Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 2010 Kellsies

The tension between "time well spent" and "time utterly wasted" seems to come up in my thoughts more around this time of year. As the days get colder, the nights get dark much earlier, and January 1st creeps up, it seems only natural to take stock of the passing of the previous year. For me this year could be marked by a few gateposts, including moving into my first apartment, taking my cats across 4 different states on the most nerve-wracking car trip ever, starting my second year at my job, and the sad reality that my body is not what it used to be, resulting in more trips to the doctor in 2010 than the past 3 years combined. While those were some big personal milestones, I will probably look back on these past 12 months and not think much of them.

Time really is a funny thing. As the year draws to a close, I'm once again reminded that sometimes my life seems to stagnate. Goals I set never got accomplished or were killed by lack of commitment, or directions I never thought I would take have become my path. Either that, or I look back and ask myself "What have I been doing for the past 12 months?" And to look ahead to the future is almost certainly scary. The future is hazy and truly out of my control, which makes the fact that I didn't use the past year to my full advantage sting that much more.

While I feel this way about my personal life, it's true that I can extend these sentiments into my comic reading experiences this year. Maybe it's because I didn't buy as many books this year, or because I bought more back issues than in previous times, but this past twelve months of comics by no means blew my mind. In some ways, the months and the issues just seemed to pass, with almost no major repercussions.

But that's not to say there weren't some bright spots. This past year of comic reading brought a renewed interest in Spidey, a continued adoration of the new Batgirl, a change of heart towards Judd Winick, an ever deepening connection to the Fantastic Four, and some truly fun moments with Felicia Day. These are the moments that I hope can fit into that "time well spent" category. These are the things I'm here to celebrate today.

So won't you join me once again, as I take the time to dole out a few awards to the best (and worst) of what I read this year? In other words, it's time for the 2010 Kellsies!

Kellsies 2010 Rules:

1. Kellsies are only given out for books that came out in 2010. In the case of mini-series or arc that started in 2009, a majority of it had to come out in 2010.

2. Kellsies are only for books I read or purchased. I had to actually sit and spend time with the thing to form a valid opinion. Internet spoilers don't really count.

3. I reserve the right to make up any category I deem fit. Don't be surprised if you see an award for "Best Out of Character Namor Moment in an X-Men Book."

4. Kellsies are by nature fully biased, partially arbitrary, and overall meaningless. It's advised that you take them with a grain of salt.

And for those of you just joining us, this is actually the fourth Kellsies post(holy $#@!). The inaugural edition can be found here, the 2008 posting can be found here, and the 2009 awards can be found here.

As always, the books chosen to receive Kellsies are classified under one of two categories. The stuff I liked, which was what I consider above average, is known as the "best." The stuff I read that I felt was unnecessary is unfortunately dubbed the "worst." While I feel bad about dogging out someone's hard work, the disparity between best and worst is often easy to spot, and ultimately worth noting for posterity. It's like a time capsule of sorts.

Enough with the exposition, onto the awards!

Best Series- Justice League: Generation Lost

Who would have thought that a series starring characters I don't really care for (Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire, Maxwell Lord), written by writers I don't really care for (Judd Winick and Keith Giffen) would win my heart for comic of the year? Well not me, obviously. But it did, and it's a testament to the greatness of Gen Lost.

Spinning out of the Blackest Night Mini-Series and tying into DC's company wide storyline "Brightest Day", Gen Lost excels due to the execution of its overall premise. The mystery of Maxwell Lord being resurrected and his cat-and-mouse tactics with the DCU's most famous heroes and villains lends itself to a compelling "what will he do next?" chess game of superheroics.

While a lot of my fondness for Gen Lost comes from Judd Winick's use of snappy characterizations and humorous nuances, I also realize that I should tip my hat to DC for putting this book out bi-weekly. Though I'll end up paying much more for the series in a year than the other comics I enjoy, Gen Lost's determined shipping schedule makes me feel that there is indeed a planned ending for the series, and that answers will actually be revealed. Plus Maxwell Lord is a total MOFO, and I like it. I might as well call him villain of the year, while I'm at it.

Best Cover - Superboy #1 by Rafael Albaquerque

I looked over a lot of covers in search of what I felt was the standout image of 2010, and this piece by Rafael Albaquerque really seemed to tower above the others.

What makes this cover for me is the overall tone, which seems to scream "youthful hero." From the deep yellow backdrop (not many comics with those!), to the undeniable focus on the "S" symbol on Kon-El's shirt, to the ever so slight smirk on the titular hero's face, this is how you want to present your #1 issue. Heck, the cover pretty much sold me on trying the series!

Best Mini-Series- The Guild

As a prequel of sorts to the semi-popular web series of the same name, The Guild really fired on all cylinders as a limited engagement. As an adaptation of another medium, it succeeded in bridging any weird transitional gaps that may occur from screen to page (unlike every Simpsons comic ever). With series creator Felicia Day writing the issues, all characterizations were dead-on, and the comic had actual credibility with fans of the show (a.k.a me).

Best of all, the comics gave us the backstory of how the characters in the show came to meet. While that particular storyline is often alluded to in the show, the only place to see it "in continuity" is within the comics, creating an interesting "bookend" (or in this case "bookfront") to the web show. So in other words, the Guild wins because it feels like a mini-series with a purpose.

Best Moment- The Death of Magog
Introduced in the 1996 Elseworld's tale Kingdom Come, the character of Magog was originally written as a critique of the over-the-top superheroes who dominated early 90's comics. Violent, headstrong, and powerful, Magog used lethal means to deal with situations where heroes of the old day may have show restraint. As a device for the story, he was an interesting juxtaposition to the aging ideals of Superman.
In 2007, writer Geoff Johns and Kingdom Come artist Alex Ross officially introduced Magog to the current DC continuity, in a story meant to incorporate more of the Kingdom Come universe into the regular DC mythology. While Magog wasn't the most interesting character to come along, his inclusion in the Justice Society was a pleasant surprise. I had zero problems with the character in such a limited capacity.

