Tuesday, October 26, 2010

tonight: sports are worth watching again.

Hey, I don't know if you've heard, but...basketball is back tonight!

This might be one of the best ways to get ready for it:

We might also talk about the slate of games tonight:

Heat vs. Celtics
Suns vs. Trailblazers
Rockets vs. Lakers

Or we could just sit back and bask in the glory of the League.

Monday, October 25, 2010

comics for the week of 10/20/10.

The same kind of week as last week, which, looking back, wasn't all that eclectic at all.

Batman and Robin 15 - Morrison and Irving continue to revitalize this book as it should be. I feel like, by reading this book, I'm completely able to avoid the one-shots and the mini-series of "The Return of Bruce Wayne" - which is a fantastic thing! The stories read like Elseworlds, but they have real world ramifications, and the portrayal of the Joker reminds me of what Morrison did with Magneto over in the X-Men so many years ago. Namely, it's cool, and I'm sure lots of people love it, and I'm even more sure that it'll be completely wiped out or just ignored forever after he leaves. The book is good, I love the fact that Damian and Dick have a great interplay, and I'm hopeful that Bruce returning won't ruin any of that.

Daredevil 511 - Shadowland is almost done. This story is great. I don't understand people who say it's not. It really is. The thing is, as I keep saying over and over in my recaps of the DD storyline...I don't know what else there is to be done other than kill him. And, progressively, as it's gone on, I've gotten the feeling from the writing that that's not what they're going to do. It's all going to be The Beast who was possessing Matt, and it's going to be separated and then Murdock's going to have to recover and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Kill Matt Murdock. Have the balls to do it. That would make this story one of the best ever.

Fables 99 - One issue away from the big showdown. This issue highlights Mr. Dark (is that really his name?) as the North Wind goes to tell him that a showdown with Totenkinder is imminent. We get to see a lot of attention paid to what the bad guy is up to (and maybe why?) and I'm definitely feeling the buildup to 100, but I've got to be honest and say that it doesn't feel as big as Gepetto. Maybe that's because it's only been 1/3 in length, but this guy is supposed to be EVIL. It just doesn't feel like it's as big a deal. That being said, almost all of the other elements of the book (supporting characters, overall mythology, main characters, the farm in and of itself, etc.) feel a lot stronger than they did 25 issues ago.

Kick-Ass 2 1 - Millar and Romita Jr. are back on the comic that became a movie before it was done being a comic and I've got to say...it's no good. I really wasn't feeling this book, and I'm surprised by those who said that it was as good as the first run. I know it's just the first issue, but I'm not used to Millar needing time to get things ramped up. And frankly, it just wasn't that engaging.

Book of the week goes to Fables. I'm hooked for issue 100, just like I have been for the 99 before. Here's to another 100 if not more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

comics for the week of 10/13/10.

A good week for comics. Great variety.

Green Lantern 58 - As Larfleeze continues to get developed, it's clear that he's the character, maybe besides Atrocitus, in whom Johns and company have the most invested. This is definitely not a bad thing, as the hints that we get about his origin and his parents, etc. in this issue really are tantalizing. The story of Hal Jordan continues to be the least interesting thing happening in his own book, which is a shame, but this book does a better job of focusing on the other Corps than any other book, which is a great thing.

New Avengers 5 - I'm glad that this thing with Doctor Strange's old master is turning out the way it is, because that was unsatisfactory to me. The Vishanti are a subject that I know little about, but I like the way that they're explaining little bits as the storyline progresses. I'm interested in how the story will (hopefully) conclude next issue.

Shadowland 4 (of 5) - Daredevil did not get a chance to resurrect Bullseye, so that's good, but damn...I've said it before and I'll say it again: Matt Murdock's got to die. If this storyline ends without him dying, with him just taking a break, or some such bullshit, well...I'm pretty sure I'll be unhappy. Which would be quite a change. Shadowland has been amazing so far and it just continues to get better and better. I'm happy to see that Elektra was playing the role of double agent, she's better as a consistent character, as opposed to constantly waffling back and forth. It'll all be done in a month, I can't wait.

The Unwritten 18 - If this book continues the way it's going right now, it might supercede some of the other quote-unquote best-evers. The layering that goes on with the mythology, the references, everything that's happening here feels truly purposeful and done with a master stroke. In this issue, we finally get to see some of the men and women behind the curtain and the character of Pullman gets to step a bit more into the daylight. There's an overarching menace to what's going on in the book, and a weird bit of religion, but nothing will stop me from devouring each issue.

Book of the week goes to the Unwritten. I'm curious to know whether it's a true ongoing, or if they have an end in mind. Obviously, I prefer the finite story.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

continuing my baseball conversion.

So. The Texas Rangers. How about it?

Man, I never would have thought I would be here. A week ago, I was certain they were going to roll, three days ago, I was afraid for my friend's long-term well-being and then, magically, last night it all came together. The Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in a best of 5 series, without winning a single game. (This, somewhat ironically, makes them still without a home playoff win in their entire existence.)

Now, they embark on the journey that all Davids must undergo if they want to take baseball's ultimate crown: to take down the perpetual Goliath, the New York Yankees.

As previously mentioned, as a baseball hater, when October inevitably arrives each year, I usually turn my rooting interests the way of the Yankees. They're usually pretty good, they win a good percentage of the time, and they're at least somewhat entertaining, especially given their links to Jay-Z.

Now, however, on Friday night, I'll have to route against my pseudo-team. And I'll be happy to do so. Despite any trolling comments online, the Texas Rangers' story only gets better and better to me. Turns out, when they clinched game five, they celebrated with ginger ale before breaking out the champagne. Why? Josh Hamilton is an alcoholic. Plenty of smart-mouthed sports fans seemed to have some kind of negative comment about that in the last 24 hours, but imagine being him and seeing your teammates holding back on their celebration, out of respect for you. My fandom of the Rangers begins at that noble point.

