Comic Book Review – Justice League Generation Lost #14: Tomorrow is Today

If you’re a fan of Captain Atom, then this issue is definitely for you. After that incident with Magog last time, Nate Adam is once again (first time was in issue #6) hurled into the 24th century, in an alternate reality where a handful of new and old Justice Leaguers are waging a desperate war against the OMACs. Captain Atom has no choice but to join the other heroes in that time in a last ditch effort to destroy the OMAC moon base, which used to be Max Lord’s base of operation.

Cover Art for Justice League Generation Lost #14

Again, this very powerful superhero from DC Universe is given the opportunity to help save humanity and correct the things that have gone and will go wrong in the future. Question is, will he pull through? One thing is for sure, Captain Atom’s sub-plot is one of the strongest points in the Generation Lost series.

Writer Judd Winick pushes the storyline forward in each installment. The main characters have been brilliantly developed. And to me, that’s an important part of a good story. Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan provide the amazing artwork. I’m really impressed by the smooth clean lines and the fresh look of some of the classic characters in the DC Universe.

Comic Book Review – Green Arrow #6: Siege Mentality

This is a continuing Brightest Day tie-in issue that has nothing to do with Black Lanterns, or the Brightest Day maxi-series for that matter. For many fans of the character, this is a welcome relief. You see, some comic book readers have expressed their dismay over what seem to be a conspiracy to take the edge off Green Arrow, resulting in the character not getting the most captivating parts in the past issues. The first five installments all served as settings for Brightest Day sub-plots and, right now, I couldn’t care less about that mysterious forest in the middle of Star City.

Cover Art for Green Arrow #6

But now, we see Green Arrow finally hitting the bull’s eye in this series that bears his name. Oliver Queen finally raids Queen Industries to meet the Queen and her assistant assassin Nix head on. The assault scenes are packed with action, which all manage to provide the much needed thrust for Oliver’s story to move forward.

Writer JT Krul has brought the series a new sense of direction. Storywise, I believe that this is the best issue in the series so far. Add to that the powerful artwork by Diogenes Neves and the brilliant colors and inkwork from Vicente Cifuentes. As always, the cover art by Mauro Cascioli sums up the core of this issue’s storyline in a manner that’s nothing less than realistic.

Comic Book Review – Detective Comics #871: The Black Mirror, Part 1

A whole new chapter opens in Detective Comics series. A horrible string of murders again besets Gotham City and the GCPD is far from solving the crimes. As a matter of fact, there are indications that some members of the police force are involved in these bloody killings. It must be pointed out that the murders occur after the much awaited return of Bruce Wayne and the start of Batman Incorporated, where Dick Grayson has been designated by Bruce Wayne as the ‘official’ Batman to watch over Gotham.

Cover Art for Batman Detective Comics #871

So, needless to say, Dick Grayson’s knack for detective work will be put to the test. Will he come close—or even surpass—Bruce Wayne’s detective skills? Better yet, will Dick be able to fill in Bruce’s shoes as the city’s Dark Knight? Well, it remains to be seen. But if there is anything that can be said about these brutalities, it’s that Dick will have to face one of the oldest evils lurking in Gotham City.

Rising comics star Scott Snyder and celebrated artist Jock has finally teamed up for the ongoing Detective Comics series. And if that’s any indication, this long-running serial from DC Comics will surely break the state of affairs in the Batman mythos. Snyder is known for his dynamic storytelling style, particularly in American Vampire series from Vertigo Comics. Jock, on the other hand, is admired for his dark, unrealistic but gorgeous artwork in The Losers.

In the co-feature story entitled Skeleton Cases, also written by Snyder, a vile mystery stares Commissioner Jim Gordon in the face. It all started out in the Gotham City Aviary and may soon lead into the police commissioner’s personal life. Color and art for the second story is by Francesco Francavilla.

Comic Book Review – Astonishing Thor #1

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Just like any other opening issue for a comic book mini-series, Astonishing Thor has little excitement to offer. Except for the fact that the main characters are being laid down on the table, there are few things that fans can look forward to in any opening chapter. But even if this issue has little to offer to stir up fans, it still made my weekly comic book pull up list because of its amazing, eye-popping art by Mike Choi.

Cover Art for Astonishing Thor #1

Again, many fans will find this issue to be a bit dull, storywise. Even the character development is weak. My main complaint is the part where Heimdall blurts out the word hyperspace. I mean, Asgardians surely have a more archaic term for hyperspace, right? Or did their stay in Oklahoma, during and after the Siege, also defiled their tongues?

At any rate, I’m looking forward to a more exciting second issue. With Thor finally bumping into the living planet called Ego and its creator known as The Stranger, a climactic battle is just around the corner.