And then it happened.They gave Magog his own series.
DC tried to propel Magog forward as his own hero, someone worthy to stand aside Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, etc. Other legacy heroes with far more fans and possibilities were brushed aside for their own go at a series in favor of a D-list character with a backstory that had been spelled out pretty well already. It was at this point I wanted Magog to go away, and I didn't care how.

Enter Generation Lost #13. After getting a power boost from Maxwell Lord (the aforementioned MOFO), Magog battles Captain Atom, weakening him severely. Maxwell Lord then makes Magog blow off his own head.

Magog is seemingly vaporized, and Maxwell Lord's plans come to complete fruition. Everyone wins! Sorry to seem so sadistic, but this death came out of left field and made for a great issue.

Best, Heroine- Batgirl
No other book warms my heart like the monthly adventures of Stephanie Brown, a.k.a Batgirl. As a former small-time vigilante and one-time Robin, Steph came into her own as Batgirl this year. As both a young person and a hero, Steph has overcome every obstacle and nay-sayer to earn the right to join the Bat-Family.Steph even gained the approval of Bruce Wayne, a story a long time in the making. And if you need proof, check out issue#12 or the Road Home Batgirl one-shot.

Worst Series-Justice League of America by James Robinson

One lesson the comics world learned as a whole in 2010 is that the quality of James Robinson's 90's series Starman can no longer be used as a measure of his talent. The new standard by which to judge Robinson MUST be his current work, including what I am calling the worst series of the year, Justice League of America.

To be fair, I only read two issues of the series this year, #41, which was the big launching point for a new team, and #50, which was the oversized milestone issue. The nicest thing I can say about both issues were that they left feeling underwhelmed.The worst I can say is that both stories were steaming piles of literary excrement.

DC had promoted Robinson's run heavily, promising new characters, a new team dynamic, and lots of unique ties to the DC Universe. Instead we got an awkward collection of heroes who joined the team and then quickly quit, leaving Donna Troy, Jesse Quick, and Jade as the forerunners of the series. And while it's true that all of those ladies are interesting characters, they are supporting players at best. They could be in a JLA if it were led by heavy hitters like Superman himself, but even then, I probably still wouldn't read the comic.

.....For the next 2 issues!

Worst One-Shot - Batman: The Return

I read a lot of sorry excuses for one-shots this year, but none made me as utterly indignant as Grant Morrison's Batman: The Return. As the "official" (for $4.99 it better be official!) homecoming of Bruce Wayne as well as the kick off to the Batman Inc. era, this comic suffered from an overall lack of heart. While Batman isn't known for hugs and kisses, he returned like some kind of superheroic Donald Trump, with all his extended family acting as his Apprentice contestants (note the page where they all get their "assignments"). While I understand that the whole point of the story is to a.) show off David Finch's art and b.) Establish a newly repurposed Bruce Wayne, it doesn't mean I have to accept the status quo. While I will give the story credit for ironing out questions of how Bruce and Damian would operate in the future, its ending left me cold. If the idea was to get me to follow Batman Inc., this book had the opposite effect.

Worst Mini-Series- Shadowland

Billed as a "street level" event, Shadowland's goal seemed simple enough: New York heroes were going to fight an evil Daredevil. The first issue started out in event-worthy fashion, with Bullseye escaping his jailers, the people of New York becoming more distrustful of DD's empire, and finally the cliffhanger of our favorite blind lawyer doing the unthinkable (ok it was like the worst kept secret in comics this summer). It was good enough, and then it got....weird.

I actually read the DD tie-in issues, Shadowland 1-3, and the Spidey one-shot, and the momentum of this series died so quickly that I didn't stick around for the conclusion. The ultimate irony(is that the word for it?) is that this was the "street level" event that ends up with a demonic battle of wits. The supernatural background of it all totally negated the whole reason I actually wanted to read the storyline, which was to see a bearded Punisher shoot Spider-Man.

That put the "tease" in teaser image...

Worst Moment- Dry Heaves after Reading Flash #3
This summer on Hello Kello I went into some detail (and made a pretty good case, I think) about why Flash #3 was one of the worst comics I've read in a while. With each new issue the same sick feeling visits me after the initial reading, and I keep wondering when the book will become something I enjoy. I would hate on it more, but it makes me sad just thinking about it...

Worst Cover (or Most Distracting Cover Feature) Justice League Generation Lost #1

I love Tony Harris, and I truly enjoy all his art. But out of all the comics I purchased this year, there was one thing that bothered me so much on this cover that I really did think about intermittently it for months. I present to you the cover to Gen Lost #1, and ask you to look at Booster Gold.....
I just winced a little.

2010 Wrap-Up

Based on my predictions from last year, I was right about Magog getting canceled in 12 issues, Dan Didio's run on Outsiders has become a disaster, and Geoff John's Flash has failed to impress (ok, I'm the only one apparently).

2011 Predictions

- Green Lantern will be one of the cheesier superhero movies, but will have great special effects.
- The Thor movie will suck in proportions equaled only by Ghost Rider. But Lady Sif will keep me very interested!
- The Walking Dead will return to TV and lose a ton of viewers. I don't know why.
- People will take a second look at Fantastic Four, and be uber impressed by the massive story unfolding.
So there you have it. I want to thank you all for reading, commenting, and responding with your favorites. I also want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah,happy Winter or Merry Jolly, or whatever. However P.C. you need it, that's what I'm wishing you and yours this season. Here's hoping 2011 is a great year for you, and a great year for comics!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Superman Destroys The World

Hey everyone, just wanted to share an image with you that I thought about including in my review of Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore, but ended up leaving out. I just think it’s a really cool page, drawn beautifully by the amazing Curt Swan. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December? Since When?

