Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Fire!!!...More Fire!!!!

Ohhh my friends how I've missed you!!!.... So I've been off getting married and cruising around the world and stuff as of late (more on that in future blogs) So I greatly apologize that my blog has become the digital equivalent of tumbleweed blowing on an old west landscape.... I have much to spew about but I wanted to start off showing some love to the thing now makes me smile every morning....no, not the new Mrs. Rambler you fools....what I speak of is the 24 hours of bliss I have experienced with my nice shiny new Kindle Fire......

....I know there's a lot of curiosity around the device especially with the holidays upon us so I figured I'd help answer some simple things about it.... also I took a few minutes and just made a video of the Fire in action....enjoy and feel free to hit me up with any questions you have..



Friday, October 14, 2011

Dr. Pepper prescribes sexism?

So here's the thing.....I'm a pretty stubborn guy....I can be ignorant, old fashioned and downright sexist at times (but enough about my good points)....What I've come out of suspended animation for (I realize how long its been since Ive posted anything my lovely people and you have my sincerest apologies...Frankly, I'm a lazy, lazy man and that inherent laziness coupled with child rearing and an upcoming wedding that is consuming my free time is just no good for the business of collecting my thoughts here) is some commentary on this commercial:


        I actually only saw this commercial a few days ago but my immediate reaction was "Wow Dr. Pepper....that may have been the worst attempt at humor ever". Its pretty weird because I firmly believe that in the realm of comedy anything goes. You cant get hurt feelings because that's just the nature of the beast. I normally have no problem laughing at most things that normal good hearted people find offensive (I mean, I personally want to start a campaign to protect bullies because of all this, no more bullying, Gestapo-like, nonsense that is currently going on in America's schools). So why, ohh why, do I find myself offended for women when I see this? Am I going soft? Has old age and raising two daughters turned me into some bleeding heart pansy? Possibly, but I think my real dislike of this whole product campaign is that it comes down to its reasoning in general. In today's highly PC culture I refuse to believe that a major corporation put this ad out with no idea it would drum up controversy. This whole ad is made to bring attention to a brand that is trying to step up and compete with the bigger boys (Coke & Pepsi). It's like Sprint taking a huge monetary gamble and getting the IPhone but instead of risking your bet on one of the world's most beloved tech devices they are instead betting the house on controversy and good old fashioned disrespect. Some people might consider it a smart move because it does make people talk about the product and as its always said "any publicity is good publicity" but the way they chose to go about this is just pure ignorance to me. The commercial probably wouldn't have made me care either way were it not for the tag line "not for women". Why? Why throw those words in there.... It just doesn't make sense to me...does the controversy of those 3 words drum up enough business to justify turning off an entire section of buyers?  Just putting the idea that any product your selling is "not for someone" is basically saying "please don't buy our product, we don't want your kind's money". Honestly if Dr Pepper would have just left out this tag line it would have been an idea (a still somewhat crappy produced and yet another carbon copy of the old spice guy format version of an idea...but an idea nonetheless) about turning a diet drink into something "manly" and no one would have been able to complain (well they would have, but I wouldn't have considered their complaints valid therefore clearly they would not have mattered.....see I told you I can be ignorant when I try).... I don't know, I just think this was a dumb move on Dr. Pepper's part and if the creators are actually as sexist as they claim then I have one question for them: "If your sexism assumes this drink isn't for women then I'd also assume in your ideology you assume most women still do the grocery shopping (which in many cases is a fact) and in that case who exactly do you think will be buying this product?".... I know I won't and I'm not even a woman (despite my dad who does the grocery shopping ways)...Just some food for thought...

......see ya when I see ya folks

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Self for Sale....Get your Selfs while theyre hot

How goes it my lovely friends? I was thinking recently about the many way in which we as a society have become quite good at selling ourselves.....Now I know what your thinking...."how could you lower yourself to selling your body for money Rambler?".... Well to answer that Ill first say I appreciate your care but clearly you don't know me very well for its pretty common knowledge that for the right price Id do just about anyth.......(.I clearly need to stop writing  now).....Secondly and much more relevant I am not talking about physically selling oneself, though the truth isn't that far off....

... what I mean by this is that we have become increasingly obsessed with the culture of self....I mean its been going on for years with "reality" TV for example. Anyone who has even watched TV in the past 10-20 years has been able to observe a drastic shift from (successful) scripted television to cheap, quick, loosely scripted shows starring casts ranging from normal everyday Joes to wanna be actors doing their best pretending to be everyday Joes. We have created a celebrity culture for ourselves and by ourselves (Please don't be so ignorant as to blame TV programmers as it is we who dictate what is successful....trust me if all of a sudden people watched in masses a show about helping the poor and bought helping the poor shirts and helping the poor videos from itunes than helping the poor shows and copycat shows would be up and down or local programming guide....okay I'm getting off my soapbox now). Long gone are the days of looking up to our movie stars and sports heroes (whether that was ever healthy is a whole nother story). What we do now, to put it simply, is look up to those of us who without much talent or training find a way to make it in today's culture....Now personally I think its a horrible sign of how out of control and lost our current society is but one cant deny that people like the derelicts of the Jersey Shore and the ever business savvy yet mostly talentless Kardashian family are the hot melty center of our pop culture Stromboli (I have to stop blogging around lunch time)....

