Monday, June 30, 2008

Gamers - A Movie Review

Gamers – A film by Writer / Director Christopher Folino

Comics are wonderful and great things, but so are movies and I received a fantastic present recently because of my associating in the comic world in the form of the movie Gamers.

What a f**king funny movie. As I type this I’m laughing to myself just thinking of certain scenes. The premise is these four guys have been playing a D&D type game for almost 23 years and if they play one more time they will break the all time record.

The four central characters are Paul, Fernado, Gordon and Kevin. We also have the new guy Reese who has only been playing for the last five years. Add into that the named actors of John Heard, Beverly D’Angelo, Kelly LeBrock and William Katt and you had one heck of a great cast and a lot of fun.

The five guys are all total losers, living in parents basements, have nowhere jobs and yet all try to have some inflated self-worth by pretending to be what they are not. I think the highest salary among them is about $22,000 per year.

This movie takes the form of someone making a documentary of the guys so they talk about there lives and we get little flashbacks, but what makes this so frelling great are all the great comedy bits.

Airplane is one of my all time favorite comedy movies and this movie shares one of the best qualities that Airplane has - tons of great bits throughout the film.

We have clown porn, Reese’s tantrum at work over a character dying, Fernado’s job getting horse sperm, Gordon’s swinger parents, the prom night for the four horsemen, the KKK scenes as Kevin is oblivious to his Wizard robes causing a black dwarf a high degree of concern, the song I Love Dick, a party for a role playing character dying, Pagan Babies, singing to horses, a kill crazy Parakeet, a John Rocker jacket, Bunko night, Madden Football, Tilt/Zoom, Scrapbooks and more.

It starts off with a dry sense of humor, hits you with the outrageous and ultimately makes you really like some of the guys and you are happy for how one of their lives ends up.

I have not seen a funnier movie then Gamers in a very long time. I’m not a gamer, by any means, but it doesn’t matter as this movie works whether you know gaming or not. A well acted and a great script makes writer/director Chris Folino have what should become a hit on his hands.

This was a straight to DVD movie and it relies on word of mouth to really let people know about it, so give your self a treat, go out and buy this movie and have some laughs.

Get Gamers here.

Then laugh and laugh.


What I’m Getting Wednesday

This is really big week that was created by the shortage of books from last week. It would have been over 30 books anyway, but now it is an insane week.

A VERY BIG THANK YOU TO GWEN! YEAH – We now have a logo and if all goes well – I won’t say anything about why we have a logo until I know it is a done deal. Gwen did a great job (and yes as a proud parent my opinion may be skewed, but it is not) and put a lot of work into the design. Also thanks to William Katt and Chris Folino for their generosity. Is Chris now the sidekick to the Greatest American Hero?

I have two little rants to make a few comments on this week.

First off: Who are the best writers in comics? I think the big names are Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Mark Millar, Brian Bendis and maybe Ed Brubaker. Right now though we also have Robert Kirkman, J. Michael Stracyzski, Sean McKeever, Mark Waid, Christopher Gage, James Robinson, Paul Dini, Steve Niles, Keith Giffen, Chuck Dixon, Jason Aaron, Brian Azzarelo, and the list goes on and on and one. Personally I think that we are blessed to have the best group of writers ever in comics’ history. Not only in the mainstream but Chris Folino, Rick Remender, and Tim Truman and on and on are proof that the writing in comics is at its highest in the entire history of comics. Even the books I don’t like are usually professionally written. So who are the best writers in comics, the ones that are writing the books that you like the most.

The next comment is violence in comics. Lee kicked up a little dust with his post last week, but I think it may all come down to how it is portrayed. Violence shown without the blood and gore is easier to accept then when the blood is splattered everywhere. Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons are funny with all the violence and I do not think they caused me to be ultra-violent or even violent. Add blood into the aftermath of the actions in those cartoons and the humor disappears and they become a different animal and may no longer be as benign of an impact.

Atom #25 – A fun series that Remender was making even better then it already was. I wish this book was not being cancelled. The word “Out of place, out of time and out of hope, Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi face the Worm-Man from the sub-atomic prison world of Lady Chronos! Will Ryan make the ultimate sacrifice so Ray and the rest of Ivy Town can live to see another day?”

Batman #678 – This series is moving along at a very good pace. I have enjoyed this series so far and I’m curious to see where Grant Morrison is taking us. The hype “Part 3 of "Batman R.I.P."! Batman's mysterious adversary has won. All is lost for the Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne is now deranged and dissociated, wandering homeless in the alleys of Gotham City. Is there a chance that Bruce can rebuild his Batman identity from scratch, or is this truly the end for one of the world's finest heroes?”

Blue Beetle #28 - Wow, with a guest writer the hype copy writers seem to take a vacation. The company line “Guest writer Will Pfeifer (CATWOMAN) returns — and he's brought monsters with him! What's a Beetle to do?” This is a wonderful series and is on par with Invincible.

Crossing Midnight #19 – The final issue of a series that should have lasted longer. The company line “War. That's what the Haras' simple wish for a safely born child has led to. Now, with destruction at every turn, the last battle is between Kai, Toshi and Aratsu, but how many of their newfound allies will die before their conflict reaches its bloody conclusion?”

