Sunday, August 30, 2015

Best Vehicles In Comics

Best Comic Book Vehicles

There are some pretty iconic vehicles that comic characters use for getting around.  Some good, some bad, and some just ridiculous.  But I am only going to focus on the best of them.  So let’s get it underway.

The Batmobile-

I figured I would get the obvious choice out of the way first.  There have been many incarnations of the Batmobile throughout the years.  From the 60’s Adam West batmobile to the Tumbler Batmobile from the Nolan franchise.  And very few of the many designs have been a disappointment to the legacy of the caped crusader’s most iconic vehicle.  My personal favorites have always been the Tim Burton version from his first film and the stripped down sleek Batmobile from the Batman: The Animated Series.  I am probably more partial to those particular takes on the Batmobile for the fact that they are for the most part pretty stripped down as far as the gadgets go.  

Thor’s Chariot-

Considering that Thor can fly by throwing his hammer it is a little strange that he would have a chariot.  But you can’t argue that it does make for some pretty epic imagery when you get to see the god of thunder come charging into battle astride a war chariot pulled by two massive goats named Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder.  Thor’s chariot isn’t really brought out all that often anymore but during the Simonson run it seems like it made a lot of appearances.  And I personally get excited whenever a creative team decides to use the chariot.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier-

This is another no brainer.  A flying fortress for the most powerful government agency with lots of equipment of the highest quality, and numerous fleets of smaller vehicles.  It allows S.H.I.E.L.D. to move around unhindered for the most part and launch large fleets of troops wherever they are needed.  Not to mention that the Helicarrier also doubles as a mobile Avengers HQ once in a while.  

Dex’s Mustang From Stumptown-

What is a better vehicle to get around the mean streets of Portland, OR than a classic yellow Mustang convertible.  It’s not always in the best of shape, but what is to be expected from the car of a struggling private investigator.  In volume 2 Dex’s trusty Mustang is really shown on action as she engages in a car chase that last a whole issue and also really showed a pretty good example of what the comics medium can do.  And I could be wrong but after hearing interviews with Greg Rucka I am pretty sure that the Mustang is a reference to the Rockford Files, and that is always a bonus.

The Owl Ship (Archie) From Watchmen-

Considering Night Owl 2 is pretty much Batman in many ways, it’s not surprising he would have a cool vehicle.  And Archie, which is short for Archimedes Merlin’s pet owl, does not drop the ball.  It comes equipped with a bunch of great gadgets that help Dan Dreiberg protect the city and keep away from the cops when he decides to break the anti-vigilante laws.  But where Archie stands above the Batwing or the Batmobile is that it actually has plenty of room to evacuate people from dangerous situations.  As evidenced by the fire rescue Night Owl and Silk Spectre pull off.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Quick Review of Sunstone Vol. 1

Sunstone Vol. 1
Written and Drawn By Stjepan Sejic
Released By Top Cow Productions (2011)

Let me start by saying this is a very adult title, and when Tony first brought this series to my attention I agreed to read it thinking it was going to be a comic version of 50 Shades of Grey.  What I found when I read it is that Sunstone is a deep story about two women lost in life until they find each other.  However where Sunstone breaks the mold of the typical love story is that the two women have always been into BDSM.  And yes it is shown in graphic detail throughout the book,  But it never seems trashy.  The way that Sejic brings it all to the page with so much class and emotion.

Sunstone follows Lisa Williams who is a writer who has had proclivities towards submission almost all of her life, but was always afraid to let it come out until she met Ally Carter online.  Ally is a successful business woman who is a dominant who has been collecting the tools but has never found the right person to use them with.  Neither of the women have experience with a same sex relationship before they meet, but once the two officially meet in person it is clear that everything each of them have gone through was just preparation for their inevitable meeting.  And once they take the plunge into their roles in the relationship it is clear that they are a perfect match.  

As I stated before the subject matter could be uncomfortable to the reader.  But there is something about the way it is portrayed that makes it beautiful to see.  Most of the events of the first volume take place over a single weekend that they spend together.  And at the end when they go their separate ways for the work week both Lisa and Ally immediately seem uncomfortable in their own skin again.

Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5
I have the second volume to read but haven’t read it yet because if it’s anything like the first volume I won’t be able to put it down till it is done.  And that is something I haven’t felt about very many other books

Thanks for reading my review.  If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for other books to read.  Please leave them in the comments section.  And as always.  Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bad Costumes In Comics

Bad Costumes In Comics

That’s right readers.  Last week I did my list of the best costumes in comics in my opinion, so it was only logical that I follow it up with the opposite side.  So now I bring you my list of what I feel are some of the worst costumes in comics.

