Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

DC Reboot Rage

As some of you may know, DC recently announced a massive reboot project across all of their major superhero comics.

As of writing this, the publisher is currently in the process of wrapping up all of their current story arcs/threads in preparation for said reboot; making it abundantly clear that they really are crazy enough to deploy the history eraser button on all of their beloved characters and storylines up to this point.

Well, remember how I said this all didn’t bother me all that much?

The image above represents the official redesigns for the Justice League in DC’s new era of comics, and by golly; I think it looks like hot garbage.

For the life of me I just can’t understand why everyone either looks like they’re wearing power armor, or in the case of Wonder Woman; just plain look like space-hookers.

Space-hookers with exposed torso musculature…

Looks like someone ran afoul of a Cenobite...

The old-fashioned designs and costumes may have been kind of dorky by today’s standards, but they had a quiet elegance about them that made them special.

Jack Kirby’s mastery of lines and patterns gave birth to untold numbers of classic and enduring designs, not through the use of extraneous detail and intricacy, but through simplicity.

Every line was calculated and purposeful. ART.

Such is the talent of many of the best pencil and ink artists:

The ability to convey strength and meaning behind the simplest of lines and angles.

It’s called refinement, and it’s something that is sorely lacking in DC’s reboot designs.

Everywhere I look on these designs, I see lines and ornaments that contribute nothing to the strength or symbol of their characters.

What the fuck is up with the gaudy-ass belts!?

How the fuck does everyone move in their tortoise shell power armor!?

How the fuck does Wonder Woman not cut her tits on her pointy-ass bustier!?

Aquaman looks alright with his new fins and pretty boy haircut, and Cyborg looks appropriate enough given that he’s the only character in the roster that actually is supposed to be wearing power armor; (and was apparently put front and center for this graphic for the sole purpose of representing the black demographic) but everyone else just sort of looks like an aborted concept car design transposed onto a superhero.

Pictured: Batman, as designed by Lexus.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I was always fine with viewing Superman and Batman as being a couple of dudes wearing tights.

I know Batman was technically always supposed to be wearing a high-tech suit of pseud0-armor, but the fact of the matter is, unless otherwise stated in the context of the comics, superhero costumes have typically been depicted as being crafted from some imaginary fabric/material that adheres, not to the laws of physics; but to the pencil of the artists.

All I see when I look at these new designs, is a bunch of dudes in skin-tight armor plating.

SUPERMAN, the Jesus metaphor/Man of Steel is wearing ARMOR.

The Flash’s boots look like ski boots by Nerf.

Batman looks more like Owl Man from Crisis on Two Earths than he does THE GODDAMN BATMAN.

Pictured: THE GODDAMN BATMAN.

Wonder Woman looks like a pirate space-hooker.

Green Lantern looks… Relatively the same, just with hideous 90’s shoulder pads.

And everybody’s belts look truly, truly, truly outrageous.

To say I am disappointed in these designs does not even begin to scratch the surface.

I feel like we’re well on our way to falling right back into the 90’s era of comic art.

Hell, if movies, TV, comics, and pretty much every other part of American pop-culture right now is any indication; I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that Rob Liefeld shoulder pads and pouches are poised for a major comeback…

Oh well, here’s hoping DC pussies out and doesn’t press the button:

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Sometimes Spoilers Are A Good Thing…

Evaluating an opinion on a movie purely based on pre-release materials is tricky business.

Inevitably, one’s decision making process ends up relying on one’s knowledge of the various actors and director’s track records, but at the end of the day; sometimes a really good (or really bad) preview can end up shaping one’s opinion quite handily.

Take for instance Green Lantern.

I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern comic, however up until about last week; my opinion of the upcoming live-action film was largely negative.

Early pre-release footage for the movie had it seeming silly, narrow, and very hard to take seriously.

Truth be told, the one thing that kept me from turning my back on Green Lantern in the early goings, was the presence of director Martin Campbell.

Seriously man, the guy made Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino Royale.

... Then again, he also directed THESE.

Despite some spotty pieces in his filmography, the man has proven that he knows how to make awesome movies, and in that sense; I never completely lost confidence in the possibility of Green Lantern upsetting it’s poor marketing campaign and turning out to be legitimately good.

In the case of Green Lantern, and as you’ll later read, Donnie Yen’s recently released film, Wu Xia; my apprehension about the film’s integrity was culled through viewing a brief preview clip of the film in it’s unedited state.

Though it’s uncharacteristic of me, I sat down and watched a (publicly available HERE) 1 minute clip of Green Lantern in hopes of finding a reason to go see it.

Said clip involved Hal Jordan desperately attempting to fend off what I’m guessing is supposed to be Parallax (who doesn’t seem nearly as “bug-like” as he did in the comics).

THAT'S fuckin' Parallax!

The action in this clip was nowhere near mindblowing, but unlike in the trailers; it at least seemed like how it plays out in the comics.

Green Lantern has always been a story about “space cops,” though in recent years the scale and severity of the violence in the comic has evolved to something more along the lines of “space soldiers.”

In short, sprawling splash pages of Lanterns hurling variously colored constructs at each other en masse are quite common in Green Lantern comics these days.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

Green Lantern combat isn’t about guys throwing progressively bigger and more elaborate constructs at each other; it’s about speed, precision, and who gets their shit off first.

