Bachman’s Best


Bachman’s Best – Daredevil Season 2 ***Spoiler Free Review***

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The best thing I watched last week was Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix. More accurately it’s the best thing I just finished watching today after taking a vacation day from work yesterday during which I watched the first 10 episodes of the new season and finished off the final 3 today pre and post my Saturday morning workout. My original plan was to plow through it all on Friday but I wanted to make it last a little longer just because it is so damn good.

 

This season quite literally starts off with a bang, the first episode is titled “Bang” and it’s fantastic. The solid and detailed storytelling from season continues without a hitch. The story pulls you along screaming from reveal to shocking twist to wicked fight scene to epic shootout and it never eases up. Reaching a crescendo of a finale that makes season 1 pale in comparison. Which I’m not sure I would have thought was possible, but it damn sure is.

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It’s in the trailers so it’s not a spoiler that there are actual Hand ninjas in this season. And all I’m going to say is that Daredevil versus Hand ninjas in live action fights might be the best thing Marvel Studios has ever put on a screen, period. It has to be seen to be believed.

 

In my opinion Guardians of the Galaxy was the best action comedy comic book property we have seen so far, tons of laughs. The Nolan Batman trilogy is the best dark and gritty version of Batman we have ever seen. The Flash tv show is by far the best thing on television and the best straight comic to show translation so far, and my favorite show on tv. But Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix is the best comic property translation. It’s not the darkest and grittiest, though it is dark and gritty and real. It’s not a straight translation of the comic, many things were changed to make this show what it is. It’s not very funny though there is a couple of good laughs each season. But it does have the best fight choreography of any comic IP ever. And it just keeps getting better and better.
And oh yeah, Punisher, Elektra, and more Melvin! Go watch Daredevil now, you’ll love it. Me, I’m going to go watch it all over again.

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Bachman’s Best – Invincible #123

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The best thing I read last week is the Best Comic Book in the Universe, according to the cover anyways. Issue #123 of Invincible and it’s got a hell of a last page. Invincible has been on my pull list since around issue #20 and it is the #1 book on my pull list. It’s the book I always want to read first and usually the only book I read twice out of a stack of new books. Just like The Walking Dead it is a Robert Kirkman powerhouse and just like TWD I showed up just a little late after the series started but now it is my favorite book. And not just my favorite superhero book, my favorite book. If I had to cut my pull list down to just one monthly issue it would be sad to not read Amazing Spider-Man anymore but Invincible has the top spot.

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Many great artists have worked on Invincible as inkers, letterers, editors and colorists and they deserve their due but I’m only going to focus on the 3 main names involved with the comic. Kirkman the writer, and  Walker and Ottley the artists. Robert Kirkman the writer of Invincible is probably a name you already know with his work on Battle Pope, Marvel Zombies, The Destroyer, and a little zombie book called The Walking Dead. And just like The Walking Dead after the popularity of Invincible kicked in Kirkman found that his co-creator of Invincible Cory Walker wouldn’t be able to handle the duties of putting out a monthly book through Image. So just like Charlie Adlard came to the rescue and replaced Tony Moore on TWD as the series continued Mr. Kirkman had to find himself a replacement artist to keep his super hero book going after issue #7. In comes Ryan Ottley, one of my favorite comic artists of all time, a serious work horse that has now done almost 120 issues with very little help from fill in artists. And unlike the clashing difference between Moore and Adlard’s styles Ottley pulled off a feat of artistic brilliance I’ve never seen before in a comic series. He actually altered his style to mimic Walker’s and then phased it into his original style over the course of the next 10-15 issues. Most people have trouble even seeing when the artist changed over on Invincible because Ottley did this so well.