Count Cliff Lee, their pitcher extraordinaire, as one of the other reasons, as well. With an ERA of 3.18, he ranked sixth in the American League this year. He's been in the league a mere eight years, and made it to the World Series in 2009 with the Philadelphia Phillies, only to fall to the New York Yankees. Adding intrigue to an already-interesting storyline? Count me in.

Last but not least, I default to the somewhat bizarre case of the sad luck of the Rangers. Having made it to the playoffs only three times before this year, they've always been eliminated by, you guessed it, the New York Yankees. Now, with a chance to get back at the bully in the American League Championship Series, there's a lot to root for. Game 1 of the ALCS will be played on Friday night at 6 PM MST. The game will be shown on TBS. Find a comfy spot and root for the little guy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

comics for the week of 10/06/10.

Had a great experience in the LCS yesterday when I ran into one of my great friends whom I sometimes see there and a new friend whom I'd just met about a month ago. The comic store as a meet up place? My middle school self would have been so proud.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer 43 - Last Gleaming part two. Buffy just keeps better and better. As we race toward the conclusion, I'm really coming to agree with my friends who would always claim that Buffy was the least interesting character in her own series: she comes across really poorly in this issue, and that's not a fault of the writer, it's her own fault. Buffy's just not that fantastic of a character, I realized this issue, but I love the characters surrounding her. I was never a huge Spike fan, but this issue (and the great letter at the back) really made me appreciate him even more. The role of the Master in this issue is a bit confusing, but very funny overall. Angel's role obviously is going to be developed quite a bit more as we get toward the end, and I'm looking forward to it.

Red Hood: The Lost Days 5 (of 6) - Jason Todd is getting a little more interesting. After complaining about the last issue, I felt like this one did a good job of re-establishing the fact that, at his core, he doesn't care about the semantics of an issue the same way Bruce (or Dick) does. Jason Todd shouldn't be a character we can empathize with too closely, and this issue did a good job of re-emphasizing that. Here's to hoping for a good conclusion from Winnick.

Shield 4 - If last issue confused me, this one cleared most of that up, but increased the scale. I'm loving this book! Shield is one wacky experiment with retcons and mixing real history with comic book worlds; there's not a lot not to love. However, I'm not sure that it's going to go somewhere the way I like the majority of my art to do. For this reason, I'm a little more wary than I have been over the last 3 months of my unbridled enthusiasm.

Book of the week goes to Buffy, no doubt. I'll be back with more quicker this week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

randy moss traded to vikings - unbelievably, i write about baseball.

Who would have thought in a week when Gilbert Arenas banished his sense of humor and an 7-time Pro Bowl-er gets traded to a now-Super Bowl bound team that I'd end up writing about baseball? And yet, forces have aligned.

Last week, I wrote about my friend's lifelong love for the Texas Rangers and today they began their playoff battle. A team that, as I noted, had previously won only one playoff game in their entire existence, started the journey on the road. The Rangers played the Tampa Bay Rays and were firmly in command the whole time. Listening on the radio while at work had an old-school effect not only on my buddy at work, but on the rest of us as well, constantly checking in with him for updates, despite the fact the the ever-present Internet was (as always) a mere click away.

Seeing my buddy after work was like seeing a kid after their team wins its first game. I'm not sure I can stand much more of his happiness, but I'm definitely rooting for it.

All that joy was, if not erased or negated, kind of deflated a mere five hours later, though. As I stopped by Marble Brewery to pick up a growler after work, I eased up to the bar to see another baseball game on. The Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Cincinnati Reds, but the game was pretty much over. It was the top of the ninth, and the Phillies were up 4-0, pitching. There wasn't much chance of a Reds comeback and yet, to my right was a guy in a Phillies jersey, watching the TV in rapture.

I hope I won't be mischaracterizing this man to say that, as the game wrapped up, he looked like he was liable to cry in joy. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of cheering happening on the TV as well, so I couldn't help but ask my fellow drinker: "Did the Phillies do something more special than winning the first game of the playoffs?"

He replied that Roy Halladay, the pitcher for the Phillies, had just proceeded to pitch only the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history. Only accomplished once, 54 years ago this Friday, a no-hitter in the playoffs is better than almost anyone would have predicted for Halladay's first experience in the playoffs. He'd never made it there before, despite playing in the big leagues for 15 years.

And with that, the Texas Rangers' moment in the sun was eclipsed suddenly, unexpectedly and totally, by a pitcher on a tear. Here's to both the Rangers and Halladay's continued success. Follow along on the radio. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, October 4, 2010

comics for the week of 09/29/10.

If my younger self could see me now: only one comic book this week.

Powers 6 - Bendis continues to bring the goodness in this new run of Powers, and I'm glad to see that he's finally acknowledged that it's bi-monthly. This issue served as the beginning of two plotlines, but I had no idea that they'd be intersecting so quickly. We see the return of Deena Pilgrim (and how we've missed her!) and we see the death of an apparent God - although we've kind of already dealt with this storyline, right Bendis? Regardless, there is (as usual) tons to honestly laugh out loud at in this issue (sometimes I think Bendis just wants an excuse to draw the most primal, fucked up shit that he can think of and tries to pass it off as quote-unquote superhero comics) but, again, as almost always, it's not bad. It's humorous at times, but it's never funny-bad. The scene with Walker fighting the space aliens and Calista joining him is hilarious, but it's not like it doesn't work. The best part of the issue was his new partner's splash page where we see what a terrible, lying bitch she is, and the last page reveal with Pilgrim. Good read.

Book of the week is a de facto on this one, so I'm not even going to officially give it.