Friday, May 18, 2007

"Movie & Comic Book Reviews"

I want to begin with the Spider-man 3 movie, so if you don't want just a ton of spoilers and wanna see this flick fresh, then here's your warning!

Okay. Let's begin with "Gwen Stacy". She looked the part, but the attitude was all wrong. Plus, she was dead and gone many a year before "Eddie Brock" was ever introduced into the Spider-man title, so she never could have been his girlfriend. Doesn't matter much, though and I can "forgive" that since they ruined all of the Gwen Stacy death scenereo back in the first Spider-man movie by having "Mary Jane Watson" in the same situations.

"Eddie Brock" and the whole "Venom" thing was done well. Venom could have been more bulky (as well as Brock), but he more or less pretty much looked like the character (s) and the special effects on Venom were good. The origin of the whole black costume was changed around, but that's understandable since then we'd have to have had at least three more flicks just to explain all of the "Secret Wars" storyline. I can understand the simplicity used in this matter.

How Spider-man got the black costume off of him using sound was very correct and well-played. But the effect that the Venom costume had on "Peter Parker" was a bit over-played (don't you think?), especially the scene in the Jazz Club where Peter takes gwen in to make Mary Jane feel bad. This isn't "American Idol", or "Dancing With the Stars", dammit! It's Spider-man!

And just how many people know Parker's ID as Spider-man now (or, at least know his face)??? Let's see...there's Norman Osborn, Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, all the people on that train he saved in "Spider-man 2", Venom("Eddie Brock") and now the Sandman as well??? Who needs a new-ish costume? Give THAT guy a new face!!!

Any hoo..."Harry Osborn" becoming the NEW "Green Goblin" was done well. By killing him off, as well as destroying (?) "Venom", tied up any loose ends from previous movies, and gave Pete and Harry back their friendship, and made for a bit of a sad ending, but probably a needed one.

"Sandman": Oh, what a bitter seed.....ALL WRONG! It's not that Sandman didn't look the part, but the origin was completely off due to updating. Probably another necessity I suppose. I mean, just how many characters can get their powers through nuclear accidents without everyone thinking "hoo-hum...". But I didn't care for them making Sandman the killer of "Uncle Ben", and I didn't like the way they played up the sympathy angle, and I didn't like the fact that after he tried to kill Spider-man (who KNEW he was a murderer whether intentional or not) just let the villian escape. (Spider-man captures villians for Khrist's Sake.) The FX on Sandman were, however, top notch.

The flick was a bit long, but it was very fast-paced and there was just so much crammed into it that it passed well. And Stan Lee's little cameo was just fine. Pay that guy another $200,000. or "whatever' for his 5 seconds on the screen (again).

Although I still hold that the "X-men" flicks are the best written of all the Marvel Comics adaptation from the past several years now, Spider-man's are really the most entertaining, and I do indeed recommend to anyone who loves comics to watch it. I'll give it an "A"; better than the first two in the series.

And now, I'll switch over to a DC Comics review of "The Spirit" comic book (the cover to the second printing of No.1 shown above).

I realize that there have been other artists and writers who have written and drawn The Spirit besides Will Eisner. But there are just certain basics that you keep true to this character. You just don't show him without a mask (unless he's wearing sunglasses or some other disguise) and you definately don't refer to him as "Denny Colt"! Denny Colt died and The Spirit was born. This was the reason FOR The Spirit. He knew he could be more effective at tracking down villians IF they thought Colt was dead. Because of this I can't really forgive DC for doing just that very thing. So would sumbodi at the DC offices please READ one of those nice Archive reprint editions you've been publishing of the original 1940's comic sections? Otherwise the art and stories have been fine. I know it's difficult to update a character such as this because he is indeed a product of the WWII era, and few people run around these days with padded sholder blue suits and fedoras, and you can't have "Ebony" spouting off some ethenic slang due to political correctness. Such things worked fine 50 years ago; can't hardly make them relative to today's material. But let's keep the basic ideas of the Spirit intact, shall we?

Also I've read the first two TPB colections of DC's 2003-04 series written by Peter David : Fallen Angel. 'Been wanting to read this series for a while, but having not picked up issues of this originally I found back issues to be rather costly and opted for the collected volumes. Thus far by getting the first two TPBs I've read the first 12 issues of the DC series. There were 20 issues total by DC, later to be picked up by IDW Publishing (of which I've read none). What I've read of these so far I've really liked (but then, I'm a fan of David's work and not everyone is). The storylines are of a mature and adult level, and far from your regular capes & cowls sort of series. Plus it's nicely illustrated by David Lopez and Fernondo Blanco.

Despite comments from Peter David in an interview where he denied that the central character in this comic is just a continuation of his 1996 "Supergirl" DC series, there are so many comparisons that one would certainly think so. For one thing, she calls herself "Lee", which the "Matrix" Supergirl used ("Linda Lee") as her alternate identity.

She obviously has mental powers, which the Matrix-Supergirl had as well, and would seem to be able to fly, have super-strength and other such more-than-human-abilities that his former DC character had, plus---the Matrix-Supergirl was supposed to have been some sort of an Earth-elemental-angel. Whether or not David will admit that it's the same character, it doesn't matter because this series stands alone in quality.

Indications are that she's exactly what the title implies,i.e., a fallen angel, as she has long scars on her back where wings would have been, and she's stated that she is not on good speaking terms with Celestrial Powers these days. It would really fit in well with what David did in the '96 Supergirl series since that character abruptly disapeared from the DCU, making way for them to re-introduce another Kara-Jorel "Superman's cousin" version. In Fallen Angel, Lee just shows up one day in the city, "Bete Noire", and begins a fight against injustice. So if fans of his favorite character want to think they're the same character, so be it, because the conceptions can work either way.

Lee is certainly no "girl scout", however. She tortures one villian for information, for example. In fact, this whole series is very dark. She's been known to seek aid from known drug dealers (but always seems to screw them over or destroy their wares in the process). But she cuts no deals with any of them, at least, ones that she keeps. Her agenda is justice, sweet and sure, and she uses her special abilities, whether it's as a super-powered being, or as a woman, to secure that. Not recomended for a younger reader, but for the older more open-minded adult, I would indeed give it an "A+". I look forward to reading more issues in these series.


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