Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Green Hornet #4

Last issue, an aged Kato takes Britt down into the Hornet's Lair. Britt is besides himself with anger as the Hornet had previous just killed his father. Kato explains that this was the Black Hornet that showed up, and that the Green Hornet was none other than Britt's father. Kato explains what he and his late partner set out to accomplish in their glory days, and that his father's contingency plan for Britt if something were to ever happen to him. Britt is to leave the country until the Black Hornet is apprehended. Kato has trained his young daughter, Mulan, to be the new Kato and avenge the Green Hornet. As Britt sits on a plane, waiting to escape to China, he has a change of heart...

I remember about a decade ago when Kevin Smith made The Green Arrow cool again. He's now done the same for the Green Hornet. Each issue is evenly paced with a mix of story, humor, drama, and excitement. Smith is able to develop a well told story, without having the first few issues drag on. Like every good chapter in an installment, the cliffhangers in every issue makes me want to read the next one as soon as I can. Smith has forged a legacy for the Green Hornet comic book fans will appreciate for years to come. 5/5

Next Month: The Green Hornet and Kato reunite!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Smallville Season 9 Cover Art!

It has a bit of a weird Batman feel to it, but then again, that was the entire season. Pre-order now on Amazon!

Neverland #2

Last issue, Wendy Darling witnessed the abduction of her two nephews: Michael and John. The authorities believe that her story about a flying man and a faerie taking the two boys is absolutely crazy. However, psychiatrist Dr. Harlow seems to believe Wendy. Years earlier he had treated a young boy named Nathan. As a child, Nathan and his brother was abducted as well, but Nathan managed to make it home after five days. Though he lost a hand through the ordeal. Twenty years later, Nathan is still traumatized by the experience. He refuses to provided any assistance to Dr. Harlow and Wendy that might help her find her nephews. When Wendy pleads once more, however, Nathan finally changes his mind and agrees to hypnotherapy to help him remember. Something happen in the process, and the three are transported to Neverland. 

Neverland is a retelling of the classic Peter Pan story with a Grimm Fairy Tales twist. Like the Wonderland books, this is told as a series. I have to say, this issue was miles better than the last two (the series began with issue #0). Though I guess they were just establishing the characters, it was really slow. This issue made everything come together really nicely. The characters are now all introduced, and set on their journey to find Michael and John. Neverland sticks to all the themes of the J.M Barrie book while keeping things fresh for the reader. You've never seen this kind of Peter Pan. 4.5/5 

Next week: Tiger Lily!

Robin Trailer!

This is just too funny! Thanks to Jamal Igle for the find!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Walking Dead #72

Rick and the others have finally accepted that they have found a safe haven for themselves. The people are welcoming and the supplies are bountiful. Some of our heroes, like Abraham, has finally accepted his life there with enthusiasm. But Rick is still uneasy. That's what years of being constantly hunted does to a person. Rick isn't wrong though. There is something not quite right with Douglas, the leader of The Community. So the plan for our heroes is simple. Without the residents of the Community finding out, Rick and the others plan to steal back their weapons. They plan to take over The Community if the worst were to happen.

This is why I love The Walking Dead. Even without zombies for two issues, it still gets you hooked. You learn to love the characters and what they stand for. Rick is first, and foremost, the leader of the group. Even if they are safe, they're never really safe in his eyes. That's the kind of thinking you would want in a Zombie Apocalypse. There was a brief moment with Michonne where we get a quick glimpse of her life before the outbreak, and it seems like she was a completely different person. I'd like to see more of that. It was also nice to see Glenn running around scouting things out again. It's nice to see family life hasn't softened him. 4/5 Next week: ZOMBIES!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trailer for NBC's "The Cape"

The network released it's description:

"The Cape" is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons ("ER") as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife, Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, "Life on Mars") and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, "Flash Forward"). Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Faraday becomes "The Cape" his son's favorite comic book superhero -- and takes the law into his own hands. Rounding out the cast are James Frain ("The Tudors") as billionaire Peter Fleming -- The Cape's nemesis -- who moonlights as the twisted killer: Chess; Keith David ("Death at a Funeral") as Max Malini, the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors Vince Faraday and trains him to be The Cape, Summer Glau ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") as Orwell, an investigative blogger who wages war on crime and corruption in Palm City; and Dorian Missick ("Six Degrees") as Marty Voyt, a former police detective and friend to Faraday. "The Cape" is a Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun production from executive producer/creator Thomas Wheeler ("Empire"), executive producer/director Simon West ("Con Air"), the executive producing team of Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun (NBC's "Mercy), and executive producer Gene Stein ("Accidentally on Purpose").

