Friday, March 30, 2012

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #11 (Review)

Writer: Robert Place Napton
Artist: Carlos Rafael
Cover: Ale Garza

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99

Despite not having much experience with the books, I have always found the fictional world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs fascinating and as a result routinely picked up Dynamite's offerings of 'Mars' related series looking for that hook to justify my interest.

My persistence paid off this week when the most enjoyable comic book I read turned out to be WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #11 from Dynamite Entertainment.

Written by Robert Place Napton, who is currently behind three 'Mars' titles and quite familiar with the characters as a result, gives the series a different feel and voice from the others, which is probably why I like this book more than the others.

In this issue, the first start of a new story arc (which makes for a great jumping on point!), Dejah Thoris has taken a group of men to survey an area of land for deposits of Ersite and Forandus that earlier air scouts appeared to have spotted in the marshes. During their knowingly dangerous journey they come across a deadly tentacled creature in the water and barely avoid a flying predator when things take a turn once Dejah Thoris hears a voice calling her that no one else can hear.

On the art side, firstly, the cover by Ale Garza is just wonderful to look at. There is always that risk when the character is scantily clad like Dejah Thoris, that she might be drawn overly sexy for the sake of it, but here instead Dejah reflects beauty and power more than anything, which is carried over with the interiors by Carlos Rafael.

WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS features a powerful female protagonist experiencing adventure, danger with a bit of fun thrown in for the readers amusement. Yes, the look and feel of the book is definitely presented for a more adult audience but that does not eliminate the possibility for the stories to be a breath of fresh air from the grim and gritty comics that are in abundance.

And the art can rival any other book out in the market today. One of the reasons this specific issue ended up on the top of my reading stack was how easy it was to just sit back and stare at the pages. It is worth a look from even those not familiar with the characters, you might just be surprised how hard it is to put down.

Look to buy the WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #11 digital comic on Comixology or Graphicly for $1.99

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FILM: Prometheus Trailer (News)

The next chapter in the science fiction career of Ridley Scott, PROMETHEUS, sent ripples throughout the web when its teaser trailer was unveiled months ago.

Now, only a few months away from its release date, the first full-length trailer has come online, providing more insight on just what this new film has in store for audiences.

In the distant future, two superpowers control Earth and fight each other for all the solar system's natural resources. When one side dispatches a team to a distant planet to terraform it for human colonization, the team discovers an indigenous race of bio-mechanoid killers.

PROMETHEUS lands in theaters on June 8, 2012.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

FILM: First Look at the Lone Ranger (News)

Disney's pursuit for their next big live-action franchise continues next year with the release of LONE RANGER.

It has been a mixed bag since the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN trilogy, with films like PRINCE OF PERSIA, TRON: LEGACY and JOHN CARTER not quite reaching the same level of success.

And now Disney is reuniting three cogs of that original Pirates franchise to see if lightning can strike twice. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing, directing LONE RANGER is Gore Verbinski (RANGO) and starring as Tonto is Johnny Depp (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES).

Completing the central cast is Armie Hammer (THE SOCIAL NETWORK) as the Lone Ranger and now the first image of Depp and Hammer in their roles has hit the web.

LONE RANGER rides into theaters Summer 2013.

Friday, March 23, 2012

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Wonder Woman #7 (Review)

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Cover: Cliff Chiang

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

It is arguable to say that the best thing to happen to WONDER WOMAN was the new DC 52 relaunch. Considered one of the big three characters at DC (Batman & Superman being the other two), Wonder Woman as a character has not matched her companions growth.

She only has one ongoing compared to multiples upon multiples for the other two, and outside of a 1970's live-action TV show and appearances on various DC animated properties Wonder Woman does not have the expansive media library either.

That is not to say DC has not tried, over the last few years attempts at making a film and a TV show have failed, and the ongoing book has had numerous restarts with high profile names like Jodi Picoult, Gail Simone, etc but it was not until this nearly blank slate fresh start with the New 52 that the book has seen a jump in popularity with readers.

