Monthly Archives: August 2011

Red Robin #26

I have to say that DC Comics is full of writers who don’t really know what they’re doing, which is why they remain the number two comic book company. Sure, the Batman movie franchise basically prints money, but what about everything else? The 52 initiative will have to be absolutely stunning considering some of the more recent output. Read the rest of this entry

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which has a horribly wordy title, is a surprisingly good summer movie. It does everything right, including taking some heavy risks by making us sympathetic to the ape cause. Granted, the alternative was cheering for big business and American consumerism. Few movies push leading characters who aren’t human – especially ones who spend over half the movie without a human counterpart sitting around to remind us that we’re supposed to like them. This was awesome.

One of the major problems I had with this film, though, was how ape intelligence had to be portrayed in human terms. The signing, the writing, and the puzzle solving aren’t necessarily so bad – it’s the speaking. Only four words were spoken by an ape through the entire film, but that was more than enough. Speaking English does not mean a creature is intelligent. You’ve all met people who speak fluent English whom you cannot believe have more rights than monkeys. But the audience is led to believe that the apes have finally transcended because one learns how to speak.

Question for people who know a bit more about animal physiology than I do: Do chimps have the same vocal structure as we do? Would it physically be possible for them to speak English?

Aside from that, Apes was a really good film that makes up for Tim Burton’s failure from a decade ago. The ending was brilliant as well. It’s not so much that the apes grew intelligent and overthrew the humans. It’s that the humans simultaneously developed a deadly (to them) airborne virus along with a virus that advances brain development in apes. We’re led to believe at the end of the film that the contagion has gone worldwide. The apes didn’t so much overthrow their rulers as they did simply inherit the Earth.

Go see this movie. One especially amazing thing is that the named apes in the film are provided more solid characterization and development than most movies starring humans these days. That’s a feat that should be rewarded.

The New Ultimate Spider-Man! Someone’s listening!

Have you heard about the new Spider-Man featured in Marvel’s Ultimate line of comic books? If you haven’t yet, I’m impressed. It was reported by various news outlets before issue 4 of Ultimate Fallout hit the newsstands. In fact, that’s a bit unfair to readers who want to be surprised with each issue. It’s just continually interesting that the happenings of Marvel comics are regularly reported in the news. DC fanboys weep because Time Magazine will never report on the fact that Sinestro is now a member of the Green Lantern Corps. and Hal Jordan has been kicked-out for pushing his ring to attack and kill a rogue Guardian.

This isn’t about me bashing on DC, though. (I love their characters, I swear!) This is about my somehow continued coverage of the “Death of Spider-Man” and Ultimate Fallout storylines. I didn’t expect the new Spider-Man to be introduced so soon, although nothing has been revealed about him in the comics except for this: Read the rest of this entry

What happened to guys?

My friend Mellie linked this interesting TED Talk that discusses the downfall of guys and how the media might play a role in the whole thing. It’s amazing how convinced this man could make me of his stance in less than five minutes. Sure, I do take quite the stance against our current multimedia culture, but when someone else says something my knee-jerk reaction is to defend it. Not this time. He’s pretty spot on. Read the rest of this entry

New Mutants – help is hard

New Mutants is quickly becoming my second favorite X-title, right behind X-Factor. It started a few issues back when Cyclops decided that the team should be used to tie up loose ends. Not only does this put the younger X team in a position for interesting stories that confront plot holes, but it also marked a stylistic shift toward more concise writing. You can’t have a book devoted to tightening things up that simultaneously makes such errors itself. I think the writing team knew that.

Issue 28 struck exactly the right chord with me. I’ve always wondered what a (somewhat) realistic therapist would make of characters in comics. In walks Gus Grim, a horribly named therapist described by Emma Frost as both a “cowboy and an Indian.” The narrative tone of the issue with definitely humorous, but that was stricken with some poignancy. Grim appears to use a variant form of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.I always thought the most concise summation of the practice was, “Get over yourself.” Grim would agree. Read the rest of this entry