Happy December! If you're anything like me, you can't believe it's almost officially Winter. Icy windshields, slippery roads, and prayers for snow days are right around the bend. To be honest, part of me loves the entire frigid season. I like the feeling of bundling up and fighting the elements, gathering with loved ones on chilly evenings for awkward Christmas parties, and of course having a big chunk of time off for holiday break. So in the spirit of celebration, I'd like to present you with 2 things I'm really looking forward to this month:
Item #1.) Awesome Ornaments- While I can't have my own tree due to the inevitability of my cats destroying it, I've been spending time over the past few days dreaming up what a "Kello style" X-Mas tree may resemble. I know it would be the cheapest, fakest, ugliest tree you can imagine (purchased from a place not unlike Family Dollar), and would include the following ornaments:

I've also heard of people making ornaments out of the Blackest Night promo rings from last year, and I think that may be a spiffy way to make the holidays a little nerdier.

Item #2) KELLSIES! - You read that right, it's almost time for my favorite annual blog post. Although Hello Kello is no more, the Kellsies will continue on through this very site. As usual, the 2010 edition will be full of no-nonsense (ok, it's all nonsense) summations of the very best and worst of the comics I got my clammy mitts on over the past 11 or so months. I hope to have it up sometime around December 20th, so be on the look out!
Well, those are two things on my mind as we enter this new season. My question to everyone out there is, what are you looking forward to as Old Man Winter comes to town?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

JT: Air Marshal - "Pilot"

J.T. is a complicated man. One part Clint Eastwood, one part Donald Glover, he's the baddest air marshal in the skies. The only problem? The local airport's "ethics committee" disagrees with his our man's methods. Thankfully his local government liason (and boss), the chief, is there to smooth out the tensions. But will J.T.'s bad a** ways lead the chief to an early grave?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Great Recommendation Experiment

As an unabashed fan of superhero comics from the "big two", I admit I have a rather narrow perspective as to what makes for good comics. While I've never needed anything more than a simple "tights and fights" type storyline with some believable character moments sprinkled throughout, comics as a medium provide a realm of infinite storytelling potential. With that belief in mind, I recently began a little experiment to branch out from the traditional stories I so often enjoy. So in addition to my usual pulls, I am going to try the big "it" books of the moment. While many of the books I've been trying still come from the more mainstream companies, their themes are a bit more diversified than another "Spidey saves New York" type of yarn.

This desire to try the new books comes from two places mostly, the first of which is sheer boredom with my current collection. I know other readers out there feel me when I say that even your most favorite of heroes can become a bit stale after awhile. The second (and more important) reason for trying something different is that I want to find out for myself why certain books seem to garner universal critical acclaim. There are books that always top the critics' "best of" lists every year, many of which I've never even seen in person, or have tried and hated, or was just never impressed by. I mean, is it just me? Or are thousands of other people wrong about this stuff? It's probably the other people.....

So with all this in mind, I started checking out a few of the "Mature Readers" only books I've avoided for so long. Taking the attitude that I'm in it for the story, I'm willing to overlook the cursing, sex, and graphic violence that pervade these titles. Given my feeling that many people in the comic book world automatically translate these "adult situations" into good storytelling, I wanted to put aside any biases I may have and look to see if there was something I was really missing.

So with inhibitions cast aside, will you join me as I survey some of the initial "recommendations" I checked out?

Recommendation: Chew (Image Comics)
Recommended By: My friend Matt, as well as a slew of other comic review sites.
# of Issues Read: Just the first one. It was $1.00.
Synopsis: Detective Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he has psychic visions about whatever food he eats, tracing it back to its origins. The only food he can eat without tasting all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, etc. is beets. Things get a little wonky when he eats a soup prepared by a serial killer and sees all of the guy's former victims. He then ends up cannibalizing the perp to find about ALL of the victims. Apparently this catches the eyes of the government who hire him as a special agent.
Thoughts:This is one of the only series where I didn't get to read the whole first arc. I thought this book was okay, and Chu's powers lend themselves to some interesting "what ifs", but I wasn't blown away. With its cartoonish art offsetting the gruesome nature of Chu's powers, there is a "black comedy" (the Gross Pointe Blank kind, not the Death at a Funeral kind) vibe throughout the whole issue. However, I had a really hard time thinking I could stomach (pun intended) reading a monthly about a guy who eats people. I could see trying the first trade, but I honestly could take it or leave it.
Verdict: I could see why people would like it, but I wasn't in awe.

Recommendation: Scalped (DC/Vertigo)
Recommended By: The reviewers of Comic Book Club, a lot of famous writers, and I'm assuming Satan.
Issues Read: 1-12 (and I picked up three other trades to read this weekend)
Synopsis: Taking place on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Scalped follows young Daishell Bad Horse, a full blooded Native American who left his reservation at the age of 13, as he returns home after a 15 year absence. Bad Horse is a bad MOFO, and he gets hired on by the corrupt chief to be a tribal cop. The twist is that Bad Horse is working for the government to bring down the corrupt chief.
Thoughts: This is the grittiest comic book I've ever read. Every other word is an F-bomb, plenty of heads are blown off, drugs are smoked/snorted/injected, and of course there's plenty of shacking up. Even the protagonist is a junkie killer who in one seen unloads two full clips of ammo on another undercover agent before shooting him in the genitals and brain. It's truly horrifying to think I'm even reading this.....BUT...There is something totally compelling about it all. Writer Jason Aaron has crafted such an atmospheric book that you really feel like you're part of the prison that is the "Rez" (what they call the reservation in the comic). None of the characters would be likable as real people, but you find yourself caring for them. The storyline is a big cat-and-mouse game, with each of the characters using the others for their own agenda. I think Ed Brubaker said it best in his introduction to volume 4 that good crime stories are about people falling down and going about as low as possible, and Scalped delivers this in epic fashion. Every page has a feeling of heaviness, accentuated mostly by the use of harsh language and deep inks.
Verdict: I'm still reading it, in fact I can hardly put it down. If you have no qualms about reading about the absolute pits of depravity, you may like this book. Also if you really like anything HBO or FX has ever done, you'll probably like this book.