In other words, it’s more like a hectic galactic gun fight as opposed to something overblown or drawn out like Dragonball fighting.

I saw a hint of this in the clip I watched, and as such; my opinion of Green Lantern has changed from “skeptical” to “somewhat optimistic.”

Which brings me to the recently released Peter Chan directed Donnie Yen vehicle, Wu Xia.

Hmm, SOMEBODY had a degree in graphic design...

Given that Wu Xia stars Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro, one can assume I was psyched for this one from day 1, right?

WRONG.

When I first saw the teaser for Wu Xia, my initial reaction was basically to let out one big-ass, slightly pompous sigh.

Okay, maybe “slightly” pompous isn’t the right word.

More like “IMMENSELY.”

I’m not big on Mandarin films, and for whatever reason; the teaser for Wu Xia just didn’t do it for me.

Then I watched an 8 minute clip of the movie that popped up on Twitchfilm.com, and suddenly I found myself intrigued.

By the way, if you go by Twitchfilm, and see all the Legend of the Fist ads; don’t buy into the hype.

Aside from literally, a few good fights, Legend of the Fist sucked some serious balls.

Well, at least this part was kind of funny... In the "good/bad" sort of way.

Anyway, said clip of Wu Xia revealed it as being kind of like Rashomon or Hero in the sense that it’s a story potentially told from an unreliable viewpoint.

Though I don’t understand Mandarin, the visuals of the clip were very clear in establishing that Donnie Yen’s character, while portrayed as feeble, but lucky; in one instance, may actually be a martial arts master hiding in plain sight.

While I didn’t care much for this storytelling device in Hero, (nor did I care much for the movie itself) it’s cleverness combined with Peter Chan’s beautiful cinematography leads me to believe Wu Xia could be a lot of fun.

I don’t expect Donnie Yen’s “Donnie Yen-ness” to be front and center, but the story seems to have legs; and Takeshi Kaneshiro is pimp-as-fuck, so I’m fairly optimistic.

PIMP. AS. FUCK. Too bad he's basically full-time Chinese now...

So there you have.

2 instances where an otherwise skeptical moviegoer had their opinion reshaped through spoiler clips.

I guess I’ve come a long way from being the fat little 10 year old that shunned all media outlets in hopes of seeing the American Godzilla movie in theaters before having the monster’s appearance spoiled for him..

Yeah, that worked out jusssssssst fine….

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Thoughts On The DC Universe Reboot

For those that care to know, DC Comics has recently gone on record stating plans for a massive reboot of all their major titles and characters this fall.

To non-comic fans, this means you can expect to see (or in the case of those that truly don’t give a fuck, not see) a bunch of comics and trades bearing the increasingly common designation of “Issue #1” in the coming months.

The reasoning behind this rather ballsy maneuver by one of comics’ biggest publishing houses, has largely been attributed as an effort to contemporize the characters and origins of the DC universe.

While part of me feels that this could in fact pay-off, and might even prove beneficial to the legacies of some of the more obscure characters of DC (Hawkman, Deadman, Red Tornado, etc.) by giving them extra face time and a new coat of paint; the comic-whore in me can’t help but feel a little thrown by the idea of a universe-wide reboot.

Pictured: When Superman met the 90's... Things could've gone better.

It’s not the fact that I’m a continuity whore or anything either.

I grew in an era when most people considered themselves either “DC Kids” or “Marvel Kids,” and with the exception of Batman and Superman; (mostly Batman…) I was very much a “Marvel Kid.”

What can I say, Marvel's always been good at aiming low...

In the past decade or so, my undying allegiance to The House of Ideas (AKA Marvel, dumbass…) has loosened up, or rather; my appreciation for DC has grown, but even so, I’ve never really found a good way to get my feet wet when it comes to the labyrinthian mess that is DC universe continuity.

I think it’s the Multiverse aspect of DC that has always scared me off when it comes to DC crossovers.

Though I have to admit, this is pretty fuckin' awesome.

Sure, you could argue that Marvel has a Multiverse as well, (one that I don’t really pay attention to aside from the MAX imprint) but the difference between the 2 is that DC merges their universes from time to time, while Marvel usually keeps theirs separate.

Keeping track of hundreds of characters in a single universe is one thing, but when you put together a host of stories I.E. the Crisis series; that draw into focus numerous iterations of said characters across multiple universes, I’m sorry, my feeble mind just can’t handle it.

For this reason, along with the occasional poor review or 2, I haven’t read any of the Crisis stories, nor do I think I’ll ever care enough to do so.

Case in point: Superboy Prime.

The point I’ve been trying to make with all of this bullshit, is the fact that when it comes to DC; I don’t really have that much of an investment in the history of it’s characters… Aside from Batman, Superman, and maybe Green Lantern.

Call me crazy, but I kind of liked it when Hal Jordan went nuts and killed off the Corps.

Could've done without the creepy pedo-face though...

Anyway, the first thing that came to mind when I heard DC was going to be dumping a fatty diarrhea of reboot juice into their books, was Marvel’s Ultimate series.

