Wednesday, 11 February 2015
When you read tons and tons of comic books over the years, it is natural to develop favourite characters, favourite stories and even favourite couples, it happens. Me, I've got to say I always liked the pairing of Rogue and Gambit. Since I was a little kid, waking up to watch the X-Men cartoon every Saturday morning, I loved the playfulness of those two. I mean sure as I got older I read more and more comics, and I may have grown to judge and over analyse each episode and how they compared to the different issues that they were based on. But my love for these two never changed. And yeah, I was bummed by the lack of Gambit in the X-Men movies, but I understood it is another universe, anything can happen. It was great to see the evolution of these two in their on and off relationship, sometimes it was sweet and sometimes it was a bit sad, but damn it if they look great together. If there was a prom night at the school, hands down, Rogue and Gambit are the prom queen and king. So today I wanted to take a look at an issue of the happier times between them, sure there might be an assassin guild or so involved trying to kill them, but trust me when I say this had some "feels" moments for me. And yes this is me being a sap for these two, let me have this.
Actually before I gone about what I thought about this issue overall, I want to say how much it was a gift to be looking through these pages and seeing the incredible work of the late Mike Wieringo. That alone is a reason to look this issue and mini series up. In his lines you see a lot of character expression and feelings from all the characters, you could read the book without words just based on everything you see in each panel. He added an almost animated or cartoon feeling to his work and it's something you can find in a lot of expressive comics of today, his influence lives on. And his legacy is shown greatly here in this issue.
The story is a part of a four issue mini series about Rogue taking care of some personal business, trying to take care of her problem on her own without the X-Men team. But of course, Gambit goes after her to help out. And considering it also involves Gambit's ex, Bella Donna, it would make sense he gets involve. So after a little showdown with a group from the Assassin's Guild, we get see these two spend some quite time together and this is when I melt from feelings overload. I loved this scene because of how simple everything was, given the situation that happened and what could potentially go down, all Rogue says to Remy is just hold me. That's it. No over the top perfume commercial inspired sex scene (I am looking at you 300 movie) or over the top romantic dialogue, none of that. Just hold me. I mean that is the basic and simplest idea of love, of being with someone at all. That you can have someone to turn to, that when you need someone to hold on to, that person will be there. You feel the safety, you don't worry about how much money you do or don't have, you don't worry what anyone else thinks of you because you have each other and at the end of the day, that's all you need. Am I a romantic, I guess? I think love is a beautiful thing, that sometimes gets forgotten. Not attraction, not desire, but just love. And I mean hell who doesn't love sex, we all do, it's awesome. But you don't need love to get off. I think love, and I am guessing here it's all just an idea to me, keys & codes, is something so simple it can't be explained. Like maybe I am over thinking it, because that is what I do, with practically everything I find. But in the pure and simple form, love doesn't get posted on social media, it doesn't need to be celebrated by others, in the purest way it's two people who aren't afraid of what comes next. Just hold me.
Those three pages between them is all you need to know on why you need to read this issue. I wish I could go on about the story or what happens next or anything else. But it really doesn't matter as much to me, because I honestly really like that scene so much, it is probably my favourite moment between these two. So check it out and let me know what you thought, let me know if you don't feel warm and fuzzy inside.
So there you have it guys, I went sappy today.
Let me know in the comments below how you feel though about love. Which is your favourite couple in comics? What's your favourite romantic scene? Is romance dead? Let me know and let's keep the conversations going. Be sure to subscribe to the page, follow me on Twitter and practically all forms of social media to stay in touch and updated. Got a few more for this week, so let's keep this theme moving along, until then keep chasing the storm.
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
See, there is hope for everyone. If a crazy loud mouth killing mercenary can find love, so can you. Keep reaching for that rainbow. But the funny thing about love, sometimes it can go unwanted. So is the case for our favourite killer anti-hero, Deadpool in issue 43 of the 2008 run of the series. After Deadpool gets sent to the loony bin out in England, he manages to escape thanks to one of the doctors who works there and finds a deep attraction to him. Wait a minute, where else have I seen this? Crazy killer gets set free with a blonde doctor who is also kind of nuts, sounds familiar? I see what you did there Deadpool. That alone gives this issue and this story so many brownie points, or chimichanga points in this case. After all the Merc with a Mouth is known as much for his over the top violence as he is for his comedy, it is a careful and beautiful dance of both that is needed for a great Deadpool book. How does this one hold up?
