17 January 2017 @ 10:54 pm
|New Super-Man # 3||New Super-Man # 4|
|New Super-Man # 5||New Super-Man # 6|
|Ninjak vol.3 # 20||Ninjak vol.3 # 21|
|Optimus Prime # 1||Savage # 1|
|Savage # 2||Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 - No Power in the 'Verse # 1|
|Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 - No Power in the 'Verse # 2||Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 - No Power in the 'Verse # 3|
|Street Fighter Legends: Cammy # 3||Street Fighter Legends: Cammy # 4|
|Street Fighter Swimsuit Special # 1||Street Fighter Unlimited # 9|
|Street Fighter Unlimited # 10||Street Fighter Unlimited # 11|
|Street Fighter Unlimited # 12||Street Fighter Unlimited annual # 1|
16 January 2017 @ 08:39 pm
|Flash vol.5 # 6||Flash vol.5 # 7|
|Flash vol.5 # 8||Flash vol.5 # 9|
|Flash vol.5 # 10||Flash vol.5 # 11|
|Flash vol.5 # 12||Flash vol.5 # 13|
|Generation Zero # 2||Generation Zero # 3|
|Generation Zero # 4||Generation Zero # 5|
|Harbinger: Renegade # 1||Harbinger: Renegade # 2|
|Harbinger: Renegade # 2||Jughead vol.3 # 10|
|Jughead vol.3 # 11||Love Is Love|
16 January 2017 @ 05:13 pm
|Britannia # 1||Britannia # 2|
|Britannia # 3||Britannia # 4|
|Buffy: The High School Years - Glutton for Punishment||Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 11 # 1|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 11 # 2||Divinity III: Komandar Bloodshot # 1|
|Divinity III: Stalinverse # 1||Dream Police # 12|
|Earth 2: Society # 16||Earth 2: Society # 17|
|Earth 2: Society # 18||Earth 2: Society # 19|
|Faith vol.2 # 3||Faith vol.2 # 4|
|Faith vol.2 # 5||Faith vol.2 # 6|
16 January 2017 @ 04:58 pm
|A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong # 8||A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong # 9|
|A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong # 10||Action Comics # 963|
|Action Comics # 964||Action Comics # 965|
|Action Comics # 966||Action Comics # 967|
|Action Comics # 968||Action Comics # 969|
|Action Comics # 970||Archie vol.2 # 12|
|Archie vol.2 # 13||Archie vol.2 # 14|
|Archie vol.2 # 15||Bloodshot Reborn # 17|
|Bloodshot Reborn # 18||Bloodshot U.S.A. # 1|
|Bloodshot U.S.A. # 2||Bloodshot U.S.A. # 3|
16 January 2017 @ 04:47 pm
In typical fashion, I am two weeks late in coming in with my "best of 2016" list. As with last year, I will only be listing my top 5 movies and comics for the year.
2016 shows a major departure in my comic book reading habits, thanks to DC Comics' Rebirth. Sure, Archie remains on the list as Mark Waid is REALLY knocking it out of the park every month. Beyond that, there are no repeats.
Movies is equally surprising, with foreign (read: non-American) movies occupying a huge chunk of the list.
As always, they are arranged in alphabetical order as it is often difficult for me to rate which one is better than the other.
- Bajirao Mastani - I have been getting more and more exposure to what India's various cinematic industries have to offer, with the Hindi-language Bollywood going from strength to strength both in terms of movie making and also technical accomplishments. While I have gone on to being increasingly appreciative of Shah Rukh Khan's works, Bajirao Mastani caught me by surprise as to how engaging it is.
Based on the novel Raau, this semi-historical film narrates the story of the Maratha Peshwa Bajirao and his second wife Mastani. In my eyes, this is very much a "star-crossed lovers" type story, for which I am a sucker of. And the powerful performances by leads Ranveer Singh and the always gorgeous Deepika Padukone makes the romance believable amidst the various wars, jealousies, and political chicanery going on in the background.
It was actually the Dolby Asia Facebook page that tuned me to this movie, thanks to its masterful implementation of Dolby Atmos, which was included in the Blu-ray released, and was how I caught the movie.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - I can imagine this is a controversial choice, as this was a very divisive movie in its initial theatrical release, and indeed many of my fellow geeks did not enjoy this movie at all, feeling it as another dark and moody misstep in the DC Extended Universe movie franchise. Sure, it got a lot of things right, especially with Gal Gadot's warrior princess style portrayal of Wonder Woman, and the climactic fight sequence between Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and Doomsday is the stuff of comic book heaven.
