Category Archives: General

A Good To Die Hard: Die, Die, Die

The Die Hard films can be a bit hit and miss, especially of late. The original movies are fairly decent, the new ones not so much. Last year, we got to see the fifth film in the franchise and its the worst of them all to date. As I said in my review of it last year, even the fourth film was quite a bit better than this. This one is just a regurgitation of the kind of things that made the previous movies good, but executed poorly.

A Good Day To Die Hard, apart from a ridiculously long name, is just not the kind of action movie I want to see, especially not one with Bruce Willis’ acting power behind it, which suffered here in fact. When the material is bad, not even one of the world’s best actors can do much about it.

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Goodbye Aaron

I’ve never done a post like this. The reason is that of all the creators that have passed in the 3 years since I started this blog, I’ve never had a personal connection with them. But this week, Aaron Allston passed away, and with this fine gentleman I have a very personal and important connection, something that I’ve unfortunately overlooked in recent times when talking about my first proper forays into the wide world of science fiction and fantasy.

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Battleship: Boom, Boom, Boom

When the movie Battleship was announced, I had a hard time believing that it was true. Battleship is a tabletop game where two players never get to see each other’s playing field, and its all a matter of guesswork. There is far more to it of course, but I was left wondering how the gameplay would translate into a movie. I wondered if it could even be pulled off, and competently too. When I saw the movie, I found that particular aspect to be interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so perhaps that made me more congenial to the approach used.

All the same though, Battleship is quite a decent movie. It was never going to win any awards, given that it just didn’t have all that much star power (or in a prominent role at that), but that was never my concern. I went in expecting a decent movie, and got it. Repeated viewings have only made it more palatable to me. Because sometimes you need a movie that is just about the big, loud action. And that’s what Battleship is. I’m totally fine with that.

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Aquaman #27 (Comics Review)

In December Jeff Parker took over writing duties on Aquaman from Geoff Johns. After more than two years of Geoff’s excellent run on the title, which saw the title become one of DC’s best-selling titles in the New 52, we are finally getting a fresh perspective on things and based on #26 and #27 both, I have to say that some really exciting times are ahead for the readers. The previous issue was almost perfect. It met my expectations and it has some great story and art both.

This past week’s #27 proved to be another good installment of the series. It wraps up the plot with the Atlantean mythological sea-monster that was terrorising Reykjavik, Iceland and at the same time it furthers the subplot involving the political tensions in Arthur’s advisory council while also giving us more information on Triton Base, a hidden underwater research base created to investigate future potential threats from the underwater kingdom and Aquaman’s relationship to it, among other things. And the art was also good, although the switch at the end with the pencillers created a bit of a WTF moment.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 59,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Top 10 Posts For 2013

In many ways 2013 was a really excellent year for the blog. I started several new things and they all met with some great support from you, the readers. When I started the blog back in March 2011 I had no idea that it would grow to be this big or this popular. It truly is a humbling experience.

I love numbers, I am fond of them, especially when they tick upwards day by day, and so, sort of to acknowledge that particular fascination and also to share with all of you what you thought was the best reading on the blog in 2013, here are the top 10 posts of the year, in descending order.

Quite amazing really!

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The Phantom Stranger #14 (Comics Review)

After all the build-up in the previous issues of Justice League Dark and The Phantom Stranger, writer J. M. DeMatteis gets things into gear finally with this week’s issue of the latter series. We’ve seen how the manifestation of pure evil that crossed over from Earth 3 to Earth 1 with the Crime Syndicate has begun to effect the supernatural-oriented heroes of the DC Universe and we’ve seen how Constantine and his allies have tried to take the fight to this manifestation, Blight, and failed. Now, Constantine has rebounded from that defeat by doing the impossible: bringing the Trinity of Sin to his doorstep in chains in order to solicit their help, essentially at the point of a gun.

Ever since DeMatteis took over on the series he has been turning out one great issue after another and this new issue follows that trend. It is moody, it has character drama, it has tension, it has action. Its got everything, in short, and DeMatteis has been incredibly consistent with his writing along with Fernando Blanco and Brad Anderson on the artwork. Issue #14 is where the status quo for all these characters really shifts and where a new (temporary) Justice League Dark is born.