It takes a real kind of crazy to out crazy Deadpool, isn't that crazy? Well that is exactly the kind of psychopath we have on our hands with Dr.Ellen Whitby. Not because she is in love with Wade, although that is up for debate, but her love seems more like a really creepy obsession, creepy and dangerous. And when you start licking up a used can of beans, that is probably crossing the streets of creep town. So naturally Deadpool is now on the run from the police and federal agents and a stalker, all the while being stuck across sea in England. On the bright side, it can't possibly get any worse, can it? Well let's just say that his trip does end up getting a bit of royalty in there. And also we get a really dark and twisted reveal from the good old Dr.Whitby.
The comedy in this book really holds up in this book, especially with Deadpool trying to get around in London, from car theft to clothes switch tricks, plenty of laughs in this book. Though not a lot of action, no slice and dice or bang bang bang or pineapple grenades here, which feels like something is missing. The book tends to be more of a comedy issue in that sense. Although the doctor here, she does come off really creepy, it is hard to feel sympathetic for such a character, especially considering her love is more of a sick obsession. I doubt the writers wanted to create something more here. The art is solid here, with Carlo Barberi taking care of the pencils as he does on plenty of the issues of this run of Deadpool. We actually get a lot of face time with Wade Wilson here, which is pretty cool to see, sometimes you forget about the guy under the mask. But given the amount of action in this issue, we don't get any big moments that take advantage of the art fully, still the art is done exceptionally well for what it needs to do.
So while the issue is stronger in comedy, it still holds up pretty well, especially knowing what comes next from this story, it is worth reading on. And while the doctor parody joke is pretty funny, it might be lost on a few readers. Not the best Deadpool issue or story by any means, but not exactly the worst one out there. Worth a read for the bigger picture for all Deadpool fans.
So there you have it another book down on this Valentine week thing I am doing here. But again, I always want to hear from the people, so please by all means if you've read this issue, leave your thoughts below. And if you enjoyed this read, follow the page and tell a friend or two, anything helps here. But thanks again for your time and be sure to stay tuned as we got a few more issues for this week to take a look at, until then keep chasing the storm!
Monday, 9 February 2015
So it's been some good time since this series has been out and about, and it being February and all, figured why not take a look at Superman/Wonder Woman from DC Comics. Was actually looking through my comics for "love" themed books and this one came up, it was this or Batman/Superman. See what I did there. Anyway, back to are two on hand here, Superman and Wonder Woman. Probably one of the bigger moves that DC Comics took with these two was to make them a pair. I don't remember this being something many writers explored too much, what with Lois Lane being the main crush for the man of steel for a long time. I even remember Wonder Woman and Batman being kind of a couple on the Justice League cartoon, it was pretty sweet in a way, having Diana remind Bruce to smile so more and enjoy things for a bit. But it seems Batman and Catwoman are all the rage now, so it makes sense to have these two together. The cool thing here, is that this power couple could take over the world if they wanted to, but they do a heck of a job keeping it safe. In this book we get to see them work as team, all the while working through all the kinks of being in a relationship and what not. And what is mine is yours, especially when it comes to foes and enemies, so expect plenty of super powered aliens and angry Gods coming in to make sure these two get a honeymoon trip to hell. Just another day for the power couple.