...Where am I going with all this passionate rhetoric about how we've become a society of people looking for ways to sell themselves and become the next talentless fool who cashes in?.....Nowhere particularly to be honest...I just thought it'd be fun to talk about how horrible each and every one of us are as human beings despite how good we think we are as a precursor to me trying to sell myself (Now isn't that ironic).... and with that said I shall join in on the quest for talentless success by providing you with the following ;-)

get at me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Writing_Rambler @Writing_Rambler

follow me here Duh!: http://thewritingrambler.blogspot.com/

ans last but not least patron my pockets by buying from me on Ebay: http://myworld.ebay.com/itslvg3

read my weekly comic book reviews on http://www.aintitcool.com

..... Ill see ya when I see ya folks.....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thank you Nike for making my dreams a reality

So when I was a kid my favorite movie was without question Back to the Future 2....I lived it...I breathed it and Im pretty sure I can still recite every word to it........

....so when I get online and read a story tonight ( check it out here http://www.nicekicks.com/2011/09/is-nike-taking-us-back-to-the-future/ ) about Nike having a Patent for actual power lacing shoes and a lot of secret tweets being sent out...well I assumed it was just too good to be true....

Then I saw this video...


...All I can say is MIND BLOWN.....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

THE NEW 52 & THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION

Hey there fine people...its been a little while hasn't it? what can I say, the summer just seems to fly by and with having to juggle fatherhood, writing reviews, watching movies, working now and then from home, camp counseling, battling hurricanes, inspiring the youth, playing horseshoes, creating nanobots, locating Frankensteins brain, visiting the Amish and general tomfoolery it's been hard to keep up with my writing here....But don't fret, I still love you all nonetheless...

So today is 8/31 (technically 9/1 by the time I post this) and for most it is a day that harshly reminds one that the joys of summer have come crashing to a halt and Fall will be soon upon us ....we all know what that means don't we? Sweater weather...kids back in school...the leaves changing to a glorious Autumn hue and my natural enemy, the soulless crossing guard, will once again be slithering from there dank caves to torture us all before we know it....ohhh how I despise those creatures of the day....................................

....................(okay I vented...I'm better now)..........

..........but for Comic fans, today was also a day of change in our world....Today saw DC comics release FLASHPOINT #5 & JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 ( I wont officially review these here....though I will say they are both very satisfying and should be picked up....especially JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 for old and new readers alike)......the only 2 new releases from the company today signified a major changing point in the DC comics universe, as years of storylines and history have been suddenly reset and all titles (52 over the next month) have been renumbered as #1's and are set to welcome a new generation of readers into the DC world.....



...Many people have written this "REBOOT" off as a marketing ploy and I cant blame them, as the comic book industry as a whole has often used gimmicks and shocking storylines to make headlines and sell some extra copies of a particular book. One Thing that is unique about this moment though, is that it is seemingly a company wide change. While a big gamble for DC comics, as they risk polarizing their core audience, they also are bravely attempting to broaden their status in popular culture.Currently DC comics takes 2nd place to Marvel comics in overall sales and name recognition (Not my personal opinion, just facts....personally I prefer DC's brand of storytelling much better) so a move like this makes sense as they want to claim the top spot in the comics world......

...Where this story gets really interesting is one of the ways that DC is attempting to "push" their comics to the top, which is day and date availability of their books digitally as well as in traditional comic shops. For some this looks like the nail in the coffin for the retail comic stores that are becoming very outdated with every new technological update. For others its a revolution that will forever better the industry as a whole. .............


.................My Opinion (and really that's what your here for)is that its a mixed bag of both but for the most part will be a positive move for DC and the Comic industry as a whole. The ability to be able to read your favorite stories the day they are released no matter where you are is an awesome advance in technology and can definitely help bring in revenue. It also becomes somewhat appealing to those people who may not be comfortable strolling into the troll dungeons that many local comic shops can often resemble but still would like to read some books (I say this out of love as I myself can be quite the comic book troll at times). It's just a fact, your average person either doesn't know where a local comic shop is (and their numbers get lower every day) or wouldn't be caught dead walking into one, for fear of not looking cool (something I gave up on quite some time ago).The main negative response I can see (and it mostly comes from comic book nerds, after they are done complaining about changes to Superman's costume......seriously guys, get over it) is something that isn't really a negative, and that is pushing the comics to go more mainstream is destroying part of the culture that we nerds so often lovingly (you could also probably use the words violently or creepily here as well) cling to with a passion. While I get your fears my fellow nerds, you have to learn to live with these changes......were a digital world and we've got to accept that world includes comics now (side note: there's a terrific App called COMIXOLOGY that you can get for your Apple or Android devices that pretty much works like the Itunes store but for comics, this is also where DC and Marvel both provide their comics digitally each week....though Marvel has not embraced day and date release....at least not yet..........you folks should check it out if interested....a great way to keep up with stories without having to go to the store to buy the books)............sure in the long run some old school comic book stores are going to disappear and it sucks but the comic book culture will thrive on.........comics have embedded their way into our culture and are responsible for some of the biggest entertainment franchises ever.... simply put...they're not going anywhere!

....all in all everyone needs to calm down....at the end of the day your favorite stories are still going to be there whether your crazy about the new ones or not.....I get how it sucks when your into something and then all of a sudden it gets popular and now everyone is seemingly an "expert" on it....these things are just going to happen and the only choice you really have to make is wheter you are going to embrace the change and enjoy the future of the comic industry or join the ranks of the miserable cynics who wouldn't be happy if the next issue they bought came with a million dollar check.....for me, I'm gonna embrace the change and keep enjoying what new stories I get each and every Wednesday, hopefully you will too........

.......If I have personally come away with anything from this whole experience it's that never have I wanted a digital tablet more in my life than I do now. So Kudos to you DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and all those involved as no matter what happens with the outcome of this venture you will be responsible for me owning a tablet of some sort in the near future (of course that will be after I'm done paying for my wedding because that is much more important.........Just in case the future Mrs. Rambler is reading this).