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The writing on Invincible is great in a way that’s hard to explain. The easiest thing to see in Robert Kirkman’s writing on Invincible is that he’s a fan of the super hero genre. You know this kid grew up with comics the way we’ve seen from other fans turned fantastic authors like Dan Slott and Geoff Johns. The book started off with a very simple concept, if you grew up knowing that your dad was a superman type hero named Omni Man and had told you that you would probably develop super powers sometime in adolescence how hard would it be to work that McJob and go to school hoping everyday that your powers would kick in? This is the life we are first presented for are main character Mark Grayson. Through more ups and downs than I can count over the series we see Mark handle all the standard and cliché stories you’ve seen handled in thousands of other comics but presented with the Kirkman spin on them.  And damn, sometimes that spin curls your toes, straightens your hair, or puts a serious pit in your stomach. Honestly some of the issues faced in this comic are as exhilarating as others are hard to read. But neither Kirkman nor Ottley shy away from showing or describing things that are violent, touching, or tough to witness. Imagine if you could write a story about how your favorite hero deals with those stupid cliché superhero moments, that is what Robert Kirkman is doing every month and it is damn fantastic. The only real problem in talking about this book is not giving too much away because it is so full of twists and turns and fantastic stories that spoiling something for a new reader is just wrong. The pictures in this article will go a long way to showing you the unique and diverse cast that Invincible has and hopefully won’t give too much away. Heroes, villains, aliens the likes of which you’ve never seen before in comics, so many great fights, indeed the bloodiest in any superhero comics I’ve ever read. As well as touching scenes of a teenager falling in and out of love and dealing with some of the toughest parental issues you’ve ever seen a fictional character face. Kirman brings you into Invincible’s word and shows you what it is warts and all, and it’s glorious.

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Now the man that makes all that glory beautifully bloody and violent is one talented artist named Ryan Ottley. As you can see from the attached art Invincible is powerfully illustrated superhero book. Ottley can draw a super brawl better than any artist working today in comics. From a very early Omni Man fight that covered multiple pages I thought I had seen the best super fight illustrated ever. Then Ottley topped it. Then he topped it again. And again. The man has magic in his fingers and an eye for violent action like a supernaturally gifted action film director. It’s a thing of beauty to witness as he brings us actual scenes of characters punching planets and makes it all seem to fit in this fantastical world. Yeah planet punching. And dimensional jumping, blowing up cities, visiting alien worlds, all of it drawn in great detail and popping off the page. Ottley’s art has improved vastly over the years and he just keeps getting better. His characters has personality and weight. They convey emotion better than lots of real life actors. And yet he can make you just as interested in a fight as he can two or three people having a simple conversation. He attacks it all with an energy and flourish of skill that I believe to be currently unmatched in the superhero genre. Now I’m not going to tell you he’s the best comic artist in the world, but I’ll fight you if he’s not in your top 10.

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So crazy super heroes dealing with violent family issues, dimension jumping villains, secret government spooks, alien wars, punching planets, and wicked hook ups, so what’s next? Invincible: Reboot. A title I have to admit had me as scared as it had me excited when I first saw it. But it’s advertised as a 3 issue arch, I can tell you with the way this issue read it fit into the story in a cool way, and at this point I have to say I trust where Kirkman is taking things. He has made me angry, he’s made me think, he’s made me laugh and almost cry, but he’s never let me down. It’s crazy but for long time fans it’s going to be really cool to see how this story is handled as the last page of issue #123 matches the first page from issue #1. Shit is about to get crazy. If you are a superhero comic fan there is no reason you shouldn’t already have this book on your pull list. If you used to be a superhero comic fan I’d say give Invincible a shot, either jump on right now or go grab the first trade, either way you will not be disappointed.

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Bachman’s Best – A Nightmare on Elm Street

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The best thing I saw last week was the original A Nightmare on Elm Street by Wes Craven. After the recent loss of the talented director it made me pause and take stock of my influences. Three names instantly came to mind; Stan Lee, Stephen King, and Wes Craven. Without these three men I would in no way be the person I am. They are all phenomenal storie tellers and each has made almost unequaled contributions to their individual fields. Having lost one of these gentlemen I took the last couple of weeks to reexamine a lot of his work. I re-watched the Nightmare series. I watched the Scream films. Red Eye, The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes – original and remake, The People Under the Stairs, and The Shocker. Wes Craven was a fantastic director involved in a lot of the films that taught me what horror could be. He will be greatly missed by this viewer and if you haven’t seen his films treat yourself. I promise you’ll learn something about the horror genre. Today however I’m here to talk about what is probably his most important contribution to the horror genre, and the slasher film specifically, A Nightmare on Elm Street.