I haven’t read any of the Ultimate line, largely because, unlike in the case of DC, I’m very comfortable with Marvel’s continuity, past and present.

From what I’ve read, the basic mission statement for the Ultimate line was along the lines of:

“Purge all the non-essential/less popular characters, make the characters more contemporary, make use of big-name writers and artists, make it accessible for non-comic readers/people that like the Marvel movies.”

To reiterate: Marvel, not afraid to whore themselves out to the kids.

That’s basically what I’m thinking DC is trying to do with their reboot.

The really goofy thing about this whole reboot thing, is the timing of it.

Superman: Secret Origin wrapped not that long ago, the ink on Superman: Earth One (not be confused with “Earth-1“) has yet to dry, and Batman: Earth One is likely to follow in the coming months.

Even Wonder Woman was recently revamped from the ground up.

Oh God! It's the 90's all over again!!!

When I think about it, it seems like DC’s been teasing a reboot for awhile now, but it’s only just now they’ve built up the courage to go ahead and do it to their entire line, and not just their A-list characters.

Deep down, I know that DC has some serious housekeeping to do with their characters and storylines, as would any other book line published over 70+ years; but starting from scratch is not something I like to consider.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m fine with comics simply ignoring or retconning the less important or relevant moments in their continuity.

As a fairly seasoned comic fan, I don’t think a reboot is all that necessary; but if it breathes new life in the industry, and grabs new fans that otherwise wouldn’t have given a shit, then more power to ’em.

In any case, here’s hoping DC’s gamble pays off.

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Shadowland Review

Maximum Carnage.

That oft derided blood soaked comic book story arc of the early 90’s was what ultimately came to mind as I was reading through Marvel’s Shadowland.

Fortunately, I happen to be of the rare breed that, despite it’s flawed storytelling and absurd length; actually kind of liked Maximum Carnage.

Make no mistake though, Shadowland is by no means a well-liked crossover by most comic fan standards.

At least it's not universally hated like Onslaught... Onslaught sucked balls.

Written by Daredevil author Andy Diggle, and pencilled by former X-23 artist Billy Tan; Shadowland takes us into the dark territory it’s title suggest in the form of casting prolific crime-fighter and man without fear, Daredevil; as it’s central villain.

While this controversial storytelling decision has perturbed many a Daredevil fan since it’s publication, thankfully there is indeed a logical, though somewhat hokey explanation as to why Matt Murdock would suddenly turn heel overnight.

 

I don't know about you, but bad chili always puts me in a foul mood...

Leading up to the events of Shadowland, one of the Daredevil’s arch-nemeses, Bullseye; blew up a city block in Hell’s Kitchen, effectively creating a gigantic smoldering symbol of the hero’s personal failings smack dab in the middle of his backyard.

Having recently been offered the position as head of The Hand, a Japanese cult of ninjas and longtime opponent of Daredevil and Elektra; Daredevil ends up accepting the offer, in hopes of wielding the forces of The Hand to better protect the citizens of New York.

This leads to the purchase of the plot of land that was destroyed by Bullseye, and the erection of a huge Japanese fortress in it’s place; a territory that Daredevil dubs “Shadowland.”

Unfortunately, poor Matt Murdock didn’t count on being possessed by The Beast, a demon under the control of a splinter group within The Hand known as Snakeroot.

Said possession causes Daredevil to lose control of himself and his army, resulting in The Beast using him as a vessel to infect the citizens of New York with feelings of hatred and violence.

While many of the heroes of the Marvel universe tolerate Murdock’s actions, grudgingly; it isn’t until he does the unthinkable, and kills Bullseye; that his close friends begin to suspect that the devil of Hell’s Kitchen might be losing his marbles.

Thus sets the stage for a series of pitched battles between Daredevil and those that care most about him.

I assure it doesn't turn out like this, however it would be kinda' cool if it did...

A “mini-event” staged in the wake of Marvel’s most recent event comic proper, Siege; Shadowland represents the rather rare crossover event wherein the core players consist almost exclusively of  “street level” superheroes.

That is to say, despite a suitably epic storyline involving demonic possession and a mass riot across the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, the majority of the superheroes involved consist of low-powered, or in many cases; unpowered, individuals such as Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and The Punisher.

Unlike many event comics, that raise the stakes to cosmic levels and beyond, a strong part of the appeal of Shadowland; at least for me anyway, is the fact that the story remains grounded in Daredevil’s niche in the Marvel universe, that of New York city.

While many of the heroes, such as Cage and Iron Fist; are personal friends of Daredevil, ultimately the one thing tying everyone together in the story is that they all share New York as their field of operations.

Early on in Shadowland we’re shown an overhead splash of the city, with several embedded panels serving to show us many of the New York-based Marvel superheroes as they all glare at Daredevil’s newly erected eyesore of a fortress and ponder on what to do of it.

Pictured: The splash in question.

It’s moments like this that serve to unify the cast of Shadowland in a much more satisfying manner than many other event comics.

With the exception of Ghost Rider and Moon Knight, (and a truly random Wolverine) both of whom have close to nothing to do within the context of the 5 core Shadowland issues, the vast majority of the cast feel appropriately cast.

That being said, what of the actual story?