Friday, May 14, 2010

Smallville Finale: Salvation

I normally don't review episodes of Smallville (maybe I'll start next season), but this is by far one of the best episodes I've ever seen! 

Zod and his superpowered army have layed waste to the planet and Clark is faced with a dilemma. He can use the Book of Rao to send all the Kryptonians to another planet, but it will send him away as well. Meanwhile, Lois has secretly been helping Zod as she believes him to be the Blur. This causes a rift in her relationship with Clark. The episode comes to a climax with many different reasons why season ten should be ridiculous! Clark and Zod duke it out in an epic rooftop battle. Lois figures out Clark's secret. Oliver is attacked by unknown superpowered assailants. Tess presumably dies. Then there's the cliffhanger with Clark that made me want to punch a wall! Four more months...Shit! 

This episode had major character development for Clark and Tom Welling played it perfectly. He has become Superman in my eyes. I pray nothing happens to that man over the summer just so I get my season 10 premiere.

The Zod climax felt a bit rushed as they literally left it for the final three minutes of the episode, but then again, that's what cliffhangers are for. They did an amazing job with what time they had. 

Clark and Lois' relationship went through hoops this episode and it was great. It's nice seeing Erica Durance play vulnerable as she rarely does given her character. Her scene in the loft with Clark was heartbreaking. Then she flips it around at the end of the episode with her brave investigative journalist side figuring out Zod's lie and standing up to him. Amazing performance. 

The Oliver and Chloe scenes were cute and fun. It's nice to see that they're taking these two slow.

Cassidy Freeman is possibly one of my favorite additions to the series. It's her eyes. But in all seriousness, she is an amazing character. Neither hero, nor villain, Tess Mercer is an anti-hero that is filled to the brim with shades of grey. Her heroic confrontation with Zod was well done, though it ended tragically. Hopefully she'll be back next season. You never know with what happened at the end of that scene..

Finally, there's the Justice League/Justice Society cameos. With the list of guest stars being released months prior, I was afraid they'd have less time for Clark. This was not the case. The characters were brought on in a way that was quick and utilized the practicality of their appearances given the situation. It was a pretty fun scene to watch with all of the characters in one place at once.

The best part of the episode, however, was the beginning teaser in the link below. Every Smallville fan's wet dream. Perry White is now the editor. Lois is a  hotshot reporter (sporting a wedding ring!). Jimmy Olse ( the real one) is a photography/coffee boy. Clark is wearing his glasses all the time. And best of all we get a quick glimpse of SUPERMAN!!! I honestly can't wait until season 10. At least there's still Comic Con...

Salvation Intro!!

The BEST part of the episode!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

War of the Supermen #2

Part 2 of the 100 Minute War, it has been twenty-seven minutes since New Krypton was destroyed by General Lane and his soldier Reactron. Supergirl, the only survivor who was on the planet at the time is devasted. Meanwhile, Lois breaks the news to the Daily Planet of New Krypton's destruction. Before they can go to print, however, Superwoman (Lucy Lane) arrives and kidnaps her sister. Superman and Supergirl deal with the aftermath of their planet's destruction while Zod and the remaining Kryptonian soldiers attack an Earth base on Mars. Superman and Supergirl arrive to intervene. On Earth, Luthor, who is working for General Lane, is successful in creating a Red Sun. All the Krytponians lose their powers.

I like the build up for this series so far, and I know it's the culmulation of the last few years of storylines, but it seems a bit rushed for something that is only four issues long. With the points of view of Superman, Lois, General Lane, Zod, and Superboy's team, each issue doesn't leave much for story. Hopefully it balances out next week! 3/5!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Frank Frazetta Passes Away

Legendary illustrator Frank Frazetta passed away earlier today from a stroke.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Salvation Promo!

The epic promo for the Smallville season 9 finale!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Interview with David Malki!

Here it is folks! An exclusive interview with Wondermark! creator David Malki.

Can you walk us through the process of coming up with a new strip? Is it methodical? Or do you just wait until an idea hits you? Where does the artwork you scan come from?