...Till next time...Ill see ya when I see ya folks





Wednesday, August 31, 2011

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 8/26


BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: THE SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING #3

Writer: Jonathan Vankin

Art: Marco Castiello

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler




                So I’ve had the pleasure of being able to read/review all 3 of the BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING issues for AICN and boy does this final issue end with a glorious bang. Yup, those are the exact words I would use to start a review if I lived on the Bizzaro planet of Htrae, where everything is opposite. Unfortunately I don’t and for the 3rd time DC readers are given a jumbled, messy story that has no real meaning or explanation towards the reintroduction of John Constantine and Swamp Thing to the mainstream DCU.

                This 3rd and final issue of the limited series was supposed to be the conclusion of Constantine’s journey searching for Swamp Thing and the newly resurrected Alec Holland, but instead were given more of the same confusing runaround with no real furthering of the story. Random appearances from Madame Xanadu, Batman, Superman and Deadman (who I assume was thrown in to remind us this is supposed to connect to BRIGHTEST DAY still) add to the “chaos” of this series. To put it simply there is no point to this book other than being a 3 part reminder that Constantine and Swamp Thing are part of the DCU again. From Constantine’s odd change of heart at the end of the book to Batman’s horribly cheesy comment about EPA regulations, this final issue seems like a culmination of bad ideas put to paper.

                There’s not much new or unique about the book’s artwork other than it is consistent with the first two issues. Marco Castiello returns to take the reins back from Renato Arlem who handled the 2nd issue and while he does a good job depicting the mess of a story that were given, I did find it funny that his version of Batman here just made me think some drifter stole Batman’s costume and is pretending to be him. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but something is off about this story’s caped crusader.

I do have something positive to say about this book and that is I’ve finally come to peace with the cover art. If you’ve read my past reviews on this series you’ll know I’ve been pretty annoyed how the covers so far have both misrepresented the content and then mostly copy and pasted the previous issue’s artwork. Well with this issue we finally get a cover that has something to do with the content within, so I guess that’s a good thing, right?

Overall, this entire series has been a huge disappointment to readers who were anticipating learning more about John and Swamp Thing’s place in the current DCU. When you couple this with the fact that this series is also supposed to be the wrap up to a huge event like BRIGHTEST DAY you realize how much of a failure this really is. All I can hope is that with the relaunch of the DCU upon us we will be given much better stories for all of the characters involved.

GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS # 13
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Ron Frenz
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler
                EMERALD WARRIORS 13 is the final issue of the series as well as the last GREEEN LANTERN title we get in the pre “reboot” DCU. While there is no big, epic story that some may have hoped or even a bridge to what will happen in the “new” DCU I actually really enjoyed what we’re give here. It’s yet another one shot focused on Guy Gardner (much like the past two EMERALD WARRIOR issues), who this time is teamed up with Batman in what feels much more like an issue of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD than any GREEN LANTERN title.
                I really love what Tomasi has done with these final issues as he is great at delivering stories that use Guy Gardner’s personality to the fullest. He just seems to really enjoy writing Guy stories and it shows. Throw in getting to see him include Batman and the unique “chemistry” that he and Guy share and you have a really enjoyable story overall. The issue is a quick whodunit that takes place on an international space station but truthfully none of the background matters as it’s the fun of watching Batman and Guy act as a successful team that keeps you turning the pages.
                The art by Ron Frenz blends with the story and keeps everything moving well. The art in any book is there to enhance what should be a well written story and it’s exactly what we get here. Nothing we’ve never seen before, but enjoyable because it flows with everything and never becomes a distraction to the reader like I’ve experienced in some of the WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERN: AFTERMATH books as of late.

                This book probably isn’t for everyone as many people don’t like throwing down their hard earned $3 to buy a one shot that has no real significance in the larger GREEN LANTERN storylines, but these are often the stories that are made for the die-hard fans. As a fan of GREEN LANTERN I definitely recognize that many of the major events in the DCU for the past few years have somewhat had a Lantern influence and if anything we’ve been spoiled with large arcs that have taken the title to new heights. Because of this, we often dismiss smaller issues that don’t have some type of larger theme/event going on and it’s a shame. An issue like this should mean just as much to a fan because without books that create and build up these character’s personalities for us to love/hate, their actions in larger stories would be pointless. In a way I think this issue is a fitting end to this series as it reminds me that despite not having several lanterns featured or any universe spanning story it’s still a completely enjoyable read and that it’s the personality of characters like Guy Gardner that keep me coming back for more.


COMIC REVIEW FOR 8/22


GREEN LANTERN CORPS #63

Writer: Scott Kolins

Art: Scott Kolins, Daniel HDR, Freddie Williams II and Joe Prado

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler


               

                They always say all good things must come to an end and after 63 issues as the main cover reminds us it’s time to say “goodbye” to the GREEN LANTERN CORPS. This “goodbye” will be short lived of course, as most readers are fully aware GREEN LANTERN CORPS will continue in the new GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1 (currently scheduled for a September 21st release).  Nonetheless, I enjoyed this issue as it continued to show how disheveled the Corps have become in the aftermath of the WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS and took time to remind us that despite the hard times there is still honor amongst the Corps.

                Scott Kolins presents the reader with four different chapters showing some of the different ways the GREEN LANTERNS CORPS are suffering in the wake of this past war. I actually enjoyed how this was handled for the most part. The way the stories are presented sets up some ideas for where the series may be headed in the relaunch and it does so without focusing on main characters like Hal or Sinestro. The fact that some of the “lesser” characters are given focus here is the high point of the issue and a good reminder that though most larger stories revolve around the 4 earth lanterns, there is a much bigger GREEN LANTERN CORPS who are being affected by these events. Probably the best of the 4 stories actually revolves around the idea that many of the GREEN LANTERNS have reached a boiling point towards their disdain of the earth lanterns and are tired of them seemingly always being the center of the Corps’ problems. I’m hoping this idea is explored in depth once the relaunch happens as it could provide some great stories of conflict within the Corps.