Marvel Now Cyclops Costume-

I have never really thought that cyclops has had a particularly great costume.  But in the aftermath of AVX Cyclops began wearing a costume that went to all new levels of being stupid looking to me.  Given it isn’t a big difference from his typical costume but the one major difference is exactly what makes it look so bad.  And that change is the normally basic visor was changed to this weird looking X shaped visor that makes no sense visually or practically to his powers.

The 70’s Cosmic Boy Costume-

Another Costume that wasn’t really great from the start but was later redesigned to be something much worse.  Cosmic boy originally wore a costume that was pink with sides, gloves and boots.  but then for some inexplicable reason Mike Grell decided to change the costume in the late 70’s so that all of the pink became bare flesh.  A look that gave the impression that Cosmic Boy was wearing a piece of black lingerie with black elbow length gloves and  knee high boots.  And just like that cosmic boy goes from looking a little weird to looking like he is on his way to a bondage party or something.  I just wonder what they were thinking allowing the costume change.

1993 Kon-El Superboy Costume-

This particular costume makes the list for the fact that it is extremely stuck in the 90’s.  Made up of a red and blue body suit with the typical S logo on the chest, a short leather jacket and the very 90’s circular sunglasses.  The original Superboy costume was debuted along with the Kon-El character during the Rise of the Supermen story in 1993.  Fortunately for Kon-El he got a redesign in the 2000’s to his much better look of jeans and a black shirt with red S logo.  But sadly it can never be erased that he was stuck in the 90’s for a long time.

Az-Bats Armored Costume-

Long before there was an Arkham Knight or even the armored Batman costume of Jason Todd from Battle for the Cowl there was Azrael running around in one of the most unnecessary armored Batman costumes.  While Bruce Wayne was sidelined with a broken back Jean-Paul Valley took up the mantle of Batman to keep the streets of Gotham safe.  But as Valley went on he began to lose his sanity which would lead  him donning one of the most hideous suits to ever grace the Batman title.  it was comprised of a bright yellow armor underlay with dark blue armored boots, helmet and  silver gloves with long clawed fingers all over the top of what looks to me like a black spandex bodysuit.  I have noticed that newer younger readers like my nephew really like the “Cool Armored Batman”, but with respect to those people.  It’s a terrible costume.  But in the case of my nephew I look at it as being a doorway into finding much better characters.  So to each their own.

Thor’s 90’s redesign by Mike Deodato-

This one hurts me personally.  In the 90’s shortly after the Walt Simonson run had ended Mike Deodato took over the art duties and redesigned Thor with a new “edgier” look.  To me the new look is mind blowingly bad.  Given it was done in the 90’s when all of the characters were being given what I call the “Image” treatment.  Thor went from wearing his original Asgardian costume to wearing a strange combo of blue spandex pants and belly shirt with small armored patches and all kinds of useless straps.  Not to mention his ridiculous new hairstyle.  Thank god the look didn’t last too long.

Iron Man’s Guardians of the Galaxy Armor-

I am sure there are people who liked this particular armor that Stark wore when he was teamed up with the GotG.  But in my opinion it looks pretty out of place.  It is probably the fact that the helmet makes him look kind of like an alternate colored Ultron rip-off.  He doesn’t even remotely look like Iron Man to me.  But I also have a bad taste in my mouth that Marvel decided to shoehorn him into Guardians of the Galaxy in the first place.  It made it feel like they had no faith in the title.  And then they put him in a strange new armor in an attempt to make him look cooler.

The Iron Spider-

When Spider-Man joined the pro-registration side of the Civil War, Tony Stark gifted Peter Parker with a brand new costume.  That costume was a armored version of the Spider-Man costume with an Iron Man color scheme.  And let’s not forget that the suit had four mechanical arms attached to the back much like the Superior Spider-Man costume that would come later.  The part that bothers me the most about this costume is that it was Iron Man’s colors.  Why?  Just because Stark created it, doesn’t mean it had to be in his colors.  I don’t know if the costume would have looked better in the traditional red and blue, but at least it would have made sense.  There is a good thing though.  Peter Parker stopped wearing the armor after he switched sides in the battle.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Favorite Costumes In Comics

My Favorite Costumes In Comics

There are a lot of costumes throughout the history of comics some great, some not so great, and some that are truly iconic.  For this time around I am going to focus on the best costumes in my eyes.  Now when I think of a great costume I think of a costume that catches the eye, but is also functional for the character that is wearing it.  And lets face it there are a lot of costumes that don’t make a whole lot of sense for the character.

