Thursday, April 16, 2015

Teen-Hero Month: Kick-Ass 2.

.... Yeah, so I did the math, and came to the conclusion that Barbara Gordon in the N52 is NOT a teen hero.
Let's talk some more Kick-Ass instead.
Kick-Ass 2 takes place a year after the events in the first series. The superhero community has grown large, and Kick-Ass has even formed his own superhero team; Justice Forever. Everything seems to go Dave's way.
That is, until the arrival of the world's first supervillain who calls himself the Mother Fucker. He is the son of the mob-boss that Kick-Ass and Hit Girl killed and now he seeks revenge. He gathers an army of other goth-pricks, and decides to ruin Kick-Ass' life, as well as anyone who wears a superhero outfit.
Believe it or not, but I like the sequel. It's not my favorite comic or anything, but I can appreciate it for what it is. A dark comedy. But it still has problems.
First of all, I would have preferred it if Hit Girl were out of the picture. I never really cared for her, and it seemed like the end of Kick-Ass 1 implied that this was the end of her story. But I do like the idea about her training Kick-Ass, giving him the skills necessarily for fighting crime. That was my problem with the first book, that Dave, who is suppose to be this big comic nerd never thought that taking self-defense MIGHT be a necessity for being a superhero.
But again, Hit Girl fills up too much of the story.
Another problem is the ending of the series. When two sites dress up, one as heroes, the other as villains, then a final battle is to be expected. But it just didn't seem... final battle-ish enough. With a action series like Kick-Ass, you would expect some more fighting on screen than off screen. We mostly see Hit Girl fight, but I would have preferred seeing nerds and wannabees in tights duke it out as well as they could.
But as I said, I like this series for what it is. It's over the top, dark, very violent and has a pretty good idea about how a extreme superhero-subculture works.
That's all for now. I'm Waezi2, and thanks for wasting time with me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Teen-hero month: Kick-Ass.

I don't like Kick-Ass.
I get what you all see in this series, but it's just not for me.
If you don't know about possibly the most over-hyped series of our time, here is the skinny:
Dave is just a regular guy who likes comic-books. He and his life is pretty boring. So one day, Dave decides to do something about his pretty meaningless existence and becomes the world's first real life superhero.
... AAAAAAND then gets his ass handed to him on his very first patrol.
He manage to get better after his sever beating, and is a lot more successful on his second attempt at being a hero. His fight against a bunch of muggers gets filmed on a phone, uploaded on YouTube, and BAM!: he is a superstar.
But being a superhero is FAR from being as great as it sounds, and Dave finds himself surrounded by violence, the mafia, and insane people in spandex.
Sounds great, right? I disagree.
The first thing that bothers me is that this is suppose to be the great "what if superheroes really exist" book. But let's be honest here, folks; it's been done before. Like Watchmen or Blankman. It's not a revolutionary idea the comic presents to us. Not to mention that the real-life superheroes existed YEARS before the comic was published.
Another thing is that this book feels like it's been written by a teenager. I'm not implying that Mark Millar is a bad writer, not at all. In fact, he wrote my favorite Spider-Man comic. But sometimes, it feels like he is having too good a time writing unnecessarily dark and mean-spirited stories. There is nothing smart or well-thought about this comic. It's very loud, very bloody, depends on it's over-dimensional violence to sell, and is pretty much the equivalent of an action-flick movie.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I prefer a smarter story. I'm not saying that Watchmen is a better comic than Kick-Ass. They are two different stories to different kinds of readers. Saying that Watchmen is better than Kick-Ass is like saying that coffee is better than carrots. The two things are very different, has nothing in common, and should not be compared.
But I do have ONE major issue with the series;
Kick-Ass a fetish book.
Dave is lumped upon in every way possible(mentally, emotionally and physically). All for the reader's entertainment. We're "OK" with that because he's clearly a disturbed figure that needs the thumping to get by. This is the "choice" he makes. It's similar to why some like Jackass(notice that both ends with "ass") or extreme reality TV. Because the person who is suffering is asking for it, it's funny. And to be fair, comedy is about seeing the entertaining in misery(we all grew up with Tom and Jerry), but there IS a line. Kick-Ass does not simply cross that line, it also walks back to the line and urinate on it in front of children. And if only it actually WAS funny, then it MIGHT have been okay. But it's not, it's just uncomfortable to read.
But I actually like the movie. I think it embrace the fact that it's a silly story and actually allows it to be a dark comedy. Not a perfect movie, but better than it's comic counterpart. And to be fair, I DID enjoy the Kick-Ass 2 comic, which evolves the idea of what the superhero subculture could be like(but ends up with a final showdown full of plot-holes and lazy writing).
My advice; skip the comic and watch the movie instead. It's actually funny and has stuff like jet-packs.
That's all for now. Next time, I will talk about the N52 Batgirl series. And you are NOT going to like what I have to say about the wheelchair-less Barbara Gordon.