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Freddy Krueger was the huge curveball thrown at the slasher franchises of the 80’s. Michael and Jason are both great and I’ve always found them entertaining but Freddy in A Nightmare on Elm Street brought serious dark humor and wit to his kills. In the original Freddy is dark, gritty, and out to terrify each teenager before he kills them. In some of the dream sequences he does odd crazy things like chopping off some of his own fingers and laughing at the blood spurting out. Sneaking up behind someone and then laughing manically as he chases them. To me this was a huge change to the silent stalking kills I had seen of Jason and Michael, and filled with character unlike the crazy loud kills of Leatherface. Krueger will probably be Craven’s longest lasting creation, time will tell. But I mean really, a movie villain child molester and killer that murders children in their sleep became so popular in the 80’s there was a line of pajamas made for both young boys and girls. Think about that for a bit. It was a very different world I grew up in.

 

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The cast of this film was packed with talent. John Saxon as the tough cop father of our heroine puts in a solid performance. Ronee Blakely delivers possibly the best performance of the film short of Robert Englund himself as a mother in denial drinking herself into oblivion as her daughter’s life is falling apart around her. Englund brings the monster to life. His charisma is palpable as Krueger. He’s charming as he’s scaring the shit out of you. In the original film you don’t cheer for him as you end up doing later in the franchise but you are transfixed by him. You want to see what he’s going to do next, how terrifying it will be, and who will be dead when he’s done. Heather Langenkamp is the star heroine of this film as Nancy Thompson, the girl that fights back against Krueger and isn’t willing to go quietly to her doom. She brought power to the role of a teenage girl frustrated by all the lying adults around her that prove to be no help as all her friends are dying. So instead of complaining she takes in upon herself to face, trap and kill Krueger. Langenkamp’s portrayal of Nancy had a lasting effect on me, I think it plays a lot into my attraction to strong brunette females. And last but not least let us not forget the young boyfriend Glen played by a complete unknown at the time named Johnny Depp. He gets a shot from Craven and turns in a strong performance as the great boyfriend of the hero and ends up with one of the most memorable deaths in film history. So all you Depp fans give a hardy thanks for Wes giving the kid a shot.

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The film is currently available on the Netflix instant queue and I can tell you it holds up. Even better is the crystal clean version on the new Nightmare on Elm Street blu-ray box set, super crisp visuals and sound, a very fantastic buy for any horror fan. However you see it you’ll be happily shocked to see the comparison of how old the fashion choices make the movie seem while at the same time the horror pieces make it feel just as relevant as ever. It’s still one of the only films I find scary. You get to see a group of teenagers basically picked off one by one for the sins of their parents as one smart teenage girl Nancy tries to piece together why a dream demon is killer her friends in their sleep. It’s bloody, it’s shocking, it’s funny, and sometimes so twisted you wonder where these ideas came from. In the best way possible. Thanks Wes.

 

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Bachman’s Best Ant-Man

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***Slightly Spoileriffic***

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The best thing I saw last week was Ant-Man. Now usually I do these spoiler free on opening weekend to let you guys know my thoughts and whether or not you should drop your hard earned dollars. I waited on this one for a specific reason that I will now explain. According to boxofficemojo.com Ant-Man has now made an estimated $132,148,000 and it had a budget of $130,000,000, which means add in the cost of the marketing and subtract the $159,500,000 foreign as well as DVD and Bluray sales and Ant-Man is profitable.

 

Was it a hit, nope. Was it the next Guardians of the Galaxy coming out of nowhere and stunning non-believers, not even a little. But it made Marvel and Disney money. I believe the people that were going to go see Ant-Man pretty all have at this point. Since the rise of the the Marvel controlled Marvel Cinematic Universe this movie is the biggest risk taken by Marvel Studios hands down. And the only really important thing to remember is that it made money for them. Marvel Studios can keep pushing the envelope. They can keep trying to expand what storytelling can be in the world of their movie franchises. They can keep moving forward shoveling money in the Disney machine and giving me reasons to be excited to be taking a day off from work and sitting in a theater ready to experience their newest gem. Whether it be another diamond like Avengers, or another diamond on the rough like Guardians of the Galaxy, or a really damn nice looking star garnet like Ant-Man.

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I got a kick out of this movie. Behind Guardians it is the second funniest Marvel film. Even with Edgar Wright departing as the director it’s got his fingerprints all over it. Wright is still credited as a writer and producer on the film. So whatever you may think about why he and Marvel Studios didn’t see eye to eye and caused him to step away from the big chair don’t take it out on Ant-Man because Ant-Man is 100% an Edgar Wright movie. Really the only thing missing was Simon Pegg.

