Saturday, July 23, 2011

Here Comes Daredevil #1 - A Review

Of all the characters born and raised on the newsprint page among the panels and thought balloons Daredevil is not only unique but remarkable. He is a character that has had his story told by the best of the best in the comic book industry, and as one reads of his adventures and sees his development over the years one instantly understands that he deserves no less.

For those who have no knowledge of the comic book hero called Daredevil, please allow me to introduce you to Matthew Murdock. The son of famed boxer "Battlin' Jack Murdock," Matt grew up like most, idolizing his father, his hero. The senior Murdock taught Matt perseverance and the value of inner strength. He built a foundation in his boy that would support the eventual structure of a principled man who would fight all those who would wrong the innocent. This future as a man of importance and greatness would only come after losses that would further bolster the already sturdy personality behind the inevitable hero.

As a boy Matt saved a life, a heroic gesture, the first of many, that would cost him his sight. Diving in front of an oncoming truck he shoved a man out of the way only to find himself a target for the vehicle's dislodged cargo. In that moment of selfless bravery he was exposed to a radioactive capsule which stole his ability to see but not before it drastically enhanced his other four, spared senses. It was through his coping with this combination of impairment and hyper-sensitivity that the boy learned to apply his father's lessons in perseverance and overcome his lack of one sense and the oftentimes overwhelming response of the others.

After learning to function with this new way of perceiving the world around him Matt suffered another tragic loss. Refusing to throw a match for some insistent fixers, Jack Murdock was gunned down. The death of his hero, whose hopes were for Matt to ascend beyond the life of a prize-fighter to a far better existence, and the strength gained by conquering adversity drove him to apply himself through and out of school into the position of a lawyer. Now able to affect change in his new position on the side of law, Matt realized that another life would be necessary to combat the evils that robbed him of his father and forever changed his life. With purpose, principle, exceptional perception, and a complete lack of care for danger Matthew Murdock became the Man Without Fear. The Daredevil.

Now you know a bit more about this legendary character of the four-colored page who has had a publishing history of close to fifty years and is still going strong. The continuing strength is evident especially in the newest offering from the character's publisher, Marvel Comics. Penned by Mark Waid and illustrated by Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, "Here Comes Daredevil" is by far one of the most exciting new titles to come out of the House of Ideas. In the issue we find a Matthew Murdock who has made the choice to return to his life after a series of blows to his psyche and reputation. The world, thanks to the media, believes him to be the Daredevil, though he, naturally wishing to maintain his personal life, denies their claims.

The issue starts out with a bit of classic Daredevil acrobatics as he moves through a mob wedding to prevent a kidnapping attempted by a extra-dimensional adversary. From the cover, through this sequence, to the conversation he holds later in the issue with his law partner Foggy Nelson about his life's direction, we are given in a single issue a fair representation of what makes this character, this hero so fantastic.

One of the things about this issue that really pleased me was how the artist dealt with the setting. We are given a chance to see panels that show us what we who have sight commonly see. Then there are the panels which wonderfully represent Matt's "Radar Sense," which shows the world's shapes as a series of lines created as sound ripples over objects. This brilliant depiction of the character's shadow world, the fine artwork throughout the issue (stunning!), and the entertaining and effective words of scribe Waid deliver one of the best new comics in quite some time.

If you're looking to introduce someone to Daredevil, or if you're new and looking for a jumping on point, this is it. If you wish to research the few references to Matt's fairly recent troubling events, go for it. The wonderful thing is that this stand alone new series makes it so that you don't have to. Pick it up, enjoy it, and stay aboard for the ride through this new, incredible series!

I give it a 5 out of 5.

Species and Gender

When you refer to man are you referring to the species or the gender? Which of these is truly of the greater importance?
Surely the value of the species and the consideration of its importance mean more than something flimsy such as the socially constructed concept of gender. Granted there are biological differences, but why must society brand folk for the result of their development?