                The art in the issue is much like the story as it is divided into four unique chapters. Normally I’m not a fan of multiple artists handling one issue (as it can become a distraction) but it works here as were presented with each individual tale. All four artists hold their own in the book and I especially liked the combination of Freddie Williams II’s art matched with Kolins’ story about the anger towards the earth lanterns (which Kyle Rayner is forced to be the recipient of).  I also loved the variant cover featuring Kyle  looking like the toughest version of a blue lantern I’ve ever seen, though I must point out, at no point in this issue (or any of the relaunch cover previews for that matter) does Kyle become a blue lantern. In all honesty it makes no sense as a variant to this issue but its artistic quality should still be commended.

                As the issue ends, the reader is presented with the idea that despite all of these obstacles, true members of the GREEN LANTERN CORPS know their duty comes above all other things. Some may find the wrap up of the issue somewhat cheesy and forced (which I can understand to an extent) but I think the overall reminder that members of the GREEN LANTERN CORPS hold a high honor and take it very seriously despite their disagreements is a great way to end the 63 issue run. While I wouldn’t say this was the best possible way the series could have “ended” I do think its handled well enough to give proper closure to a solid book and bridge the gap for what’s to come.

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 8/15


WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS: AFTERMATH #2

Writer: Tony Bedard

Art: Ransom Getty & Andy Smith

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler


               

                With WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS: AFTERMATH # 2 we finally reach the end of the entire WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS story. There’s so much happening that there’s no real closure given to the overall storyline but it’s not necessarily a bad thing in this case. While it does a lot more on the setting up end than actually closing out the WAR story, it is still an enjoyable read and is definitely great for any GREEN LANTERN fan waiting for all the repercussions from the events that just took place to be fleshed out more come September.

                One thing I particularly enjoyed about Tony Bedard handling this AFTERMATH story is the way he focuses on each of the lantern’s personalities in his writing. While I enjoy Geoff John’s large scale stories and what he’s done with GREEN LANTERN overall, I do always like seeing how Bedard can “take it down a notch” and get back to focusing on what’s going on inside the heads of the main characters. He gives us a story where the Corps are all but broken and there’s a real sense of confusion amongst most of its members as to what is going to happen next. Characters are angry, dealing with loss and having to accept decisions they don’t agree with while still remaining loyal to the corps. It sets a great mood for the series overall and is a good starting point for what’s to come.

I also enjoyed the art in this issue and actually preferred Getty and Smith’s work here over Miguel Sepulveda and Tyler Kirkham’s work on the first issue. There were a few panels in the first issue (specifically a few oddly drawn captures of Sinestro) that just took me out of the story but here I feel like everything is crisp and flows well. I also have to mention the Cover art (both the regular by Tom Fleming and variant by Dave Johnson) which are just beautifully drawn and do a great job of conveying the tone of the books in very simple yet detailed work.


The only real low point of this book is when the story jumps back to a conversation taking place between Saint Walker and Ganthet. While I have no problem with the story that’s being set up, it just seems to come out of nowhere in the book (much like it did in issue #1) and feels out of place in the issue. It’s like there should be a cheesy caption above it that reads “Meanwhile…on the other side of OA”. All in all, it’s a small blemish in an otherwise well handled story.

Overall, WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERN’S: AFTERMATH does a good job of continuing the story, though it does present more questions than answers. It leaves the reader with some closure for the larger war (particularly a great “memorial” for Mogo) but still anticipating everything that’s on its way. It shows just how much the events of this war have taken out of the Corps and how there will probably be a lot of changes coming because of it. Personally, I think it’s a great time to be a fan of GREEN LANTERN and with four different titles coming in the DC relaunch I’m hoping for even more exciting stories in the future.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Comic Reviews from 8/8/11


FLASHPOINT: BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #3

Writer: Brian Azzarello

Art: Eduardo Risso

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler


                With the month of August upon us, we find ourselves heading toward the finale of the entire FLASHPOINT story and the impending reboot/re-launch of the DCU. With the end so near, we are also getting the final chapters of some of the tie in books, which for many fans have been the best part of the whole FLASHPOINT event. This week we see the close of arguably the best tie in with BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #3.

                After the setup of the first issue, which showed the reader the kind of Batman that Thomas Wayne was and the emotional sucker punch of the Joker reveal in the second issue, I was anxiously waiting to see how Brian Azzarello would close out this wonderfully told Batman story. To my delight, Azarello yet again creates a classic Batman tale and finishes up the story near perfectly. It stays dark and continues providing us a backstory of just how this world’s Batman and Joker came to be. It really is a thing of beauty to see a classic Joker/Batman fight seamlessly intertwined with a tragic backstory of a parent’s loss (told through flashbacks during the battle). As the book closes we see not only that we have been given a fully fleshed out Batman tale but also a motivation for Thomas’ actions in the overall FLASHPOINT story. It left me satisfied and really looking forward to what Batman will do in the final issue of FLASHPOINT.  

As the battle and the overall story come to a close its quality is only exemplified by Eduardo Risso’s artwork yet again. All the pain and loss that both Batman and Joker have suffered in this world are able to be felt in each panel through Risso’s work. His style perfectly blends with Azzarello’s writing and together they present a Batman story for the ages. As good as Azzarello’s writing is I honestly think this book could have contained no words and still conveyed one of the best Batman stories in years. One other thing I would like to mention in regard to the artwork is a commendation for Dave Johnson and his work on the cover art. He has done a great job throughout these 3 issues of setting the tone of the book with great covers for each and especially on this third and final issue. The image he presents here of a husband and wife mourning the loss of their child is both haunting and beautiful and it is one of my favorite Batman covers in a long time.