Recommendation: Y: The Last Man (DC/Vertigo)
Recommended By: Marc, and Society at Large
# of Issues Read: 10 (first two volumes)
Synopsis: A mysterious virus kills everything on earth that has a Y-Chromosome, except for a young man named Yorick and his pet monkey. Now in a post-apocalyptic (a.k.a. Estrogen flooded) world, Yorick and some of his compatriots have to figure out how to save the human race from extinction.
Thoughts: There has been talks of this being made into a movie for a long time, and now I see why. This book provides an interesting look at issues of gender, politics, and society without getting too preachy. There are little nuances about the manless world that I never would have been considered. Because most of the mechanical/engineering jobs in the world are held by males, it's an interesting idea to think that all that kind of support could be lost in an instant. We also have the fact that most politicians are male, and the whole notion that maybe some women WOULDN'T want men in the world. Writer Brain K. Vaughn excels at creating a tense world which asks a lot of good questions, beckoning readers to examine the mysteries themselves. While the art is good enough, it is the one thing I've always thought was kind of lacking in Y. It just seems so plain, but it helps set the tone by maintaining a realistic feel.
Verdict: This is my new favorite comic book. I admit it everyone, you were right. I just wish I would have got into this back when I lived in Michigan, since the library there had all the trades. Oh well, now I'll just have to buy them all. Yorick's everyman (pun totally intended) quality mixed with the mystery of just what the heck happened to everyone, along with the ever present danger of the world make for a darn good read. And although I've only read 2 trades, I have to say my favorite character is Y's sister Hero.

Recommendation: The Walking Dead (Image)
Recommended By: My friend Nathan, Spike TV, and anyone who just started reading comics in the last 5 years (except JT for some reason).
# of issues read: 1-12 (first 2 volumes)
Synopsis: We follow a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse as they simply try to survive.
Thoughts: I've known about this title for a long time, but always avoided it. Mostly due to the violence and language, but also because I was quite over the "zombies are awesome!" trend before it even started(I was all into Screamo at the time). But after watching the AMC show I jumped on the bandwagon, purchased some trades, and was quite impressed to find an interesting, character-driven comic that really manages to create something out of nothing. I mean, you know the people are going to run into zombies in different locales every issue, but it's always manages to put me on the edge of my seat. And the black and white art adds a nice touch to the overall feel of the book. I still don't have complete confidence in Robert Kirkman as a writer, but he has crafted a zombie book that is at the very least his own.
Verdict: I'm into this book now, but I have a feeling that as the excitement about the show wanes so will my heightened interest in filling up my collection with more of this series.

Recommendation: Sweet Tooth (DC/Vertigo)
Recommended by: Unanimous geek approval across the internet/ comic review sites. Oh and Geoff Johns has a quote on the cover calling this a "must read."
# of Issues Read: 1-5 (volume 1)
Synopsis: This takes place in a post-apocalyptic (are you sensing a theme here?) world and stars a youngin named Gus, who is a deer/boy hybrid. After living a sheltered life with his father, Gus finally ventures out of the forest and is hunted due to his Hybrid status. Gus is saved by a punisher-esque character named Jeppard, who promises to take him to a Hybrid reserve. Violence ensues, and Gus and Jeppard build a unique rapport.
Thoughts: Along with Y, this was one of the less graphic books I tried. While there are plenty of scenes of violence, some interaction at a brothel, and some naughty words, there is an innocence to this book. Mainly due to the naivete of the main character Gus, a.k.a "Sweet Tooth", we can't help but see the world of darkness through the eyes of a child (he's 9). With the juxtaposition of the gruff and deadly Jeppard, there is an undercurrent of warmth in the danger the two share.
Verdict: I read this through last week and I really didn't know what to think. People LOVE this book, and they think Jeff Lemire needs to be put on the $5 bill, but I can't figure out why. It's good, but maybe I'm not savvy enough to see how it's the greatest comic ever. I'll try the second volume at some point to see what happens with Jeppard, who is the main reason for me buying this trade.

So that's it for now. I also bought the first volume of Ex Machina, a few issues of Brubaker's Criminal, and I'm currently eyeing other titles such as Joe Kelly's I Kill Giants and Brian Azzarello's 100 Bullets. What do you guys think out there? Are there any books you get tired of hearing about as being the greatest thing since sliced bread? And are there any of the titles above that you've tried? Let me know. And until next time, Long Live Our Legion!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fun with Chaykin!!!

Through the haze that was last night I can vaguely recall promising somebody(Lisha maybe?)that I would try to post some of Howard Chaykin's work from the Punisher War Journal series... At least that's what I think happened... I don't know, it's all just a big blur of money-faces, tissues and Final Fantasy VII. *shrugs* Anyway, since I AM apparently a member of this blog(note to self, post here more often...), I figured I'd post the aforementioned pics here. Which is what I'm doing. Like right now. That's it for now Losers, X out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

8 Year Old Punisher

Hey everyone, it's your best friend and master of exaggeration, Kello, with a look back at one of my fondest childhood memories- the time in 2nd grade when I went as the Punisher for Halloween. Overall what makes this memory so great is that for an 8 year old, the costume is totally inappropriate. At the time the Punisher was huge, appearing in as many comics as Deadpool does nowadays. The Dolph Lundgren version of the movie had recently gone to VHS, and Frank Castle fever was sweeping all of comic fandom. It was all so grim and gritty.

The day I wore the costume to school, no one really thought much of it, mostly because nobody knew who I was supposed to be. And then the kicker (and this is no lie), my teacher went as Daredevil. Greatest public school Halloween party ever.I actually remember feeling really conflicted, because my Marvel Cards at home told me that Daredevil and Punisher were mortal enemies, but in real life I really liked my 2nd Grade teacher.

Flash forward to 6pm that night. My mom rushes home to take my brother and I trick or treating at the local mall (we figured they would give out cooler stuff than the cold and rainy neighborhood). As you can tell by my makeshift Simpsons pillow case candy bag, my tastes in entertainment have not matured at all.

The mall was kind of a bust, but I got this great picture out of it....
I'm so going to sneak up and slit their throats. Die, Sebastian twins! (or whatever the eff you're suppsoed to be!)

I look at all this stuff now and think that I would never let my kids watch the Simpsons, dress up as the Punisher, and go around freaking people out on Halloween. So thanks mom and dad, for letting me do whatever I wanted to.