And for good reason. With acclaimed writer Brian Azzarello, who has been behind Superman and Batman stories along with his own 100 BULLETS series, WONDER WOMAN has been given an interesting new direction with the decision to make her the daughter of Zeus. It brings a new dynamic to the character and possibilities to take her story and that is what Azzarello has done since the first issue.

This issue, WONDER WOMAN #7, continues that path as the ramifications of the last issue has Wonder Woman seeking passage to hell and crossing paths with Hephaestus, and discovers something significant about the Amazons that she did not know about. Throw in a monster from hell and complicated feelings and you have the best book in my reading stack.

Cliff Chiang happens to be one of my favorite artists, so it is a godsend to have him on the interiors of WONDER WOMAN delivering near perfection with every page. It is easily one of the best looking books month in and month out, and it is just exciting to have Wonder Woman looking so amazing - how it should be.

As long as this creative team is on the book, the sky is the limit for WONDER WOMAN. Any reader that had given the ongoing a try in previous iterations and did not like it should definitely give this new incarnation a look. It is by far the most entertaining the book has been in years, and I definitely think the next attempt at a feature film might have to look at this volume for its source material.

Look to buy the WONDER WOMAN #7 digital comic on Comixology for $1.99

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FILM: Despicable Me 2 Teaser Trailer (News)

A film that surprised me with its brilliance when it came out in 2010 was Universal Pictures 3D animated film, DESPICABLE ME, and its story about a criminal mastermind finding himself adopting three girls and discovering that not even evil can defeat the power of love and family.

So I have been eagerly anticipating the sequel, DESPICABLE ME 2, that was announced and was excited to discover the release of the teaser trailer online just recently. And as a treat the teaser focuses on the minions characters that everyone came to love in the first film.

DESPICABLE ME 2 schemes its way into theaters on July 3, 2013.

Monday, March 19, 2012

FILM: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailers (News)

If there is one thing the entertainment industry has shown us is that anything can be given a new spin with a dash of the supernatural thrown in. With that settled, how about they take history and throw in some vampires?

And that is how we have arrived at the upcoming release of ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, a movie adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel of the same name.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (WANTED), the movie stars Dominic Cooper (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD), and Benjamin Walker (KINSEY) in the title role as Abraham Lincoln.

Three trailers have been released and are posted below after the synopsis: the teaser, the international and the full domestic trailer.

The film explores the secret life of our greatest president, and the untold history that shaped our nation. As a young boy, Abraham Lincoln witnesses the shocking death of his mother, leading him on a path to an ongoing war – and ultimately to the presidency – he chronicles in a hidden diary. The journal reveals the incredible story of a clandestine warrior who never stopped fighting for the country he led and the people he loved.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER slays theaters on June 22, 2012.

Friday, March 16, 2012

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Legion Lost #7 (Review)

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Pete Woods
Cover: Pete Woods

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

One of the more complicated superhero titles to follow are ones that deal with the Legion of Super-Heroes. With a pool of so many characters available for creators to pick from, most of the time Legion books are not new reader friendly, but I would continue trying out issues hoping to get hooked.

Before the DC 52 relaunch I had come to enjoy several of the stories Paul Levitz told in ADVENTURE COMICS but since the New 52 started I had yet to find one Legion issue to reach that level of enjoyment until now with this week's LEGION LOST #7. It was inevitable for this series to eventually win me over, the premise of a small team being trapped in a time not their own being so appealing, reminds me a little bit of the Marvel series EXILES that I used to be a big fan of.

Like GREEN ARROW last week, LEGION LOST features a change from the relaunch creative team welcoming a new writer to the series, Tom DeFalco. A long-time comic writer, former Marvel Editor-In-Chief and creator of the Marvel character Spider-Girl, having DeFalco take over the reins continues the theme of having a veteran writer creating the stories for this team

And immediately this story went in a place I was not expecting. Most of the members were sidelined when it came to action but Timber Wolf covers that aspect more than enough and the focus of the issue was more on Tellus' psychic adventure as it turned out it should be. It was an unexpected twist to find out what exactly was the cause of the distressed, imprisoned woman but the story takes the reader to an emotional place that you cannot be prepared for.

