Monday, June 25, 2007

Chris Benoit is dead.

Also his wife Nancy and his son Daniel have been found dead at their home.

I have no idea what the circumstances are, the why, the when, the how.

I can only think of the fact that my 'inner child' loved Benoit the person and Benoit the performer and now he is gone.

A quote :

"Here was a man. Taken all from all, we shall not see his like again."


Friday, June 22, 2007

This is an absolutely fantastic post by Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon on issues of sex / rape etc. Highly recommended reading.

I have a mini blogger-crush on Amanda, who writes brilliantly.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Spider-Man is going to three times a month hmmmm?

Its hard to say anything about this without knowing more about the writers. Will Peter David still be involved?

At least there'll actually be a chance that Amazing will get to issue #1000...


Monday, June 18, 2007

Today's murder in the Central Business District of Melbourne is appalling. Seriously, I have no words.


Bite-sized Comic Reviews :

Once again, some of these include comics released on 7 June 2007 :

Justice #12 : The final issue of this mini arrives, and the high standard that has been set so far is solidly maintained. Make no mistake, with all due respect to Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite (contributing to script and art respectively), this is Alex Ross' baby, and oh boy, does it show.

In the style reminiscent of his best known works, Kingdom Come and Marvels Ross portrays both the heroes and villains as larger than life and above the mere concerns of mortals. I literally can't remember as to whether any non-superpowered entity even has a line in this entire series. A place for the 'humble', this is not.

It is still a marvellously impressive achievement, and delivered relatively on time, whic in this environment is to be admired, particularly with the consistently high standard of artwork.

Well done.

Superman #663 - Kurt Busiek's arc continues (despite interruptions) and still revolves around the interesting concept of whether Superman's 'holding back the tide' of disasters and super-villain is going to, in efffect, weaken humanity and result in the 'harder' fall of the civilized Earth as we know it. The confrontation at the conclusion of this issue was eminently predictable, and was one of the least fascinating parts of this story. I still want to know exactly how it turns out, and have little doubt that Busiek won't let me down.

Avengers - The Initiative #3 - I still want to know what this series will be called once 'The Initiative' banner fades from the majority of Marvel's titles. At amy rate, the series is an interesting concept, although the idea of a 'super-hero' school is hardly ground-breaking. To be explored further at a later stage.

Detective Comics #833 - Paul Dini's fantastic run continues, although its almost a shock to discover that this is not a 'done-in-one', and that there is in fact a 'cliff-hanger' of sorts. I really liked the portrayal of Batman and Zatanna's relationship. It made use of the Identity Crisis back-story, while also portraying believable characters, that were able to focus upon the problem at hand, without panicking about these 'minor' disputes.

DMZ #20 - This series appears to have gone off the radar for a number of readers, but it continues to exhibit high quality work. This arc, showing the fall-out from an incident where a high number of civilians were slaughtered, particularly given the current 'fog-of-war' difficulties concerning the U.S. forces in Iraq and elsewhere. This, more than almost any other comic reviewed this week, gives us a truly haunting picture of human characters in a human situation. The future of this series appears assured, but those of you who haven't had a look yet should check it out.

Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man #21 - I've just received word that this series is to be terminated, and replaced with Amazing Spider-Man as published three times per month. I'm still deciding whether this is a bad or good move. Anyway, this series continues for the time being, and I'm really enjoying the focus on Spidey's supporting cast. Characters such as Flash Thompson are crying out for more screen time, and a writer such as Peter David is able to give them the attention to continuity which they deserve. Give it a look.

New Avengers #31 - This is the issue where the conclusion is meant to change everything and the revelation about a certain supporting character can be as major or minor as you may choose. ALternatively, the revelation can have whatever future weight that Marvel chooses to give to it. The hype machine has certainly gone into overdrive, so we will see what happens in the future. It would be a shame to over-turn Civil War with the simple escape that 'Tony and Reed were Skrulls'.

Countdown #46 - This had better start getting better soon, or the sales numbers of 52 will only be a sweet memory for DC.

World War Hulk #1 - Loved it. Seriously, this was a wonderfully simple yet seductive hook to build a story on. Hulk is treated in a terrible way by 'heroes' with the best of intentions. And we all know what the road to hell is paved with. Unfortunately, the Hulk is back, and its often best not to piss off a monster who gets more powerful the angrier he is. The series almost writes itself from there, although the conclusion is yet to be found. Great first chapter, and can't wait to see the rest.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bite-sized comic reviews :

Some of these are a week late, as I missed the weekly visit to Comics R Us last week due to commitments to the Smurfette's family.