Fables #74 - What a great cover. Vertigo’s premier series. The word “The all-out war between Fabletown and the Empire continues — and everything is going Fabletown's way. But as everyone knows, just when things are going well, the hammer falls.Bigby and his team fight for their lives on the ground while the Skyship's crew, commanded by Prince Charming and Sinbad, hit the decks. This is the issue that, for obvious legal reasons, we couldn't call "The Empire Strikes Back."”

Hellblazer Presents Chas the Knowledge #1 (of 5) – Not sure what to make of this series. Spin-offs are uneven at best. The hype “Cab driver Francis "Chas" Chandler leads an unremarkable existence. His greatest moments have come tagging along with John Constantine -- as a chauffeur. His home life is nothing special, and his beloved London is becoming a soulless metropolis. In middle age, Chas is stuck in a rut. But Chas is a master of "The Knowledge," the elaborate system of routes and landmarks which every London cabbie must memorize. Until now, The Knowledge has been just a tool for Chas. But now, he's about to discover a more sinister significance of The Knowledge. An ominous entity from London's grim history has reemerged, and only someone with The Knowledge can stop it. Is Chas up to the task, on his own?”

House of Mystery #3 - I already love this series and we get Bernie Wrightson too! AWESOME! The company line “"Room and Boredom," Part 3 of 5. Everyone is a prisoner in one way or another, and Fig Keele is no exception. Trapped in the House of Mystery with a quartet of strange companions and a bar full of drinkers, Fig's willing to do anything to escape. Everyone else just wants bacon. Also featuring a tale illustrated by none other than HOUSE OF MYSTERY's distinguished alumnus Bernie Wrightson!”

Infinity Inc #11 - The company line “To the world at large, he's Doctor Bud Fogel, outspoken critic of Infinity Inc. and anything connected with Lex Luthor's Everyman Project. But Fogel also goes by a much deadlier name. The Infinity kids are desperate to learn his secret, but to do so they'll first be drawn into the dark net of the Dark Side Club!” This series has won me over, but I bet it does not have longer then a two year life.

Jack of Fables #23 - This two part story has been a lot darker then the book normally is and it is a good change of pace. What’s inside “Several great and terrible events occurred in 1883, but none so dire as the continuing depredations of the Jack Candle Gang in the Old West. No posse could stop them. Not even the legendary Pinkertons could find them. But now a mysterious unarmed sheriff is on Jack's trail, and a showdown is inevitable.”

Joker’s Asylum The Joker - This book is a little light on what’s inside “A cast of top creators lends their talents to THE JOKER'S ASYLUM — a special month-long, weekly series of one-shots starring the greatest villains in Batman's rogues gallery. Each issue tells a special stand-alone story that gives readers an inside look into the insane lives of the Dark Knight's greatest adversaries. And all the stories are narrated by the Asylum's leading homicidal maniac — The Joker!”

Jonah Hex #33 – I have thoroughly enjoyed this series to the point of even getting the trades. This issue “A special issue drawn by Eisner Award-winning artist Darwyn Cooke (DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, THE SPIRIT)! Jonah Hex travels to Canada on the trail of his latest bounty. But with the Mounties hot on his heels, this isn't going to be an easy job.”

JSA Classified #39 – The last issue in this series. I understand the concept, but they never executed against it that well. In the future if they have a good JSA solo story they should just run it as a mini-series. The word “Concluding the 2-part "Body and Soul"! Wildcat's fighting abilities have been stolen from him and will be sold on the black market to the highest bidder. In order to get back into the ring, Wildcat will have to rely on a little help from his friends — the Justice Society of America!”

Legion of Super Heroes #43 – I have loved the Legion in all their incarnations and have been enjoying Jim Shooter’s run on this book. The hype “While Science Police search parties ransack The Legion's headquarters, two away-teams of Legionnaires fight like cornered wolves against vicious enemies. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 sells out the Legion's greatest secret! New villains, stunning action and the LSH is shut down!. Plus, the introduction of Ikilles and Cazhmir! The Ikonns! The Peril Men! And more!”

Madame Xanadu #1 - I can’t wait for this book and hated that I had to wait an extra week for it. The hype “Legendary creator Matt Wagner (MAGE, GRENDEL, SUPERMAN/BATMAN/WONDER WOMAN: TRINITY) and rising star artist Amy Reeder Hadley present Vertigo's newest ongoing fantasy epic. Centuries long and around the globe her tale winds before the ageless fortuneteller arrives in modern era New York. Her powers of sight can change the course of human events, but how does the seer see herself? Wagner and Hadley answer with painstakingly elegant story and breathtakingly innovative art that is sure to make Madame Xanadu a classic! Issue #1 opens into a medieval kingdom beset by intrigue and foul sorcery. A fair sylph with magic of her own is thrown into the world of war and men — where she encounters a dark stranger who knows not only her past, but her most intimate future as well.”

Manhunter #32 - It is great to have this series back on the shelves again. I’m still mystified as to why they did not give it a new #1 issue. Inside this issue "Drawn deeper into the politics of a missing-persons mystery, Manhunter calls on local heroes — and even villains — to navigate the twilight world of the U.S.-Mexican border, invoking the wrath of Director Bones and the DEO!"