And just think, only 3 years earlier I went as this loser.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review! Black Panther: Secret Invasion

Dear Losers,

Below you will find the final installment of my Black Panther trade reviews. Thanks for bearing with me, and as always I appreciate any thoughts and/or comments.

Love, Your BOI

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dear Flash Movie, Please Don't Suck

I generally hate comic book movies, but sometimes the hype gets to me. In that spirit, please enjoy this interview with writer Marc Guggenheim about the things the upcoming Flash movie could entail. If I understand him correctly, it sounds like The Flash is going to be a mix of C.S.I., Spider-Man 2, and Air Bud.

Bonus Question: Which actor do you think should play Barry Allen in the movie?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Audio Review- Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?

Hey all, it's your loseriffic friend Kello here with another audio review to cure even the worst case of insomnia. This time I take a very confused look at writer Reginald Hudlin's "Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?" story arc.

Also, I put some awesome pictures of Klaw and the "brown jacket" Avengers I grew up with on there, so it's worth sticking around until the end. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Loser Service Announcement!!!

Good morning everyone!!! 

Falisha Ann here, I swear time is rolling by, another comic week has approched us and lord knows I'm behind. But, I have put two midterms behind me and have time to read. So today, I'll be reading comics and making sure I comment on the lovely reviews you guys have written. :)

I do apologize for my late and tardiness on comic commenting sessions on the blogs. So, my Legion of Losers, I'll be making my way around your blogs within the next couple days. :)

Hope you all have a wonderful day!!


Falisha Ann

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Audio Review- Black Panther: The Client

Hey everyone, it's your super ultra awesome and humble friend Kello. As promised, here is the first of my 3 Black Panther reviews. Let me know what you think of T'Challa, as well as my dead-on Black Panther impersonation near the end of the video! Long Live awkward white guys in the hood, and Long Live the Legion!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why Hank Pym is Awesome

To be honest, I've never had much respect for Hank Pym (who has gone at one point or another under the aliases of Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Yellowjacket, and the Incredible Wife-Beating Jackass). That all changed today, as I was reading Tales to Astonish #35, which features this gem of a scene:

I would try to explain how hilariously awesome this scene is, but I don't think I could do it justice. So until next time, True Believer -- 'nuff said!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shout Out: John

I'm totally stealing to this idea from the very "theft worthy" site It's a Dan's World, but I wanted to take a quick moment to welcome our newest follower- Mr. John Nieves! It appears as if John has a bit of "loser" in him, given the fact that he talks massive amounts of video games (and sometimes comics) over at his site called Ready Set, Game ! But Marc told me he's also a really responsible guy with a career and family, so maybe he's better off if he doesn't associate with the rest of us...

So once again, welcome John! and if you want to post stuff here as an author, just send me an e-mail with your Roll Call picture and I'll set it up so you can rant and rave for the world to see here at LOL. Until next time, Long Live the Legion!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Every Spider-Man Solicitation Since 2008

(The following is a satire, written by yours truly, Kello.)

This is it! "Severe Trauma" comes to its pulse pounding conclusion! As a gaggle of Spidey's worst foes, led by the brand new Vulture, encircle the hero, he is forced to choose between saving the city or the life of someone he loves! Plus, what is Harry Osborn's Dark Secret? You won't want to miss this issue of the series called "a sure-fire hit", because nothing after it will ever be the same! By Dan Slott and some guy trying to be Paul Pope! $4.99

(I admit it, I love reading comic solicitations. I probably love new solicitation day more than Billy Madison loved "Nudie Magazine Day." But ever since Spidey went to a thrice-monthly schedule, every solicitation sounds like the worst day of Peter Parker's life. Between "Shed", "Grim Hunt", "New Ways to Die", and "The Gauntlet", it sounds like Spider-Man's enemies decided to just band together and beat him into a coma every other issue. As someone who used to love the book, I occasionally wonder what's going on with old Webhead. But every time I investigate, it looks like not much has changed from month to month...)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Top Ten TV Shows

Hey Legion, I'm back again and this time I've brought TV with me. That's right, this post is all about TV shows. I was recently thinking about how many great shows were on and how many great shows ended in the last year and I figured, why not tell you guys my top ten favorite TV shows? But that's too easy, so I'm gonna list each show individually, explaining why I love it, and post a clip of the show for anyone who may wanna see what the hype is all about. Some of these shows have been on for years, some are new to your television, and some have ended or faced the bitter taste of cancellation, but all have left an impact on me. Near the end of the list I'll even list some runner-up shows that didn't make the top ten list. And as always encourage you guys to reply and tell me a few of your favorite shows. So let's get things started!

#10. Justice League of America / Justice League Unlimited

There have been a lot of great animated series that dealt with Superheroes. Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, X-Men:The Animated Series, The Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-man, Fantastic Four and more, but I never thought one would surpass Batman: The Animated Series. Then came the debut of Justice League of America. JLA was a fantastic show that perfectly mixed the childhood love of Superheroes and writing that would make adults sit on the edge of their seats. Along with wonderful writing and art were amazing voice actors like Michael Rosenbaum's portrayal of The Flash (Wally West!), Phil Lamarr as John Stewart, and the talented Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Clancy Brown reprising their roles as Batman, The Joker and Lex Luthor respectively. Prior to Batman: Arkham Asylum, an episode of JLA entitled "Wild Cards" was to be Hamill's last role as The Joker. About a year ago I got the entire series run of JLA/JLU and It's one of my favorite things to watch. It's a perfect blend of a action cartoon as well as having funny moments that anyone with a pulse will appreciate. To set up the scene below, Brainiac has bonded with Lex Luthor and plans to kill The JLA, starting with The Flash. In another episode The JLA went into the future and apparently President Luthor killed Flash, which drove the League over the edge and led to Superman murdering Luthor.