Black Summer #0 - This $0.99US introductory comic by Warren Ellis probes the logical extension of superheroes existing in a world with corrupt, venal leaders : removal of democratically elected leaders and imposition of a new order. This is certainly fertile ground, and it has been covered in numerous series, including the famous Watchmen, and also the original Squadron Supreme. Ellis doesn't waste any time, and I enjoyed the main hero's matter-of-fact description of what is no more than a super-powered coup. This issue succeeded in sucking me in, and I'll check out at least the first full-sized issue of this series.

The Boys #7 - This series finally finds its new home at Dynamite, after being rejected by DC Comics for content issues. The content certainly continues on its full-frontal way, with this issue having Tek-Knight, a clear Iron Man analogue, confessing to an uncontrollable desire to screw all people, animals and things within his range of sight. Wee Hughie and his crew also visit The Legend, a wizened old man who resides within the basement of a comic book store. The conceit of comic books being a highly sanitized version of the 'real' adventures of heroes in this world is a clever one, and Darick Robertson's art continues to impress. Count me in for The Boys at their new home.

Spider-Man Fairy Tales #1 - This 'alternate world' re-telling of the Spider-Man legend as a Little Red Riding Hood story is cute but ultimately brings nothing really new to the table. The art style of Ricardo Fercio is a little 'junior' and stylistic for my taste, and I won't be getting the remainder of the series. Props to Mitchell and Mark at Comics R Us for getting a copy from another branch for me, though.

Countdown #48 and Countdown #47 - I'll review these two together, as the new weekly series from DC continues. Jimmy Olsen continues to experience new and weird powers. The fact that he isn't consulting with Superman about these powers is getting weirder by the issue, and I have absolutely no idea what's going on with Jason Todd / Red Hood. Is it common knowledge that those two people are one and the same, or what? And what's the story with these Monitors anyway? I'll stick with the series, but the word on many web-pages is that readers are dropping like flies. If that continues, DC may need to re-evaluate their editorial policy of having Countdown tie into so many titles.

Lone Ranger #6 - The long-delayed conclusion of the origin arc is here, and I continue to be pleasantly surprised by this series. The splashy art makes for quick reading, but I'm impressed by the way that all the classic elements of the story have been welded into this origin. Of course, now that the pleasant tingle of nostalgia has been exploited to the full, in subsequent arcs the challenge will be constructing compelling stories given what is in some ways a fairly hackneyed set-up. I like the fact that Tonto has an independent personality and sense of humour, and I hope that the delay to issue #7 is much less than the wait for this one.

Justice Society of America #6 - I continue to be bewildered by the intimate knowledge of continuity required for this series. I have a fairly good knowledge of the DC Universe, but I continue to be stumped by many of Brad Meltzer's obscure references. The annotations as have provide invaluable in this regard. Anyway, this is the penultimate chapter in the story, and I really struggle with conjuring any real sense of urgency. One part to go, and the Justice League will hopefully resume suitably world-beating adventures.

New Avengers : Illuminati #3 - My previous comments regarding the knowledge of continuity required go double for this issue. Do people really care this much about material from so long ago?

Daredevil #97 - This is more like it. Be it his work on Captain America, or his wonderful noir series Criminal, Ed Brubaker can't put a foot wrong at the moment. His run on Daredevil builds on the strengths of Bendis' lengthy time at the helm, and he writes compelling interactions between Matt, Milla, Foggy and the Gladiator. Issue #100 (Vol. 2) is approaching, but I don't really feel that I need an 'anniversary' issue to keep my interest. Bravo and well done to all.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #42 - Well, in a shocking coincidence, as the premiere of Fantastic Four 2 approaches, Ultimate Fantastic Four commences a story-arc featuring the Silver Surfer. Pasqual Ferry's art continues to annoy, and the end is hardly a shock when the Surfer is in the title and on the front cover. The interactions between the characters are well-written though.

Review of Action Comics #850 to come later.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sitting here with the Smurfette watching Lost and I've never heard of a more appropriate name for a show at the moment.