I'm Waezi2, and thanks for wasting time with me.

Teen-Hero Month: Dynamo 5.

Captain Dynamo is the brave and powerful defender of Tower City. With his amazing powers, no villain can terrorize the city for long. So after his sudden death, the city is now undefended and is easy picking for all the deceased hero's enemies.
But Maddie Warner, Captain Dynamo's widow, soon discovers that even though her husband was one of the greatest heroes in history, he was not a very faithful husband. After going through his personal belongings, she finds out that he has at least FIVE children outside their marriage. She tracks them down, and makes them become Tower City's new defenders. None of them are as powerful as their biological father, but each of them has one of his incredible five powers(Super-vision, telepathy, super-strength, shape-changing and flight). As a team, they are ready to take on any villain.
Together, they are Dynamo 5!

As you may have figured out by now, Cap Dynamo is pretty much a Superman ripoff. And Image Comics has ridiculously many of those. Luckily, that is pretty much the only thing about this series that is a rip-off. The villains that Dynamo 5 must face is very varied, the action is superb, it's actually funny, and the element of drama that comes when five strangers finds out that they are siblings is simply to die for. This series is everything good about superhero tales and soap-opera without feeling forced. Unfortunately, the series was only 26 issues long, and only followed by a 5 issue limited series and a Christmas special. Which is REALLY weird, since this series is possibly the best thing ever printed as a Image Comic series.
All of it is collected in five paperbacks. So go to your local comic-shop and try and see if you can get this unappreciated series about the world's most powerful bastards.
Next time, the hero that I'm going to take a look at may not have any powers, but he can still kick ass.

I'm Waezi2, and thanks for wasting time with me.

Teen-Hero Month: Batgirl.

You know, considering that Batman is suppose to be this big loner, the dark knight who rides alone in his battle against evil, he sure has had a lot of kids hanging around the Bat-Cave through the years. There has been four boys and one girl to be known as Robin, and three young women to carry the tittle as Batgirl. The second Batgirl is possibly the oddest member of the Bat Family.
Her name is Cassandra Cain.
She’s the daughter of the elite assassin David Cain, who raised her to be a living weapon. Her father never taught her how to talk, and instead had her body trained to read other people. Martial arts became her language, so to say. Once she reached the age of eight, she committed her first murder. Only, she didn't understand what she was about to do. But after the man was dead, and she had his blood on her tiny little hands, she realized that she had done something terrible. Horrified and ashamed, she ran away from her father, and spend the next nine years of her life as a homeless mute, until she met Barbara Gordon, AKA Oracle. Because of her skills and after playing an important role during the Batman story-line "No Man's Land," she became part of the Batman Family, and was given the identity as Batgirl.
There are several reasons to why Cassandra is the weirdest member of the Batman Family. First of all, there is the killing-part. Batman and the others has made an oath to never take a life, but it can sometimes be tempting for them. Heck, Batsy wanted to kill the Joker for YEARS, but never did it because he knew that if he crossed the line ONCE, there was no coming back. But Cassandra HAS killed. She knows exactly how to do it and what it is like. And she never wants to do it again.
Another thing is that Cassandra is the most physical one of the Bat-crowd. Sure, all of them fights, but they rely on they heads as much as their fists. I'm not saying that Cassandra is stupid, not at all. But she is not an detective, not a hacker, not a master strategist. She is the ultimate fighter with a style that can not be copied. She knows exactly what kind of moves you are going to make five years before yourself do. She fights, therefor she is.
But it's not by choice. She has been isolated from anything not fighting related. She does want to learn how to read and speak and anything else required to move away from being nothing but a living weapon. So there is an innocence to her that is simply to die for.
The first 37 issues of the series(written by Kelley Puckett) are the best of the series, and pretty much flawless. Mostly single-issue stories, which is the way I like it. Highly recommended. But for the rest of the series, the quality is quit... swinging. In fact, I didn't like the writing of Dylan Horrocks at all. And for some reason, the series ended at issue 73, which is an odd number. But that might have something to do with the fact that DC for some dumb reason decided to blow Bludhaven up. Almost as soon as she became the city's new hero.
So please try and give this series a chance. The sad thing is that Cassandra had a lot of qualities as comic-book character, but she got the short end of the stick compared to the rest of the Bat-Family.
Next time, we will take a look at a group of young heroes who you could call the world's most powerful bastards.
I'm Waezi2, and thanks for wasting time with me.