                My only real problem with this final issue has nothing to do with the book in any way. It is simply the fact that I don’t want to give it up and would love nothing more than to continue reading stories based in FLASHPOINT’s version of Gotham. Everyone involved in BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE should be proud as they have crafted not only a fantastic Batman story but truly a unique universe on its own. I don’t know what the future holds for Batman and the DCU as a whole but I can only hope somehow, someway we get to revisit the world of BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE again.


BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: THE SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING #2
Writer: Jonathan Vankin
Art: Renato Arlem
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler

                A little over a month ago we were given a pretty weak start to BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: THE SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING. Sadly with issue #2 we are given more of the same. What we have here is basically a book full of questions with no answers in sight. The only real difference in this issue from the last is that John Constantine is interacting with Superman instead of Batman.
                This second issue, much like the first, is all over the place. We have Constantine trying to use Superman to help him find Alec Holland while were also being given a story of Alec Holland trying to piece his life together in his old lab. Much like the first issue seemed more aimed at force feeding DC readers who may be unfamiliar with John Constantine his general bio, this issue seemingly does the same for Alec Holland. While I get that the company wants new readers to know these characters I feel that they are doing more of a disservice to longtime fans who are looking for a good three part story before everything is reset come September anyway.
The art in the book outshines the story much like the first issue and the transition from Marco Castiello to Renato Arlem works just fine. The main difference is in how Arlem’s work has a more “old school” vibe to it, especially in the way he captures Superman. Overall I didn’t mind the change though it didn’t make or break the issue in any way.
                Once again though, I have to comment on the cover art for this series which has now become a sore point for me. Last month I mentioned how the cover seemed poorly executed and included Superman when he didn’t even appear in the issue. This month while we do actually have everyone’s favorite Kryptonian in the issue, we are basically given a rehash of the first issues cover! The cover is literally an alternate take of the last one minus Batman and Zatanna being included. I understand the cover doesn’t make the story but in this case it seems reflective of the content; repetitive and somewhat pointless.
I really hate being negative when it comes to a title but so far this short series seems like a complete waste of time for readers. I don’t know how this story will be wrapped up in issue 3 (if it even can be) and while I look forward to seeing what’s in store for Constantine and Swamp Thing in “The new 52” I fully assume the finale of this series will leave us all scratching our heads much like the first two chapters have.  All in all I wouldn’t recommend this series as there are much better things happening in the DCU but as a completest myself I’ll be there to see how it all wraps up.

Comic Reviews from 7/16/11


GREEN LANTERN #67

Writer: Geoff Johns

Art: Doug Mahnke

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler

           After some delays we reach the finale of the WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS storyline in GREEN LANTERN # 67 and unlike many other final “event” issues this one was actually worth the wait. There was a lot to wrap up in this book and for most part it did a great job, both with payoff for the time the readers have invested, as well as some interesting set up for this September’s re-launch of GREEN LANTERN.

                As I said the story is told well and if you’re a fan of what Geoff Johns has done with the GREEN LANTERN story over the past few years this is yet another of his best moments(I personally think this was much better than BLACKEST NIGHT or BRIGHTEST DAY). You can really see his love for GREEN LANTERN on the pages as it always seems he’s out to top himself with each new issue. I especially like what he has been able to do as far as his management of the several different color lantern corps and despite how easy it would be for all these different corps to get stale very quickly he has been able to keep them an enjoyable part of the overall GREEN LANTERN story.

The artwork in the issue is great; just as it has been for Mahnke’s work overall on GREEN LANTERN. I would assume this may have been the cause of the delays but seeing the final battle take place is such a thing of beauty through his work that it was clearly worth waiting the extra few weeks.

As far as storyline (Spoilers Ahead) in this issue, we get one final battle with Krona and though Hal is obviously the focal point of the book others get their chance to shine as well (I especially enjoyed Kyle getting to use his abilities as an artist to help turn the tide). Each page is action packed and full of the great moments fans have come to expect over the past few years. As the dust settles, were left with several questions to carry us over into the September re-launch. Most notably what is going to become of Sinestro and his newfound “acceptance” back into the GREEN LANTERN corps and how exactly will Hal Jordan fit into the new book(s) now that he has been seemingly stripped of his ring? I honestly have no idea where Geoff Johns and the entire GREEN LANTERN story are headed but I am happily looking forward to whatever next story he has up his sleeve.



GREEN LANTERN CORPS #61

Writer: Tony Bedard

Art: Daniel Hdr and Keith Champagne

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler

             

                In the same week that we get the battle filled epic finale to the WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS we also get a much smaller tale in GREEN LANTERN CORPS # 61. Much like the latest issue of EMERALD WARRIORS did with Guy Gardner, this issue is pretty much a stand-alone John Stewart tale (though the background is actually connected to the major storyline unlike Guy’s). In many ways it was a perfect complement to the large scale action we saw in GREEN LANTERN # 67 as it shows that even as the battle ends, everyone has to simply “get back to work”.

                Bedard’s storyline is simple enough. The reserve lanterns are turning in their rings due to the events of WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS having completed and one feels she shouldn’t have to, so she heads to John Stewart for advice. From here were given a story of John as a mentor for a rookie lantern and despite John being a military man who will always “take the shot when necessary” he teaches her diplomacy and what it means to truly be a bearer of a green ring. It was a solid story for John Stewart and it showed that despite him being able to make the hard decision of killing Mogo in the last issue, he is fully aware and feels the pain of his decision.

                The artwork in the issue is good and I especially love how John is captured at the end of the issue where you can really see the pain he feels for Mogo. The one thing I do have some issue with is the choice for the cover art where we see an enraged John Stewart with the words “John Stewart killed another Green lantern….and He’d DO IT AGAIN” flying off the page below him. I really did not like this. It just completely contradicts the entire story were given in this issue and John Stewart’s personality as a whole. As were shown in the issue, John is an intelligent and strategic warrior who will only make a hard decision when he must and I wish the cover did a better job telling that as well.