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Marvel’s Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Michael Douglas turns in a forceful performance as Hank Pym, the man that really created Ultron wink wink, and gives his character plenty of gravitas and more than enough bad ass to make you believe he’s a retired superhero. It might be my favorite Douglas performance since The Game in 1997. Paul Rudd gives us a great version of Scott Lang the guy that has made a lot of bad decisions but is in no way a bad guy. The somewhat standard Rudd performance works well with the environment and feel of the movie as well as the characters around him. Rapper turned actor T.I., Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll all play well and work against some cookie cutter archetypes in good performances. But the show stealer this time around is Michael Pena, he’s the comedic heart of this little caper romp and is a joy to watch. Spectacular cameos by Hayley Atwell and John Slattery are great for connecting this flick squarely in the Marvelverse and the scene with Anthony Mackie is one of the best in the film.

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And yeah I said caper romp, or better yet let’s call it what it is, a heist film. Going much against track in the MCU this is a solid heist film and it works well as one. Adding more genre elements can really help flesh out the Marvel films and I hope they keep pushing it. Could go a long way to show those that think all the Marvel films are the same story rehashed. I do wonder if they green light a sequel if it will be another heist flick or a more standard action film, only time will tell. But man I got to tell you a Marvel heist film every couple of years would be pretty damn cool.

 

If you have held off this long I hope you still have a chance to go catch it on the big screen, It’s fun, you’ll have a good time, I promise. And if not the first run theaters at least give it a chance at your local dollar theater, the action scenes are well done and deserving of the big screen.
P.S. I shouldn’t have to tell you this anymore but it’s a Marvel movie, stay until the very END of the credits as there are 2 stingers at the end of Ant-Man, both really good setup pieces.


Bachman’s Best – Birthright #8

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The best thing I read last week was Birthright #8.

Written by Joshua Williamson

Lines by Andrei Bressan

Color Art by Adriano Lucas and

Letters by Pat Brosseau

Month in and month out this title continues to be one to look forward to and a highlight each month in my pull list. Birthright is the best new fantasy story I have picked up since East of West. In 8 issues Williamson has done plenty of world building and filled the pages with action. It’s fast paced, beautiful, and filled with original creatures and fantastic ideas.

It is a hard book to talk about because when you start reading it you think it fits very nicely into a tried and true cliche fantasy story but then you hit the twist. And it’s a good one, not going to spoil it but it sets the story on it’s head and leaves the reader reeling for many issues. There’s not another book I read each month that seems so jam packed with story and yet so short, it’s always sad to reach the end and face another month long wait, and also so completely worth it to dive back in each month and follow the continuing adventures.

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The beauty of Bressan’s lines and the power of Lucas’s colors flipping from dangerous darks to powerful neons is a stunning combination. As great as Williamson’s story is I’m betting Image could still do well selling this books with just the art and no words on the page.

Go out and hit your LCS and find the first issue. It went to multiple printings and shouldn’t be too hard to find. Or better yet, if you’ve come to trust my judgement go grab the Birthright vol 1 trade paperback. It’s Image’s standard $9.99 for a first volume which is how they get you hooked but believe me it’s worth it. It’ll be the best $10 you spend until the next Avengers film comes out.

 

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Bachman’s Best – Daredevil

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!!!SPOILER FREE!!!

The best thing I saw last week was the Netflix Original Series Daredevil. The Flash is still the funnest comic book TV show on the air right now, but it may no longer be the best. My weekend binge of Daredevil by the ultra talented Drew Goddard, of Buffy and Cabin in the Woods, was time well spent. I took Friday off from work to get a jump on the series and ended up with me watching 5 episodes that day and hanging out with friends that night and trying not to spoil anything for them. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday I easily polished off the rest.

From the beginning I was unsure about the series after being so excited for the Daredevil movie that I found plenty to like about but the general public made a flop, I actually own 2 copies, the original in the director’s cut. The director’s cut it is actually a fantastic movie if you got the time. But after seeing Marvel’s last foray with the horned avenger I was a little bit worried with what Netflix would do with the character. Fantastic shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards did go a long way to calm my fears. All those worries were shockingly set aside for me during the first 3 minute sequence as Charlie Cox portrays one Matt Murdock sitting in a confessional talking to a priest. In that scene I knew Marvel had nailed another fantastic casting choice.