This is not to say that the biological properties of gender are meaningless. Without the biological components that define gender how would we procreate and maintain the species? Even though this is the case, should we allow our biological make up alone to dictate our existence?

Surely we live in a time of fools where the species of man is so busy sectioning its imagined domains, imposing the pointless values of an obsolete ideal, that it fails to see the importance of the greater truth beyond. That truth might perhaps show that regardless of design we are who we are and may act as we please. Therein lies the true value to the species. Freedom of and for the species in all things.

Some thoughts for an
early, hazy Saturday morning.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hey, World....Some Ideas I Have for You!

If only mankind would take at least the next 50 years to convert all jobs, industries, and efforts to restoring nature, increasing dwindling wildlife populations, and combating the carbon output of the last century. That way we'd all have jobs, our planet would heal, and our future would be secure.

Instead here we are worrying about the next best cellphone/social network/media all-in-one hybrid to hit the market or some airhead bitch with a baby's nickname who may or may not be an incredibly active whore. We spend our time adding waste. Our oceans, basically something so vast and powerful we thought we'd never be able to put a dent in it, are suffering as various sea life populations take a severe drop. If that's not a sign that we're in a downward spiral I don't know what is.

Then there are so many aimless college kids out there who are just pursuing dead ends because they come from a generation that believes in the illusion of security no matter what. We should be leading these kids, teaching them the right directions and perspectives. We should be teaching them about perspective period. These kids with bullshit aspirations and no actual drive could do so much working jobs that would help our world. Why is this group being lied to and led to a great big dead end? They're an undisciplined, much-neglected resource.

Also, the bully majority is controlled by a group of religious (meaning they're less likely to function with reason than they are to make shit up and go with that instead), upper class baby boomers. These are people who feel that they'll never be under threat of extinction or destruction because they've held their status and control for so long. They think that it doesn't matter that we damn today because that imaginary humanoid from above will just come back and make it all better in an eventual tomorrow.

Basically these people prove that they should be utterly destroyed without mercy. They're a cancer. They should be treated with the same disregard they show our world, our species, and the other species we share this world with.

With all that in mind I'll just say that mankind is incredibly stupid. I can't be alone in thinking these things. Why aren't people like me being heard? Perhaps if I re-read this post I'll have answered my own question. Damn it!

How Dare I?

Tonight my ancestors bellow from shadowed hills highlighted by the yellowed moon's glow. They demand justice be done upon me for my transgressions. My blood will soon run in the chill night. Those entombed specters will have their cravings sated.

Brutal customs shall be honored as age old rites are performed. Bones shall lighten as they lie in the loam with a relief felt by their evicted souls who shall glut themselves on a descendants' failings.

The chains shall circle about me. The doors shall be closed. I shall be torn asunder.

Mourn me not.


If only I hadn't said that a Renaissance Faire was of greater importance than churchgoing on a Sunday morn. If only. Then maybe I would be spared the hunger of my past, the feral cravings of the fathers of my blood.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moon Knight #1 - A Review

Sadly I don't know very much about the Marvel Comics character Moon Knight. I've picked up issues here and there for years but never bothered to learn about the hero's backstory. So here I am having read the new Moon Knight #1.

Unlike most comic-reading folk I know, I don't go crazy for artist/writer team ups. I'm not incredibly impressed by that many popular, fan-favorite talents in the industry. For example, Bendis and Maleev were the headliners for this issue. I have never quite understood the fanboy's love of Bendis and I still don't. Alex Maleev had some incredible work on Daredevil, but this time around I felt his work lacked what I enjoyed during his run with The Man Without Fear. So I'm not going to go any further with throwing creator names around while I review the book.

I appreciate the way the issue opened and how that opening set the scene for this run of the character's story. It both set the reader up with an idea of who this man was and who he has become. There's also an Avengers connection early on in the issue that seems typical for any book in Marvel. Take any Marvel title and have it's main character meet up with the Avengers on a rooftop somewhere exchanging witty banter. From what I gather this has become a rather common occurrence, especially for stories written by this title's writer. It's only after the action of this story plays out that you realize there's nothing typical about this book at all.