#9. The Office

How good does a show have to be, that you can copy the premise from where it originated in the U.K. and only lasted two seasons, bring it to the U.S. and now have it going into the seventh season? As good as The Office, which is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. Coasting off the buzz surrounding Steve Carell's movie "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", The Office soon proved it didn't need the publicity because it has one of the funniest groups of writers in television today. The Office also has one of the best group of comedy actors on television as well. As many of my fellow bloggers may remember, I even wrote a Spec Script (a.k.a. my own episode to show my comedic talents) for The Office because I'm such a big fan of the characters. I'd eagerly recommend The Office to anyone, especially if they love to laugh. For the record, the season seven premiere episode had me laughing approximately 20 seconds in.  And I'll even show you WHY it was so funny.

#8. King of The Hill

"I sell Propane and Propane Accessories." Who would've thought a line like that would belong to one of the funniest cartoons ever. There's so much to love about King of The Hill. Where else can you get an anal-retentive propane salesman, his over the top over-achieving wife, their funny, chubby son and his ditzy teenaged niece? Throw in Hank's friends, parents, and boss and you have the recipe for instant comedy. King of The Hill is at the point where I can watch the same episode over and over and still laugh. I'll even describe some episodes, you tell me if they sound funny. Hank walks in on his mother having sex with her new boyfriend on his kitchen table and becomes blind on Christmas. Substitute Spanish teacher Peggy Hill accidentally smuggles a girl out of Mexico, then tries to return her and gets arrested, all because of her poor Spanish. And lastly, Bobby Hill goes nuts with power for lack of a better word and kicks multiple people in the groin, including his own father Hank. And let's not forget the wonderful character known as Cotton Hill, Hank's father that lost his shins in the war, but still managed to kill Fiddy men! Not fifty, but Fiddy men.

#7. Modern Family

 Modern Family is a new show, only in it's second season as of two weeks ago today. The premise for Modern Family is fun, like The Office it's shot in a sort of reality TV format and the characters are aware their being filmed.  The first episode was brilliantly written as we followed the lives of three couples, Phil and Claire who are married with three kids, Jay and his much younger wife Gloria with her son Manny, and a homosexual couple consisting of Mitchell and Cameron along with their recently adopted Vietnamese baby. The great thing about the pilot episode is we see all these couples and their problems then at the end we find out that all three couples are related, with Mitchell and Claire being Jay's children, so now we have a whole new can of worms. This show is wonderfully written, and people have taken notice as Modern Family in it's first season dethroned 30 Rock by winning the Emmy for Best Comedy Series. If Modern Family continues to be as well written and funny as the first season I can see it flying to the top of my list in no time. In the scene below, Phil meets his daughter's new boyfriend for the first time.

#6. Supernatural

Supernatural was on for five years before I took notice, and I still wouldn't have if it weren't for Batman: Under The Red Hood. In that movie, Red Hood was voiced by Jensen Ackles, one of the co-stars of Supernatural. Supernatural is a wonderful show, the premise is that when two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester were kids, their mother was murdered by a Yellow-Eyed Demon. Their father wanted revenge and spent all his time going from town to town hunting the Yellow-Eyed Demon and killed any monster, evil spirit or demon he came in contact with. When Sam and Dean's dad go missing, the boys decide to go looking for him while ridding the world of the Supernatural at the same time. Throughout the series the brothers encounter many things that we, the viewers, have heard of including Bloody Mary, The Hook Man, Vampires, Werewolves and of course Demons. As the show goes on the boys even confront Lucifer himself. But Supernatural isn't all dangerous moments and good vs. evil, there are some episodes that are hilariously written. A few include the episode where Sam keeps reliving the same day, ala Groundhog day except every day his brother Dean dies. Another is when the two brother encounter a Trickster (think Loki) and he puts the brothers in a TV Land of sorts, making them live through a sitcom, a medical E.R. type show, and of course a CSI Miami parody.

#5. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

It's always Sunny in Philadelphia has been on for about six years now and it's already been called one of the funniest shows in television history. After it's first season people were referring to Always Sunny as Seinfeld on crack, which is about as big a compliment as you can get. The show follows four friends, Mac, Charlie, Dennis and his sister Deandra, known as Sweet Dee. Always Sunny got so popular that by the second season they brought in Danny Devito to play Frank Reynolds, Dennis and Dee's father. Sunny is the perfect mix of comedy and sheer absurdity. In the time since it's inception, the Gang has tried to solve the Gas Crisis by buying Gas, storing it and then hoping to sell it back at even higher prices later. The Gang has also done many more crazy things, including the time Charlie and Dee took steroids, Mac and Charlie faked their deaths, and the time Dennis and Dee went on welfare and then became addicted to crack. Sunny isn't for everyone, but the fact it's been one of the funniest and most consistent shows on television definitely is reason enough that you should give it a try if you haven't already.

#4. Smallville

Who would've thought a show about Clark Kent in Highschool would be interesting. Not Superboy, but Clark Kent, living life with his friends Chloe Sullivan, Pete Ross and his secret crush on Lana Lang? Someone did, because Smallville is now in it's final season after an astounding TEN years on television. The best things about Smallville are the little things, face it, we know how it ends. Clark puts on the suit and becomes the hero we all know and love, but what gets him there? How does he react when he discovers he's from another planet, when he finds out he has laser vision, and when he finds out he has X-Ray vision while in Gym class? One of the best things about Smallville is the cast, Tom Welling does a fantastic job as the likable Clark Kent, making him easier to relate to, which has been one the biggest problems with Superman in my opinion, compared to more relatable characters like Spider-Man. And I don't care what anyone says, in my opinion Michael Rosenbaum (That's right, Flash from JLA/JLU) is the greatest person to ever play Lex Luthor in my opinion. It's easy to play a bad guy, but Rosenbaum plays Lex so well we like him. That's another great thing about this show, it's the first time Clark and Lex have ever been shown as friends, and that's the best part. Once again we know that Lex and Superman are mortal enemies, so how does that happen? Now we find out, and some of the best moments of Smallville are watching Clark and Lex trust each other, because we know what's on the way. Lastly, Smallville is the only place we can see some characters make their live action debut. Honestly, where else are you gonna see live action versions of Cyborg, Bart Allen, Aquaman, Plastique, Doomsday, Green Arrow, The Legion of Superheroes, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Star Girl and Dr. Fate? Also in the final season we'll see Deadshot, Hawkgirl, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Mera, Deathstroke and even Darkseid. Also, Erica Durance is the hottest Lois Lane ever. Yes, that's her on the right dressed as a certain Amazonian. Soak it in, now go watch Smallville. Below is a wonderful scene where an Evil Lex Luthor (Made from a blast from radiated Kryptonite that created a good and evil Lex) confronts the Kent family after learning of Clark's secret. If you only watch one scene on this list, make it this one.