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The show is heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil The Man Without Fear, and some of the shots in the show are direct pulls from John Romita Jrs panels. And unlike the Trial of The Incredible Hulk the black suited Daredevil in this series is done extremely well, it’s actually some type of Under Armor with red piping, very stylish. More importantly they do the head wrap in a way that comes across as realistic and believable.

And speaking of realistic, the number one best thing about this show – the fighting. The fight choreographer for this show should be handed an Emmy right now. It is so good it’s hard to even explain until you see it. Our hero goes through rooms filled with bad guys in well thought out sequences filled with great camera shots and never once that I can remember does he lay some guy out with one super powered punch. This Daredevil is human, and he fights humans, and the guys he’s beating on get up after he knocks them down. Sometimes multiple times, and they keep fighting. It’s incredibly well done. It’s worth month of Netflix just to watch one specific long drawn out camera shot fight scene, you’ll know it when you see it.

Overall it feels like a well written TV drama and not a superhero show, which is where I think they got it right. Instead of bringing the Daredevil comic to life they brought a story to life that takes place in Daredevils world. So fantastic acting form a killer cast, I mean really look at that IMDB page, it’s ridiculous. Great sets, impressive wardrobe, well timed stories, and the best fighting out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. And yes that includes Captain America Winter Soldier. Go, binge, you deserve it. You can thank me later.

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Bachman’s Best – The Flash

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The best thing I saw last week was The Flash. Actually its two weeks running and I’m betting dollars to donuts it’s going to be three but we’ll get to that. For those unaware The CW after the success of Arrow went forward with bringing back an old CBS classic, The Flash. As a fan of the old somewhat campy and crazy Flash TV show I was really excited to see the character coming back to TV and even more excited to see what the CW crew would do to it after they actually got me to enjoy Green Arrow stories which I hadn’t before. Now The Flash is my favorite comic book based TV show each and every week, it’s full of joy and fun, everyone should be watching this show.

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In all honesty I’ve found Barry Allen to almost always be a boring character in the comics, depending on the writer. I’m a much bigger fan of Wally West. But the TV’s of course always go with Barry. Having a super hero whose alter ego works in a police station works well for stories. On the original show John Wesley Shipp did a good job with Barry but I have to say Grant Gustin’s work has gone a long way to making me really care about Barry. In fact the whole cast on The Flash is top notch from the main characters to the bit players. And the CW nods to the classic show with John Wesley Shipp playing Barry’s father and Amanda Pays doing an episode, and the amazing thing coming this week – MARK HAMILL is returning as THE TRICKSTER!!! No clue how they are going to make that work but I am excited. For the uninitiated The Trickster is the equivalent of the Flash’s Joker, which as Mark Hamill is even more fitting.

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Trickster both classic and new school are scheduled to show up in this upcoming weeks episode which should make for a bang up time. One of the best things about The Flash are the Rogues Gallery. Commonly referred in the comics as simply the Rogues, the cast of villains Barry finds himself facing off against each week has been a joy to behold. In a simple monster of the week formula The Flash has presented a new super powered threat almost every episode in this their first season. And they just keep getting better and better. My current favorites are the brothers Prison Break, Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold and the gravelly Dominic Purcell as Heat Wave. These two have a spectacular on screen chemistry that plays very well with them being the hot and cold duo out to stop the Flash. It’s worth watching the show just for them, not to mention the Reverse Flash, Plastique, the Weather Wizard, the Pied Piper and Gorilla Grodd. That’s right, this show has a psychic gorilla on it, how can you beat that?

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In the last two episodes Barry has finally discovered his ability to run so fast that he can break the time stream. With the right circumstances he can indeed move quick enough to travel back in time. Luckily for him this first trip is only going back one day because the catastrophic changes are just now fully being felt by the character. Trying to stay spoiler free I’ll that over the course of the two days played out differently with Barry’s foreknowledge we see different deaths, different villains rise, and a whole string of changes to Barry’s personal life that will have far reaching consequences. It’s going to be fun to see where the writers take the overarching story now that they have this plot device, it’s even better to see that they are making the characters aware that changing the past does indeed have consequences.

It’s Tuesday nights on the CW folks, it’s The Flash, and if you only reward yourself with one hour of TV each week, The Flash should be that hour. And if you want to get all caught up you can always flip right over to the podcast section of this very sight and give a listen to the Crimson Comet and get your breakdown of all the episodes so far this season.