Teen-Hero Month: Avengers Academy.

Do you know what made Spider-Man a revolutionary superhero?
He was he first teenager in a comic to become a superhero who weren't a sidekick. Today, that may not seem like something extraordinary, but making a hero who where a teenager, which meant that he was not as perfect or likable as an adult, was so shocking that Stan Lee was told by friends and colleagues that it would never fly.
But it did. And Marvel gave birth to an entirely new kind of heroes. They aren't as smart, as brave or as mature as the adults, but the teenage heroes still appeals to us for their effort to be better. The teen heroes are fighting to be the heroes of tomorrow.
... Which makes it sad to think of the fact that not many teen heroes are allowed to grow up in comics. They are either totally forgotten, or killed off, or their character is completely ruined in really stupid stories...
Anyway, I will use April to talk about some of the series about these brats. Starting with my favorite Marvel series.
At the beginning of the so-called Heroic Age of the Marvel Universe, a training-camp called "Avengers Academy" was created in order to train six young superhumans to become the Avengers of tomorrow.
... Or that's what the six teenagers are suppose to believe.
They quickly discover that they aren't in the training facility because they were selected for their potential for good, but because each of them has traits similar to the typical super villain. They have been selected in order to prevent them from becoming the Avengers new enemies.
What makes this series great is that their problems aren't the dormant part of their personality. Because that would have been easy. To just make them little a-holes who needed to be fixed. their faults are not something that can be removed, but something they must learn how to live with without it destroying them. For example:
Mettle had a peaceful life before he got his powers. He was raised on Hawaii by hippie-parents and no one wanted to get in a fight with him because he was huge like a mountain. He has spend the most of his life surfing, and was an all-around nice and mellow guy. But after his transformation he discovers that he is slowly turning more violent, and it happens when he least expect it.
And the teachers are a good mix too. Besides being great characters, they are also as messed up as the students. In fact, Hank Pym is the headmaster of Avengers Academy.
Avengers Academy offers an addictive mix of teenage insecurity, unclear morals, tons of lies and double-crossing, as well as interesting and action-packed stories. Highly recommended. Especially the tie-ins to the event "Fear Itself". But I must also inform you with great sadness that the quality of the stories drop a bit during the period of "Avengers VS X-Men", but it wouldn't be the first time that a comic-event ruined a good series.
That's all for now. Next time, we will take a look at Cassandra Cain.
I'm Waezi2, and thanks for wasting time with me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Johns Month(and a half); Avengers, World Trust.

... Yeah, sorry.
I had some trouble getting Johns' GL stuff, then my plan for how and when to review went down the toilet , and then I kinda never had time to do the theme month, with Christmas and stuff. Well, that means that there will be plenty of comics for me to review if I decides to do another Johns Month.
I decided to end with something... unusual. You see, Johns actually wrote comics for Marvel for a short period. Like the Avengers.
"Avengers: World Trust" is a TPB collecting the first six issues Johns' brief run on the Eath Mightiest heroes. I find it odd that Marvel would hand the book to a new-commer like Johns(it was in 2002), but I suppose that with his JSA and Flash comics, he was hot stuff. But World Trust is just a, well... standard story.
But maybe Johns was just warming up before giving the series his magic touch? It feels like that's the case, since the last issue(the best one) we sense who Johns is going to focus on, in this case: Ant-Man, Jack Of Hearts and the infamous Henry Gyrich. And it even feels like he won't go the easy way with Gyrich and just make him the government jerk, but actually want to show that he may be a jerk, but he is a well-meaning jerk.
Also, Falcon's often ridiculed ability to communicate with birds has never looked as awesome as it has here. But that's Johns for ya. He can take anything that the hordes consider lame(like Aquaman) and show us how wrong we were. I really want to see what else he did on his only 20 issue run on the series, and will try and get vol. 2 as soon as possible.
That was Johns Month. Sorry I didn't get to review Green Lantern. But hey, I have something to review next year. Happy new year, and happy birthday to me tomorrow.
I'm Waezi2, and thanks for wasting time with me.