However, I had to agree that the theatrical release left a lot to be desired, and many of the movie elements (the Knightmare sequence, the brutal Batman who's not averse to killing or using guns, Superman's practically nonexistent characterization) were hard to accept. But the home video exclusive Ultimate Edition cut does make the movie a lot better, and allowed me to better understand and appreciate the tone and direction director Zack Snyder is aiming for.
Coupled with a very aggressive Dolby Atmos audio track that is every bit as bone-crunching at home as it was in the big screen, this is very much the audio-visual spectacle of the year, easily outdoing all of the other big-budget Hollywood blockbusters throughout the rest of 2016.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Coming in at the tail end of the year, Rogue One proves to be a most satisfactory way to end 2016. Whilst I only had the chance to catch it once on the big screen, I am very much looking forward to watching it again on Blu-ray later this year. And therein lies the problem - I had a hard time choosing between this and Captain America: Civil War for this list. However, all uncertainties were gone after catching the latter on Blu-ray a few weeks ago, and all the storytelling shortcomings came to light upon closer inspection. (I can see some people heckling me now for this comment regarding Captain America: Civil War and yet excusing away similar weaknesses in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but until a more conclusive alternate cut of the former is made available, I stand by my comment.)
Taking place shortly before the original Star Wars (or Episode IV: A New Hope), Rogue One tells the story of a ragtag bunch of rebels tasked with a black ops mission to steal the plans for the Death Star at a time when Rebel Alliance was at the verge of falling apart.
I absolutely loved Felicity Jones' portrayal of Jyn Erso, a character I wish I could see more of in the rest of the Star Wars franchise. Born from a darker, more tragic background compared to the more familiar Star Wars heroines (e.g. Leia Organa, Amidala, Rey), Jyn (along with the rest of her gang of misfits) are welcome additions to the Star Wars mythos, which had mostly cast a black and white portrayal of its heroes and villains, with little space for the grey in between.
Not to be forgotten is Mads Mikkelsen's portrayal of Galen Erso, our erstwhile heroine's father and the reluctant designer of the Death Star. While he had minimal screen time in the movie, his anguish and torture at the loss of his family and being forced to build a terrible weapon of mass destruction is palpable and translates easily across the screen to the viewer.
By far a superior effort over last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and while it's understandable we will never see the main cast of Rogue One again, it's still a shameful loss especially when we have to contend with dull characters such as Poe Dameron, Finn, or Kylo Ren in the main Skywalker saga.
- Shin Godzilla - I did not expect this Japanese production to make it to the big screen here, as our local cinema chains focus mainly on American, Hong Kong, and Indian releases for the most part. Imagine my surprise that not only did I have the pleasure of catching this movie on the big screen, it's further compounded by the fact that this is a very solid engaging movie from start to finish and is definitely the best Kaiju movie in years, easily outdoing all Western attempts and even Toho's lackluster 21st century efforts.
Essentially a reboot of the beloved franchise, this movie features a very menacing version of Godzilla with destructive capabilities far superior to all prior Japanese and American versions combined, surrounded by an air of menace from its first aquatic appearance all the way to the mysterious and chilling images at the end of the movie. And yet the action sequences represent a very small percentage of screen time, with most of the movie devoted to a stinging commentary on the Japanese political machine, for all its worth both good and bad.
Leave it to director Hideaki Anno to be able to keep the viewers on their toes in what is supposed to be mind-numbingly dull political red-tape, office processes and protocol, and minute upon minute of dense dialogue from multiple parties at the same time, forcing one to dart across the screen reading seemingly endless subtitles. I don't know how he did it... but there was never a second where my wife and I failed to be utterly engrossed by the movie.
Hopefully Toho follows up with a sequel... and the same level of quality is maintained.
- Train To Busan - I will start this section of the writeup by simply saying I had no plans to watch this. The constant bombardment of South Korean pop culture in Malaysian airwaves has made me numb and irritated. But my wife was really curious about this movie, so it was with immense trepidation and caution that I caught this movie on the big screen.
Director Yeon Sang-ho proves to be a very masterful storyteller, efficiently setting up the premise, introducing the characters, and slowly unfolding everyone's foibles and motivations very quickly within the first act. And from then, it's a literal roller coaster (or train) ride all the way to the end of the movie, with each passing moment becoming increasingly desperate and tense for both viewers and characters alike.