Bachman’s Best – Action Lab Entertainment

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Action Lab books

The best thing I read last week was a giant stack of Action Lab and Action Lab Danger Zone books. Big stack. Really damn big stack. It was a fantastic week. So I’ll do some quick hits to let you know my opinion of each of these books and maybe when I read the trades I’ll come back and hit on the ultra super good ones. So here we go:

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Midnight Tiger – like a rebirth of Spider-Man this book comes out swinging and firing on all cylinders. It might be the best new take on a superhero since Invincible.

 

Shinobi Ninja Princess – a young Jetta coming into her own as she learns the ways of the ninja and comes to terms with her powers and being the “chosen one”. Killer action and art work, fun pacing and sweet villains. Plus chibi’s.

 

Fight Like A Girl –wanna see a girl risk her life in a series of challenges for the amusement for a pantheon of gods to save her brother? Of course you do, why wouldn’t you. Very serious action.

 

Planet Gigantic – the adventures of two crazy kids on an even crazier world. Like Lost in Space but good. Each issue throws so many new things at you that they are made for multiple reads.

 

Pirate Eye – a noir swashbuckling set of mini-series, how much better can it get? The latest issue also has some fantastic Action Lab employee cameos.

 

Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla – The misadventures of H.P. Lovecraft and Nikola Tesla, do you really need a description?

 

Hero Cats of Stellar City –see that amazing hero over there flying around and smashing things? While the citizens are distracted by him his cat is out saving the city for real with a pack of talented felines. I honestly thought I would hate this book when I saw the ads, I was wrong, I love it, it’s full of fun.

 

Princeless –the newest issue I read has a fight in mid-flight on the back of a dragon, GET IT!

 

Stray – how does a sidekick go on after the death of their father figure? This is the premise of Stray a fantastic new superhero book from Action Lab.

 

And that’s just the books in the all ages area of Action Lab proper, there’s also some amazing yarns being spun in the Mature Readers imprint known as Action Lab Danger Zone!

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Dry Spell – possibly the coolest super villain I’ve ever read. It’s really hard to talk about without giving anything away, but all adult fans of the superhero genre will enjoy the hell out of this book.

 

Southern Dog – possibly the coolest comic I’ve ever read dealing with racism told through the filter of a werewolf story, and told extremely well with beautiful artwork

 

Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candy Land: Cock Fight – if Ren & Stimpy was really made for adults, on crack, by artists and writers doing whippets in math, it might come close to Itty bitty bunnies in rainbow pixie Candy Land.

 

Zombie Tramp – when the hottest call girl in Hollywood becomes the sexiest zombie you’ve ever seen things just keep getting weirder and weirder. From raising the dead fighting off zombies Elvis and dealing with ridiculous jocks zombie tramp is the funnest romp this side of the grave.

 

Crimson Society – in a world of vampires and werewolves how far would you go to be normal once you weren’t?

 

Ehmm Theory – time traveling dimension hoping craziness with super powered circus chimps and talking cat sidekicks that rock eye patches and drop lines like “lollipop Mudafuck”, how are you not reading this book already?

 

And one of the new kids on the block and my new personal favs:

Holy F*ck – Jesus is back and he’s not taking any shit from anyone! He’s proving he’s the son of God and laying the smacketh down.

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Go check out all the Action Lab goodness at their website HERE.

And check out their tweets!

@ActionLab

@ActionLabDanger


Bachman’s Best – Silk #1 and Spider-Gwen #1

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The best thing I read last week was Silk #1 and Spider-Gwen #1 spinning out of the fantasticness that was Marvel’s Spider-Verse. For those that may not know Dan Slott brought us a spectacular story that had Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus a.k.a. the Superior Spider-Man in Peter Parker’s body from earlier in the same timeline gathering different versions of Spider-Man, and other spider totems, from all over the multiverse to fight a family called the Inheritors that scour the multiverse to devour spider totems. It was a super fun story with more spider action than anyone ever thought possible in one story, Dan Slott is now the best Spider-Man writer ever in my humble opinion. If you’re a fan of Spidey you should be checking out Spider-Verse. But enough about that, the Spider-Verse is over and now we are seeing some of the great new books coming out of that story.