Nightwing #146 – The conclusion of Peter Tomasi’s first arc. I really love seeing Nightwing back as a top series again. The word “Nightwing confronts Talia and the evil Doctor Creighton at a deserted castle on the banks of the Hudson River. Strange alliances are formed and new enemies are made as "Freefall" comes to its unbelievable and tragic conclusion.”

Northlanders #7 - The hype “With the assistance of a small army, the battle for Sven's birthright begins. Vastly outnumbered by Gorm's forces, things begin to look bleak until some unforeseen allies help Sven's cause. But will it be enough in the end?” This is another gold standard book out of Vertigo.

Rann Thanagar Holy War #3 (of 8) - This has been an entertaining series so far. Jim Starlin tells some great stories. The hype “Adam Strange has a plan to snap the people of Rann out of their blind devotion of Lady Styx — but he better implement it fast, because an ancient evil force has been reawakened. Do our heroes stand a chance against the onslaught of Synnar?”

The Secret History of the Authority Jack Hawksmoor #4 (of 6) - This has been one of the better mini-series coming out of Wildstorm and has made me a fan of Fiona Staples art work. The wordThere's a maniac from the 70th century piloting a giant robot from another universe, and Jack has been cut off from his powers. This is gonna be ugly. Plus, a dark secret finally answers the question: Whatever happened to Jack's family?”

Showcase Presents Batman TP Volume 3 - The contents “Over 500 pages of classic Batman adventures, from the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS #359-375, BATMAN #189-192, 194-197, and 199-201!”
No matter how great of a bargain these books are I have to stop buying them until I’m actually reading more of them.

Storming Paradise #1 (of 6) - This has to be a good series; an action/adventure story by Chuck Dixon is almost a mortal lock to be good. The company line “This brutal, revisionist look at the second World War could only be handled by master storytellers Chuck Dixon and Butch Guice. Every angle of this conflict will be touched upon, from the infantry storming the beaches to the Army Air Corps bombing the home islands of the Empire of the Rising Sun to the desperate struggle of the Japanese to save their culture from annihilation, as the true meaning of "war is hell" is explored in full.”

Supergirl #31 – I hear this book is getting yet another new creative team, with promises to tie it into the Superman books. Sigh, how many times can they try to re-start this series. What’s inside “Following her startling decision last issue, where does Supergirl go from here? Her relationship with Superman is shattered, and for the first time in her young life, Supergirl finds herself truly alone. But with a new day comes a new threat and a new ally — enter: Empress, last seen in YOUNG JUSTICE!”

Tor #3 (of 6) - I love Joe Kubert and I have been enjoying this latest Tor story. The company line “ Tor meets up with a strange — and beautiful — companion, and the two journey to the underworld to confront a group of mindless beasts. Will a horrible monster not only end the new friendship but Tor's quest as well?” Why can Joe put out a monthly series and his sons can’t hack it?

Trinity #5 – I like this book, but again not sure it is worth the 52 week commitment yet. I will hang out at least a few more issues. The hype “In month two of TRINITY, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — alongside their Justice League teammates — cross paths with the mysterious Konvikt and learn more about their fated connection within the DC Universe!”

76 #4 (of 8) – A good book containing two series, that are both well done. This issue “JACKIE KARMA and Marcus King revisit their old pad from the sixties, while their former partner, Bobby Howler, confronts Gil Gunn one-on-one, with only one of them walking away. In COOL, Leon babysits much sought after stripper Cherry Baum, and Pete finds himself fighting for his life – in an empty swimming pool?”

Astounding Wolf-Man #7 - Kirkman’s series take time to build and I believe this issue is the one that makes this series a worthwhile one to hang onto. The hype “The secret is out, the world knows that Gary Hampton, The Astounding Wolf-Man--is a murderer. Needless to say, his family doesn't take it well. Gary's life is falling apart around him.”

Brit #7 - This book was due out in February. For a quirky as hell series, this type of lateness could kill it. The hype “GUEST-STARRING INVINCIBLE! It's "Invulnerable" versus "Invincible" in a knockdown, drag-out brawl to end them all! Two heroes -- one old enough for social security, one not old enough to drink -- forced against each other. It's a story of strip clubs, giant robots and the terror from a transdimension!”

Dynamo 5 #14 – Wow, Image is the soul of brevity in their hype. The word “Introducing Vigil, the official protector of Tower City! So where does that leave Dynamo 5…?” They need to pump up the volume on some of these books, especially Dynamo 5 which is one of the better group books out there.

Noble Causes #35 – I have become a quick convert to this book since we had the five year jump and entry point for new readers. The word “ The Noble family fight Crucible, a brand-new villain who they believe to be responsible for the attack on Frosts life. But while theyre busy battling it out in the streets, Crucibles secret operative within the family makes a move on oh, wait. We can’t tell you that!”

Pilot Season Alibi #1 – I don’t always get these pilot season books, but this one had a good premise and I enjoyed Twilight Guardian. The company line “The perfect killer always has an airtight alibi. But can anyone be in two places at once? John Stephens can. He's always a suspect whenever a high-profile target is taken out, but he always gets off scot-free because he's off somewhere else, having the time of his life. How can he be responsible? The authorities may be fooled, but now someone knows his secret, and John is going to have to face the consequences.”