Well, to be perfectly honest, Shadowland is one of those crossovers that seems to demand an unreasonable level of commitment from it’s readers, such that it feels like many important story beats are found only in tie-in issues.

That being said, questions arise every now and again when one is reading Shadowland, usually pertaining to where certain characters went, or how they knew some of the things they did.

 

...Or in the case of Elektra: "How are you still alive?"

In that sense, the storytelling and plot progression of Shadowland can feel fractured and abbreviated, however in my opinion this does not hurt it’s overall enjoyability.

Put it this way:

Shadowland is not a suspenseful story.

From it’s first pages, the “mystery” of Daredevil’s bloodthirsty nature are laid out for us crystal clear.

While the (surprisingly good) ending serves to shake things up a bit, there’s close to zero character development in Shadowland.

From the moment Bullseye gets shanked, we know exactly who our villains are, making for a story that does most what little “telling” it needs to as fists are flying and blood is spilt.

The real meat of Shadowland is in establishing Daredevil as a character poised to take a fall, and then watching as his closest friends band together to set him straight, not through superpowered might, or even magical exorcism; but through heart… and a shit ton of kung fu.

Martial arts have a way of making any story just that much better.

While it sounds corny, Shadowland is essentially the comic book equivalent of an intervention.

Hal Jordan fell prey to Parallax, Jean Grey turned into Dark Phoenix, every now and again one our most beloved superheroes finds themselves under the control of some malevolent force, ultimately resulting in their friends banding together (unsuccessfully) to stop them, only for them to choose redemption through the only means most superheroes seem to know:

Altruisticly Superpowered Suicide, better known as A.S.S.

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

Despite the frequently used storytelling formula listed above, one should note that I never said that’s how Shadowland ends.

I’m not a fan of spoilers, so I’ll let you read the story yourself to find out just what happens.

*Spoiler Alert!* The Death Star blows up at the end!

Anyway, it’s a safe bet to say that Shadowland represents a story that has been recycled in the world of comics more than a few times already, however the new coat of paint it throws into the mix, in the form of it’s cast and setting, make for a fun experience for those who, like myself; are somewhat invested in things from the get go.

In other words, Shadowland is hardly a jumping on point for those who don’t read any of the characters involved in the core storyline, but for those that frequently read tales from the streets of Marvel New York; it’s hard not to have fun with Shadowland.

...I mentioned there was fighting, right?

Coming into Shadowland, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from artist Billy Tan.

Normally, I am keen on looking up the work of artists for comics I’m about purchase, largely because I put a great deal of stock in an artist’s abilities when it comes to gauging my overall enjoyment of a book.

Most reviews I read of Shadowland prior to purchasing it were mostly negative, however nearly all of them made mention of the art being “typically outstanding” in reference to Tan’s body of work.

Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I came into Shadowland wanting to be surprised by something, given that most of the story can be spoiled by reading even the most vague of reviews.

Anyway, I was indeed surprised by Billy Tan’s art in Shadowland, but more importantly; I was impressed.

Impressive... Most impressive...

Like many of my favorite comic artists, Tan excels at drawing his characters with somewhat more realistically proportioned bodies.

Many of his figures appear lithe and flexible, which is a very important factor to consider when dealing with a cast of characters consisting largely of martial artists and acrobats.

Speaking of which, while his face work can seem a little off at times, Tan displays a penchant for illustrating figures in motion.

There are moments in Shadowland, particularly in the battle with Bullseye; where the action of the panels felt more like viewing an animation than reading a comic.

For your viewing pleasure, a full page of awesome.

Needless to say, Billy Tan’s artwork and easily deciphered layouts in Shadowland meet my approval, and quite handily at that.

I won’t be reading X-23 anytime soon, out of my general disdain for the character; but nevertheless, I look forward to more Tan projects in the near future.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say about Shadowland.

As mentioned earlier, it seems like Marvel expects us to read a lot of the tie-ins in order to get the whole story, but I myself can’t justify such an investment.

I will however be picking up the Moon Knight tie-in, as it genuinely looked pretty good to me, and besides; Moon Knight’s my boy.

Other than that though, I’m mostly happy with what I got from Shadowland on it’s own.

Hope this was helpful to some of you, thanks for reading!

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Hoping This Summer’s Movies Don’t Suck

Man, work sucks.

I had an awesome idea for a card earlier today, but thanks to the sudden emergence of my mandatory overtime day tomorrow; I was forced to hold off on working on the good stuff until the weekend.

Oh well, even though the craftsmanship of the card above is indeed a rush job, and a shitty one at that; in my mind, any Conan is good Conan.

Speaking of which, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t have my hopes up for the new Conan movie this year; but I’ve got my fingers crossed nonetheless.

That seems to be the theme for all of the big blockbuster movies for me this summer.

I’m excited about them, but as of now my biggest hope is that they don’t end up being embarrassingly bad, or worse yet; “I want my money back” bad.

Transformers has a horrendous track record working against it, but it’s Transformers; so I’ll always be willing to give it a shot; common sense be damned.

"Common Sense" and Michael Bay just don't mix...

Green Lantern has good people involved in it’s production, but the art design looks kind of shitty; and Ryan Reynolds isn’t exactly my favorite leading man.