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Silk #1 brings us the story of one Cindy Moon, a girl that was bit by the same spider that bit Peter Parker but then hidden away in a bunker to avoid being detected by the Inheritors. After being rescued/released by Peter Parker see finds herself now in a New York see doesn’t understand looking for a family that appears to have left her behind. This is a great first issue brought to us by wordsmith Robbi Thompson, some great line art by Stacey Lee, and some kicking colors by Ian Herring. It’s a fun read and well worth your time. Silk is relearning life among New Yorkers, dealing with her crazy spider powers which are not the same as Peter Parkers and of course trying to build a life for herself both in and out of costume. It looks like it’s going to be a fun ride. And the Dave Johnson cover I got is just awesome!

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Spider-Gwen #1 was probably the funnest all around book I read last week as well as a beautiful addition to the Spider books. Introed in Spider-Verse #2 the character of a Spider-Woman portrayed by Gwen Stacey, affectionately called Spider-Gwen by the spider fans, in an alternate world where Gwen was bit and eventually Peter was the one that died. Spider-Gwen patrolled the streets of Manhattan for one issue and caused an uproar in the geek community, some of it negative of course, but most of it positive. The story was great and the artwork was fantastic, but what really set it apart was the suit design. If you haven’t seen the stir it caused just go Google Spider-Gwen and look at all the fan art, tons of pieces by artists from amateur to pro. And Marvel heard the uproar and responded in the best way giving Spider-Gwen her own series. Now sadly with Marvel heading into Secret Wars there is no telling if Spider-Gwen will come out the other side intact or changes or at all but in the meantime we have an amazing book to read. Wicked word play Jason Latour, ultra kinetic art by Robbi Rodriguez that is in the same category as Tradd Moore and Skottie Young in its frenetic energy, and killer colors by Rico Renzi that make Gwen’s New York both strikingly similar and yet very far from the New York of Spider-Man. This first issue introduces us to the Vulture of Gwen world and places her in his talons all the while not knowing that the band she drums for, The Mary Janes, may well be falling apart. Pure fun, beautiful bright artwork that nearly leaps off the page, go get it.

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(And a quick tease for next week. The picture below is the stack of Action Lab books I’m about to read. Pretty sure I’m going to have something to say about them. See you then.)

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Bachman’s Best – SAW

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The best thing I saw last week was Saw. I actually watched all 7 films in the franchise on my lovely new Blu-rays I got thanks to a friend of mine giving me a Blu-ray player to make up for my sudden lack of a PS3. Love them all, most for very different reasons from the original, but that is the one I want to talk about today. Saw, the original is important I think for two very big reasons. It spawned the first new type of horror film since the dawn of the slashers in the 70’s and 80’s and it also gave us our very first killer that doesn’t actually kill, well at least not in the standard horror movie way. And depending on which sites you check and adjusting for inflation it is labeled by some to be the highest grossing horror franchise of all time so Saw definitely hit upon something in the American psyche and rolled with it.

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Probably my favorite thing about the original is the simplicity of it’s beginning. Two guys, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell get together to make an independent movie, they want it to be cheap. They ask themselves “What’s the cheapest movie we can make?” The answer “Two guys in a room.” “But why are they in the room?…” From that simple little back and forth they come up with Adam and Lawrence waking up in a room not knowing how they got there and then learning throughout the film why they are in this room, and more importantly what it’s going to take to get out.

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“I want to play a game” these are the words that Jigsaw, aka John Kramer played fantastically by Tobin Bell, relays to each of his victims through a tape or video message. He has found them to be undeserving of their life for one reason or another and challenges them to a game which will prove their will to live. The games and traps in the later films become vicious and some inescapable but the original ones designed by Jigsaw could always be beat if the victim were willing to give of themselves. The second great quote form Jigsaw being “Oh yes, there will be blood”. If you are willing to shed blood, maybe injure yourself or somebody else you could escape Jigsaw’s trap and that is where a lot of the genius of the story comes from. The traps and games are what keep me coming back time and again in the series just too really see what new contraptions the special effects and set designers would create for each new trip into the world of Saw.

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The one downside of course being that the Saw franchise gave rise to the tidal wave of subgenre horror films lovingly entitled “torture porn”, not the least of which is the 3 Hostel films from Eli Roth. Though what all these movies usually get wrong with the pure in your face violence I believe Saw got right with the story and characters and just plain powerful script. If you’re a horror nut you’ve seen these, but go back and re-watch Saw now knowing what you know and see just how well it holds up. If you’re not a horror fan you may have avoided this franchise, but give the first one a chance, it’s gruesome and gritty and might make you a little nauseous, but it’s also damn fine movie making and well worth your time.

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