Talking about comic books, TV shows, movies, sports, and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Last Week in TV #19

A little light this week, as most shows were in re-runs or on hiatus as February Sweeps approach...

The Cape: Kozmo

Well, that didn't get any better...

Within the first few minutes my suspension of disbelief was snapped when the Cape used his cape to rip a door off a car, then proceeded to block close range gunfire with the door. Apparently this is just going to be that kind of show..

Thursday, January 27, 2011

X-amining Giant-Size X-Men #1

"Second Genesis!"
May 1975

In a Nutshell
When the X-Men are captured, Professor X recruits a new team of mutants from around the world to rescue them.

Writer: Len Wein
Co-plotter: Chris Claremont (uncredited)
Artist: Dave Cockum, Peter Iro (co-inks, uncredited)
Letterer: John Constanza
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Len Wein

After the the X-Men are captured by the living island Krakoa, Professor X travels the globe, recruiting new mutants to help rescue them. In Germany, he saves the demonic-looking Kurt Wagner from a lynch mob, who joins the X-Men as Nightcrawler. In Canada, he convinces Wolverine to leave Department H and join him. He visits former ally Banshee at the Grand Ol' Opry and recruits him. In Kenya, he convinces the weather-manipulating Ororo, who is being worshiped as a goddess, to come to America with him as Storm. In Japan, he asks Sunfire to come out of retirement. In Russia, he convinces the armored Piotr Rasputin to leave his family and the collective farm and join the X-Men as Colossus. Finally, in Arizona, he asks the hot-headed Apache John Proudstar to join him as Thunderbird. At the X-Mansion, the new X-Men gather and meet Cyclops, who managed to escape from Krakoa and fills them in on the situation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Sentence Reviews

It's time for some one sentence reviews...apocalypse edition!

The Walking Dead Book 1 (Graphic Story): I didn't like the beginning of this comic (too fast paced with low character development) but the story really started to grow on me.
The Walking Dead (TV Series): I would say this is my favorite new show on television but this quality program deserves better praise than that.
Fallout: New Vegas (Video Game): It would be a great game but all the bugs knock it down to just good.
The Road (Movie): If happiness and optimism is your sickness then this movie is your cure.
World War Z (Novel): Going into this book I expected a hokey zombie novel but instead I got what can only be described as great literature.
The Cape (TV Series): OK, so this TV series has nothing to do with the end of humanity but a show this bad has to be a sign of the apocalypse, right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Few Thoughts on the 83rd Oscar Nominations

Check out the full list of nominations here.

Thankfully, the Academy eschewed the Golden Globes and didn't nominate any songs from Burlesque, so we'll hopefully be spared listening to Cher's botox-y man voice at any point during the ceremony.

I'm bummed Carter Burwell's score for True Grit wasn't nominated. I thought it was a great throwback to the kind of music you'd hear in old school Westerns while still sounding like a contemporary film score. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Last Week in TV #18

Slightly-briefer thoughts than usual, as I did watch some stuff last week but didn't have much time to write about them. And with the Oscar nominations due tomorrow, best to get this done while I can.

Fox Sunday Night Animation

Last week's Simpsons ("Flaming Moe") was actually pretty good (I appreciated the callback to past "Moe turns his bar into ___!" episodes) with two strong stories featuring supporting characters and little interaction from the Simpsons (aside from Homer and Marge voguing and Bart assisting Skinner's romantic machinations). Last night's was pretty good too until the random fourth act ending. Until then, I greatly enjoyed Homer's embrace of 80s sitcom mores and the corresponding parodies.

Last Week in TV #18...

...will be up later today, briefer than usual (as I haven't had much time to write about anything I watched since getting back in town).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

X-amining X-Men: The Hiatus Years #2

The Avengers 110-111, The Incredible Hulk 172, Captain America 172-175, Marvel Team-Up 23 and The Defenders 15-16.
April 1973-October 1974

The Avengers 110-111 by Steve Englehart and Don Heck
Incredible Hulk 172 by Roy Thomas and Herb Trimpe
Captain America 172-175 by Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema
Marvel Team-Up 23 by Lein Wein and Gil Kane
The Defenders 15-16 by Len Wein and Sal Buscema
(for full credits on each issue, please visit the Grand Comics Database)

The Avengers 110: The Avengers answer a distress call from the X-Men, who have been attacked by Magneto. The Avengers 111: The Avengers defeat Magneto, but Angel goes missing. The Incredible Hulk 172: In the wake of various mutant disappearances, The X-Men travel to the southwest to check on Havok and Lorna Dane. Discovering them misssing as well, they help Hulk defeat Juggernaut. Captain America 172: Captain America and the Falcon, on the trail of the Secret Empire, battle Banshee, believing him to be one of their agents. Captain America 173: Professor X, Cyclops and Marvel Girl (the other X-Men having disappeared) team-up with Captain America and the Falcon to take down the Secret Empire, whom Professor X believes is behind the mutant disappearances. Captain America 174: Cap and the Falcon infiltrate the Secret Empire, and alongside the X-Men, discover the missing mutants. Captain America 175: Captain America, the Falcon and the X-Men defeat the Secret Empire.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Few Thoughts on the Golden Globes

I still miss the clips of nominated actors' performances after their names are read (and yes, I will continue to complain about this until they bring them back). 