                When all is said and done, this was a good issue that allowed the reader to take a breath after the major events that had just concluded. While nowhere near as large scale and full of surprises as this week’s other GREEN LANTERN entry this was a nice addition to the story and a good starting point for WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS: AFTERMATH

Comics Reviews from 7/11/11

FLASHPOINT: BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #2

Writer: Brian Azzarello

Art: Eduardo Risso

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler

          As we reach what’s around the halfway mark of FLASHPOINT I’m realizing more and more just how much I’m enjoying this “event” and most of its tie ins. This week were given what is becoming arguably the most talked about moment of the whole storyline so far. Funny enough it doesn’t happen in the main FLASHOINT story, but instead, within the pages of the second installment of BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE. This book is dark, gritty and contains a memorable twist that will keep the comic world talking for some time(I contemplated whether or not I would share spoilers for this as it’s such a great story/twist, but there really is no way to not talk about it, so be warned).

                Brian Azzarello does an excellent job continuing the story of Thomas Wayne’s Batman and the darker more violent version of the caped crusader that he represents.  In only two issues (five if you count the main FLASHPOINT books which feature Batman as well) you really get to see the kind of Batman that Thomas is and sub sequentially why Bruce is so unique of a character in the “normal”, non FLASHPOINT world.  You get into the psyche of how this isn’t someone who grew up training to bring evil to justice but instead how this world’s Batman, at his core, is simply a parent angrily out to avenge the murder of his child.

The story itself shines in that it doesn’t try to be overly complex (AGAIN, Some big spoilers lie ahead so be forewarned). This world’s Joker has kidnapped Harvey Dent’s children while Batman and Jim Gordon are franticly trying to find them before it’s too late. Its classic Batman vs. Joker and it’s done very well. The story is dark and we get one of the more menacing versions of Joker we’ve seen in a while.  The scenes that play out between Joker speaking with Dent’s children are especially creepy and it makes you realize early on that this can’t end good. With that said, it doesn’t. In a span of the last few pages you have Joker tricking Chief Gordon into shooting Dent’s daughter while his son is forced to watch and then Joker slicing Gordon’s throat while Dent’s young son yet again watches horrified. I honestly was floored at this point seeing how much had just happen, which is exactly when the book hits you with its strongest sucker punch. While you’re still trying to digest what just happen to Chief Gordon and Dent’s daughter, you flip to the last page where it’s revealed that Batman indeed already knows Joker’s true identity and it is none other than his wife, Martha Wayne.  In a way, as twisted as she is, this Joker has the most grounded origin as the murder of one’s child could clearly drive someone mad. All in all, a great story with a great twist.

Though it’s hard to transition from that story twist to anything else, there has to be some words commending Eduardo Risso for his artwork. The art in the book is a perfect complement to Azzarello’s story. It’s dark and helps covey the brooding nature of the story being told. I especially love the use of shadows as they are almost a character on their own.

With one issue left of BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGENCE to go, I honestly have no idea where this story is headed after the events told here. There was a reveal earlier in the story that this world’s Oracle is Selina Kyle instead of Barbara Gordon so maybe well get a little more explanation on that but I think it was more of a cameo  to show how the FLASHPOINT world is different, than anything else. I know many people are writing off the entire FLASHPOINT “event” as just another ELSEWORLDS story but I think that’s an unfair assessment. The events taking place in this story and other FLASHPOINT titles are leading to the entire re-launch of the DCU, so while more than likely these stories will no longer “exist” come September, they are still the events that will bring about that change (i.e. the horrors of this issue causing Batman to help Flash fix and reset the DCU in the main FLASHPOINT storyline). I for one am enjoying this series and think it’s great to watch a writer and artist tell a fantastic story when they have the freedom of creating their own continuity as they go. To put it simply, this is definitely worth your $2.99.




FLASHPOINT: ABIN SUR THE GREEN LANTERN # 2

Writer: Adam Schlagman

Art: Felipe Massafera, Robson Rocha and Joe Prado

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler

          So, I’ll just start out with some honesty here. I can’t fully review FLASHPOINT: ABIN SUR THE GREEN LANTERN # 2 without admitting that I am a little biased. See, the thing is, I love all things Sinestro. I love that despite all of his evil deeds I still want to root for him and still consider him the greatest of the Green Lanterns.  So when I saw him on the cover of this issue looking like he’s preparing to put Abin Sur out of his misery (Old Yeller style), it was a no brainer that I was buying this.  That said, I’ll do the best I can reviewing (WITH SPOILERS) the issue.

                The book starts off much like the first issue did with a flashback scene, except instead of Abin as a child we now see him training Sinestro on Ungara “Many years ago”. From there were rocketed forward to the well-known scene of Abin’s crashed ship being found by Hal Jordan, except in the FLASHPOINT universe Abin doesn’t die and pass the ring to Hal, but instead Cyborg, working on behalf of the U.S. Government shows up, “shoos” Hal away and takes Abin in for questioning/experimentation. As Abin heals, after some coaxing from Cyborg (who seems to be the FLASHPOINT world’s own mixture of Iron Man and Captain America), he joins what is apparently President Obama’s own superhero squad and fly’s off to check Europe for survivors of the Atlantean/Amazonian war that is taking place. While doing all this he is warned again by the guardians that he is not following orders (given to him in the first issue) to retrieve the white entity from earth, before it is destroyed. They also warn him he’s dangerously close to having his ring stripped from him for disobedience, though he ignores them completely upon hearing this. This all leads up to Sinestro arriving to inform Abin that he knows what’s happening in this world (due to an imprisoned Atrocitus informing him…though how he knows is never explained) and is aware of the prior non FLASHPOINT timeline.  Abin doesn’t want to hear what Sinestro’s selling and a huge fight breaks out between the two ending in Sinestro amputating Abin’s ring slinging hand with one of his blade constructs.