Pete Woods on art, what more is there to say? He draws beautiful pages, and the interiors of LEGION LOST are some of the best to look at on a monthly basis. One of the great things about having Woods do a majority of DC work for the last decade is being able to see him do characters like the Legion all the way to the big shots of Superman and Batman.

As long as Woods is doing the art the series will always have a chance to be special. When stories match up like in this issue, it is easy to recommend this book to people even if they have no clue about the Legion and its world. Under the right hand this book has plenty of potential and DeFalco is starting off on the right step.

Look to buy the LEGION LOST #7 digital comic on Comixology for $1.99

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FILM: New Poster + Trailer for Disney Pixar's Brave (News)

Inching closer to its release date, Disney Pixar's BRAVE, had its poster hit the web along with a new trailer.

The trailer is more of an extended clip, giving fans more than two minutes of content from this summer's big animated film.

Directing BRAVE is Mark Andrews (ONE MAN BAND), and it stars Kelly Macdonald (HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2) as Princess Merida, Emma Thompson (NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS) as Queen Elinor and Julie Walters (GNOMEO & JULIET) as the Wise Woman.
BRAVE journeys into theaters on June 22, 2012.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

GAMING: Mass Effect 3 Launch Trailer (News)

March is now the most recent most anticipated month for gamers as EA/Bioware's MASS EFFECT 3 was released on March 6 for the XBOX 360, Playstation 3 & Nintendo Wii.

The war to take back Earth is in full progress at the moment and it only seemed right to share the launch trailer and get those that have not been hooked into the series to jump aboard while the frenzy is at full force.

Friday, March 9, 2012

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Green Arrow #7 (Review)

Writer: Ann Nocenti
Artist: Harvey Tolibao
Cover: Howard Porter

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Sometimes when you try something new, there is that risk that it might not be what you wanted it to be, and I think for some DC readers the relaunch of GREEN ARROW it was like that. I did not fall into that camp but I will admit there did not seem to a be a connection to the character when I was reading the issues. While some of the concepts for this younger Green Arrow has potential, the execution left some to be desired. It felt like a title putting out its 300th issue, not the first arc.

That is why I embraced the arrival of a new creative team, hoping that they would be able to take what worked and take it that extra mile it needed to bring excitement and fun to the title. And with the very first issue, GREEN ARROW #7, I had the most fun reading this story than any other book this week.

The incoming writer for the series is Ann Nocenti, a long-time comic creator, former Marvel editor and even co-created the Marvel character, Longshot. Coming on to handle the art is Harvey Tolibao, who has run the comic company gauntlet in his time as artist having gone from drawing STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC for Dark Horse to THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN for Marvel just to name a few.

Immediately any reader can jump onto the series with just this issue, as you get the basics right out front. Oliver Queen is a young billionaire owner of a Seattle tech company by day, and a reckless vigilante hero by all the other time of day. He delegates most of his responsibilities for the company to his two trusted associates, so much so that it draws the ire of Emerson, the man appointed to run the company until Oliver is "ready".

What was so fun about the episode was Green Arrow's interaction with Skylark, a set of dangerous triplets that have more in store for him than even Oliver imagines. Between their first meeting, to them trying to illustrate ways they can improve Green Arrow's arsenal or the fun they have on his jet, and finally when things take that inevitable turn once they have Oliver where they want him, in just one issue there are these characters that I immediately want to see more of in this world of Green Arrow.

The art Harvey Tolibao puts on the pages has a much more fluid, static feel to it than what the title was getting before. I am reminded of issues of Justice Society of America last year but this is much more polished and fitting for the new youthful vibe to the character.

I am optimistic. I always thought Green Arrow before the DC 52 relaunch had so much baggage that he had almost become a caricature of himself, he was so predictable. Now with this fresh slate, I like the ambitiousness in relating his wealth towards current technologies and opening him up to a world with new characters in Seattle. Giving that level of grey where Oliver might make mistakes but you will not know until he does. I will be reading and I hope you will be too.