Comic Book Review – Action Comics #895: The Black Ring

As Lex Luthor goes on a quest to find the remaining traces of Black Lantern energy, he’s bound to meet some very formidable obstacles along the way. But for the third time in the Action Comics series, he has proven that he can outgun, outman, and outwit anyone who crosses his path. First, he foiled an assassination attempt by Deathstroke. Next, he thwarted Grodd from turning him into a Lex Meatball. Finally, Luthor eluded Death herself.

Cover Art for Action Comics #895

So, it’s just natural for the world’s smartest criminal mastermind to finally take a break and let things hang loose back in Metropolis. Alas, there’s no rest for the wicked. A new thorn on Luthor’s side pops up in the form of Vandal Savage, who’s bent on preventing Luthor’s plan of harnessing the energy from the Black Lanterns. Why? Well, it’s because Luthor’s scheme can only materialize with the use of the Black Lantern energy domes which, in turn, are held by Savage in preparation for some kind of ancient prophecy. This latest confrontation forces Luthor to enlist the services of the Secret Six. And we’ll soon find out if it’s going to be another smart idea from LL.

The absence of Superman in Action Comics started in issue #890 and will last all the way through #899. But I tell you, I do not miss Supes at all. Writer Paul Cornell has given fans of the comic book series a lot to look forward to, most important of which is the amazing scripts between Luthor and his DC villain contemporaries. The artwork by Peter Wood is also worth mentioning. The detailed expressions on both Luthor and Savage are simply amazing.

Lastly, let’s not forget about the co-feature story where we find Jimmy Olsen preventing a cruel bunch of aliens from turning Earth into a bloodsoaked party venue. The plan involves turning Metropolis into a boring city in the hope that the aliens would see the entire planet as an uninteresting place and, thus, a total waste of time for them. Well, only Jimmy Olsen can do it with just a bow tie on his neck.

Weekly Comic Book Review (Nov. 17): Batman: The Return #1, Batman Incorporated #1, The Flash #6

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Every week, I will be sharing with you the comic books that really blew my mind. My reviews, however, are not official and they are solely based on my personal opinion and tastes.

My comics pull list for this week has Batman written all over it. There are three major Dark Knight titles, plus one Batman appearance in the Brightest Day maxi-series. I also included Flash #6 which is the last chapter in The Dastardly Death of the Rogues story arc. Brightest Day #14, another comics series by Geoff Johns, also proved to be a real treat. All in all, I have 6 issues as my top picks. Here they are:

1. Batman Incorporated #1: Mr. Unknown is Dead

2. Batman: The Return #1—Planet Gotham

3. The Flash #6: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues, Part Six

4. Brightest Day #14: Acrobats

5. Batman #704: Eye of the Beholder

6. Green Lantern #59: Lorek Tarr Lok

I hope you enjoyed these issues as much as I did. Please let me know what you think about this week’s top picks. Thanks.

The Death of Spider-Man Looms in New Bendis-Millar Team Up

Spider-Man is going to die—in comic book pages, that is. Celebrated comic book writers Brian Bendis and Mark Millar will be collaborating to plot the web slinger’s demise. The Death of Spider-Man will be a new crossover storyline in the Ultimate Marvel imprint where many of the characters in the Marvel Comics Universe have been updated and reimagined, often to reflect modern-day settings.

This is another ambitious new project for Marvel Comics after it was acquired by Disney in late 2009. The new plot is expected to forever alter the tale of Spider-Man. The storyline will rotate within the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man and a new mini-series called Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates. The prelude will happen in Ultimate Spider-Man #153 and the main plot will officially start off in Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1.

Apart from Bendis and Millar, the creative team will be composed of Sara Pichelli and David LaFuente for Ultimate Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Filipino artist Leinil Yu will handle Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates.

The Death of Spider-Man is definitely going to be a big comics event. So fanboys and girls should start saving up for Ultimate Spider-Man #153 which will hit stores in February 2011.

New Incredible Hulk TV Series Gets Nod, Guillermo del Toro to Direct

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A new take on The Incredible Hulk TV series is in the works and it will be helmed by famed director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth). Del Toro is collaborating with David Eick, the executive producer for Battlestar Galactica. Comic book legends Joe Quesada and Jeph Loeb, who also currently heads Marvel TV, will also executive produce the new series.

Incredible Hulk 1980's

Growing up in the 80’s, I still remember how thrilled I was when I first saw the original Incredible Hulk live-action series on TV. Dull when compared to present-day CGI and other special effects technology, the original series nevertheless embodied the resourcefulness of that era. Instead of stop-motion or computer generated images, young Hulk fans in those days had Lou Ferrigno giving life to one of the most enduring characters in the history of Marvel Comics.