                Two things that I don’t quite get about this book is why we’re being given so much backstory about Abin when it seems like he’s about to be murdered by Sinestro at the end of this issue. It feels like Adam Schlagman is trying to explain everything about Abin’s personality to new readers (I assume they were hoping maybe the GREEN LANTERN movie would have some new people picking up comics…though I highly doubt that is the case after seeing the GREEN LANTERN film) as quickly as possible while also trying to balance Sinestro’s role in what’s actually happening to the universe in the main FLASHPOINT storyline. With that in mind, the second thing I don’t get is why this book is even about Abin Sur. I mean, I like Abin and I’m pretty much fine with any GREEN LANTERN story personally, but it seems to me like the most important parts of these first two issues (here goes my bias in full swing) revolve around Sinestro gaining knowledge of the FLASHPOINT prophecy. I just think this book would serve a better purpose if it were more about Sinestro and the FLASHPOINT event as a whole (Though, in the writer’s defense I also think breakfast, lunch and dinner should involve more Sinestro as well, so what do I know).

                As far as the artwork in the issue goes, it is drawn very well, though I think it does suffer a little from having three different artists handling the job. There are a few times that I turned the page and the artwork style completely changed, so much so that it took me out of the story. The other thing I have to mention is the Lantern’s costume designs as well as the design of the guardians both clearly seem to be taken straight from the movie. I don’t have a problem with it I just thought it was interesting that in the FLASHPOINT universe some designs follow the DC movie style exactly (side note: the FLASHPOINT Joker also suspiciously looks like heath ledgers take from THE DARK KNIGHT).

                Overall I still enjoyed the issue, but like I already said, it’s very hard for me to not like a GREEN LANTERN story that involves Sinestro. I’m looking forward to seeing how the final third issue of this pans out and if Sinestro actually has a bigger role to play in the FLASHPOINT finale as a whole.  All in all it’s a good read but if you only have one or 2 DCU books you’re looking to pick up, you may want to skip this in lieu of the 3rd issue of the main FLASHPOINT title or the fantastic FLASHPOINT: BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGENCE #2.

Comic Review from 7/4/11

GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS # 11

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Art: Bernard Chang

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler


                I wasn’t sure what to expect this week when I picked up GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS # 11. My nervous system is still somewhat reeling from the 1,2 punch of having 3 issues of WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS released on the same day about a month ago and then a few weeks later being mentally abused by the GREEN LANTERN film. After hearing of release delays for the WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS finale I wasn’t sure what we would actually be getting in the issue. Originally advertised as the beginning of WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS: AFTERMATH storyline, this book is actually nothing more than a “one shot” Guy Gardner adventure, which in no way is a bad thing.

                The story is pretty basic. Guy is headed for some well-deserved R&R but gets called in on a mission to help a dignitary’s ship, he reluctantly accepts and from there trouble ensues.  It’s as simple as that. The story is quick and even wraps itself up nicely by the end of the issue.  There’s no start of a 10 part arc or a cliffhanger ending to keep you coming back next issue. It’s classic comic book storytelling. For a fan of GREEN LANTERN and Guy Gardner in particular this is exactly the reason you read comics. Guy’s attitude and cocky swagger is on full display and it really reminds you of why this hot tempered, honor guardsman is such a fan favorite.

                The art in the book is much like the story in general, simple and to the point. Bernard Chang does a good job telling the story through the visuals. It’s nothing groundbreaking or something that goes against the grain; it’s just quality artwork that serves its purpose. There is also some solid artwork on the variant cover (which seems to be what they would have gone with had this actually been a WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS tie in).

                While I can fully understand someone feeling duped into buying this book because they were expecting some info/closure on a storyline they’ve already invested themselves in, it still doesn’t justify saying this is a bad issue. The fact is that larger storylines get delayed and sometimes there needs to be filler. That’s exactly what we have here.  There’s no denying that this issue was either an old story that was sitting around waiting to be used or something that was quickly put together to fill a gap, but that in no way means it lacks quality. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for GREEN LANTERN in general and I can’t wait to see how WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS ends, but for now I happily enjoyed this story, as I always think there’s room to see Guy Gardner’s personality on display.


Comic review from 6/27/11


BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: THE SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING #1

Writer: Jonathan Vankin

Art: Marco Castello & Vincenzo Acunzo

Publisher: DC

Reviewer: The Writing Rambler

          
        When DC’s series BRIGHTEST DAY wrapped up in issue 24 many people, myself included, were left with the burning question of “okay, now what?” There were questions left of what would become of Swamp Thing, the newly resurrected champion of the earth and exactly why John Constantine was appearing in a mainstream DC title. Those questions are pursed though not really expounded on in BRIGHTEST DAY AFTERMATH: THE SEARCH FOR SWAMP THING #1.

                The book itself is an odd read overall. I didn’t hate it, but I also feel like it did nothing to further the story and basically was just 20 pages (I’m not counting the ads, especially the Subway comic where Grodd is defeated by a basketball to the face….I still feel slightly violated after reading that) of letting the non-Vertigo readers know who John Constantine is. The whole story just follows John traveling to the US to find Batman and voice his concerns about Swamp Thing’s return. There’s an appearance by Zatanna as well, but again it almost feels forced, simply to say “See, Constantine knows Batman and Zatanna so he definitely belongs here”. While there’s nothing done particularly wrong, it just feels like a lot of wasted space in a limited series that is only set for 3 issues.