Proof #9 - This is one of the best series coming out of Image comics. Both creators are pouring their hearts and souls into this book and it is out and out showing on every page. If you are not getting this book, order an issue and try it out. This issue contains “"A PERFECT GENTLEMAN"Stand-alone issue. Catch up on Proof's story so far. What does Bigfoot do on his day off? He goes shopping in Seattle!”

Sword #9 - The last couple of issues have been slow, but I believe this issue will pick up the pace. The hype “Dara will stop at nothing to find her sister’s killer. But if she succeeds in finding him, will she share her sister’s fate?”

Vix #1 (of 3) – This book is not my normal type of thing to try, but sometimes that is why I check something out. I don’t want to prejudge something. The hype “"JUST A GIRL" Vix is the kind of girl most parents adore. Smart and pretty, with a seemingly inexhaustible positive attitude. Why is it then, that she is haunted by vivid flashbacks of horrible things that never occurred? Who are the shadowy forces who watch her, speaking of her destiny as a savior? Just what is her true nature? The answers begin here.”

Walking Dead #50 – Kirkman has really had a heck of a year with his two signature series both hitting the #50 mark. Walking Dead has become one of the best series on the stands over the last six to seven issue. The contents “All alone now. For this landmark 50th issue we present a special stand-alone tale that will both warm your heart and chill you to the bone.”

Fear Agent #22 I Against I (PT 1 of 6) – Last issue was a cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers, so I’m happy this issue is out so fast. What’s inside “After being shot through the other side of a black hole, Heath Huston finds himself in a shadow universe marooned on the desolate planet Westx. A stranger in a strange place, the last Fear Agent enters a world populated by gun-slinging robots, venomous mutants, and buxom cowgirls in this six-part sci-fi western shot through the heart. Creators Rick Remender and Tony Moore reunite to bring you the good, the bad, and the ugly days of Heath Huston, outlaw . . . it's high noon in dead space.”

Hellboy the Crooked Man #1 (of 3) - The hype tells it all “In 1956, somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, Hellboy encounters Tom, a man who in his youth sold his soul to a backwoods demon known as the Crooked Man. Together they travel back into the dark heart of the Appalachian mountains to confront that demon and see if Tom's soul can't be saved.The three-issue series reunites Mignola and legendary horror artist Richard Corben (The Bodyssey, Banner, Punisher: The End, Hellboy: Makoma) in a tale of witchcraft rooted in Appalachian folklore.”

Grimm Fairy Tales #28 - Almost ready to drop this series as whatever charm or guilty pleasure it was has been disappearing. What’s insideGrimm Fairy Tales continues strong in this re-telling of the classic story 'The Ugly Duckling.' When a young unattractive teen is tormented by her high school peers she makes a deal with Belinda, and seeks out her own form of revenge. Now, ten years later, the once ugly duckling turned swan is living a successful life as a top model. However, on the night of her class reunion, she'll find that the deal she made many years ago is about to come back to bite her."

Grimm Fairy Tales Piper #3 (of 4) – This has been a mediocre series so far. The hype “Summoning the Piper to do his bidding seemed like the answer to all of Sean's problems. But unleashing a being of pure evil and uncontrollable power may be his biggest problem of all! The Piper's body count of victims is rising fast and Sean and his friends are next on the list. Will Sean uncover the secret to vanquishing The Piper in time to save himself and his friends, or will they too fall prey to his deadly melody?" Note this image is not the cover, but I could not find the actual cover and I believe this is the cover to issue #4.

High Rollers #1 (OF 4) - The hype “Chronicling the life of Cameron Quinn, a ruthless upstart out to make a name for himself in this tale of crime and destiny from critically acclaimed mystery novelist Gary Phillips (HIGH HAND, BANGERS)! Phillips shines a harsh light on the action and drama of the L.A. underworld with this inner-city spin on The Sopranos! A potent mix of American Gangster and THE WIRE, for fans of Brubaker's CRIMINAL!” Take BOOM and a crime genre story and we should have a hit.

Neozoic #5 - One of my favorite series from a really great publisher. The hype "Lilli is outside the city walls, at the mercy of a thousand dinosaurs relentlessly pursuing her and the child. In the aftermath of the attacks, the mysterious Talpid have taken over Monanti City and are enslaving its citizens. It is up to the remnant of the Predator Defense League to fight on, despite the loss of its greatest leaders." See Gwen’s mini-review of it here.

Station#1 (OF 5) - A great sounding premise and a publisher I trust, an easy combination. The word “Two hundred and twenty miles doesn’t seem that far…unless you’re looking down. Five nations have sent their finest astronauts to operate Earth’s first multinational space station…but now one of them is dead. Is it sabotage…an accident…or murder? A thriller in the vein of WHITEOUT, from the writer of the EUREKA TV episodes “Right as Raynes” and “Purple Haze."”

Strange & Stranger The World of Steve Ditko HC – This book looks to be so good and it about one of my favorite creators of all time. What’s inside “The first critical retrospective of the work of the reclusive Spider-Man co-creator! Steve Ditko is best known as the co-creator, with Stan Lee, of Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and other classic Marvel and DC characters. But, in the context of Steve Ditko's 50-year career in comics, his creative involvement with Spider-Man is merely the tip of the iceberg. Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko is a coffee table art book tracing Ditko's life and career, his unparalleled stylistic innovations, and his strict adherence to his philosophical principles, with lush displays of obscure and popular art from the thousands of pages of comics he's drawn over the last 55 years.”