The Symbiote Spider-Man Costume-

I recognize that his traditional red and blue costume is probably more iconic.   But that said the black and white symbiote suit always seemed more functional for Spider-Man.  Because how many spiders do you see that are red and blue?  Now in the long run I know that the introduction of the symbiote lead to a lot of mediocre storylines and characters due to the suit being a living organism that has been attached to many different hosts.  But it still stands as the best costume that Peter Parker ever donned.  And if you look at when He joined the Fantastic Four and was given a costume that can look however he wants, he chose to make it look like the symbiote suit a lot.

The Batsuit-

As for costumes that are both visually striking and functional the batsuit is probably the top of the list.  The black is great for his preference to be stealth.  And all of the gadgets that he has stored in the utility belt make it so he is prepared for almost any situation he may face.  And the visuals of the suit no matter who draws it is always very dynamic.  It’s also impressive that it is actually a pretty minimalistic costume.  And to top off it’s spot on this list, the Batsuit is also one of the most believable comic book costumes.

Thor’s Armor-

Most incarnations of Thor’s armor are very practical for the character considering he is a Norse god and the mightiest warrior in all of Asgard.  The only exception I can think of is the point where Thor was wearing an overly ornate set of armor complete with full face mask on the helmet.  But the version that stands out to me as the best is when he was returned from the dead by the creative team of J.M.S. and Olivier Coipel.  With full sleeves of mail and a streamlined main tunic.  This outfit feels a lot more appropriate for the son of Odin and a man that would be the leader of the asgardian army in battles with such creatures as Frost Giants, Dwarves, and Elves of all kind.

Storm’s Punk Costume-

I know it isn’t the most practical costume to ever be used, but the punk costume is the most eye catching of all her costumes.  A vest over her tank top, with leather pants complete with criss crossed belts and of course the mohawk.  And the look made her stand out above the rest of the X-Men at the time.  IT’s a shame to me that the mohawk came back but the rest of the punk costume didn’t.

Psylocke’s Uncanny X-Force costume-

While I didn’t find it the best run for the Uncanny X-Force, but when Sam Humphries and Ron Garney took over the title they did one thing absolutely right.  They finally updated Psylocke’s costume to make it a way more practical outfit for a telekinetic ninja.  Let’s face it the one piece swimsuit with arm and leg bands was just a little outdated.  And how the hell could she fight comfortably in a swimsuit anyway?  But I will admit that her original costume worked really well for awhile.

Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel Costume-

Another good costume update for a great character.  When danvers stepped up from being Ms. Marvel to the Captain Marvel title she also took on a new costume.  The flight suit inspired Captain Marvel costume is good nod to her fighter pilot origins, as well as being a good update from her swimsuit “Warbird” costume.  And the costume got better once they stopped having her use the helmet that automatically formed around her head and pulled her hair into a mohawk.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Top One and Done Issues

Best One And Done Issues

One of the signs of a great creative team is being able to tell a compelling story in the confines of a single issue.  So I want to highlight some of my favorite One-Shot issues.  Some of these will be issues of a longer running book, but the issue itself tells a self contained story.  But there are some good books that are made up of one and done issues.  I will not be counting anthology one-shots however.  Though I may do my favorite anthology issues later.

Fantastic Four #588
Written By Jonathan Hickman
Art By Nick Dragotta
Published By Marvel Comics

This has to be one of the best single issues I have ever read.  Often referred to as “The Month of Mourning”, Fantastic Four takes place right after the death of the Human Torch.  And I mean that literally.  The first page shows the remaining members of the Fantastic Four returning from the Negative Zone moments after Johnny sacrificed himself to allow his family to escape.  And as the portal closes the Avengers arrive to give them help stopping Annihilus.  But immediately realize they are too late.  And right there Hickman sets the stage for what is to come.  

For the rest of the issue Fantastic Four #588 shows how Sue, Reed, and Ben deal with the lost of their family member.  But what really makes this issue stand out is that for the entire main story of the issue there aren’t any words.  That’s right readers it is a silent issue.  And it is probably the best silent issue of all time in my eyes.  because without a single word Hickman and Dragotta manage to convey so much emotion that it brought a tear to my eyes.  Especially the part that focus’ on Ben trying to deal with the loss with the “help” of Donald Blake and Bruce Banner.  If you have read the issue, you know what I am talking about.