Look to buy the GREEN ARROW #7 digital comic on Comixology for $1.99

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

FILM: G.I. Joe: Retaliation International Trailer (News)

Positive momentum continues to build for this summer's G.I. JOE sequel, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, now that the international trailer has been released online. The trailer includes a few more looks at Cobra that were not in the first trailer that was shown and a real scope of how vast the world is for the film and just how much the characters go through is felt instantly.

Directed by Jon Chu (STEP UP 3D) and starring Dwayne Johnson (FAST FIVE), Bruce Willis (RED), Channing Tatum (THE VOW) and Ray Park (EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D), G.I. JOE: RETALIATION looks to eclipse its predecessor in every facet.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION strikes into theaters on June 29, 2012.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

FILM: A Look at Judge Dredd (News)

17 years after the first movie adaptation, a new Judge Dredd film is on its way with expectations of being more in the image of the comic book it is based off of.

DREDD, stars Karl Urban (STAR TREK) in the title role and he is joined by actresses Olivia Thirlby (NO STRINGS ATTACHED) and Lena Headey (GAME OF THRONES). Pete Travis (VANTAGE POINT) directs.

Images from the film have hit the web and here are two of them: a close-up of Judge Dredd and a shot of Dredd with Thirlby's character.

DREDD judges theaters on September 21, 2012.

Friday, March 2, 2012

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Star Trek #6 (Review)

Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Joe Corroney
Cover: Tim Bradstreet

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

Something I love about the comic book industry is the wide variety of topics and genres that you are almost guaranteed to find a title about. One section like that would be the books made from licensed properties. There is just something so exciting about being able to continue on with the characters you have come to love outside of their normal type of medium.

A bunch of times my top of the stack pick has ended up being based off a licensed property, so many companies are doing it: Dark Horse has Star Wars, BOOM! Studios was once the home to many Disney/Pixar books, and DC has the recently announced SMALLVILLE SEASON 11.

But if there is one company that is almost synonymous with the licensed property comic book, it is IDW Publishing that comes to mind. I always find myself dabbling with the titles there to see what hooks me and for awhile I read ANGEL while it was there and lately I have been checking out the GI:JOE and COBRA books. Yet while those properties are sizable, it was a book with a much more vocal/beloved fan base around it that had me wanting more.

Of course, I am talking about this week's STAR TREK #6, a comic book based off the recent J.J. Abrams reboot movie that helped revitalize the Trek universe for modern day science fiction audiences. Featuring the same characters from the film, this book continues their journey that only started there.

Tasked with writing the series is Mike Johnson, who has been part of a fantastic DC writing team for awhile with SUPERMAN/BATMAN and the new DC 52 relaunched SUPERGIRL title but is also no stranger to this new era of the Star Trek universe having contributed to the prequel comics that came out before the film and the movie adaptation comic as well that came out for IDW.

On the art is Joe Corroney, a veteran of IDW having worked on TRUE BLOOD, DOCTOR WHO and other STAR TREK universe titles. Here he accurately captures the look of the characters modeled after the actors that portrayed them, while also getting to be creative and design looks as well like in this issue with the adult version of Jim Kirk's brother, George. One of the things I am becoming more cognizant of with art is the portrayal of clothing on the characters and it thrills me to no end that the uniforms look authentic with folds and wrinkles as they hang on the body like it would be in real life.

This issue continues on with the previous issue's revelation that George Kirk was on this planet with a colony besieged by these alien life-force that resemble jelly fish that latch on to heads and take control. Behind the planet plot, you find all the threads developed in the movie still being fed upon, Jim's family issues, Spock's relationship with Uhura and Spock dealing with his grief.

If you enjoyed the movie than you should have no problem eating up the Trek goodness in this title. The quality of the creative team is very evident in the pages and until the next movie comes out - which sounds like awhile - this is more than an equal replacement for your STAR TREK needs.

Look to buy the STAR TREK #6 digital comic on Comixology for $1.99