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Mighty Avengers #3 by Al Ewing (Comics Review)

As the larger cosmic event Infinity begins winding down, so do the various tie-ins and current arcs going on in the related books. Mighty Avengers, a book which launched in synchronicity with the event in September, ended its first arc this week, and it has been doing quite decently from what I’ve heard of the sales for the first two issues. Of course, there’s also the matter of the exact make-up of the team, which has generated no small amount of buzz itself.

This is a book that showcases the minority characters, and characters that are seemingly overlooked by the rest of the Marvel universe considering that most of the books the publisher is putting out right now are X-Men books with largely similar teams, and Avengers books that are all about the high-profile heroes. Al Ewing has done great in bringing together all these characters and telling a really fun story involving them, partnered up with some decent artwork,

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Superman Unchained #4 by Scott Snyder (Comics Review)

When I last checked in with this series, which was back in August with the third issue, the title was just about getting its legs and giving me enough to impress. The first two issues lacked the distinct firecracker vibe that has characterised Scott’s Batman or even his The Wake, and so they were a bit disappointing. But the third issue was fantastic and I really enjoyed it. So much so that I felt this could be an extremely promising series with future issues.

And I certainly wasn’t disappointed at all. The new issue, which was meant to come out last week but was inexplicably delayed till this week, built wonderfully on everything that Scott and artist Jim Lee have done till now to give an issue that is super-fantastic. And a lot of this has to do with how the two of them have portrayed Lex Luthor in this issue, and the big reveals about the global techno-terrorist group known as Ascension that has been harrying the Big Blue for a while now.

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Damian: Son of Batman #1 by Andy Kubert (Comics Review)

Over the years, Batman has had several sidekicks, three of them being Robins, and a Batgirl. At least, that’s what I knew until I began reading the New 52 branded comics. And suddenly, as I started to read more comics and read the wiki-lore, I understood that Batman even had a son, and that there have been two more Batgirls and even a Robin in the far future when Bruce is all old and retired. The one thing that really stuck out at me was that Batman had a son, Damian, from Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter Talia.

Despite my interest in the character I didn’t really read any of the comics related to him, except for the first volume of Peter J. Tomasi’s Batman and Robin for the New 52, which I found to be mediocre at best. Damian just didn’t work for me as a character.

Earlier this year, Damian was killed off in the pages of Batman, Inc which was written by Grant Morrison, the man who had created the character several years ago. In the midst of all the hype surrounding the death, DC announced a 4-issue “what if?” mini-series that would bring the character back. I was mildly interested. After reading it, I’m just completely disappointed.

Note: This contains some spoilers about the issue.

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Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1 by Mike Costa (Comics Review)

Earlier this month, writer Mike Costa began a 3-part crossover story that focused on some of Marvel’s premier heroes, the young X-Men of the past from All-New X-Men, Bruce Banner/Hulk from Indestructible Hulk and Otto Octavius/Spider-Man from Superior Spider-Man. This was a story that brought together a very informal team to deal with a very specific, and quite incidental threat, and thus far, the highlight of the crossover was in the interactions between the characters and the light-hearted charm that Mike brought.

Concluding in this week’s Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1, the crossover continues to highlight the fact that what Mike was trying to do here was all about the characters. These are guest issues by him since he’s not working on any of the three titles, and I think it creates a nice way of getting onboard with these characters since you don’t really need to know much about them, other than the broad general stuff, particularly in the case of Otto Octavius being the Superior Spider-Man.

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Justice League Dark #24 by J. M. DeMatteis (Comics Review)

Justice League Dark is a title that I had no interest in until quite recently, when DC announced its Trinity War event. I was already reading the other two JL titles and since this was going to be a short event, I was really enthused about finally picking up the the third title as well, just so I was current on all the characters and what brought the JLD team together. It proved to be a somewhat mixed experience, given all the creative changes on the book, but Trinity War proved to be rather excellent.

With that event ended, we are now in the Forever Evil phase and we finally get an issue with the characters of the book in focus. Or rather one of them that is, John Constantine, confidence man and magician extraordinaire. And that’s not all of course, since with this issue the fourth Forever Evil tie-in begins, Blight, and this one doesn’t have its own mini-series, but is a large tale across four different titles. So this issue had a lot to live up to with new writer J. M. DeMatteis, and delivers aplenty.

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