What were the most popular blog posts on The Angriest in July 2012? They're all linked below!
July 31, 2012
"Fortunate Son" is a tightly produced, slick commercial hour of television. It's not exceptionally enlightening, nor is it particularly original, but it's solidly constructed and breezes by in an entertaining fashion. You could fault it for this: it's hard not to fail if you're deliberately unambitious, after all. So whether or not you enjoy this episode is probably going to be down to what you're expecting from it. I went in hoping for an entertaining TV episode, and certainly got it.
There's a lot to recommend about the Johns/Reis run on Aquaman. The art is vivid and clean, and a lot of the scripts have been engaging and enjoyable. But - and this should really be a bold-type, underlined, italicised BUT - Johns seems to have this bee in his bonnet that need to be swatted dead.
July 30, 2012
The raiders subplot that has been troubled the station since the season began reaches a crisis point. Sinclair confides in Garibaldi about his experience during the Battle of the Line. A mysterious smiling stranger arrives on the station, with only one question for each of the ambassadors: 'What do you want?'
July 29, 2012
July 28, 2012
If you've read it, leave a comment: what worked? What didn't? Would you read a monthly Kid Eternity comic based on this premise? Let me know your thoughts!
You read that correctly: a major plot thread of this episode is G'Kar and Mollari arguing over a flower. Actually they kept referring to needing an "Eth plant", which I spent the first 15 minutes mishearing as "eggplant", which was even more ridiculous.
July 27, 2012
The awesome run of Deep Space Nine episodes had to end sooner or later, and it ends with a clunk. I'm straining to think of a decent romantic episode produced in any of the Star Treks, and I can only come up with "Lessons", the Next Generation episode where Picard bonds with a visiting astronomer over a mutual love of music. "Second Sight" doesn't join it. It's an all-round weak episode, eminently missable and regularly just that little bit irritating.
July 26, 2012
"Survivors" is a nice episode: it advances the overall narrative of the series, it showcases Michael Garibaldi and fills in quite a bit of his backstory. He's revealed as a recovering alcoholic for one thing. It's not the greatest portrayal of alcoholism committed to screen (that would be John Spencer's Leo McGarry in The West Wing), but it's not embarrassingly bad either. Part of what lets Garibaldi's arc down a little is Jerry Doyle's performance. He brings a lot of charisma to the role, but not a huge amount of talent. As far as I'm aware he doesn't act at all these days, and instead works as a talk radio host.
I've written before about how the Vulcans of Enterprise seem a rather unlikeable bunch, and "Breaking the Ice" continues to explore this trend. In "Broken Bow" we discovered that the Vulcans had limited human space travel as much as they could for several decades. Here we discover that, even after allowing the Enterprise to roam freely through the galaxy, the Vulcans are still keeping a slightly paranoid eye on the humans. It works here, because they use the growing tension as an opportunity to develop T'Pol's character arc, and lead her to make a significant choice in whether her primary loyalty lies as a Vulcan or as the first officer of the Enterprise.
July 25, 2012
So where to now? Should Warner Bros leave Nolan's trilogy well alone and leave Batman on the shelf for a few years? Should it dive in and start developing a reboot straight away? Or should it attempt the tricky proposition of a fourth "Nolanverse" movie?
Warning: absolutely do not click through to the rest of this article if you haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises. This article will spoil it for you, and it really is a film you don't want to have spoiled.
Truth be told there was nothing particularly exceptional about Mister Terrific, but it was solid and well written and had competent if not outstanding artwork. In the early months of the New 52, however, with Wonder Woman falling from superheroics into Greek mythology, the Joker having his face carved off in Detective Comics, the Justice League acting like assholes and Aquaman constantly having to demonstrate "no really, guys, I'm awesome!" to his already on-side readers, Mister Terrific felt like a breezy wind of fresh air. It was a superhero comic, with a reasonably well-adjusted guy with cool powers fighting colourful supervillains. Sometimes that's exactly what I want from a superhero comic.
July 24, 2012
"The Andorian Incident" is, then, quite a fascinating episode to watch. The Enterprise visits an isolated Vulcan monastery, only to find it has been hijacked by four angry Andorian commandos who insist the monastery is a front for a secret Vulcan surveillance operation. In essence, it's a hostage drama coated liberally in Star Trek fan service. Andorians versus Vulcans? All they needed was a ship full of Klingons to turn up and half of fandom's heads might have exploded.
July 23, 2012
This Friday I'm going to open comments on National Comics: Eternity #1, the first in a series of DC Comics one-shots re-invigorating old characters for the New 52. The first issue focuses on Kid Eternity, famously adapted in the 1990s by Grant Morrison. This new original version is written by New 52 superstar Jeff Lemire (Animal Man) with art by Cully Hamner (Red, The Question).
It's US$3.99, it goes on sale Wednesday, and it's a self-contained story. Pick up a copy, physically or digitally, and I'll see you back at this blog on Friday to discuss it.