Terry Moore’s Echo #4 – A wonderful book with characters so real and layered that you feel they must exist in the real world. The word “HeNRI developed the world's first liquid metal atomic weapon. Now, like it or not, Julie Martin is wearing that metal and is forced to run to keep HeNRI from continuing their deadly development! With no allies but a delusional sister and a park ranger to help her, Julie must find a way to become something she's never been before - brave!"”

ZOMBIE TALES #2 - The first issue was a blast and I’m looking forward to this second issue. The hype “Legendary author Joe R. Lansdale (The Drive-In, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES) continues his serialized “THE WAR AT HOME” zombie tale! Plus, award-winning playwright Christine Boylan and writer Brian Augustyn (BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, COUNTDOWN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT) bring the undead love to your doorstep this month!”

Astonishing X-Men #25 – Warren Ellis kicks off as the new writer of this series, if he is only on for his normal 12 issues and out, than I’m not sure if it is worth it or not. Another side note isn’t Uncanny #500 suppose to set the new status quo, is this stuff in or out of continuity? The hype “It’s the book you’ve been waiting for. The superstar team of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi are ready to take the X-Men to the “Second Stage”! “Messiah CompleX” pulled the X-Men team together, “Divided We Stand” tore them apart. Now the X-Men are back to business -- with a new look, a new base of operations, and a mystery to solve that will take them into previously uncharted territory and test them to their core!”

Essential Defenders Volume #4 – I have way too much of the Defenders stuff and a lot of it was not that good. One day I may re-read this or just give it away. This volume contains “Havok, Nova, Captain Ultra...Shocker, Plantman, Batroc the Leaper - not the Defenders, but TWO incredible simulations! But the debacle of the dozens of "Defenders for a Day" is just the start for the latest look at Earth's Mightiest Non-Team! Will they be driven mad by Lunatik, or blown away by Foolkiller? International crises and extradimensional warfare abound! The secret of Omega the Unknown! Asgardians, androids and guys with wings on their heads! Plus: Spider-Man, the Black Panther and a guest-appearance by Millie the Model! Collecting DEFENDERS #61-91.”

Invaders Classic TP Volume 2 – This is probably the last trade of this material that I will be getting. I’m picking up way too much of this stuff and I never have the chance to read most of it. What’s inside “After their first several sagas of success, the Invaders spread across the world to discover new friends and new foes, plus the ever-present question of which is which! Introducing Spitfire! Warrior Woman! The Golem! The Blue Bullet! The Spirit of '76! Agent Axis! Plus: genuine Golden Age villains not seen in decades! Crusaders, Avengers and Destroyers - all for you in '42! Collecting INVADERS #10-21 and ANNUAL #1.”

Squadron Supreme 2 #1 – The official hype “They were gods walking the Earth... powerful but flawed, they dreamed of remaking the world in their image. After their apocalyptic battle with Redstone, and after their terrifying fight with the Ultimate Universe, that dream has become a nightmare. While mankind struggles to rebuild, new heroes appear--and Nick Fury, left behind after the hit ULTIMATE POWER limited series, learns the shocking secrets of four astronauts who returned to Earth...changed. Join comics legend HOWARD CHAYKIN and newcomer MARCO TURINI to ask the question--whatever happened to the Squadron Supreme?” This series ended in the middle of a story and was a strange cancellation, curious to see what will be going on this time out.

Well as I said this was one big week of books for me and next week should be a breather by comparison. This week promises to have a lot of great material to read. In an odd set of circumstances Marvel went from a dominating week last week to an almost afterthought for me this week.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Marvel Preview Review for September

Lee: It’s an interesting month from Marvel. It seems like everything is still wrapped up in Secret Invasion so it’s a light month if you’re not reading that. But, somehow Marvel seems to release a ton of other material to talk about.
Jim: I like that they are playing with more then just super heroes with their product line. Expansion into other genres is important for the market’s overall health. What I do not like is the flooding of the market with the around 100 plus tie-ins to Secret Invasion and the variant cover crap, that is a negative for the market.

THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS #1 (of 5)Written by ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASAPenciled & Inked by MIKE PERKINSCover by LEE BERMEJOVariant Cover by MIKE PERKINSSketch Variant Cover by LEE BERMEJOIt begins here: the apocalyptic epic battle between good and evil based on the classic bestseller by master of horror Stephen King! On a secret army base in the Californian desert, something has gone horribly, terribly wrong. Something that will send Charlie Campion and his wife and daughter fleeing in the middle of the night. Unfortunately for the Campion family--and the rest of America--they are unaware that all three of them are carrying a deadly cargo: A virus that will spread from person to person like wildfire, triggering a massive wave of disease and death, prefacing humanity's last stand! Be there as writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four) teams with artist Mike Perkins (Captain America) for the first arc in the next great Stephen King event!32 PGS./ Cardstock Cover/Parental Advisory...$3.99
Lee: Sigh! I knew the success of “Dark Tower” would doom us to more King material. The Stand has only been what… three movies already? I really don’t see the need for this but hopefully it will bring more new readers.
Jim: It may, but for me the book was enough and none of the movies every really captured the quality of the book. Plus I like Mike Perkins, but is he really in the same class as Jae Lee?