I won't spoil anything about the story, the character, or the approach the creative team seems to have taken with this new run. All I'll say is that nothing is as it seems and that last page leaves you either wondering or, if you're perceptive enough (having taken a good look at the cover), it leaves you with a chill. It was that final bit that made the issue worth picking up. The rest I found to be blah. There are better ways to pull readers into a new run. This seems like a half-hearted approach. There's too much of that to be any good for the current comic industry. I'm giving Moon Knight #1 a 3 out of 5.

Silver Surfer: Limited Series #1 (Pak, Segovia, Olazaba, and Quintana) - A Review

When I was but a young boy my uncle took me to a local comic book shop near my great grandmother's home in West Palm Beach, FL. It was there that I was allowed to pick out my first superhero comic book, after having been raised on Disney comics, ALF, and whatever Sunday strips my grandma would pass my way. My final decision came down to a choice between either an issue of Superman: The Man of Steel or Silver Surfer. I went with Superman because I'd already seen the Max Fleischer cartoons and wanted more. I never quite got over neglecting my friend Norrin Radd though.

Skip to this last Sunday at a local comic book shop where I discovered Marvel's new limited series featuring the beloved Silver Sufer. This cosmic marvel has always fascinated me. If I could go back to that day in Florida long ago I think I would have ditched the mulleted boy scout and gone with the Herald of Galactus instead (no hair, no mullet, no problem). This is the second limited Surfer series I've started reading, the last dealing with a crack in his cosmic skin or something (I'd have to dig it out and reread it). I wonder why Marvel can't commit to a new ongoing series? Sales numbers are the real decision makers, I guess.

Anyway, I finished reading my new issue this afternoon, issue #1. It starts off at the end of some story line I've neglected to read I'm sure, where the Surfer brings his master, the mighty world-eater Galactus, the energy of a sun shortening it's life by a billion years. He's troubled by this, and through his inner monologue we read of his thoughts and regrets. That's something about the board-riding powerhouse I've always appreciated. He never does something without being mindful of the consequences.

As the issue progresses, and as he waits for the severly weakened Galactus to recover, the Surfer decides to visit Earth. He ends up in a region of Mexico where he sees two lovers brutally attacked by some high-powered combat team. He interferes and yadda, yadda. You want more detail? Read the issue. The last page is what got me. It's what will, I'm sure, get you. It's why I'll be rushing back for the next four issues to find out the answer to my panicked question, "What the HELL?!"

This issue, considering the artwork and story, will be given a cosmic 4 out of 5. Check it out!

FF (Future Foundation) #1 & #2 - A Review

Lately I've been avoiding new comics. When stopping in at my local comic book shop (Apparitions Comics or Argos Books) I usually dive right into the back issue boxes and try to dig up old goodies. There's just not much that impresses me on the new shelf.

I will occasionally break this habit and peruse the new releases, only rarely picking something up. Recently I've grabbed IDW's awesome Rocketeer Adventures and surprisingly even Marvel's FF. It is the later that has prompted this little review.

Whenever a staple character dies, and this happens a lot in comics, I kind of get pissed off, even if I don't read that character's book. Steve Rogers was the last character death that actually got to me. I just really enjoy the character of Captain America. They, of course, brought him back (also common in comics). That's fine. Though when Johnny Storm recently got himself deceased an irritation boiled up in the back of my mind. Apparently, unlike Steve Rogers, Johnny's death was gruesome and seemed to be VERY final. This tragedy drew me in.

Due to my passing curiousity and feelings toward the death of the Human Torch I, as I previously mentioned, picked up the first two issues of FF (post-Johnny Fantastic Four, retitled Future Foundation). It's surprises me now after reading them how much I want to continue with this title. We have a new world in this series where the look of the old family has changed, enemies are becoming strange allies of a sort, and friendlies are being added to the team. So far the series feels like it's about a super science version of Xavier's School with a little Spidey wit tossed in for comic relief (Spider-Man being invited in per Johnny's final request). There are great character moments tossed in that give you an idea of how the original FF members are viewing their changing lives. That's really what stood out for me in my reading of the issues.