Christian Bale looks like Jesus. Apparently, the part of his speech that was bleeped out was when he noticed Robert De Niro in the audience and referred to him as "the shit".

Monday, January 17, 2011

Last Week in TV #17

First, a couple housekeeping notes. Next week's "Last Week in TV" post may be briefer than usual, late or non-existent as I'm traveling most of this week for work and won't be able to watch as much TV. Second, I should have a post about last night's Golden Globes show up tomorrow.

Now, on with what I watched on TV last week.

The Cape: Pilot/Tarot (Series Premiere)

Because I'm a comic book nerd, I'll give any show featuring super-powers or other trappings of the genre a shot. The Cape, unfortunately, is not very good. At least not yet (and there's little to give me hope it'll get much better). After sitting through four long years of Heroes in which the writers tripped over themselves to substitute the word "abilities" for "super-powers" and did everything they could to avoid anything resembling a comic book-style, super-powered slugfest, I can certainly appreciate The Cape's approach to it's more fantastical, comic book elements. That the main character is a superhero called the Cape who trained with carnival performers to use his cape as a weapon while battling a maniacal mastermind called Chess with flunkies straight out of Dick Tracy or Batman is presented earnestly, without any of the irony, commentary, deconstruction or even shame that colors so many recent comic book-inspired stories.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

X-amining X-Men: The Hiatus Years #1

Incredible Hulk 150, Amazing Adventures 11-16, Marvel Team-Up 4 and Incredible Hulk 161
March 1972 to March 1973

Incredible Hulk 150 by Archie Goodwin and Herb Trimpe
Amazing Adventures 11 by Gerry Conway and Tom Sutton
Amazing Adventures 12-15 by Steve Englehart and Tom Sutton
Amazing Adventures 16 by Steve Englehart and Marie Severin & Bob Brown
Marvel Team-Up 4 by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane
Incredible Hulk 161 by Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe
(for full credits on each issue, please visit the Grand Comics Database)

Incredible Hulk 150: Lorna Dane visits Havok, who has left the X-Men, and the pair battle the Hulk. Amazing Adventures 11: Beast leaves the X-Men to take a job with the Brand Corporation, where he manages to isolate the hormonal extract which causes mutation. In order to prevent a colleague from stealing top secret government documents, Beast drinks the extract, further mutating him. He prevents the theft, but his transformation turns out to be permanent. Amazing Adventures 12: Beast battles Iron Man, and is tricked by Mastermind into believing he killed Iron Man. Amazing Adventures 13: Confused by Mastermind's illusions, Beast joins Mastermind's incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants alongside Unus and Blob, helping the team steal a priceless jewel before coming to his senses and defeating Mastermind. Meanwhile, the army sends Colonel Buzz Baxter and his wife Patsy Walker to the Brand Corporation to investigate the Beast sightings there.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Last Week in TV #16

The Simpsons: Mom's I'd Like to Forget
As is the norm these days, the first act was the strongest, with the 4th grade vs. 5th grade dodgeball tournament and ensuing rivalry. I particularly enjoyed Bart's vision of the West Side Story rumble and the Old West Saloon style brawl in the teacher's lounge, especially Skinner as the piano player trying to keep out of it. After that, we got a lot of halfhearted ideas and incomplete plots, from Bart being vaguely uncomfortable with the antics of the other boys to Marge kind of becoming a social butterfly to the whole "Homer doesn't get along with the other dads"bit, which was painfully unfunny. That Marge ultimately broke up with the "Cool Moms" because she sees the good in Bart was certainly true to her character, but it was an ending that everyone was expecting.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

X-amining X-Men: The Silver Age

Before we leave the X-Men's Silver Age tales behind for good, let's take a look back at some of the highs and lows.

My Five Favorite Issues

X-Men #3
The first appearance of the Blob, this issue is notable for its over-the-top zaniness in which the X-Men fight carnies, zoo animals and act like all around jerks from start to finish. It's Silver Age through-and-through, and while not the best issue from Lee and Kirby, it's definitely the one I enjoyed reading the most. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Show Me Yours Blogfest

Fellow blogging buddies Falen, Hannah and Summer are hosting the "Show Me Yours" blogfest, in which participants share a 500 word (or so) excerpt from their finished or unfinished novel from last November's National Novel Writing Month challenge. Below is an excerpt from my unfinished NaNoWriMo 2010 book, Dawning Equinox. Be sure to check out any one of those lovely ladies' blogs for the full list of blogfest participants.