SAMURAI #1 (of 4)Written by JEAN-FRANCOIS DI GIORGIOPenciled by FR'D'RIC GENæTCover by FR'D'RIC GENæTAdapted by JAKE FORBESWith an Exclusive U.S. Variant!The European best-seller - now finally presented in English! Writer Jean-Francois Di Giorgio and artist Frdric Gent tap into the rich mythology of the noble Samurai, creating a nuanced look at the fabled Japanese warriors. Having become a samurai, Takeo feels strong enough to confront his past. On the borders of Japan, a terrible plan is being plotted: General Akuma, one of the Empire's most influential figures, seems to be dead set on betraying the Emperor to his own advantage. However, a grave secret links the two men: the 13th prophet. Meanwhile, Takeo hopes to discover who he is. Why did he grow up in a monastery? And why was he abandoned by his brother ten years earlier? His quest will put him in deep torment, placing him in the middle of the dark destiny of the Empire and the 13th prophet!56 PGS./Mature ...$5.99
Lee: I know these are expensive but I really like the material that Marvel has chosen so far. The art looks great and these days I am so burnt out on both Marvel and DC’s EARTHSHATTERING events that I’m really looking forward to this material.
Jim: I agree, the art looks terrific. I have ordered this book and I’m looking forward to it a lot.

BIG HERO 6 #1 (of 6)Written by CHRIS CLAREMONTPencils, Cover & Variant Cover by DAVID NAKAYAMAThe astonishing return of Big Hero Six! Who, you ask? Why none other than Japan's top heroes, defending the land of the rising sun in the name of the Emperor! Come join Hiro (the smartest boy in Japan), Baymax (his trusty robot companion), Honey Lemon (with her all-containing handbag), Gogo Tomago (somersaulting into an unstoppable energy ball)... plus, who are the Six's two new members? When unknown super-villains strike Tokyo, BH6 is on the scene, and the stage is set for new adventure and a new series!48 PGS./Rated A ...$3.99
Lee: And the classic “What the!?” moment in this previews is this book here. I vaguely remember Big Hero 6 and thanks to the internet I found “Sunfire and Big Hero Six” was a three issue mini written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Gus Vasquez cover dated Sept 1998-Nov 1998. Now, just about 10 years later Claremont has decided to revive a group of characters that he didn’t even create? I am dying to know who green lighted this book.
Jim: Maybe they signed Claremont to a contract and they need to let him produce something. Since he and Byrne split-up I can not think of one book or any timeframe when he has done work that I really cared about. That was over 20 years ago.

DAREDEVIL #111 Written by Ed Brubaker Penciled by CLAY MANN Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC 50/50 Variant Cover by TERRY DODSON Be there when Matt Murdock first encounters a shocking new face -- Lady Bullseye! Who is she? Where did she come from? What does she want? And will she be a foe to Daredevil...or a friend? We can't make a peep yet, but it's the perfect jumping-on point as an alarming new chapter begins in the acclaimed DAREDEVIL run by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark! LADY BULLSEYE!!32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
Lee: Lady Bullseye? Well if there was ever a creative team that could make me believe it is this one.
Jim: Lady Bullseye should be killed within the first five panels of her existence by Bullseye. This sounds so bad, but I’ll give Brubaker a chance, but the premise sounds horrible.

HULK #6Written by JEPH LOEBPencils & 50/50 Covers by ED MCGUINNESSWhite-hot uberstars JEPH LOEB & ED MCGUINNESS - Giving you your daily allowance of GIGANTIC monsters beating the snot outta each other! Guest stars galore! The entire West Coast about to tumble into the ocean! And NOW...the rematch you've been panting for! HULK VS. HULK-one side wins...FOREVER!!!32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
Lee: I am soooo ready the HC of this to come out. Yeah, it’s kinda pointless but the big pointless battles are soooo awesome to look at. This is, without a doubt, a guilty pleasure.
Jim: Please this book just blows chunks, I tried two issues and then have forgotten it.

MARVEL APES #1 & 2 (of 4) Written by KARL KESEL Pencils by RAMON BACHSCover by JOHN WATSONVariant Cover For Marvel Apes #1 by RAMON BACHSVariant Cover For Marvel Apes #2 by PHIL JIMENEZFlingin' feces, True Believer-- the entire Marvel Universe has gone APE!Just when he thinks life can't get any worse or weirder, Marty Blank - a.k.a. that lovable loser, the Gibbon -- finds himself and the brilliant-and-beautiful Dr. Fiona Fitzhugh transported to a world where monkeys rule and humans don't exist! SEE the spectacular simian city of Monkhattan!MEET the hominoid heroes and villains - SPIDER-MONKEY! DOC OOK! IRON MANDRILL! SIMIAN TORCH! THE APE-VENGERS! And more!THRILL to the return of Speedball!CONTAINS No-Ads, as we are thrilled to present you backup tales exploring the Apeiverse!LEARN the dark secret of the primate planet!WORRY that the fate of the entire universe is in the hands of the Gibbon!Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story - just the most not-to-be-missed mini-series of the season! If you only buy one (well, two) comics this month about super-powered, intelligent apes-in-capes, it must be MARVEL APES!
Lee: Hee hee hee. I am sure as soon as Jim saw this he knew I would pick it. And he’s right. The Marvel U goes apes!
Jim: This is such an easy pass for me as to be ridiculous. It is an excuse for multiple, multiple covers to be sold and it is trying to find another concept to sell like Marvel Zombies did. LAME!