It's still very early and I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that if you enjoy old Fantastic Four and the idea of a team of super brains solving superhero problems, check it out. I give it, so far, a 4 out of 5.

Geek Lantern - A Subculture's Failing

I've witnessed time and again geeks blowing up about the lack of dedication held by various comic films to their source material. Never mind that these folks fail to realize that there's a great difference between source material and adaptation. The adaptation must stand on it's own. Apparently this is a difficult concept for geeks to grasp.

Tonight I saw the film adaptation of Green Lantern. If anything this film stayed true to the comics, taking little turns here and there for sake of story and the film's own identity. I thought, after sitting through it and the credits (where a neat, inevitable event occurs), that it was overall a fun comic book movie. I'm not going to compare it to other comic book films. I'm not going to compare it to the best of the comic book's story lines. All I'll say is that the film managed to tell a good story while introducing us to pieces of a much larger universe. The characters were decent, the action was appropriate, and all the boundaries set down in the film around what certain things could and couldn't do were respected by the movie overall. The one issue I had dealt with a specific scene that I thought, for sake of story and character, could have been arranged differently, but I refuse to let that moment soil the full film experience.

It seems to me that geeks, no matter what you give them or how palatable you make it, have to tear shit apart. I've met very few geeks that are completely pleased with their passions and display commendable amounts of common sense in avoiding what they don't like. Unfortunately most geeks I know feel that their opinion is needed and that it must be used as a tool to curb creators to their tastes. Like anyone actually gives a damn. I prefer to try something to get a feel for it. I'll take it in, think it over, and then decide if I want to stick with it or abandon it. I understand passion driving one to become obnoxiously preachy about their feelings, but I'm trying (and I'd urge my fellow geeks to join me) to calm that part of me.

A certain clip from the film was passed around the internet before the actual film was released. It stirred up some geek ignorance which was accompanied by geek rantings. I've read judgements of an entire film based upon a short clip. This is not only ridiculous, it is incredibly disappointing. After seeing the film I must say that I now hold less respect for the opinions of those who slandered or libeled something based on a great lack of knowledge.

So to conclude I'll restate that this film is enjoyable and I would encourage fans to give it a shot. If you like it go with it. If you don't like it, stay away. Don't judge something when uninformed, don't use your opinions to obnoxiously attempt to bully people with your opinions, especially those who don't really listen to you, and learn to appreciate something based on what it offers instead of what it's supposed to offer based on source material or whatever else came before but is in relation to it.

Enjoy your comics. Enjoy your films. Be more open-minded. (This was written not to just berate people but to hopefully touch on the need for, and show the importance of, informed opinions instead of uninformed rants)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sharp Stabs from Life

Whoever said "Life is pain" truly knew what they were talking about.

I've made a horrible discovery. It's information I wanted to have as soon as it should have been given to me, but something I had to wait and find for myself in the most painful way possible.

Perhaps I'm a fool who doesn't really understand how to function in life and what is or is not acceptable. Maybe my frustration and fear is invalid and I'm reacting in the worst way possible.

Perhaps I'm right to take this new discovery and burn in my own hatred and anger over it. I can feel my heart aching and burning. I can't tell if it's the pain of my new found knowledge or if it's the pain my body feels when I rage.

The life I was working towards, the life I thought I was living fairly comfortably, is no more. How do I approach the future? Where do I go from here?

The path to self-destruction, after all I've had to endure up to and including this, has never been more inviting. I'd like to set the world on fire and roll around in the embers after all is nothing more than fiery coals.

Perhaps I'll destroy myself. Perhaps I'll save myself. The future as always is uncertain, more so now than ever before.