Indeed, the only misgiving I had was the ending... which I will not give away here, but it's just a direction that I do not agree with and in my jaded eyes did not feel realistic in a society in the very beginnings of a zombie apocalypse.
- Action Comics - DC Comics's New 52 era from September 2011 - May 2016 was a very, very hard time for Superman fans. It was obvious editorial had no idea what to do with him, with vastly jarring different versions of the character appearing in Action Comics, Superman, and Justice League at the dawn of the New 52 era, despite having creators like Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, and George Pérez involved.
While there was a brief moment of hope when Greg Pak took over as the writer of Action Comics, it was quickly mired in one bad crossver after another. It took longtime Superman writer Dan Jurgens to bring back some semblance of quality to Superman by literally bringing back the pre-New 52 version of Superman back in the 2-issue Convergence: Superman mini-series, and it is this version of Superman that DC Comics is maintaining today in both Action Comics and Superman comics today.
Action Comics is written by Dan Jurgens with a rotating art teams of Patrick Zircher, Stephen Segovia, and Tyler Kirkham, and features both Superman and Lex Luthor as the series leads. Superman is still a mystery to the greater DC Universe, as his quick appearance in the spotlight so soon after the death of the New 52 Superman has the metahuman community and general populace alike suspicious of him. And then there's an oddly altruistic Lex Luthor who has been spending his time defending Metropolis while wearing a battle armor adorned with the symbol of the House of El. Add to this the return of a human Clark Kent who appears to be the real deal but has no knowledge of ever being a Superman, and we have a taut mystery that has been successful in keeping me interested in one issue after another.
- Archie - Mark Waid's reinterpretation of Archie continues to grow from strength to strength throughout 2016, and I love his new visions for Hiram Lodge and the surprisingly human turn of Veronica Lodge by the end of the year. And while I did not really love artist Veronica Fish in the first half of the year, new regular artist Joe Eisma more than compensates with some of the best looking issues of the series, outdoing even the initial trio of issues by Fiona Avery.
Continuity issues still abound though, with the versions of the Riverdale gang seen in Archie being different from the ones we see in Jughead and the newly launched Betty and Veronica. But it's Archie Comics, where continuity doesn't really matter... and why should it? I just have to learn to love the Riverdale gang across the various different interpretations, which has been successful thus far thanks to Mark Waid in Archie and Ryan North on Jughead.
- Britannia - Britannia is a marked departure by Valiant Entertainment, launching this four-issue mini-series that takes place in the heyday of the Roman Empire and does not appear to have any ties to the rest of the Valiant Universe.
Created by writer Peter Milligan (someone who's work I usually do not enjoy) with gorgeous detailed artwork by Juan José Ryp, Britannia tells the tale of Antonius Axia, apparently the world's very first detective, and how he is very quickly roped into a world of supernatural intrigue under the influence of the Vestal Virgins. This was a smash hit for Valiant Entertainment, with the first issue returning for multiple prints and I can't wait for Axia's promised return later this year.
- DC Universe: Rebirth - Yes, this is a one-shot... but it's just so damn good and prominent that I had to include it in this list. Clocking in at 80-pages featuring a story by Geoff Johns and artwork by Ethan Van Sciver, Phil Jimenez, Ivan Reis, and Gary Frank, the continuity inconsistencies in the New 52 is deftly explained, many of the dumber elements (i.e. Pandora and the Trinity of Sin) expunged, and the element of legacy (i.e. Legion of Super-Heroes, Justice Society of America) are reintroduced... all things that long time DC Comics fanboys have been clamoring for since 2011.
Add to this the surprise ending featuring the integration of characters from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen into the DC Universe has set tongues wagging and renewed interest in DC Comics' superhero fare the likes of which has not been seen in years. And the proof lies in the numbers with improved sales throughout the entire line, and even I am spending more money on DC Comics these days compared to just a year ago, when the DC superhero line was practically unreadable.
- Superman - 2016 was the year Superman returned to form after many, many years of mediocrity stemming all the way back to 2005's Infinite Crisis era, which rendered Superman an ineffective shadow of his former self with inaction and constant arguing on whether or not he can do the right thing being the new status quo. And then there's the year Superman spent away from his own comics no thanks to the New Krypton arc, and ultimately culminating in Damon Lindelof's story in Action Comics # 900 where he proclaims he is not American, and J. Michael Straczynski's godawful Grounded arc which had Superman WALKING across America looking for his purpose.