"Necessary Evil" is an outstanding hour of American television, combining the standard tropes of the Star Trek franchise with elements of film noir, extensive flashbacks and genuinely well-written and performed drama. It showcases two of the best elements Deep Space Nine has at its disposal: firstly, the most consistently talented regular cast that Star Trek ever had, and secondly, the ability to extend stories outside of Starfleet and into the lives of those outside their utopian world view.
"Terra Nova" isn't a very good episode. For starters it seems based on a ridiculous premise: a human colony lost without contact for 70 years, and no one ever bothered to investigate? It seems ridiculous that, even if they stayed on Earth themselves, the human government did not even persuade the Vulcans to send a starship past for a quick look. I usually avoid complaining about entire texts based on illogical plot points, but this one seems a little too big to avoid. As a result, Archer and his posse travel to surface in a shuttle completely blind to what's happened. The situation beggars belief.
July 22, 2012
This one I can't actually judge based on its contents, as I haven't read a single issue of Green Lantern since their big line-wide crossover "Blackest Night" a year or two back. By that point it felt like Johns had dragged the franchise so far up its own arse it simply wasn't quite making sense to me any more. The Sinestro Corps? Pretty cool. Separate armies of space people colour-coded like the United Colors of Oa? Not very cool at all. Since DC made it very clear during the lead-up to the New 52 that Green Lantern was going to be mostly unchanged, I made the choice not to bother reading it.
So how has an "ain't broke/don't fix" strategy helped Green Lantern through the New 52?
July 19, 2012
I have to admit I've come to this comic cold, without any real prior knowledge of the character, so I'm very keen to know what people think. Opinions (including my own) in the comments below, please!
July 18, 2012
Ah Ferengi. If there's one thing Deep Space Nine achieved that doesn't get enough recognition, it's how the series (mainly through writer/producer Ira Stephen Behr) took a one-note, irritating set of characters and actually transformed them into a three-dimensional, intriguing civilization with a culture and distinctive characters. The centrepiece of this transformation was of course Quark who, as a series regular, was given the time required to really flesh out his background and personality. Most importantly he became a quite sympathetic character without sacrificing any of the money-hungry, provit-motivated values that made him who he was. Quark is still one of my favourite characters in the whole of Star Trek.
July 17, 2012
The basic rules would be:
- I announce the selected book club comics in advance, probably each Monday. It will be a single issue priced no more than USD$3.99, available via Diamond Distribution and/or Comixology. I will be open to suggestions.
- You read the comic book.
- You come back to the blog each Friday to chat about what worked, and what didn't.
I know it's late notice, but I reckon we should start this week with Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy's Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics, USD$3,99). If you're with me, come back on Friday and chat! I promise to be spoiler free in the blog entry, but will allow open and full spoilers in the comments.
The first half of "Unexpected" is outstanding. The Enterprise's crew locate a cloaked alien starship coasting in their wake, and after making first contact agree to aid them in repairing their vessel. Trip volunteers to be the one to go across, a process that includes three hours in a decompression chamber each way. (That was a detail I adored - try as I might I can't think of any other science fiction text that's considered air pressure as a factor in alien species meeting one another.) Once there, he treats us to a gentle, nicely-paced story of first contact and experiencing new cultures. By the time he returned back to the Enteprise, the alien drive repaired, I couldn't help but feel disappointed that the whole episode couldn't have been so refreshingly action-free and relaxed.
July 16, 2012
I like team books, and I like fantasy as well, so combining the two is an easy way to get me to like a comic. Demon Knights has been scratching an itch I've felt ever since DC cancelled Bill Willingham's excellent Shadowpact series. I'm also a fan of Etrigan. Cornell has by-and-large dropped Etrigan's rhyming dialogue, which certainly makes him easier for Cornell to write, but I appreciate he's done so by tweaking the character a little. The rhyming is still there from time to time, but only when the character's talking in a formal context (such as meeting with superior demons in hell).
In short: this is one of the 'good ones'. The first trade paperback is out, so if you like the idea of a Dark Ages superhero fantasy comic and haven't tried it yet, go to your nearest comic shop and check it out.
The first volume of Firestorm was published in 1978 was cancelled after five issues. The second volume, published from 1983, actually managed to scratch out a 102 issue run until it was cancelled in 1988. This is actually the volume I've read quite a bit of, and it's quite good. In 2005 the third volume was published, lasting 36 issues before once again being cancelled for low sales. Finally, in the New 52 we receive the fourth volume of the title, now called Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men.
July 15, 2012
July 12, 2012
Despite feeling a little derivative in its overall concept, Frankenstein is a really fun book. It's smart, weird, funny yet remains strongly in the superhero team genre. The scripts are by Jeff Lemeire, acclaimed writer/artist of Sweet Tooth and a bunch of other titles, and he's made it a really enjoyable ride - although as of #10 he's off the title, with Matt Kindt taking over.