Especially when looks goofy like this.

Thor looks… Y’know what, fuck it. I don’t even wanna’ talk about how Thor looks…

...Although the prospect of seeing Anthony Hopkins in power armor is awfully enticing.

Conan looks to be headed in a good direction, with a harsher aesthetic and what not; however it’s seriously lacking in the Arnold quotient, (which is “zero,” for those that are curious) which will likely be it’s downfall being as the Arnold version is Conan for Conan newbs like myself.

Although the casting of Jason Momoa does wonders to improve the series' Hawaiian quotient, which is always a good thing in my book.

Oh yeah, and Captain America looks alright as of now, but like all of the others listed above; it’s very much a slippery slope.

Pictured: What said slippery slope can lead to when left unchecked.

The chances of a shitty summer movie season are pretty high, though in all honesty; I feel that I’ll probably end up heading to the theater more often than is the norm for me.

Anyway, I got work tomorrow, so I’ll see yah’ later.

 

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Thoughts On Tron Legacy

I went to see Tron: Legacy in theaters today.

No, I didn’t watch it in 3D, and no; I was not at all excited to see it.

The original Tron was a movie that I never really had any sort of love for.

Sure, it was an astounding technical/visual achievement for it’s time, but that doesn’t mean it was all that good a movie.

To be perfectly honest, even as a kid I found the original Tron to be a muddled, confusing, and downright boring film.

“Boring” is a powerful word when used to describe a film consisting entirely of flashing lights and pretty colors.

As I sat in the theater today, I couldn’t help but feel that this Tron for the new generation; seemed to share many of the problems of it’s predecessor.

The film wasn’t bad, it was just sort of mediocre; and horribly paced to boot.

If ever there was a film that lost it’s way in the second half, it would be Tron: Legacy.

The basic plot of the film involves Jeff Bridges’ character from the previous film, Kevin Flynn; becoming trapped inside the digital realm of his own design, The Grid.

While doing whatever the fuck he does in there, he creates a digital program copy of himself, named Clu; and instills within him a “simple” directive of creating a perfect world.

As seemingly all computer-to-man exchanges seem to turn out, Clu ends up obeying this command to a fault, going so far as to usurp his creators position of power to achieve his goal.

It’s a fairly interesting set-up, that sadly is introduced to us far too late in the game to garner any significance to the audience; nor does it amount to any sort of dramatic pay-off.

Make no mistake: Tron is not a writer’s film.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, the little tidbit of the plot I just gave you is not something made apparent to the audience right off the bat.

Instead, we get treated to an introductory segment wherein our would-be protagonist, (he kind of gets shoved to the side… As does everyone else once THE PLOT gets dropped on us in the second act) Kevin Flynn’s son, Sam, (Garrett Hedlund) shows off for the 3D cameras through a series of EXTREME activities.

Truth be told, I found myself snickering through all of this, (as well as most of the film) as I couldn’t help but feel that it was the filmmaker’s way of justifying Sam’s physical prowess during the action sequences in the grid.

We see him ride his motorcycle, WRECKLESSLY, thereby showing he can drive a light cycle.

We see him do some hood jumping over cop cars that looks curiously like free-running, showing he’s not a feeb.

And on top of that, we see him do some fancy computer hacking, showing he is indeed computer literate enough to solve the mystery needed to START THE FUCKING MOVIE.

The reason I found this humorous, was the fact that I kept wanting them to show us a scene of him playing some Ultimate Frisbee in the park, y’know; to justify his awesomeness in Discs of Tron.

I’m jus’ sayin’, if you’re gonna’ take the time to cover your bases so artificially, you might as well cover them all.

Just so we can all say I talked about the plot, (Tron has a plot?  Since when?) the whole thing starts out sentimental and heartfelt, then it turns into a chaotic mess of (decent) action scenes, then THE PLOT comes crashing down, stopping the film’s momentum dead in it’s tracks.

From there we lose any sort of affinity we might have had for any of the characters, Michael Sheen acts faggy, and the whole thing ends with an anti-climactic bang.

Without exagerrating, the story progression felt like it was written by a 5 year old with A.D.D.

People, places, and essential plot devices seem to manifest at will, all in an attempt to streamline the process of getting the characters from point A to point B.

Despite the convenient nature of The Grid’s layout in regards to the central plot, it amazes me that somehow the film is still boring, and manages to throw us in the doldrums for more than half it’s running time.

Rest assured, most of the breadcrumbs of dramatic tension that the film attempts to sprinkle in the early goings are either ignored, or… No, actually they were all pretty much ignored.

Anyway, from an acting standpoint, I felt that everyone did alright with what the script had to offer.

Jeff Bridges was “fun,” I guess.

His retro dude-isms were decidedly out of place, and therefore worthy of a smile or 2, but for the most part his character, along with most everyone else; felt anemic and devoid of any real character.

Even so, Jeff Bridges has an inherent inviting aura of gravitas to him, so it’s hard for me to say anything bad about his performance.

I will say this though:

The digital mask used to portray Clu as a young Jeff Bridges was a pretty decent likeness, especially in profile and from over the shoulder, but the lips of the damn thing just looked wrong to me.

