Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Misguided Hero

It's hard not to recall the line from The Dark Knight in which pre-Two Face Harvey Dent states, "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain," while reading Son of M. Being a continuation of House of M, Son picks up by introducing us to Pietro Maximoff - son of Magento, brother of the Scarlet Witch, former hero by the name of Quicksilver. Having not read House, I knew enough not to lose myself in the story line. (Spoiler Alert: House ends with the Scarlet Witch uttering the magic words, "No more mutants," thus causing several mutants throughout the world to lose their abilities and become, well, human.)

Attempting to get through life as a human, Pietro encounters Spider-Man, who is also suffering from a loss due to Pietro and Wanda's (Scarlet Witch) meddling with the world around them. In an attempt to kill himself for causing so much strife to the world, Pietro injures himself severely but not before contacting wife - an inhuman - Crystal, who transports him Attilan to cure him. At Attilan, Pietro concocts a plan to obtain the terrigen mists in order to regain his mutant powers. When denied, Pietro is left with the moral decision to go against the counsel. But if he can obtain his powers again by going through terrigenesis, what's to say other former mutants couldn't do the same thing. Of course, all things come with great consequences - some of which even Pietro cannot change.

I guess having to follow The Crow is a tough act for any graphic novel. Or maybe it's because I haven't read House of M that I failed to thoroughly appreciate this work. I did like the tone of the story and decisions left in the hands of those who think they are doing good. Misguided heroes, I suppose, are the best. Because even though they are actually the antagonist in their world, they perceive themselves to be aiding humanity - or in this case, the mutant world. They suffer the consequences and either change for the better, or - in Two Face's case in The Dark Knight - become part of the greater problem - the villain. 

I never thought much of Pietro Maximoff in the past. He wasn't one of the most notable characters in the X-Men world, at least not for me. However, it wouldn't hurt fellow followers of the mythos to have this graphic novel on their book shelves. 

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I don't say this often, but when it comes to Mark Millar's Wanted, you're better off just watching the movie.

About a week or so ago, I decided to watch the film adaptation starring Angelina Jolie alongside the greatest actor of all time - Morgan Freeman. In it, Wesley Gibson is a schmuck going through each day, following the same routines, hating life, knowing girlfriend is screwing his best friend, allowing his fat-ass boss talk down to him. Enter Fox (portrayed by Jolie) who shakes Wesley's world and introduces him to a secret society - The Fraternity - of assassins, which his departed father belonged to. 

I don't usually go for films starring Angelina Jolie - the last movie worth watching was possibly Hackers or something - and normally don't allow films to influence me to read their literary counterparts (this is a flat out lie). But after watching Wanted, I had to read the graphic novel by Mark Millar. After reading it, it's no wonder why those behind the film decided to loosely base their story on that of Millar's. 

Calling Wanted the Watchmen for supervillains is a bit too much. I just can't think of another comparison. Millar created a world in which supervillains are real. Several years after removing the world of the superheroes, supervillains own the world - only no one knows about it. That includes Wesley Gibson, the poor sucker who is slowly rotting away at his day job. Whose girlfriend is fucking his best friend. Whose boss treats him like shit. Who cannot speak up for himself, let alone stand up against those who ridicule and abuse him. Enter the Fox (who, notably, should've been portrayed by Halle Berry) who let's Wesley Gibson in on the little secret, starting with his father - the greatest supervillain to ever live, The Killer. Now that the Killer has been assassinated, it's up to Wesley to take his place (as part of an inheritance agreement left behind by his father). Not only does Wesley decide to take the challenge, he also loves his new life of murder and raping without consequences. Nothing can stand in his way, right? Well, except for the inner feuds long boiling between members of the Fraternity. 

Like I said, I'm glad the movie deviated greatly from the graphic novel. It wasn't the best movie, but it sure as hell had a better story, a better twist and a more realistic feel to it - despite its very unrealistic set up. I suppose, what I'm saying about the graphic novel's ending is that it's a big fuck you to the reader. Oh well, until next time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's only death if you accept it...

Two Saturdays ago, Jyg decided we should watch The Crow, starring the late Brandon Lee. Because she rarely has the urge to watch "superhero" flicks, I wasn't going to argue. Besides, I love The Crow series. I'm probably the only person in my circle who can honestly admit to loving City of Angels and Salvation, as well, as the original. (Note: I'd like to believe Wicked Prayer doesn't exist.)