One of the most exciting things about this book is the power team making it, we got both Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel on this one. Charles Soule, who did some fantastic work over at Marvel with She-Hulk and did a number of Swamp Things book as well with DC is writing this duo together. If you haven't had a chance, you should check out some of his past work as well as the new Wolverines series that was just released. As for Tony S. Daniel, he just started on the new Deathstroke series, as well as doing some fantastic work over on the Batman Detective Comic series. A really power team as well to make sure these two legendary heroes get the right kind of treatment. And I think these guys deliver. You get plenty of action off the bat, with Superman and Wonder Woman teaming up to save a massive cargo ship that has been attacked and you get flashbacks to both these characters making sense of their current relationship. Having things go from action to dialouge sequences works really well, you are able to follow along and stay for the long ride, a hard balance but one that is done right here. The art hits all the right notes as well, plenty of big scenes here with a lot of detail, not to mention a beautiful three page fold out cover here with all the friends and foes of the Superman and Wonder Woman world. Take a moment before you go in and just take it all in, a sight to see for sure.
I thought I would be rolling my eyes at this book, but you know what, it was fine. They have dialogue and romantic moments, but none of it seemed George Lucas, if you know what I mean. If you haven't seen Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, be ready for some brutal "romance" scenes. But they got Jango Fett, that's pretty cool. Back to our comic, I feel like nothing here was too much or over the top. I did wonder what the deal was about the world finding out that Superman and Wonder Woman were together, and why that would be bad, they are heroes after all. I mean wouldn't Gordon finding strange that Batman makes out with Catwoman, Talia, Poison Ivy and even sometimes Harley Quinn. But as a stand alone issue and as the kickoff point of the series, you can't go wrong. Unless you hate these two together or alone, well you probably can skip this series all together. But if you are ready for a series that combines the best and the evil of both worlds, check this out if you haven't already. I also highly suggest fans of Batman/Superman to check it out as well, the book has a similar feel but a completely new take on the team-up comic.
So there you have it guys, the first Valentine sort of kind of theme book of the week. To be honest, it is not easy to find books that fit well to the theme and are actually pretty good, so this was kind of a blessing. I've got plenty in store for the week, a few good ones and maybe a bad one for your entertainment, maybe. I take no joy in reading bad comics, but it needs to be done. So let me know what you guys think about this power couple comic, are you reading this series? What's another great couple in the world of comics? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to follow the page, tell your friends and all that good stuff! Until then keep chasing the storm!
Thursday, 5 February 2015
Star Wars is back, whether you like it or not, it has taken over again. And while I can and completely understand how someone could potential not be a fan of Star Wars, I ask this, how can you not be a Star Wars fan? Okay Jar Jar was awful and the prequels for the most part sucked, but there is so much to love about the Star Wars universe, from bounty hunters to the jedi and sith, the deep lore of this galaxy as well is absolutely fascinating. And as anyone who lives on the internet already knows, The Force Awakens is set to release this December and will not doubt be the biggest hyped movie event of the year. And how else do you keep the legion of fans occupied until then, comic books that's how! Disney and Marvel have teamed up and have launched a few Star Wars series for fans to see stories that take place in between the original trilogy, one book focuses on Princess Leia and another follows Darth Vader. The one I got was one that plays out like a movie of sorts, following the whole casts of heroes from A New Hope. We get Luke, Leia, Han Solo, R2-D2, C-3PO and most importantly, Chewbacca! Love that Wookie. But yeah, we get to see the Rebellion in action against the Empire, a whole slew of adventures before Empire Strikes Back. Which while we are here and on the subject is without question in my mind, the best of the Star Wars films and will be hard pressed to be beat anytime soon. So without further delay, let see if this book is worth all the hype and the avalanche of variants as well (I heard they had about 60 variants for this issue alone).
While I am a big Star Wars fan, I can't say I am a Star Wars wizard...or jedi in this case. I love the movies, the games and practically everything in between but I don't have the religious kind of devotion to it like some of the fans do, and these are the fans who know EVERYTHING about Star Wars. So I can imagine if anything is even slightly off or out of characters, they will be the first ones to tell you. I got to say, I had a blast reading this one! As a Star Wars fan, I felt that it was handled properly and added some kick ass moments as well, things we didn't get to see in the movies. And it never felt like it was trying to be something more or something different, it kept that classic movie feel to it all. Written by Jason Aaron, who has been doing some great work with Thor for some years now, he writes all the characters we know and love like the characters that we know and love. This isn't a writer or a creative team deciding new directions or changing the plot up in a ridiculous way, this feels like a Star Wars comic. And thanks to John Cassaday the book looks great, we get to see all are favourite actors back in character and without the wrinkles. There is something timeless about a young smug looking Harrison Ford isn't there? The planets look great as do all the different ships and aliens, everything remains as you would imagine it would and it helps keep that authentic feel to the whole experience.