#3. Community

Community is quite possibly the funniest show on television. There, I said it.  Those that don't believe me can ask my good buddy Kello who recently bought the first season on DVD. Community has the perfect mixture of amazing writers and amazing talent that can improv, making it ten times better than most comedy shows on today. That's why it gets the third spot on my list even though it's only in it's second season. Community is about a lawyer named Jeff Winger that must return to Community College after it's found out he doesn't really have his Law Degree. While there he starts a fake study group to help him get with this girl he likes named Britta, but the fake study group soon becomes a real study group when wacky characters join including an Ex-Football Jock that injured himself doing a keg flip named Troy, a Christian mother of two named Shirley, a very eccentric young man named Abed that relates to life through TV and movies, and a crazy old rich man named Pierce Hawthorne, played by Chevy Chase. When all these characters mix and match you're sure to get something memorable as this group of misfits quickly become friends, and even more in some instances. In the scene below, Pierce, Troy and Abed agree to a water gun fight, and it's probably one of my favorite scenes since the show's inception.

#.2 Lost

I was skeptical about watching Lost for the first time. My cousin gave me the DVD's and recommended it, I turned it down though, he wanted me to watch it so bad he physically put the DVD's in my hand and made me take them. After taking them they sat on my dresser for a month collecting dust until one day the cable went out and I put the first disc in. I finished the entire season three days later. Lost is without a doubt one of the most addictive shows I've ever watched. The way they line up questions and make you wait for answers is excruciating but it's written so well you can't help but to keep watching. For those that don't know, Lost is about a group of people on an Airplane traveling from Australia to California when the plane for some reason (you find out why later) rips in half and causes the passengers to land on a seemingly deserted island. Over the course of the show you find out things are not as it seems as many questions arise. What's in the forest? Why are there Polar Bears on a tropical island? Why hasn't the rescue team come for the passengers yet? And most importantly, are they alone on the island? Lost throws these questions at you as soon as it starts, I guarantee anyone who watches the first episode will finish the season off. It's almost impossible to stop, Lost is the Pringles of the television world. Over the course of the show you'll wonder who you can and can't trust, you'll see that some characters have inadvertently affected other people's lives even though their all strangers to one another. There's a reason why Lost was one of the biggest shows on TV for the past few years, simply because Lost is one of the best shows of all time.

#1. Scrubs

And alas, we arrive at number one on my list, Scrubs. Scrubs is a show about a young Intern named John Dorian but known as J.D. and his first year working as a Doctor in Sacred Heart. Along with his best buddy Turk, a neurotic female co-worker named Elliot, and a sassy seven year veteran nurse named Carla we see one of the most touching shows I've ever seen. Scrubs is a comedy, it bleeds comedy, everything about it. The jokes J.D. and Turk play like climbing on top of each others shoulders to make the world's largest doctor, to the fact that J.D.'s mentor Dr. Cox refers to J.D. only as girl names, and of course J.D.'s weird day dreams. But it's even more than that, Scrubs is touching. The reaction you see when J.D. has one of his first patients die, or Turk and Carla date and split up, or J.D. constantly trying to get respect from his mentor all come across so genuine. And the cast is so talented, not just the main cast but the second-tier and even third-tier characters get to use their talents and bring out the perfect emotions to make you laugh of cry. Without a doubt Scrubs is a comedy first and foremost, but it's something more than that, it's just a really, really great show. I own seven of the nine seasons on DVD and I plan on finishing my collection, and I can honestly say that those DVD's will never leave my collection. Scrubs is a fun, heartwarming show that anyone of any age can enjoy, and that's why it's my favorite television show, and if it ever falls from number one, it'll always make my top ten.

Other Great Shows: Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Eastbound and Down, Freaks and Geeks, Titan Maximum, My Name is Earl, Everybody Loves Raymond, Everybody Hates Chris, Spectacular Spider-Man, Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and Boy Meets World.

Thanks everyone for taking your time to read my list of shows, I had fun writing it so I hope you guys had fun reading it. I'd love to see what you think, what you agree or disagree on and your favorite shows, so feel free to comment and let me know. Until next time, I had a blast.

- Jason Todd

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Distractions! Feeling Manly

(It's my new feature "Distractions!" In which I pick a topic, and then a few comics, movies, or songs ,a.k.a distractions, to help set the mood. )

As a 26 year old male who proudly owns two cats, regularly uses body spray, and hasn't had anything close to a girlfriend (or an actual friend) in a very long time, I sometimes feel the overwhelming desire to shoot guns, lift weights, eat 5 pound steaks, and soup up a chevys- you know, activities which provide testosterone boosts and make me feel manly.

Unfortunately, outside of the steak, most of those options are a little out of my abilities, forcing me to live a manly life vicariously through other mediums. So today, I present to you a few of the items that never fail to make me feel like an old fashioned red-blooded American male:

Item #1- Comics with a sense of Justice:

In my previous post here at LOL, I mentioned that a lot of the comics I recently purchased had a more violent slant to them. While I admit over-the-top violence gets old after a while(see the movie Punisher: War Zone, better yet, don't see it) there is something ultimately satisfying about the forces of good definitively deal with the forces of evil.

What's manlier? a corpse that won't stay dead, or throwing a grenade in a grave?

I think it's the whole idea of simple justice- "an eye for an eye." If someone does something wrong, the hero makes sure they pay for it in full. There's no chance of the villainous revolving door antics of Batman or Spider-Man's rogues galleries. Instead the endings are cold and final, with a sense of retribution.

- Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre 1-3 -As the new host for the Spectre, Crispus Allen (a manly man himself), must deal with the punishment of his own killer as well as passing judgment on his own family. While these deaths are not as "cut and dry" as most of the comics I'm talking about, this deals with the idea of true justice.
- Jonah Hex (Anything from the current run)- As a former confederate who lives by his own code, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti's Jonah Hex is his own man, doling out just desserts to each and every vile foe he faces, while upholding the honor of decent folks just trying to live their lives.

- Any of the Dark Horse Robert E. Howard Adaptations- Conan, Kull, or Solomon Kane. Any of these heroes deal with the responsibility of upholding justice with swift and decisive actions that end lives...often graphicly. Solomon Kane puts it best when he states:

Item #2- Anything Eastwood

Over the past few months I have been on a big Clint Eastwood kick. Starting this summer when I finally sat down to watch all the Dirty Harry movies (did you know there were 5? I didn't). I've found that Clint is the one constant in an ever changing world. Tough, brash, a little smug, and apparently indestructible, I'm pretty sure Clint's acting prowess comes from the fact that he probably isn't doing that much "acting." The dude is a bona-fide Bad-A** S.O.B. And although most of the time he plays a sexist, foul mouthed bigot, you can't help but have a fearful respect for the guy's tough as nails attitude.

I remember seeing an interview between Eastwood on 60 Minutes, and when the anchor asked him something about why his kids all had different mothers, Clint gave him this look that I swear could burn holes in things. I thought my TV was gonna melt or something.
But I digress, because I'm sure the actor would much rather be known for his movies. Well, I mean, if he cared what anyone thought....

Must See Moments:
- "Dirty Harry"- Eastwood foils a man's suicide attempt by climbing a cherry picker up to the ledge where the man is threatening to jump from. After getting the guy to start talking about his problems, Harry simply punches him and grabs his limp body and brings it back down safely. Now that's negotiation that gets results!

- "Paint your Wagon"- Yes, the musical that was lampooned on the Simpsons is real (imagine my surprise, horror, and delight at the video store), but somehow Eastwood maintains a rough and tumble hero that doesn't make you lose respect for him. I mean, you lose respect for yourself for watching a musical, but that's why they have a fast forward feature.

(This song has been in my head all week, by the way)

-" A Fistful of Dollars"- Probably my favorite of the "Man with No Name" westerns that I've seen so far, Eastwood plays an untouchable gunslinger who sets two rival gangs against one another, all the while profiting from their deaths and misfortunes. There were a lot of manly moments, but the best was when Clint is beaten to a bloody pulp, manages to set fire to the town, and then escapes inside a coffin on a wagon.

If they ever made an "Old Man Logan", or needed to cast an aged Bruce Wayne in a "Batman Beyond" feature, Eastwood would be the perfect choice.
As far as music, I have no good manly suggestions. I embraced pop/rock/emo a long time ago, and I gave up trying to defend my enjoyment of it. So maybe in the future I'll have some suggestions, depending on the topic.
You'll probably notice after reading this post that your face has more stubble on it, and a need to best someone in any competition no small has come over you, and that you have the increased desired to kill and stuff a bear. That's okay, you just need some distractions...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Immortal Iron Fix

They say that one man's trash is another man's treasure, and I find this especially true in the realm of comic books. Books that I love may be another man's bird cage liner, or comics he salivates for every month may be so far off my radar that I wouldn't get them out of a quarter bin. But that's the beauty of our hobby- there's something for everybody.

I recently wrote a little blurb (ok, it was pretty much free advertising) about a 70% off sale over at the Things From Another World website. Though most of the comics were considered "nick and dent" copies, there was plenty of material I had been waiting to snatch up. On my first pass I bought up $100 worth of stuff. This is what I got:

Black Panther: The Client
Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther
Black Panther: Secret Invasion
Captain America: Road to Reborn HC
Eternals Manifest Destiny
Punisher: Dark Reign
Thor: Ages of Thunder HC
Red Sonja Vols 5 and 6
Conan Vol 0
Jonah Hex: Six Gun War
Immortal Iron Fist Vols 1 and 2

Conan the Cimmerian 0-21
Groo: Hell on Earth 1-4
Joe the Barbarian 5-6
Supergirl 49

Apparently there's something about discounted prices that makes me want to read violent, warrior based comics, but sometimes you just have to see some good old fasioned graphic violence, you know?

And if that wasn't enough, I went back and got more (blushes ashamedly). I figured I would never have another chance to get the Immortal Iron Fist this cheap again, so I went ahead and got volumes 3 and 4, as well as another Conan volume by Kurt Busiek, and Justice League Generation Lost 8-10.

It was actually pretty interesting timing to find out about the sale, because lately I have been thinking quite a bit about the Immortal Iron Fist series. If you've never read the original run by Fraction/Brubaker/Aja, you should look into it.

In the initial arc, Danny Rand, the current Iron Fist (as well as readers of the Marvel Universe at large) finds out that the "Iron Fist" moniker is actually a mantle that has been passed down over the ages. This opened up so much history and potential for a character that had been a kung fu joke for the previous decade before, only appearing in failed relaunches(the 1990's Heroes for Hire) or crummy "MC2" guest spots (Spider-Girl). Since the series release, Iron Fist has become a supporting character in Daredevil, a New Avenger, and a key player in the Shadowland series.

The reason I connect so heavily with the Iron Fist book is that it launched right around the time I got back into comics in a big way, and I've always felt like it was a serendipitous meeting. It was almost as if the world of Iron Fist being expanded was like my rediscovered love of comics- what had once been a faded joke had become something with potential for the future.

Wow, that's pretty nerdy... Anyway, my whole point today was that the books I got for cheap are by no means "classics", but I can't wait to devour them once they arrive. This makes me wonder, for those of you who got in on the giant sale, what did your shopping cart have in it?

Until Next Time, Long Live the Legion!

And P.S. , I caved and got my own internet connection, so hopefully I'll be around to manage the site a little quicker!