05 December 2005

Comics Roundup 12/5 (CS)

The Amazing Fantasy reboot has hit issue #15, the same issue number where Spider-Man made his debut in 1962. To commemorate the event, the cover features Spiderman in the same pose as he was found in the original Amazing Fantasy #15 with a couple extra characters added in. Each of these characters gets their own 6 pages within the issue and you can go to Marvel.com and vote for which story will get its own shot at a solo series. Personally, I liked Monstro the best. In six pages we got action and depth of character. A man of incredible powers that still knows his limitations AND his responsibilities.... and still has questions about his past. All the elements are there for a classic story for the House of Ideas. So if you love me, you'll head over to Marvel.com and vote for Monstro. If you just want to vex me, you'll vote for Mastermind Excello (shades of Flex Mentallo in that name there?), which was pretty good and looks like it'll probably win (thanks, I think, in part to a Hulk cameo). If you want to straight up piss me off, go vote for Blackjack or Positron. The Blackjack stories were fun, but i think undeserving of a monthly series to itself. And Positron was just a bit too weak, especially in light of the other stories.

Eric Powell continues to do Swamp Thing covers with beautiful results. It is truly a marriage made in heaven. If DC could get him to do the interiors, they could write the most crap story of all time and I'd still buy it. Anyone have some suggestions as to other titles Powell could knock out of the park with his particular touch? He's apparently having a chat on Tuesday the 6th at Comic Book Resources. I'll be busy, myself, but someone out there should totally check it out and tell me if anything interesting came up (or head over there and goad Powell into talking about Dr. Doom some more).

Finally, I got around to picking up and reading R. Kikuo Johnson's Night Fisher. It's been a bit of a while since I read a truly great Indie comic, and this filled that gap. It's sort of a coming of age for a high school senior in Hawaii story. Girls, drugs, and the impending doom of college and "the future." The story isn't entirely concentrated on a set up, typical plot and it is completely unworried about trying to tie up all the loose ends. It's a story that feels particularly true to life in these respects, which I find a tough line for literature and film to tread. There are times when this can be particularly aggravating in what is understood to be an entertainment or even artistic medium, but Johnson let's everything move with a pace usually absent from these types of stories and the lack of neat resolutions feels ironically like a breath of fresh air. Johnson's art is well done and you really take notice of his skill for visual storytelling in the pages where several panels with limited (if any) dialogue tell you all you needed to know and then some. He depicts Hawaii beautifully in that he doesn't illustrate it as entirely beautiful. As an added bonus, the front and back cover illustration is nice and textured and it's got that fantastic indie published book smell to it. Sometimes it's the little things. Highest recommendations for this one.

04 December 2005

Well I "Waited till next year" and then I waited some more. And now? (CS)

In the past, I would have agreed with Cable in this particular instance. It was always too hard to dredge up the good ol' feelings of 1994 Rangers hockey after so many seasons that were an absolute mockery. But after losing a year to strikes and following a whole set of rule changes, the Rangers are back this year. And they're kicking ass. So let's talk about them and you can go suck it, Cable.

Ok, I know. We're hardly a quarter of the way into the season. But this team can skate. And this team can score. And this team finally has some decent goal tending. With the new restrictions in place on interference, Jaomir Jagr has gone from a pretty damn good player to the sort of player to put the fear of God into goaltenders. And guys like Martin Straka and Martin Rucinsky have also been unleashed. Plus, we are finally free of the dead weight of Eric Lindros (don't be fooled by his numbers in Toronto, I think they replaced him with a hockey playing robot).

I have hope that gone are the days of guys like Lindros hitting the ice and sapping the life out the entire team with sluggish play. Instead, this team has showed some incredible panache. Early in the season, they faced three very tough overtime losses. Instead of folding into extended losing streaks (as I'd expect the old teams to do) this team righted the ship and came back with some win streaks of their own, including their latest 6 win streak which probably hit its climax with Marek Malik's game winner in the 15th round of an overtime shootout against Washington. That's the type of game you'd expect the old Rangers to have given up on.

Is the team ready for Lord Stanley? Don't think so. Still lacking a certain something on the defensive end. Still stuck with Tom Poti, a offensive defensemen who's only offensive in the non-flattering pun turn of the word. And now without players like Matthew Barnaby, lacking a scrapiness and toughness to pep the team up on certain shifts. But of course, a run at the cup is good enough (for now). Even a playoff berth would seem like a gift from the heavens after so many years in a row of being on the cusp, but never quite making it.

Most of all, this team has promise. Some of the hardest workers on the ice are the younger players. Dominic Moore and Petr Prucha have put in surprising work at Center. Marcel Hossa has the potential to be a solid edition. Most exciting to me, though, is the great backstopping by the young Henrik Lundqvist. The guy's just several months older than me and still shows incredible composure and talent in the net. He racked up a couple shutouts early in the season and has played critical games/minutes during the Rangers' win streaks. Following names like Mike Richter and Mark Messier, these young guys have a lot to live up to. And yet, they've shown enough to me so far that I maintain hope that they can get even better and become a solid basis to build this team around.

Get your tickets to the greatest arena on earth, cuz the Rangers are finally exciting to watch again.
And by god if this rant jinxes them......