SECRET INVASION: SPIDER-MAN - BRAND NEW DAY #2 (of 3) Written by BRIAN REEDPenciled by MARCO SANTUCCICover by MIKE MCKONE Where the heck is Spider-Man when you need him?! In her first true test as a solo hero, Jackpot tries her best to keep the cast of Brand New Day alive and well. But with Harry Osborn, Robbie Robertson and the rest of the folks in Pete's life under siege during the Skrull Invasion, New York City's registered hero, may have bitten off more than she can chew.32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
Lee: OK. Let me make my point about stupid super skrulls. I can identify this one as Lizard, Venom, Rhino, and some other villain. Should I point out that Venom is an ALIEN SYMBIOTE???? Shall I point out that Rhino is a fat guy in a COSTUME! This idea is so freaking stupid.
Jim: This month features 16 tie-ins to Secret Invasion. It is all pointless. Also following up on Lee’s point, if you are going to do this crap, that at least make it internally follow a logic and not contain someone who just wears a suit as a super power.

DEADPOOL #1 & #2 Written by DANIEL WAYPenciled by PACO MEDINACover by CLAYTON CRAINVariant cover for issue #1 by ROB LIEFELDVariant cover for issue #2 by ED MCGUINNESSA SECRET INVASION TIE-IN!"ONE OF US," PART 1 The Merc with a Mouth is back, even deadlier and more deranged than before! The planet has been invaded by Skrulls, everything's gone topsy-turvy...but, in Deadpool's world, that just means it's Monday! Crazy times call for crazy men, but c'mon, this guy's insane! Like it or not, Deadpool may be the only person on the planet who can save us...but who's to say he wants to? Be here for the explosive debut of the new ongoing series by writer Daniel Way (WOLVERINE: ORIGINS, GHOST RIDER, BULLSEYE: GREATEST HITS) and fan-favorite artist Paco Medina (NEW WARRIORS, NEW X-MEN)! Deadpool: His madness is his method! You won't want to miss it! Deadpool #1 - 48 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$3.99Deadpool #2 - 32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$2.99
Lee: Hummmm, Deadpool gets another series. Isn’t this the third or fourth series he’s gotten? Sadly no one has really been able to match Joe Kelly’s run. I’m not sure that I heard people clamoring for this either.
Jim: Plus it starts off as a tie-in to Secret Invasion.

SUB-MARINER: THE DEPTHS #1 (of 4) Written by PETER MILLIGANPainted by ESAD RIBICAtlantis. Throughout the ages, a few men have wondered if this fabulous place actually exists. Fewer have imagined that the city is protected by a wild and vengeful being, the very embodiment of the untameable depths themselves -- the Sub-Mariner. When a deep sea expedition mysteriously vanishes without a trace near the Marianes trench, legendary adventurer, Randolph Stein embarks on a journey that will rock him -- and his crew -- to their very core. Travelling deep into the dark belly of the sea, the men of the good ship, Voyager, are about to see things that defy description, that supersede their wildest imagination -- things that men aren't meant to see. Staring into the abyss, Stein will soon discover that the abyss can indeed stare right back at him.32 PGS./Cardstock Cover/Parental Advisory ...$3.99
Lee: I’m noticing a trend here. Cardstock covers are suddenly $4. Anyone else notice that? I think that Marvel is slowly introducing a new pricing structure and unlike the old days of “Still on 35 cents”, they are quietly doing it to the second tier titles. As for this title, Milligan is very hit or miss with superheroes. If he is left alone he can write magic like X-static. If he get’s heavy handed editors then you get his X-men run. This might be short enough for magic!
Jim: I’m hoping for magic as this sounds like it has potential. See when I was talking about the price increases Lee said I was complaining; now he has finally noticed.

THE AGE OF THE SENTRY #1 (of 6) Written by JEFF PARKER & PAUL TOBINPenciled by NICK DRAGOTTA & RAMON ROSANASCover by DAVE BULLOCK & MICHAEL CHOKicking off an all-new miniseries bringing you two "classic" silver-age tales of the Sentry at the birth of the Marvel Age! When the Golden Guardian is critically injured, Scout, Lindy Lee and Watchdog have to travel back in time to learn exactly how Rob Reynolds became THE SENTRY. They must learn the secrets to save our hero - so he can save the world! PLUS: When the Tinkerer and the Mad Thinker team up to create a device capable of stealing the Sentry's powers, they only have one obstacle on their path to world domination. The parasitic beam takes HOURS to work! What evil scheme will keep the Sentry in place long enough to destroy him? Don't miss the breathtaking tale of monsters and mayhem!32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
Lee: What is it with Marvel and the Sentry? I am a total Marvel Zombie and I think he is the absolute worst character in the last 20 years. Worse than Squirrel Girl. Worse than Omega the Unknown. Worst ever.
Jim: He was good as a one shot mini-series. As a real character added to the MU, you are right Lee, worst ever. He does not fit with the MU.