A friend of mine and I were joking that the “Digital Bridges” bore a resemblance to Bill Maher, such that we both felt Maher should’ve been cast in the part.

It was most apparent when he was speaking, particularly when yelling, (watch out for the speech sequence, he looks like shit…) but otherwise it was a decent attempt.

Good try, but we haven’t breached the uncanny valley just yet folks.

I feel it’s worth mentioning, that Michael Sheen will likely go down in history as the foremost authority on playing faggy Brits.

Seriously man, take one look at the man’s imdb, and you’re likely to find like 20 fuckin’ listings of him playing “Faggy Brit #4.”

While it may sound like I’m making fun of him, (I am) one should also note that Sheen’s just happens to be the only real notable performance in the entire film.

Watch out for all the cut-backs to him during the nightclub sequence, his posing and dancing were truly inspired.

And faggy.

Moving on, coming into Tron, Garrett Hedlund was an unknown item to me.

Despite having just seen him as one of the lead actors in a multi-million dollar film, I have to say, the man is still a nobody in my book.

‘Nuff said.

Olivia Wilde’s performance in the film was decently entertaining, bearing a wide-eyed inquisitiveness that made her a bit more endearing than most characters; however her place in the plot was somewhat lost to me.

She was apparently of vital importance to the story, as well as to the human world outside The Grid, however the explanation as to why felt inadequate.

Oh well, maybe I just couldn’t hear it over the FUCKING DAFT PUNK MUSIC!

That’s right folks, Daft Punk did the music for Tron: Legacy!

Not only that, they’re also in the fucking movie!

Did I mention Daft Punk did the music for Tron: Legacy!?

In case you couldn’t tell, the above statements were an example of sarcasm on the part of the Azn Badger.

Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy is actually quite good.

There are some fairly inspired themes, particularly in the film’s quieter moments, and the whole score gels well with the aesthetic of the movie quite nicely.

My only real issue with the soundtrack, is probably more the fault of the editor and the director than Daft Punk, and that’s the fact that, like Inception; I felt the soundtrack held too large a presence in the film.

Much like anything in this world, if you pollute your film with too much music, no matter how beautiful; it will end up being detrimental in the long run.

Anyway, let’s get to the one part of this review that I’m sure everyone is here for:

The visuals.

Tron: Legacy is a very handsome film.

The artistic design is striking and beautiful, as well as imaginative and inventive to a fault.

The color palette is decidedly bleak for the most part, with black (as opposed to white in the first film) being a constant in most of the designs, and other colors being used as a highlight.

Rest assured, in classic Star Wars fashion: Red = Bad, Blue = Good.

To the credit of the digital artists, I found myself genuinely at a loss when it came to determining which props and sets were real, and which were digital.

Unlike in George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, wherein the sets bore an artificiality to them that made the actors “pop” out from them, many of the railings, floors, and walls in The Grid were lit/rendered with such attention to detail and texture, that I honestly couldn’t tell if they were real or fake.

Speaking of texture, I want to thank the design team of Tron: Legacy for going the extra mile to design actual costumes for virtually all of the characters in the movie.

You all probably know how I feel about the upcoming Green Lantern movie, and how silly the digital Lantern suit looks to me; so it comes as a surprise to me that Tron would contain actual physical costumes, and quite good ones at that.

Everyone sort of looks like Dark Knight Batman/ninjas in The Grid, and while that doesn’t really do it for me personally, I have to say; they were stunningly well-designed.

On that note, the whole film has a very cohesive look to it that was clearly meant to reflect the orderliness of a computer system, however the metaphor seems to have stopped there.

Many of the design choices, while all wonderful to look at, are a little bit silly; even by sci-fi/fantasy standards.

In the world of The Grid, there are drunk hobo “programs,” (in the form of people wandering the “streets”) and there are dance clubs.

The streets of The Grid are perpetually covered in puddles of “water,” and programs carry umbrellas to shield themselves from “rain.”

Not only that, planes in The Grid show a tendency to stall when pushed too hard.

They’re little things, I know; but purposeful oversights to an imagined world’s continuity for the sake of art always make me giggle just a little.

In summary:

Tron: Legacy is a fantastical visual experience, just don’t expect any sort of depth to it… Or any entertainment value above the level of “mediocre.”

Well designed and imagined, the film is simply lacking in the one area that usually matters most in any film:

Writing.

That being said, if you do go see Tron: Legacy, make sure to look out for shades of Star Wars in Jeff Bridges costuming, as well as some of the events during the films final act.

When Jeff Bridges told his son to hop on the gun of their escape craft, I nearly cracked up waiting for him to tell the kid, “Don’t get cocky!” while he was shooting down TIE fighters, er, I mean “Tron Planes.”

Anyway, thanks for reading!

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Thinking Of The Green Lantern Movie

So, last week I finally got the opportunity to view the trailer for the new live-action Green Lantern movie.

As a huge fan of the comic series and mythos, I must admit; my expectations for this film have been exceedingly high, especially given the marquee names (hint: not Ryan Reynolds) involved in it’s production.

Seriously man, take one of my favorite comics, attach Martin Campbell, the director of GoldenEye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino fucking Royale to it; and I’m in like fuckin’ Flint.