And while I don't want to nit pick on some of the story elements or anything like that, I will hold my tongue until the next issues. I still had a great time reading this, and I am looking forward to seeing what they do with this story and where it goes. I want to see more Chewbacca kicking ass moments and I would love to see some Boba Fett in the future issues. Yes, I am a Boba Fett fan. With that in mind, give this book a shot if you are a Star Wars fan for sure, you'll love it. If you aren't a fan, nothing here for you, I doubt a comic book will change your mind on a movie franchise.
Have you guys had a chance to read this issue yet? Did you love it or hate it? Are you a Chewbacca fan as well? Leave a comment below and let me know if you will be following the different Star Wars series from Marvel comics. That's all the time for today guys, thanks again for reading and be sure to check out past posts as well, I take a look at the current Batman issues from DC Comics and I also shared my thoughts on AXIS: Avengers & X-Men. Plenty to read and plenty more to write as well, until then keep chasing the storm!
Wednesday, 4 February 2015
The idea of X-Men and Avengers coming together is a beautiful dream team, my hopes for Uncanny Avengers was so high! Because I remember Captain America pointing out at the end of AVX, that they did have to do more to help out the mutants. For so long we had both teams, but both doing there own thing and rarely teaming up, so I was all for it. But man, if one of the things I really ended up hating about the Uncanny Avengers series, is that it felt really boring. How does that even happen? The team seemed really dull and colourless, especially compared to the flare and excitement that was the All-New X-Factor team. And it's funny but I think the Uncanny team could have used Gambit. I felt like Scarlet Witch was there for mainly plot device, so she could be used to do something terrible and awful...again. I would have rather seen her spend time with her kids, Speed and Wiccan. I loved seeing her and Polaris in issue 14 of ANXF, going out and kicking ass together. But that wasn't the case here. And they had a massive and huge plot with the Apocalypse Twins, a whole lot going and the world blows up and everything, but it felt small. My main problem with this was, while other heroes made an appearance in the issues, the impact or conflict was all kept to this series. So when the hell was this all taking place? How come no one brings up that time a Celestial destroyed the planet. And then after all the shit hits the fan, it gets a magic wand fix and everything is back to normal. Hurray, I guess...? Look I got all the issues of this first run, I was here for the whole run and I wanted to be excited, I wanted to care. But I was just left with a feeling for so much more, and I was really hoping AXIS was going to be just that.
I am a really happy camper when it comes to comic books in general, I don't like being a mean critic when it comes to this medium. But I can't sit here and tell you that the Spider-man Clone Saga is a must read or that Batman Knightfall were the best issues of the dark knight. And I can't tell you that AXIS: Avengers & X-Men was a good Marvel event. It was awful. And on an idea that could have been really good and could have made some classic moments, instead we are left with a device that helped change things and we are supposed to take them seriously, because clearly Marvel took their job seriously when they released this junk in the first place. When you realize what the story is doing, all the "permanent" changes that happen, you get the feeling this event was made just for that. How else could you explain the rushed job by all these extremely talented artist who have done some amazing work in the past and why they kept changing the artist issue to issue. The script had to be written in the bathroom in between other work that was taken more seriously, so long as key moments were made they didn't care much about the rest of it all. Look, I am really trying hard to understand the whole "inversion" thing. Good guys become bad guys and bad guys become good guys, right? But this is a subjective idea though, isn't? Every villain knows he is a hero in his own mind, that what they do is for some kind of greater good. So having the inverted heroes act like Saturday morning villain parodies was painful to read. And Carnage, well aware that he wanted to kill people but couldn't because he knew he had to be a good guy, that is basically Patrick Bateman in a nutshell. Which isn't a good at all, it's still a psychopath! And to have Scarlet Witch reveal that Magneto isn't hers or Pietro's father! That was me being done with the series. I finished it out of principal, but there wasn't anything to write home about. Except for Iron Man wanting to be evil and no one doing jack shit about it, because cupcakes.