While watching the film, I started pointing out the differences from the graphic novel. And it hit me. Back in high school, a friend of mine "gifted" the first volume of The Crow, but I never bothered reading the rest. I blame the unfair price of graphic novels (before people start lecturing me on why graphic novels cost so much, save it. I know. I still don't think it's fair). So I worked a little book hunter magic - i.e. I surfed Amazon - I found a used copy which I purchased for $10.98 (before shipping). 

Well, finally, after a long wait - six days - I received my ex-library copy of The Crow from Dreamboat Books, LLC (it was a short wait mostly because they ship from Houston and I live in South Texas). Because today we had a rain out at the ballpark - thank you, mother earth! - I devoured it in one sitting. (This may not be that great a feat to most - I mean, we're talking about a graphic novel here, not the works of Proust, but anyone who's opened the J. O'Barr masterpiece would know that it is a great work of art - literary and otherwise.)

While I picked up Flesh & Blood earlier last year, nothing prepared me for the onslaught of emotion that the original book contains. J. O'Barr delivered the unfortunate love story told through the eyes of violence. It's a reminder how we should treasure every waking moment with those we love, and what we would do to get it back.

I shall return to reading Weeping Underwater Looks a lot Like Laughter by Michael J. White. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Disappointment

Hannah Takes the StairsI've never seen any film by Joe Swanberg, but I did watch the first two seasons of Young American Bodies back when it was on I've been inching my way to a full length feature for years now, but never knew where to start. I mean, there are films like LOL, Nights and Weekends and Kissing on the Mouth. But it was Hannah Takes the Stairs that appeared before me. I found it at CompUSA yesterday for the low, low price of $2.99! What a friggin' deal for a film I've never seen in any local store. So I did what any guy would, and picked up the DVD, paid the $2.99 plus tax and skipped out of the store. Only to watch it today.

I don't know what I expected, really. Maybe my expectations have been fueled by my love for his web-series and all the hype from the indie world. Or maybe, I thought that when I watched Hannah Takes the Stairs, I wouldn't be watching an hour and twenty-three minute episode of Young American Bodies. What made the series so watchable - and slightly more original at the time - was it's slice-of-life feel. I wasn't watching a sitcom, television drama or reality show, but a mix of all three. Which is great for a show that only lasts less than 15 minutes, but kills when you have to watch it for nearly an hour and a half. 

I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to take out of the film. According to the cover summary, it's apparently about a restless college grad named Hannah, who is trying to figure her shit out and looking for a guy who can keep up with her. Which is pretty much right on the button, but that's about it. There's no real plot. There is no real character development. There isn't anything that makes you wanna watch more or watch it again. There's nothing about the film that's notable. There's not real resolution - are we to believe that three is Hannah's lucky number when it is so painfully obvious that something will happen that makes her think and end that relationship? 

I'm sorry, but the same reasons I loved Young American Bodies also happens to be the reasons why I don't like this movie. But will that stop me from watching something else by Swanberg? Not likely. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Designer Brand Dexter

It's like a car wreck. The more I deny myself a glance, the more I want to see how large is the casualty count. I don't know where Jeff Lindsay originally wanted to take his character Dexter Morgan - not to be confused with Dexter Morgan from Showtime's Dexter (though, they are, technically, the same character) - but this isn't going so well for me. If asked what I thought about the books, I'm sure Jeff Lindsay would describe me as - and I'm paraphrasing here - "He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times," or "He wanted to say something, but didn't."

I'll admit it, though. Dexter by Design is better than the abortion known as Dexter in the Dark. But nothing can really save the novel series for me after the introduction of the supernatural - yeah, I'm still dwelling on the whole Moloch thing. It's not something you can quickly forget, either. 

Lindsay doesn't touch on the subject in this novel, but it's mentioned. And rather than keeping the storyline in motion, I feel like Lindsay's writing for the sake of stringing along fans rather than entertaining them. There's so much more that I would like to say, but I think my reviews of the Dexter Morgan series are becoming repetitive, so it's probably best just to glance back and figure out my thoughts yourself.

Up next isn't Dexter is Delicious, but L.E. Modesitt, Jr's Legacies - the first book of the Corean Chronicles - which was lent to me by Roadrunner pitcher, Aaron Guerra. Well, until next time. Happy huntin'.