That being said, despite all the hoopla surrounding it’s release, as well as my aforementioned schoolboy-esque giddy excitement; as promotional materials have continued to emerge for them movie, I’ve found myself growing weary of it’s potential suck-itude.

While it may be unfair of me, especially given the very limited amount of footage and stills that have been released at this point in time, but I can honestly say I don’t really care much for what I’ve seen of Green Lantern thus far.

The art design is flashy, and stunningly well rendered, (Kilowog looks pretty awesome) however it has a realistic quality that doesn’t really gel well with the technocolor sci-fi schlock that we’ve all come to expect from the Green Lantern comics.

The closest example I think of to cite in regards to my feelings on this subject, is that of the design work from the American Godzilla film from 1998, and the live-action Transformer films.

While brilliantly designed, and realized on the screen; the Transformers of the Michael Bay films simply weren’t Transformers as I knew them.

Similarly, the Godzilla of the Roland Emmerich/Dean Devlin, while also hideous; failed to capture my interest due to it’s inability to capture the “spirit” of the character I loved so dearly.

The designs for the Green Lantern movie feel too literal and too organic for what comes to my mind when I think of the comic franchise.

In particular, the design of the Green Lantern “suit,” just seems off too me.

While I understand that the Lantern “suit” is in fact a construct of the Green Power Ring, and for all intents and purposes should appear otherworldly, however it has never appeared this way in the comics.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not denouncing the art design of the upcoming film because it is straying off the beaten path; I’m simply scrutinizing it because I honestly don’t like it.

I know, I’m being overly critical; but that’s what happens when you’re as attached to the source material as I am.

As I mentioned earlier, Martin Campbell’s name attached to this movie makes a world of difference, to the point in which it’s difficult to imagine the movie being anything less than stellar.

Seriously man, the dude has a track record.

That being said, while I’ll agree that Ryan Reynolds certainly looks the part of Hal Jordan, and will probably do well in the role; the marketing department made damn sure to make him look like utter shit in the recent trailer.

Speaking only from what’s been shown in the trailer, Reynolds’ Hal Jordan seems just a little bit too much like, well; Ryan Reynolds.

In that sense, I feel it’s worth pointing out that Reynolds’ sharp tongue and particular brand of wit, honestly seem better suited for Deadpool than the Green Lantern.

Hal Jordan’s a dick sometimes, but he’s a dick with a passion for doing what’s right.

In other words: he’s not fuckin’ Van Wilder.

On a closing note, I’d like to point out that I sincerely approve of the casting of Mark Strong as Sinestro, as his powerful voice and cold stare fit well in my mind for the character, but the use of Peter Sarsgaard’s Hector Hammond as a potential main antagonist in the film, just doesn’t seem right to me.

Sarsgaard’s consummately even-tempered demeanor, and downright creepy speech cadence make him a good pick for the role, but it’s the role itself that bugs me.

Green Lantern is a film that challenges CG artists to take the concept of a man that can create anything within the capabilities of his willpower.

In my mind, taking a character with this kind of potential, and casting him opposite a jealous dude with a big head and psychic powers just doesn’t sound all that appealing to me.

Maybe it’s me just wishing we could skip all the origin story bullshit and get right to the cool stuff, like Emerald Twilight and the Sinestro Corps War, but Hector Hammond just doesn’t really do it for me as an antagonist at this juncture.

Here’s hoping they find a way to put Sinestro front and center as the villain, albeit in a sensible and dramatically satisfying manner.

Oh well, this entire article has just been me venting my concerns over what will very likely end up being an excellent movie.

Take everything I said here with a grain of salt, as nearly all of it is just me being a worrywart more so than a dick-faced hater.

See you at the movies when this one comes out!

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Blackest Night Review

*Disclaimer* No spoilers, but just want to say that I don’t really touch on the plot AT ALL.  Too lazy…

Blackest Night is the latest in DC’s long line of major crossover events.

Unlike Crises past, present and future however, this particular storyline is distinctly more focused on the actions of the Green Lantern rather than the usual “Big Three” (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.)

Is it just me, or is Wonder Woman dead behind the eyes?

Blackest Night was written by Geoff Johns, with the event serving as a major climax in his very long, and revolutionary run on the Green Lantern franchise.

Beginning in 2004, Geoff John’s run on the series took us from the rebirth of classic Green Lantern, Hal Jordan; (as depicted in the story “Rebirth”)

to the expansion of the Green Lantern universe to accomodate power rings for every color of the light spectrum,

and finally; to the fateful prophesized day of reckoning known to the Guardians of the Universe (the overseers of the Green Lantern Corps) as the Blackest Night.

The Guardians of the Universe: Little Known Cousins to the Smurfs

Key to the build-up to Blackest Night, was the creation of the “emotional spectrum” of colored power rings.

Thanks to Geoff Johns, we now have Green for Willpower, Yellow for Fear, Red for Rage, Orange for Avarice, Violet for Love, Blue for Hope, and Indigo for Compassion.

It’s cheesy, yes; but interesting nonetheless.

Every single one of these colors has a Corps of it’s own, with distinct and interesting characters whose temperament clearly reflects their place in the emotional spectrum.