But hey Secret Wars is blowing this train wreck up anyways, so who cares?
I think the most disappointing thing about all this, is the amount of shits not giving in making this. If there was, I didn't see it or feel it. This was made to set up the new books, this was made to set up the movie and comic universe to be parallel to one and other. Sell a few comics while making these bogus and heartless set ups and call it a days work. Honestly, the biggest disappointment of last year as far as comics go. Don't get the collection, don't get any issues. Skip this event and stay clear of Uncanny Avengers latest run, save your money and your troubles.
Really had to get that one off my chest. But what did you guys think about AXIS? Did you like it? Hey, I could be wrong about all of this. Let me know what you thought about it in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to the page for more comic book reviews, discussions and all that good old stuff. Got a lot of reading and drawing ahead these days, but stay tuned for more and more updates. So don't get inverted and keep chasing the storm!
Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Well that was creepy.
So today I am going to be taking a look at Batman Annual #3 which also happens to be a tie-in to the current story arc, End Game. And man, does this story get really dark. We have plenty of themes here with friendship, obsession and haunting on a massive scale. But like the title implies, what is the end game to it all? Are we going to get any closer to understanding the Joker in this universe of Batman. A character who is very much close to the concepts of chaos and disorder, we see here is haunting a reporter consistently through out his life, crime after crime, the Joker pays his "friend" a visit. I am curious to see how this will all play out in the big story at the end, but I have the feeling it might just be a cool dark side story that takes place here. And as any one off story should, this one holds up really well on it's own. The Joker has been crafted and transformed into a sick and twisted monster, a monster that can't be explained, which for us is probably the scariest thing in the world. We are a culture of questions and answers, when we can't find or explain the question, well, we panic. So much for The Riddler though, Joker is truly the question without an answer.
A great tie in story is able to fall seamlessly with the main story, even with different heads at the creative steering wheel of each book. The writer and artist on this issue I am unfamiliar with their past works, but I would be inclined to look around and see what upcoming projects they have, because they do a damn good job on this book. And while being a Batman book, it feels more like a psychological horror film, with our main character being unable to escape this beast. The writer, James Tynion IV, does an excellent job here with introducing the safety and confidence of the journalist and takes us along the fall of his own sanity and reality, one could almost call it a Stockholm syndrome kind of ending. Helps with the overall creepy tone. And the artist, Roge Antonio complements the story as well along the way with some very amazing art, I loved the way he used the shadows to make the Joker look more and more like some kind of demon from the depths of hell. The pages with the "faceless" Joker are absolutely incredible looking, although I am huge fan of the look and concept of the deranged faceless freak. I almost wish he kept that look sometimes. Although not with the art itself, I would have liked to have seen more evolution with the different outfits and styles for the Joker, this is a story that takes place through different years and months, it would have been really cool to have seen that play out in the art as well. I also found it weird he never had the red lips in any of his looks. That aside though, these guys do some great work here.
Seeing as I am not sure how much impact this story will have overall, I am curious about a few things here. The journalist, Thomas Blackcrow, gets haunted for a few years in this book and I have to wonder, could he have signed up for witness protection or something? Why did he never try to get in touch with Batman? How come Batman never contacted this guy or even knew about him? Seems a bit strange, but this is me looking to deep into it, trying to find answers to all my questions. This still doesn't stop the issue from being a great and solid read, if you like your Batman books really dark with a side of horror, this is your cup of tea. I got to say, I highly recommend this one for everyone following the End Game story right now and if you get into it later, be sure to give it a read. It will also likely be included with the collection when it comes out later in the year. A haunting good time.
I wasn't sure if I was going to review this book first or issue 37, and by this time issue 38 should be out as well. It's been a blast reading this story so far, and I can't wait to see where Scott Snyder will takes us. As far as DC Comics go, this is the story to be reading right now. What do you guys think? Did you get a chance to read Annual #3 and if so, what did you think? Leave a comment below, tell you friends and be sure to follow this page for more and more comic book reviews and even little updates on my own projects. Thanks again as always, until then, keep chasing the storm!