New titles are always the hardest to find audiences for, and I'm not sure there was a huge in-built audience clamouring for DC to revisit Frank and give him his own ongoing title. So how are the sales going?
July 11, 2012
- Award-winning horror author and podcaster Kirstyn McDermott writes a lengthy but exceptional review of Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods. This is the sort of blog post Australian SF fans should remember come Ditmar time next year. (Note: it completely spoils the movie.)
- Similarly award-winning author and podcaster Tansy Rayner Roberts is writing about her favourite female superheroes. Black Canary and Rogue are already up, with (I presume) many more to come.
Since the New 52 relaunch Nightwing has been coasting along pretty much on a par with its pre-reboot incarnation. I think, all in all, there's been a marvellous consistency to this title for the past 17 years. Some writers have been better than others, but Nightwing has always been a worthwhile, enjoyable read. I'm particularly impressed that this new volume of the series hasn't missed a beat, tonally speaking, despite the first volume actually ending in February 2009 in the aftermath of the Batman RIP saga.
Keep that in mind when we're looking at the stats: there's a 30-odd month gap between the blue issues and the red.
Obviously things don't stay quiet for long, and they soon find themselves exploring a drifting alien spacecraft where the crew have been killed and set up into a macabre medical rig designed to draw out various fluids. It's all quite horrible really, and the question rises of whether the Enterprise should leave the ship well alone or make some attempt to contact the civilization that sent it. All of this is basically a background with which to explore Enterprise linguist Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), who is coming to the realisation that space is not a place she wants to be.
July 10, 2012
I wouldn't be able to tell you why I tried it again this month. I think mainly it was the fact that the first season was on sale, coupled with the simple fact that I'm a Star Trek tragic since childhood. It's Star Trek I haven't seen, even if it was completely awful. I just had this overriding compulsion to try Enterprise one more time.
July 9, 2012
It's very good, but it's also almost impenetrable. I've read 10 issues and I can recognise three of the regular cast: Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy and Mon-El. Others I may recognise them on the page, or know the name, but I'm unlikely to know both at the same time. It's also a very serialised title, which is an oddity in an industry geared towards broadly self-contained multi-part stories (what we call "writing for the trade"). I think it's a very enjoyable comic book, and if you've ever had an interest in the Legion you should check it out, but it's a comic you need to be reading for the long haul to give yourself time to get immersed in its characters and storylines. The first trade paperback is out rather cheaply ($19.95 in Australia), and is the best way to start.
So how does such a 'hard-core' comic fare in terms of sales? Pretty much as you might expect.
July 8, 2012
I was ambivalent about the relaunched Wonder Woman at first, as Azarrello stripped away a very cool origin (Diana being created by Amazons out of clay - a woman born by other women and not by a man) and replaced it with a much more stereotypical one (Diana is one of the many illegitimate children of the god Zeus). The fact this change was made by an all-male creative team made it seem even less palatable. Over the past 10 issues, however, I've been sold: this is a bold, interesting take on Wonder Woman and I'm finding myself increasingly keen to read each issue as it is released.
While it's a good comic, it is still an unusual one: how has this affected sales?
July 6, 2012
- One of the stranger blogs I've seen recently: Black Out Korea, which details in photographic form loads and loads of Koreans sleeping on benches, pavements, and so on. My eyebrow is officially raised.
- Some interesting weekend reading: the producers of the upcoming animated film Escape from Planet Earth are suing their distributor the Weinstein Company for $50 million and change. Here's a link to their actual submitted lawsuit. It's an eye-opener, and - as you might expect if you're suing someone - ridiculously aggressive and packed to the gills with character attacks, accusations of incompetence and Hollywood producers scrambling around theatres on all fours eating M&Ms.
July 5, 2012
First up is one of my favourites, Batman: relaunched with Scott Snyder writing and Greg Capullo pencilling the art, this has been one of the most consistently well-reviewed and popular titles DC have. Snyder's been on fire writing this comic, introducing new elements to Batman's mythology and history and bringing a genuinely fresh, iconic perspective to the Caped Crusader. The first collected edition is out in hardcover, and if you haven't caught up with it yet I strongly recommend that you do. It's awesome stuff, and Capullo's artwork has been stunning.
So it's a great comic, and it deserves every success, but how have the sales actually been doing?
July 1, 2012
Newsies is loosely adapted on a true story, in which late 19th century newsboys in New York organise a strike when Pulitzer and Hearst raise the wholesale price of their newspapers. It was written as a non-musical family drama, but director Kenny Ortega - choreographer of Dirty Dancing and later director of the significantly more successful High School Musical franchise - had Alan Menken compose a bunch of songs and transformed the film into a fully-fledged musical. From watching the 'making of' featurettes on Disney's new 20th anniversary blu-ray, I get the impression the film was cast before it was turned into a musical, which must have made for some interesting conversations with the actors.