It was a revolutionary idea, and it almost single-handedly got me back into Green Lantern after almost a decade of me not caring post-Emerald Twilight.

Yes, I read it. And yes, I was too young to understand that it sucked.

Hey, I was a 90’s comic fan, I liked my Hal Jordan, particularly when he had his pimpn’ Mr. Fantastic white badger-esque hair.

Indeed, Blackest Night has been a long time coming.

I myself will admit that I came into Blackest Night just a little bit under-prepared.

Prior to reading this event, I had read John’s Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War, with a majority of the essential tidbits and factoids leading up to Blackest Night being revealed to me through reading reviews of the in-between story arcs.

Despite this, I will say this:

As long as you at least know who most of the characters are in Blackest Night, or the DC Comics universe for that matter; you probably won’t have any problems understanding the storyline, as most of it is fleshed out on the fly for you in convenient, exposition heavy “comic speak.”

Pictured: A child fluent in "Comic Speak."

That being said, is said storyline worth reading in the first place?

In short, yes; but only if you genuinely want to read this particular story.

All others, may be better spending their money/time elsewhere.

I’ll get back to that, but first let’s take a moment to go over the details of the story in question:

In short, Blackest Night is a story about the dead coming to life throughout the universe wearing Black power rings of Death, and tearing out the hearts of the living to fuel the resurrection of their mysterious leader.

For the love of God, get these people some Clearasil!

Of course, there’s a lot more to it, but I don’t feel like going into it, on account of me being lazy.

Our main characters are, surprisingly; The Flash, (the recently resurrected Barry Allen version) The Atom, Mera, (Aquaman’s hoe) and of course; Hal Jordan.

Could it be!? A moment where Aquaman is actually being cool!?

Personally, I found most of these characters to be interesting and a decent enough focal point for the narrative, but the problem for me was that I genuinely don’t give two-shits about half of them.

By half, I mean The Atom and Mera.

The reasoning behind using these particular characters, seems to be largely the fact that they have close ties to the recently deceased, making them good candidates for drama throughout.

To make a long story short, this particular ploy works, largely due to the visual impact that the various Black Lanterns have when in conflict with the heroes.

Goddamn they look cool..

It needs to be said that Blackest Night, despite being a whopping 8 issues long, twice that of Siege; the one major downside to the story is that it’s full of holes.

Seriously, half the reason I didn’t attempt to write a review until just now, was the fact that I really didn’t feel like I finished the story until I read the accompanying Blackest Night: Green Lantern.

Hell, I read that, and I still don’t feel like I’ve finished Blackest Night ’cause now I know there’s still a shit ton of holes regarding what went on with the Green Lantern Corps!

Pictured: Blackest Night

Getting back to what I said earlier, about this being a story that one needs to want to read, the problem with Blackest Night is that the 8 issue core story just isn’t a complete thought.

Characters inexplicably disappear for half the story, events are hyped that are never further explored, and in general, the whole thing genuinely feels like the writer was writing in too many directions at once.

Which of course, is exactly the case; as Geoff Johns just happened to be writing the Green Lantern series parallel to Blackest Night.

Despite the content of the collected edition being a little sparse, the writing is typical of Johns, with characters speaking with a distinct sense of voice, and entertaining banter throughout.

In particular, I really enjoyed John’s Sinestro, he truly captures the overbearing and forceful passion of the character.

Sinestro: He doesn't look like Hitler. Not at all...

Ivan Reis illustrated Blackest Night, and I doubt anyone can say that his work in it is anything short of excellent.

Characters are rendered faithfully and beautifully, with several of the Black Lantern designs coming across as truly inventive an downright creepy to boot.

The one issue I had with the art, is not actually an issue at all.

My one problem with the art of Blackest Night, was the fact that it wasn’t done by Ethan Van Sciver.

Did I mention Ethan Van Sciver was a good artist?

I understand that Reis and Van Sciver have collaborated several times, and indeed have similar styles, but for my money, Van Sciver is the real talent of the pair.

Seriously, the Van Sciver art for John’s Rebirth story arc was a huge factor in getting me back into the Green Lantern, and to this day I’m still hoping to see his work on the character again.

Anyway, I’m running out of steam, so I’ll just say this:

I liked Blackest Night, but bear in mind, I like comics.

I’m not exactly a DC kind of guy for the most part, but I liked the Green Lantern, and I liked Geoff Johns, so I gave it a shot.

After reading it, I said to myself:

“Hmm…  That was good, but where’s the rest of the story?”

That lead to me buying, reading, and enjoying (in that order) Blackest Night: Green Lantern, but after that I said to myself:

“Hmm…  That was good, but where’s the rest of the story?”

To my knowledge there are 7 Blackest Night collected editions.

Enough to require the use of an Amazon.com B6 box. I should know, I'm a certified box maker...

While I don’t intend to purchase all of those, I genuinely liked the spectacle to be found within 2 of them, and am fully prepared enjoy a 3rd.

I think that speaks volumes as to the appeal of this storyline.

When faced with reading the messy and incomplete collected edition of Blackest Night, my gut reaction was to ask for more.

That surprised me, and I feel good knowing that.

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