Monday, 2 February 2015
Disclaimer, today I am writing about what I am going through, it's a bit of a downer but I pick it up. I just want to say that I am fine now, while I have depression, I am still going to do my best to keep it all together. And a big thanks to my best friend, Toby, for being there when I needed someone to talk to. I couldn't do it without you.
So last Monday, I had a mental breakdown. I was going to kill myself.
I am not writing this for pity or comfort, I am writing this to make sense of it and to try and understand myself a little bit more. I have a mental illness, call it depression or anxiety, I have it. And yes, this is an obstacle in my life right now, but I know I am not alone, so many of us today are suffering and maybe we are suffering in silence. I don't think I can be silent about this, I am an artist/blogger who is posting his work to the world, and I can't pretend that I am not going through a lot when I am, I can't pretend that I am perfectly fine ignoring the crisis in my head and the problems out in the world. I can't be in blissful ignorance. This world is built on the back of others, it is a take more and give less kind of mentality. My biggest problem right now, is money and the lack of funds in my bank account. And yes I am looking for a full time job, another part time job and anything else I can do to make money. But here is a great and I mean a great misconception, that you can apply to a job and you just get it, that it takes mere minutes. For the greatest necessity on this planet, it sure is one hell of a struggle just to get a job. So if you are one of those sitting on your laurels, comfortable at your job and looking down on those who don't have a job or aren't paid to blow smoke up someone's ass, well f*ck you. I don't think there are any other words for that kind of person. The system is broken and we have created a world were you will be judged on how much money you do or don't make.
Oh but money isn't everything, right? Sure, that's cute.
As much as we want to believe in that, it isn't the case. We don't take care of one and other, we take care of ourselves and our families, an extension of us and even then some people skip that. Everything we need and everything we want, it all comes back to money. Even the essentials like shelter, water, heat and food; this is all tied to how much you have. We have created our own prison, and no one is fighting it. We are convinced that we can beat the system. And here is the thing, you don't beat the system, you just get into the pearly gates. Say you make it, as an artist or a banker, you aren't going to look back when you finally reach the top of the mountain. And don't get me wrong, there are people out there who break the mold and help out by giving everything they can and more, and you know these are people who should be applauded and celebrated. But the majority of us in this ever growing population, we can't say the same. After working, paying your taxes and taking care of all the costs, you just want to focus on you and take care of you. But can anyone be blamed for that? I don't think it's fair to say.
Because for me, I want money to have more freedom. I want to have my own place, my own fridge, my own workplace. This is all for me. So while I go off about having to help one and other, as soon as I am making 40 hours of work, I am going to be taking care of me. Yeah, in a way you could say I am full of shit. But here is the thing, I want to make a difference. I want to help out in any way I can, and one of the ways is by looking at depression in the eye and telling it go away. By telling and drawing a story, not about flawless heroes, but about the realities and struggles that a lot of us go through, by letting that lonely kid know he is not alone. I want to tell stories, I want to open eyes and open minds, I am going to do that through my craft. This doesn't make me any better or worse, but in the words of the great punk icon, Ian Mackaye...
You tell me that I make no difference
At least I'm fuckin' trying
What the fuck have you done?
No matter what happens, I have to try. And I am probably going to feel trapped again, I am probably going to feel like I am drowning next month, but I have to fight, more importantly I have to live. I will be going to a doctor as well, I need to clean out any demons that might still be inside my head. I want to live and I want to make a difference. And I want others with depression or anxiety to be able to know, that we can make it, no matter what, we can make it.
I hope someone gets to read this, if you do read this, let me know. Tell me what you fear, your doubts and more importantly what you want to do to make the world a greater place. How do you deal with your demons? I don't want to be a downer, I think there is a lot of beauty and joy in the world, and we should never forget that. Life is here to be enjoyed, regardless of the challenges we face. Onwards, keep chasing the storm.