Haven't they done about seventeen flashbacks for each of the major characters already? If the rumours of this show being signed up for another 55 episodes are true, this could get very ugly. "Tune in tonight, as we find out how Jack dealed with the first time his wisdom teeth began to breach his gume, and Sawyer finally explained how his beard has hovered for three months between clean-shaven and fully shaggy!!"


The Amazing Race is on at 9.30 but its lost a lot of the pizzazz since Rob and Amber have been eliminated. As long as Mirna and Charla don't win, I'll be happy. Actually, in a startling reversal of my normal inclinations, I'm actually barracking for the two blonde beauty queens (!!) Anyway, after a week of actually not picking up any comics, I finally get to visit Mitch and Mark and Comics R' Us this weekend, and pick up two weeks worth.

Am particularly looking forward to getting issue #7 of the Boys, after the long hiatus associated with the shift from DC to Dynamite. Hopefully its just as R-rated as it used to be when it was trashing the JLA.

Friday tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I've just read one of the most depressing things I've read recently about the status of women in some places in the world. All those men that complain about immodest women? Welcome to your world.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I cannot believe believe how under-rated Hawthorn is by the public at large.

Premiership favourites West Coast? Beat them going away (admittedly in Tasmania).
Johnny-come-latelies Geelong? Beat them
Favourites from a couple of weeks ago North Melbourne? Beat them.
Pre-season darlings Port Adelaide/ Six-goal whipping.

We've got many players on the rise, such as Ben McGlynn, Campbell Brown, Lance Franklin, Tim Boyle, Mark Williams....

Anyway, get on those 20/1 odds on Hawthorn for the flag while you still can...
Well, tonight is the premiere of Mick Malloy's new sure, and it will certainly be interesting to see whether or not it gains a foothold.

Having said that, my tastes vary widely from those of the people that are in possession of those wonderful little ratings-meters.

I, for one, thought the David Tench show was absolutely hilarious, but those sacred ratings certainly didn't bear me out.

Australia's Funniest Home Videos, by contrast, continues unstopped on its merry way many years? Seventy-three??

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Smurfette and I saw Spider-Man 3 on Tuesday night. I don't want to echo the herd on this one, but I have never seen a clearer example of the ideas for 3-4 movies crammed into one (except maybe Being John Malkovich).

What a confused mess.


John Howard keeps struggling and I, for one, couldn't be happier. I particularly like his statement to the Liberal conference that he is confident of victory, as contrasted with his warning to the party room that he faced 'annihilation'.

Heh, heh, heh.
The last page of New Avengers #31 is the latest development that is supposed to 'break the Internet in half' (trademark Brian Bendis). Its yet to be seen whether this will be up there with Hawkeye's pseudo-return in the pages of House of M, but we will see what we will see. Those wanting copies may need to contact their comic book store right now.


Many Melbourne readers and / or listeners may have heard about the current stoush involving Caroline Wilson, Alastair Clarkson and Craig Hutchinson. For those that came in late :

(1) An piece immediately preceding an interview with Hawks captain Richie Vandenberg focussed on the possibility that, even when fully fit, Vandenberg may not make the Hawks' best team.

(2) Clarkson (and Vandenberg) were quite upset by the way the report was constructed.

(3) While on a Monday night football show, and off-air, Clarkson verbally ripped into Hutchinson, apparently using 'colourful' language.

(4) Wilson wrote a detailed article complaining about Clarkson's conduct, stating that he was out of line and that she was offended on behalf of the young female production staff who were present.

Now I just wanted to mention something that was discussed by Dermott Brereton and others on SEN on Friday night. Brereton was critical of Wilson's article, and stated explicitly that journalists should not report 'off-air' conversations, implying that there were a lot of things that were known that 'should' be kept discreet.

This quite bothered me, because it implied that there was this journalistic 'club' where only the things that are 'public' are reported to the mere mortals out in the public sphere who follow football.

Its one thing to argue that Wilson's article was boring, or that not a lot of people were interested. But to somehow imply that 'off-air' comments are somehow taboo from reporting does not appreciate the true nature of reporting. Reporters are not merely transcribers. Reporters exist to inform the public of stories of public interest, and that does and should include stories which the subjects don't necessarily want to be discussed.

Reporters should be annoying, and the proverbial 'gadfly'. This is as it should be, and that's my rant for the moment.

Comic book comments later.