DEAD OF NIGHT FEATURING DEVIL SLAYER #1 (of 4)Written by BRIAN KEENE Pencils by CHRIS SAMNEE Abandoned by his fiance, his family, his church, and his government, Sergeant Dan Sylva returns to Iraq for a third tour of duty -- and a descent into Hell itself. If the demon Belathauzer and the mysterious mercenary group known as Bloodstone have their way, Iraq, the place where civilization began, may also be where civilization ends. The reinvented Devil-Slayer takes Marvel's DEAD OF NIGHT to terrifying new heights, from award-winning horror novelist Brian Keene (The Rising, Dark Hollow) and artist Chris Samnee (DAREDEVIL: BLOOD OF THE TARANTULA)!32 PGS./Cardstock Cover/Rated T+ ...$3.99
Lee: I’m not sure what to make of this new Dead of Night line but I was really disappointed by the ManThing offering. Actually, the art was so inconsistent that I gave up. Hopefully this will be better. And, in case you’re keeping score, Sentry is dumber than Devil Slayer.
Jim: I’m trying this book out, I was also disappointed with Man Thing, but I’ll check this one out for an issue.

IRON MAN: DVD DIGITAL COMIC BOOK ARCHIVES 1CONTAINS THE FIRST FIFTY ISSUES OF IRON MAN COMICS!this DVD-ROM collection Including the exclusive Marvel Digital Comics Reader versions of TALES OF SUSPENSE #39-88 and TALES TO ASTONISH #82, plus bonuses galore!ALL AGES...$29.99
HULK: DVD DIGITAL COMIC BOOK ARCHIVES 1CONTAINS THE FIRST FIFTY ISSUES OF HULK COMICS!Including the exclusive Marvel Digittal Comics Reader versions of INCREDIBLE HULK #1-6, TALES TO ASTONISH #59-101 andINCREDIBLE HULK #102 - plus bonuses galore!ALL AGES...$29.99
Lee: Wow. 50 issues on DVD. Is that a good deal? What happens when the data storage system changes? Anyone remember 3.5” floppies? This isn’t for me but it’s interesting to see all the new marketing ideas.
Jim: Okay it is interesting, but what about the creators? Are they seeing any money at all out of this, or is this just a free and clear way for Marvel to make money off old material and not pay the people who did the work any royalties? I know legally they may not owe any money, but the right thing would be to pay some dollars to these people based off sales.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 11Written by STAN LEE with ARCHIE GOODWINPenciled by JOHN BUSCEMA with JOHN ROMITA & JACK KIRBYCollecting FANTASTIC FOUR #105-116.272 PGS/All Ages ...$54.99ISBN: 978-0-7851-3046-8
Lee: I pick these because we pick them every month. I know Jim is starting to stop these but I’m not. FF 105-116 is a great read for anyone. The GA Subby is mostly for die hards… like me.
Jim: I will stop getting them when they pick something I don’t care about, unfortunately these are both on my buy list, sigh.

Lee: Sell the smaller, more readable HC’s now!!!! Run to Ebay now so you can list first!!! Besides that, 1000 pages of Punisher in one place is a whole lot of Punisher. Whole lot!
Jim: An easy pass for me. I like some Omnibus collections, but I have the smaller 12 issue run hard covers and I like those better. They are already in an over sized format and they are books I can pick up without causing a hernia.

Lee: Now if there was something that never required a hc collection, this was it. Seriously, Quasar #1? Even I remember that being awful. And Bug #1? That’s so bad, the quarter bin is too expensive for that book. The other stuff is fine and dandy but it’s a lot of money for some really bad comics.
Jim: What the heck is Logan’s Run #6 doing in this mix bag of crap.

X-MEN: MAGIK - STORM & ILLYANA PREMIERE HC Written by CHRIS CLAREMONTPenciled by JOHN BUSCEMA, RON FRENZ & SAL BUSCEMACovers by JOHN BUSCEMA & BRET BLEVINSCollecting MAGIK #1-4.104 PGS./All Ages ...$19.99 ISBN: 978-0-7851-3093-2 Trim size: oversized
MARVEL BOY PREMIERE HCWritten by GRANT MORRISONPenciled by J.G. JONESCover by J.G. JONESCollecting MARVEL BOY #1-6.160 PGS./Rated T+ ...$24.99
Lee: It certainly is interesting what will and will not get the HC treatment these days. I’m really on the edge with both of these. I seem to remember both of them being OK but not great. The Magik is tempting because it really goes back to my childhood and Marvel Boy because of the art. But, $25 is an awful lot for just ok.
Jim: Marvel Boy is a good ploy as DC has Final Crisis out by Morrison and Jones.

Lee: WHHEEEEE I can’t wait for this. I know Jim doesn’t care but I am looking forward to reading this. The covers were great. The reviews were far more positive than negative. I’m all over this. Yes Jim, I’ll let you know how it is.
Jim: Oh goody, can’t wait.

Lee: And Sudyam out shines a mediocre pack to win not only the pointless cover award but the prized “Embarrassed to be a Fanboy” cover award too. I know this goes without say but awful! Jim: Wow I’m just glad we made it to the end of this list.

Lee: Overall it was a pretty good month. I really like Marvel’s Euro books and there’s lots that isn’t related to Secret Invasion. Now if it weren’t $4 a pop I’d be really happy.
Jim: Still the bulk of their output is Secret Invasion and X-Books, some of the stuff we have highlighted is good, but there is a lot of talent being wasted on the other stuff.