Skrull is the Sentry (who was conveniently not there).

The concluding scene with the “Avengers Apartment” was also quite funny; for some reason the “Oh yeah. Sure. Gotcha.” frame made me crack up. Of course this scene had yet another blooper, as Maya either suddenly gained a sense of hearing miraculously, or Clint was an idiot and forgot that she couldn’t read lips with his mask on. (This is yet another mistake that seems to happen often. They should either always have their masks off, or somehow find a way to cure Maya’s deafness, because this is really starting to annoy me. And of course, if Maya is a Skrull, and this is Bendis’ “subtle hint” you’d think her teammates would notice that she could suddenly hear.) And of course we conclude with a close up of the possibly Skrull baby. That said, I really don’t think Luke or Jessica is a Skrull. The possibility of the baby I’d say is 50/50. Either Bendis is throwing in a red herring to confuse us, and will use it to somehow make sense later, or the real baby is with the Skrulls, and this one was replaced with a Skrull at some point in time. (There is also the possibility that the real Jessica and the baby are still both in Canada, and that the both of them here are Skrulls, but I don’t really think so, as Jessica doesn’t seem to be acting Skrully).

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Four: Eggtown February 23, 2008

Posted by lotrking in L O S T.
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First off, apologies again for delays, I was sick yesterday (and still am) and didn’t feel much up to posting. That said, let’s jump right in, it’s gonna be a short post today, as I only have three things to comment on:

One: the card trick Dan and Charlotte were doing, what was up with that? That was certainly something seemed a bit out of character for Dan (of course we’ve only known him for a short time). It seemed like a magic trick, or mind reading trick. I really don’t have any theories about what was going on here, just thought it was something really strange that I would point out.

Second, something that was only briefly touched on in this episode, is the fact that Sayid, Desmond, and Frank still haven’t arrived, is this perhaps because they didn’t follow the exact same baring going off as they did coming on? I’ve been thinking about the time travel theory, and I like to revise my thoughts on the Island: I don’t think the Island is necessarily at a particular point in the past or future, I’m beginning to think that the Island may be a temporal nexus. In other words, I think the Island is the gateway to time travel. One can reach the Island from any point in history, and depending on the direction they travel to get off of it, they can end up at any point in history. This would explain why the helicopter would have to leave the Island at an exact baring, in order to reach their own time. If they deviated slightly, they might end up somewhere, excuse me, somewhen else. Of course, I could be completely wrong, but I think it would explain a lot.

And lastly of course, is the huge last minute reveal, Kate’s son is none other than: Aaron! Of course, this opens up tons of questions. Where is Claire? Why did she give Aaron to Kate? Does Jack know that Kate’s “son” is Aaron? If so, why is he so reluctant to see him? Why would Kate be the one to care for Aaron? Her lifestyle certainly does not suggest she is the most motherly. Once again, I’ve got no theories on this as of yet, but I may think up something later, stay tuned!

More next week and please leave comments!

LOSTRKing

Review of Daredevil 104 (3.5 stars) February 18, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, L O S T.
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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Our story starts pretty ominously with a frightened Lily running out of the Murdock residence (and getting into a Bonus LOST Easter Egg: cab advertising Oceanic Airlines) before a flashback scene. You’ve got to hand it to Brubaker, he is much better at using his flashback scenes than some of his other contemporaries (*cough*Bendis*cough*). Instead of finding out what exactly caused Lily to run from the house, we get another scene leading up to it, one that explains much more than actually showing us the events in the house. I also really enjoyed this scene because it probably gave us a better look into Darth Fear’s (nope, still haven’t given up on that nickname) character and exact plans than any other scene in this arc; we finally get to see his plan in action, and how everything really does fit into his plan, rather than him explaining to us that it somehow does.

We then get a short but awesome scene on Daredevil’s part. I really thought that DD was gonna torture the Ox, but his plan was so much better. This scene brought back memories of some of the best parts of Back in Black (which now never happened *sigh*) and showed that even when Daredevil is at his most desperate, he can still take the (somewhat) humane approach. Immediately after this, the Hood comes on the scene to question the Ox. Once again, kudos to Brubaker for doing his job, and paying attention to the continuity of comics besides his own; he could have easily ignored the Hood all together, or simply made him a small part of the story, but I think we will see a lot more of him before this storyline is over (I really don’t think this storyline will be wrapped up in this arc, there is only one issue left, and too much to resolve).

After this, we see that Darth Fear is once again, one step ahead of Matt, as he is not home when DD barges in, and he knows that Lily will have visited Milla by now. Matt gets home too late again, and we know that somewhere Darth Fear must be loving this as this must be sheer torture for Matt: Milla comes home, and there is some hope again, and boom, this happens, and all hope is lost. Fear certainly knows how to play games with his prey. Yet more praise for Brubaker: he certainly knows how to cook up great evil schemes for his villains (see Captain America for further proof), and how to show only small bits of these schemes to the readers to build speculation and suspense.

The story ends with Matt confronting Lily and the Hood confronting Fear. Summing up: this was a good issue, much better than the last, and Brubaker is a genius (who didn’t know that?).

-LOTRKing

Initial Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Three: The Economist February 16, 2008

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And the fourth member of the Oceanic Six is ….. Sayid! (Ha! I guessed right! My guess for the other two: Sun and Jin). He seems by far to have the oddest “future,” a hired assassin for Ben? (This also supports my theory that Ben may be the one who died at the end of Season 3). So from this we also know that Ben will leave (and has left from the looks of his passports) the Island, why? For someone who loves the Island as much as he does, what would compel him to leave? And of course the obvious question, who does Ben want dead, and why is Sayid working for him? I think the people getting killed are members of Naomi’s group, but I have no idea why Sayid would be the one to do it.

And of course the next big thing from this episode: Daniel’s experiment! Why did it take so long for the payload to reach the Island? And why were the clocks out of synch? This makes me once again suspect that time travel is involved. But if so, how are they still able to communicate with the freighter which is in the past/future? Are the “satellite phones” really some kind of temporal ansible? And if so, how does Naomi’s group have access to such advanced technology? (Of course the simple answer to the communications question is that the radio waves emitted by the phone travel through the wormhole, or whatever temporal distortion there may be, and mask the effect of time travel, but that answer isn’t nearly as fun. ;)).

And my last big question from this episode: why couldn’t Locke find Jacob’s cabin? Is Jacob losing faith in Locke? Is Hurley perhaps a better candidate? (I don’t know why he would be, the only reason I ask is ‘cause Hurley saw the cabin in the first place). As with all things Jacob, just what is going on here?

Please leave comments!

Edit: Sorry guys and gals, I haven’t had as much time this week as I thought I would, and I won’t be able to do a “Secondary Reactions” post. Unfortunately, I may give them up all together. 😦 But do not fret! More LOST reactions and theories will return Friday, and the “Initial Reactions” posts will continue! Stay tuned!

LOSTRKing