Well, the wait is over for lifelong fans of the Hulk. The new series is the first live-action television project from Marvel after it was bought out by Disney at the end of 2009. Many storyline aspects of the latest television adaptation of the Incredible Hulk will be based on the original live-action series and other previous animated incarnations of the raging green monster. Sources say that del Torro’s take on the Hulk will be basically a fresh retelling of the origins of Bruce Banner and his savage alter ego. But unlike other previous screen appearances of the Hulk, the new series will feature the character using a combination of prosthetics, CGI and puppet manipulation techniques.

The new Incredible Hulk TV series will be premiering on ABC and will be aired some time after The Avengers movie hits theaters in 2012.

Big Comic Book Sale at Planet X Comics

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Planet X Comics in Glorietta will have a big sale from November 19 to 21–that starts today. Fanboys and girls can enjoy 10% on all trade paperbacks, hardcovers, and manga comics. And that’s not all, get more discounts when you buy more — 15% for 2 items, 20% for 3, 25% for 4, and 30% off for 5 items or more.

You also get 40% discount when you buy variant comic covers and comic sets. New comics, action figure singles or sets, statues and other collectibles will be slashed by 20%.

Planet X Comics will also bring down prices for back issues by as much as 50%. Lastly, all Comic Odyssey back issues in comic bins will be at a fixed price of PHP50.00 each.

Take notice, however, that discount rates do not apply to recently released, reserved or reordered items. This big sale is definitely a treat for comic book fans and collectors, especially now that Christmas is just around the corner. Enjoy.

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is superbly done. Directed by David Yates, this is the most anticipated first big screen installment of the last Harry Potter book and it definitely delivers both in terms of performance by its actors and cinematic elements.

My only objection–just like many other fans–is that the last Harry Potter book has been split into two films, with Part II coming in the middle of 2011. Also, viewers who have not read any of the Potter books may feel that the film is a petri dish or link up flick where characters are just being developed and therefore lack substance. Well, this film is not the perfect jumping on point for new Harry Potter fans.

A Quick Round Up

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, we see the once mighty company of Dumbledore supporters suffering heavy losses. Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters have taken control of the Ministry and mayhem spreads across the magical world. Harry, Ron and Hermione sets out on a very dangerous mission—to find all the horcruxes that Lord Voldemort made and prevent the dark lord from obtaining the ultimate power that he always wanted. Harry and his friends play a risky cat and mouse game against Voldemort’s forces as they seek and destroy each horcrux.

Meeting Expectations

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is dark and mature. If 3- or 5-year olds enjoyed the previous films, well then I think they won’t be able to grasp the story this time around. This is definitely not a movie for kids. Personally, I like the dark and gloomy scenes. But the best elements of the movie are the very impressive and fast-paced wizard duels–the effects are just awesome.

Characters to Watch

Let me make a confession–I like the movie right from the start, even if I have not seen the effects yet. And that’s because the first half minute of the film shows Bill Nighy (Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean) who plays Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic, giving speech. To me, Mr. Nighy is one of the greatest actors and comedians to come from England. You should see him dance in 2003’s Love Actually, co starring Hugh Grant, and you’ll see my point.

Lord Voldemort is another character that I really looked forward to see in the movie. True, he’s just another one of those archetypal villains who want to destroy things and rule the world. But the mere fact that the character is being portrayed by Ralph Fiennes makes the movie screen turn into something wickedly magical.

Moving forward, our boy wizard is no longer a boy. Sure, Harry Potter still wears those pair of spectacles, but now there’s a fully grown man inside that forehead with the lightning scar. After seven books, the character has become more sophisticated and wiser. As for Daniel Radcliffe, he dished out a more polished acting prowess in this movie, with more substance than form compared to the previous films.

Also, the brilliant performance by Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, is not to be missed (at the very least, she doesn’t mumble like the other girl in that vampire-werewolf movie series). Without Hermione, Harry and Ron would never have gotten past book one. And just like in the previous films, Hermione’s smarts is crucial in protecting Harry and Ron from Death Eaters. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, her hidden affection for Ron becomes more apparent. Then again, we all know what will happen to Hermione and Ron in the final pages of the book and we’ll talk about that in July 2011.

As for Ron Weasley, let me first tell you that he is my favorite character both in the books and the films. But alas, even Ron has to grow up and become corrupted by jealousy. The poor chap succumbs to the evil contained in the locket horcrux, which reminds me of what happened to Frodo in The Lord of The Rings. Actor Rupert Grint splendidly conveys Ron’s personal conflicts to the audience.

Overall, the innocence that we all saw in Harry, Ron and Hermione in the previous films is barely there now. They have become more human and the audience can better relate to them in this film than in all the other previous installments. Indeed, the characters we all come to love have gained full momentum.