One thing I will commend the book for is its artwork. It does a great job delivering the overall grittiness of Gotham and Constantine’s personality as well.  I also really like the way Swamp Thing is captured. While only appearing on one page of the entire book, you can clearly see the power behind the character represented.

Something else I need to touch on is the cover art, which is probably my biggest complaint of the issue. While the art looks great, this has to be one of the worst “bait and switch” covers I remember seeing in a while. Dead center behind Constantine is Superman himself; glaring forward as though he’s prepping to lobotomize John for smoking on the cover. It looks great but the problem is that Superman never appears in the issue and is never even made reference to. It just seemed like a cheap way to entice buyers by putting the company’s biggest star front and center for no apparent reason. Also, I recall in the ads for this as an upcoming title that Zatanna wasn’t on the cover and Hawkman was. I’m guessing they switched this out being that Hawkman is also never seen or mentioned in the book either. Again, it just seems odd and leads me to believe this limited series is not that well prepped.


With so little time left before the impending “reboot” of all things DC, one has to wonder if this three issue run is really going to be able to flesh anything out. I’m hoping this story gets to be told and is not just serving as filler to get us from point A to B (though after this first issue that’s how I’m starting to feel). Nonetheless, I’ll be checking it out because I’m hoping now that we’ve gotten past a slow start, the last two issues can provide some real “meat” to the Swamp Thing storyline, plus I hate starting things and not finishing them so DC has me on the books for another $5.98 before this is all said and done.

The Summer Drought

Hey there folks.... I realize that I've been severely lacking (as usual) in the updates department and I didnt want anyone to assume I had quit here or anything....with that said, I figured that those of you who may not follow me on twitter ( @Writing_Rambler ) are probably not getting my weekly update of links to my reviews on AICN (www.aintitcool.com ) so I figured ID share here... while you can find fresh new reviews every Wednesday if you'd prefer to read them here Ill probably be posting them the following week.... with that said... hope you enjoy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thanks for the memories, Harry....

I apologize in advance if I am not my usual disheveled, incoherent self in this blog, but I just felt it necessary to say my proper goodbyes in written form, so here we are. For 10 years now I have had the pleasure of thoroughly enjoying the masterpiece that is the Harry Potter series. Now I know for some, you may already be rolling your eyes at seeing the name above, and while I'd love to argue the reasons why your mistaken on your judgment of a book/movie series you have probably never read or watched, that's not why I'm writing this. I will simply say this blog is sadly not for you. Now on the other hand, for those of you who have read the books and/or watched the films I hope you can appreciate the words that follow.

I wont claim to be one of those people who have followed the series from its humble beginnings in England. I actually went to see the first movie on my own in November of 2001 after it had already been out for a few weeks just because there had been so much positive buzz about it. I liked it but my best description of it at the time was "a really good kid's movie". I thought it was a lot of fun and I looked forward to seeing a sequel. When the second movie came out I missed it while in theaters and just caught it on dvd, again I enjoyed it yet I still don't think I realized how big this series really was. By this point the first 4 books had been released and after some coaxing from others who had read the books and raved about them I figured I'd see what all the buzz was really about. The first two books were, without question, better than the films but I still viewed them as stand alone kids tales and assumed the rest would be the same. As I read the third book I started to notice and enjoy how not only were the characters in the story maturing but also so was J.K Rowling's writing. I noticed little things that she did like how the character of Sirius Black was actually mentioned in the first chapter of the first book. For the first time I realized that instead of stand alone chapters, she was actually crafting one giant story and I was now very curious to see where it was all headed. I burned through the third book and headed into to fourth which was no small feat at 734pgs (almost twice the size of the third book). Again I was met with a story that not only added page numbers but also a real maturity and depth to the tale. As I reached the epic conclusion of "Goblet of Fire" I also reached my realization of how good this series was. I actually remember the moment, it was when Cedric was killed (If this is a spoiler for you still, than you should have in no way been reading this blog entry) and Voldemort actually returns in all his evil glory. I put the book down and mouthed something to the equivalent of "whoa...$*** just got real". Right there I knew there was no turning back, I was completely and utterly hooked. Gone were the thoughts that I was following along with this children's series and in its place was the understanding that I was now reading a future classic while it was happening.

Going forward I was a junkie for all things HP. I was there at midnight when the new books and movies were released and without exaggeration I consumed each new book within about 24hrs of their release (including the massive 870pg Order of the Phoenix). These weren't just normal books anymore, they were an epic tale of good vs evil in the same manner as Lord of The Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. These were something that would be passed on from generation to generation and I could not be happier to have been able to experience it as it occurred. As the books came to an Epic finale I was sad that they were done but I always told myself "At least we still have the movies to look forward too".... with that said, I and many others like me find themselves 24hrs away from the actual end of it all, and though sad to see it all end I can look back with fond memories on the numerous nights at the movies and discussions with friends and family.

In a time where entertainment (and in many ways the world as a whole) has become mostly recycled old ideas or the most horrid forms of dumbed down "reality" programming, The Harry Potter series has always shined in its ability to be a story that teaches just why ideas like morality, honesty, friendship and love are still very relevant and important things. It shows how that despite the horrors evil can bring about, it is simply never a match for the resolve of people who chose to do whats right even if sacrifice is needed for it to happen. These are values that I hold dear and to see them be included in a hugely successful book and movie franchise is something that should be applauded.

To close, I'll say that as far as the movies go, I could nitpick about little nerdy things but overall it is very impressive to see a major film franchise stay well made and keep the same cast for over 8 movies in 10 years. It is likely a feet we will never seen done again. So to all those involved with the books and movie I simply say thanks for the memories and I look forward to one last time tomorrow night......

Ill see ya when I see ya folks