By the time the New 52 reboot rolled along in 2011, it was very much welcome as there's simply nowhere else for Superman to go but up. Unfortunately this only appeared very infrequently, no thanks to false starts by Grant Morrison and George Pérez, perplexingly dull stories by Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns, and Greg Pak only having a few issues of Action Comics to be good before being mired in the godawful Doomed story, which led to Superman losing most of his powers and spending an entire year sporting a crew cut, t-shirt, and no direction. It was a mercy killing for the New 52 Superman by the time 2016 rolled along.
And thanks to Rebirth... we now have an experienced Superman that everyone knows and love since 1986, happily married to Lois Lane, and father of Jon Kent. The current Superman series is very much a mix of superheroics with family drama, with Lois Lane and Jon Kent every bit the main characters as Superman himself. It's a welcome evolution for the character without aging him too much. Writers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have been doing a great job thus far, none more so than the standalone issue 7 which essentially had the Kents spending a day at the local fun fair.
Coupled with consistently gorgeous artwork by Patrick Gleason and Doug Mahnke (with the occasional fillers by Jorge Jimenez), Superman is my current favorite DC Universe book.
27 December 2016 @ 01:38 pm
|Thunderstrike # 17||Turok: Dinosaur Hunter # 41|
|Turok: Dinosaur Hunter # 42||Turok: Dinosaur Hunter # 43|
|Turok the Hunted # 2||UltraForce # 9|
|UltraForce vol.2 # 7||UltraForce vol.2 # 8|
|UltraForce vol.2 # 9||UltraForce/Avengers Prelude # 1|
|Ultraverse Unlimited # 1||Uncanny X-Men # 366|
|Underworld Unleashed # 1||Valeria the She-Bat # 2|
|Vamps: Hollywood & Vein # 2||What If Special # 1|
|Wildcats # 10||Wonder Woman vol.2 # 129|
27 December 2016 @ 01:23 pm
|SpyBoy # 6||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Malibu) # 31|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Malibu) # 32||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Malibu) annual # 1|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Special # 1||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Ultimate Annual # 1|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Marvel) # 3||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Marvel) # 6|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation vol.2 # 75||Superboy vol.2 # 15|
|Superboy vol.2 # 41||Superboy vol.2 # 45|
|Superboy vol.2 # 48||Sword of Damocles # 1|
|Sword of Damocles # 2||Teen Titans vol.2 # 18|
27 December 2016 @ 01:08 pm
|My Name Is Holocaust # 1||New Titans # 120|
|New Titans annual # 10||New Titans annual # 11|
|Night Man # 22||Night Man # 23|
|Night Man vol.2 # 4||Night Man/Gambit # 3|
|Prime vol.2 # 10||Prime vol.2 # 11|
|Quasar # 55||Ray vol.2 # 21|
|Robin vol.2 # 50||Secret Origins vol.3 # 38|
|Secret Origins vol.3 # 39||Sgt Rock Special # 1|
|Sgt Rock Special # 4||Shadowhawk III # 2|
|Shadowhawk III # 3||Sigma # 2|
|Sigma # 3||Siren Special # 1|
25 December 2016 @ 08:59 pm
|Dragon's Claws # 7||Dragon's Claws # 8|
|Dragon's Claws # 9||Dragon's Claws # 10|
|Eliminator # 2||Eliminator # 3|
|Eternal Warrior # 38||Freex # 18|
|Genesis # 0||Guy Gardner: Warrior # 0|
|Hardcase # 24||Hardcase # 26|
|JLA # 45||Justice League of America vol.2 # 22|
|Lord Pumpkin/Necromantra # 1||Lord Pumpkin/Necromantra # 3|
|Mantra # 18||Mantra # 21|
|Mantra # 22||Mantra vol.2 # 2|
|Mantra vol.2 # 4||Mantra vol.2 # 5|
|Mantra vol.2 # 6||Midnight Sons Unlimited # 8|
25 December 2016 @ 08:37 pm
|All New Exiles # 8||All New Exiles # 9|
|All New Exiles # 10||Aquaman vol.5 # 33|
|Aquaman vol.5 # 39||Avengers West Coast # 102|
|Azrael annual # 3||Bad Eggs: That Dirty Yellow Mustard # 3|
|Black September # ∞||The Call # 1|
|Death's Head # 2||Death's Head # 3|
|Death's Head # 4||Death's Head # 5|
|Death's Head # 6||Death's Head # 7|
|Death's Head # 8||Death's Head # 10|
|Deathstroke, The Terminator annual # 3||DNAgents Super Special # 1|