Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kamen Rider Decade/W Movie

Endings can be a very fickle thing for people to deal with. If a series you loved ends badly, it can reverberate all the way to beginning, bringing into question wether you even really liked the series to begin with. Such is the tight rope act Kamen Rider Decade has had to endure. With 31 episodes of build up to a promised cataclysmic ending - the finale Decade story simply had to be good. If not, then what was the point? Well, as this movie aptly puts it, it's the journey that's important.

This movie features two completely separate storylines, featuring the ending battle with Decade, and the beginning origins of Kamen Rider W. It's all very parallel to each other - finally ending with a shared crossover, where Kamen Rider W is suddenly shoved into Decade's world. They both fight together and defeat their foes. It makes absolutely no sense -- but, that's what the Japanese really are good at: taking a situation that, logically shouldn't work, ignoring that logic, and making it work anyway. There's no reason why W's story had to cross over into Decade's story. At least it made some kind of weird sense on Decade's end, who deals with multiple dimensions. But it still worked.

There was no revelation of Decade's origins (I suppose the All Riders movie is cannon, now). And there where such strange homages and events that even long time fans might not understand. (Why, exactly, is the grandfather turning into an older-style Rider villain?) It might not be the ending everyone was expecting - but, it's and ending. And I, for one, am completely satisfied! They threw in everything for this final battle - even a robotic elephant! It was just awesome! And, as for Decade, he's still going to be out there. Maybe we'll see him again if we ever need another Kamen Rider series cross-over. In the meantime, he'll continue the journey. Whatever you thought of the ending, it was quite a journey - and nothing should take away from that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comic Review: Secret Avengers #1

When I first heard about Secret Avengers I didn't know what to think of it. So I waited until the cast line up was announced. Moon Knight? Valkyrie? Nova? Nothing against these characters, but it sounded like a gathering of D-List heroes. It simply didn't impress me. Then, for some reason, I began really liking this proposed group. Beast is definitely the biggest catch for the book, finally putting him where he can actually have some fun being a super-hero, instead of another officer in Scott Summer's mutant army. I like Moon Knight, read this book for about 20 issues or so - but it sort of still conflicted with me as to why he's on this book. It fits that he wants to be a Super-Hero, but I also remember Captain America, during the Civil War, specifically telling Moon Knight he didn't want his help because he was a murdering psycho. Unless something dramatic changed in that series, I believe Moon Knight can still be considered a murdering psycho. I can let it pass, though, on the basis that Steve Rogers is giving Moon Knight a second chance. Rogers is also giving the same second chance to the Irredeemable Ant-Man.

So, for whatever reason this team suddenly made sense to me - it still stood the test of being a fun comic, and one I'd want to read every month. Ed Brubaker is very good writer, but I have to admit I had soured on his stories when I stopped getting Captain America. There was absolutely nothing wrong with his stories or how he tells them, but something about it wasn't working for me anymore. This second try reading his stuff has proved fruitful, as this issue quickly sets up the new adventure Steve Roger's team is on, while also filling us in on how the group got together. I particularly liked how Steve compared the Secret Avengers to his time with the Invaders, making surgical strikes on the enemy to achieve their goals. That was a smart comparison to make, as Steve Rogers' name doesn't immediately come to mind when you think of black-ops adventures. Since he's no longer Captain America, with a little less spot-light on him, he has the chance to work with this kind of team.

Mike Deodato's art is good. His art always serves the story well, and while everyone does always seem to be stuck in "Super Heroic Stance Mode" - it comes off well enough in this book. I also liked the redesign of Antman and Beast's costumes.

You know why team books are usually so popular? You get a wider variety of Super-Heroes in a single book, essentially giving you more bang for your buck. Thats hasn't always been true of team books in recent years, with New Avengers and X-Men telling very specific tales using the characters. What I really like about Secret Avengers is that this book brings back that multi-hero sense of savings - as each character is given the spot light while not drowning out the narrative.

There is one major sticking point to this title, though, which I hope is corrected in the future issues. Beast has FOUR fingers - not five. I know this is a little detail to complain about, but I'd like to at least know that Mike Deodato has since been told of the problem, and perhaps can fix it for future issues. Beast has been through enough mutations. He doesn't need to go to sleep and wake up the next morning with more fingers. (Even if it is a returning digit)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Red Hulk Revealed *Spoilers*

I predicted this months back. Before the first six issues of the Red Hulk's book ended - I pegged General Ross as the Red Hulk. It didn't matter that he was later seen talking to the Red Hulk - it just made too much sense for it not to be him. Then, in issue #600, it was revealed that M.O.D.O.K. was using LMDs (Life Model Decoys), which immediately put Ross back in the running.

Apparently, Betty Ross is also the Red She-Hulk. I know why Ross is running around acting like a jerk, but why Betty?

Again, finding out Red Hulk's identity is nice, but it's just too darn late. I dropped the book after being so disappointed with issue #600, where I was seemingly misled about the identity reveal happening then. Bruce Banner's change into McGuyver has been cool, and it looked like Greg Pak is still writing good issues - but not enough for me to want to want to deal with Jeph Loeb's book. I swear, he use to be a good writer, but that seems to no longer be the case. Perhaps he should get away from the constant self-congratulations he and Pak have been giving each other in interviews. It's like watching the commentary for a movie that stinks.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Avengers #1 for Free at Newbury Comics

If you live in the Boston area, you might want to know that Newbury Comics are having a special deal on May 9th. If you buy 4 comics on that day, you'll get the new Avengers #1 for free. It's not a big give away, but it's nice. And it works out for me since I buy my comics there anyway.