Wild Rover One-Shot
Written By Michael Avon Oeming
Art By Michael Avon Oeming & Victor Santos
Published By Dark Horse Comics

I grabbed this issue on a whim the day it came out.  I saw the cover featuring a man dumping two bottles of liquor into the mouth of a Lovecraftian creature so I looked into what the story was.  The story focus’ on a man named Shane who is literally battling his family demons.  Because Shane inherited alcoholism from his mother, but the alcoholism in this case is a physical liquor demon within his body.  And the only way to truly battle demon is the very thing that plagues his life.  Because if he gives into his addiction he gains more power to fight the demon inside.  

It is implied that by defeating the liquor demon Shane will not only free himself of the addiction but anyone who has been possessed by it.  And that Shane may be the only one to stop it.   This story was contained in it’s own issue but Shane’s quest to rid the world of all the addiction demons was later continued in Dark Horse Presents.

Scalped #35
Written By Jason Aaron
Art By Danijel Zezejl
Published By Vertigo Comics

Scalped is a gritty story of life on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation.  It follows Dashiell Bad Horse as he returns to the reservation he was sent from by his mother when he was only a teenager.  But it isn’t the same community as when he left.  But issue #35 takes a look at the life of two elderly members of the Lakota tribe who live in the Badlands, a stark corner of Prairie Rose that is a long way from the rest of society.  The two struggle to survive off the lands they live on, but how long can you last without a hospital or even a drug store anywhere nearby?  And what happens when a proud man has to ask for assistance when the garden that is how they stay so self reliant stops growing food due to the harsh land they have carved out for themselves.  It is all of these aspects that make this issue really standout.  

Hack/Slash Comic Book Carnage
Written By Tim Seeley
Art By Mike Norton
Published By Image Comics

This issue is pure awesome.  It takes two of my favorite pieces of pop culture, Comics and Horror Movies, and mashes them together like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  And better yet it has a great ability to make fun of itself in both of those genres.

The story focus’ on the main character Cassie Hack and her disfigured sidekick Vlad as they show up at Whizzer World Comic Con when Steve Niles of 30 Days of Night Fame is murdered.  They quickly discover that there is a Slasher hunting down the members of Youngbuck Entertainment who are about to relaunch a classic character with a darker, grittier edge.  And with Niles dead, Cassie and Vlad turn to protecting Skottie Young, Robert Kirkman, and Messy Stench.  Who are the remaining members of the relaunch.  The sense of humor contained within this one shot is rarely seen especially when it comes to the characterization of the creators involved.  And then there is a great gag to do with Vlad telling Cassie about how he learned to read on comics.  And considering how Vlad is a hulking killer you would think, like Cassie does, that he read some pretty dark comics.  But no he learned by reading Chippy Chipmunk.  Whether you have read any Hack/Slash or not I highly suggest you read this issue.

Detective Comics #826
Written By Paul Dini
Art By Don Kramer
Published By DC Comics

Tim Drake is the main focus in this issue of Detective Comics.  When Drake is over matched by a bunch of heavily armed thugs he is on the run until he is pinned down.  Until a car pulls up behind Tim and the driver calls for Robin to get in to escape.  The Problem is that Joker is the person behind the wheel of this particular vehicle.  And before Drake can react he is knocked out and handcuffed.  When he awakens Drake finds himself an unwilling accomplice to The Joker’s blatant Psychotic actions as he continues to drive around Gotham City.  The entire issue takes place in the car with Tim trying to escape from Joker before it is too late.

Joker plays a series of mind games with the tied up Robin in a further attempt to break the spirit of the boy wonder.  But before long Drake manages to outsmart The Joker and turn the tables.  This issue was the point at which I finally understood why so many people like Tim Drake so much.  And the way Drake manages to finally get the upper hand is just brilliant.

Journey Into Mystery #630
Written By Kieron Gillen
Art By Richard Elson
Published By Marvel Comics

This issue came out right after the Fear Itself event came to an end.  So what better to do after a big event wraps up then put out an one shot issue that had nothing to do with the central character to the book.  In this particular one-shot Volstagg returns home after the Serpent has been vanquished to his wife and many kids.  But it is bedtime for the children, So Volstagg puts the children into bed and tells them a bedtime story.  And what story does Volstagg tell his kids?  Is it the legendary quests of the recently fallen Thor? Nope, it is the story of how Volstagg single handedly “saved everyone from the evil of the Serpent”  

I have gone back and read this issue several times since it was released, and it has never gotten old.  In fact I loved this issue so much that I want to see a 6 issue mini of nothing but Volstagg telling his versions of the biggest throughout Marvel History.  Just picture Volstagg telling his kids of how he “saved the universe from Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!