Different strips are born in different ways!  I have a collection of old books from the 1800s that are full of old engravings and woodcuts. Sometimes I start with the images -- looking through the books until I find some images that strike me as particularly evocative, or playing around with elements until I find a combination that pleases me.  Then it's a matter of figuring out, "What is this man saying to this bear?" And the strip grows from there.

Other times I'll start with an idea already in mind -- I'll write the strip like any cartoonist might, and then it's a matter of building the images to match.  If it's something easy like a conversation, I'll just look for characters who look like they might be having that conversation (gestures, facial expressions, etc).  If it's a more complicated scene, I often have to build everything pretty much from scratch, finding or building props, settings, specific characters in specific poses, etc.  That can be a much more difficult process (especially when it comes down to paging through book after book just looking for something highly specific, or even pieces or shapes or textures that can be made into something I've conceptualized) but it's also very constructive and fun, and those are usually the strips I'm proudest of.

The ideas in this case can come from anywhere -- over the years I've sort of trained myself to think in comics, so when I encounter a situation in life or have a conversation that bends in a certain way, my mind sort of automatically spins it out to the absurd extreme to see if there's a joke in it somewhere. And on days when that well is drier, I have an advantage over other cartoonists in that I can just start assembling an image and see where it takes me.  Often in those cases I don't know where the strip is going until it gets to the last panel, and sometimes not even then.

How did Wondermark come to be? Where did the name come from?

The term "wonder mark" is archaic slang for an exclamation point, which I've written as part of my name for over ten years. I registered the domain without much thought of what might go on it. Around the same time I found a clip-art book of old engravings and started to wonder if they could become somehow become comics. I made ten or twenty strips as an experiment, put them on the website just because why not, and just never stopped doing it I guess! But I dropped the clip-art pretty soon: I don't like using images that other people can just buy a clip-art book and obtain.  That's why I started hunting down primary sources.

Now that you're more well known, has it in any way affected the quality of your strips?

I guess there is a little more pressure to deliver each time? But I always have a certain standard that I hold myself to: it has to pass my internal test before being good enough to post, and at the same time, I feel like I want to continually push myself to do better. I'm not satisfied with the same approach all the time, or the same joke construction, or even the same images or characters.  So just by virtue of how long I've been doing this, I feel like I continually want to top myself, which can be somewhat of a challenge.  And since people seem to like it when I do good work, it's continually encouraging.  Beyond that I just try and stay true to what I personally think is interesting without worrying to much about what people will think -- although over time I think as I've grown and matured as a person and as a storyteller, the subject matter of what I choose to write about has changed and matured as well.

Do you have any personal favorites from the site?

My favorite strips are the very ambitious ones -- the ones where I know I spent a ton of time and energy in pursuit of a really precise goal, and pulled it off -- as well as the very straightforward ones, the ones that fit together simply and easily and are (in my opinion) just good examples of how to use the comic strip medium to tell decent jokes.  Examples of the former: #550, #569; of the latter: #260, #442, #326.

Aside from your own, what other webcomics do you read?

I appreciate and respect a ton of other comics, and I read loads of them in spurts, but there are only a
few I read regularly.  I will get in trouble with my friends if I mention which ones they are though!

When you first upload your newest strip, aside from your regular fans, who are you the most anxious to get a reaction from?

I guess antsy billionaires?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost

This is an Aladdin like you've never seen. Drawn primarily from the original tale, the story focuses on an orphaned thief named Aladdin. 

Aladdin, an orphan raised in a brothel in which his mother had work before she died in childbirth, is given the chance to change his life forever. The first issue is very similar to the Disney story and ends with Aladdin finding the genie (Djinn). Using it's powers, Aladdin amasses great riches, but is betrayed by Qassim, the sorcerer who set him after the lamp. With the king murdered, the princess kidnapped, and Aladdin falsely accused, he embarks on a journey with the legendary Sinbad to save the princess and stop Qassim. Followed by a crew of warriors as well as the Djinn of the Ring, Aladdin travels far and wide to find a way to defeat the evil sorcerer and his all powerful Djinn of the Lamp.

The description I gave did not do the book justice. This story was awesome. It read like a movie the entire time. Spread out as a series consisting of three issues, Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost is something definitely worth checking out. It develops the characters well all know and love in ways we've never seen before, as well as adds a darker edge to the story. My only gripe was they could have made this more than three issues. 5/5