I keep saying this and it never gets old for me: despite everything “new” that the Big 2 have done of late, Valiant Comics is still not done pulling out all the stops to establish themselves in the big leagues of superhero comics. Their Unity ongoing, which is a team-up comic featuring some of their biggest heroes, is proof of it. I wasn’t sure what all to expect from it when I heard about it and the book has been a very pleasant surprise. It has kept me coming back month after month, and I suppose that is evidence enough of how much I am enjoying reading this series.
In the first three issues, we saw a superhero team go up against one of the most powerful men on the planet. It was quite a brutal three issues and featured some of Matt Kindt’s best writing. He’s been very hit and miss for me, but with this series he has definitely a hit, and that is pleasing on a personal level since the Valiant universe is so very different from what exists at the Big 2. It is fresh, it is unique, and it also a whole lot of fun. It also helps that the art on this series is so damn good.
Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a novel that I will never forget. It has the distinction, for me, of being the first ever full-on space opera/science fiction novel that I ever read (I am not counting the young adult Animorphs novels). It was also the first novel I read at my new school in Dubai when we moved there in July 2001 (I read the book sometime late September 2001). To this day, I remember the book very fondly. It started off in an amazing place, and it ended with the most wondrous climax that I’d read to date, and that applies to all the hundreds of novels I’ve read since then.
There is something about nostalgia, and that first book. Frank Herbert’s Dune will always be an amazing masterpiece for me and a true space opera classic, but 2001: A Space Odyssey is a great companion at the top of that table. Clarke’s novel is the one that really set me on the path to reading the wider science fiction and fantasy genres, and that is why it will always have a special place in my heart. Just a few days ago, I re-read the novel for the first time ever since that first reading almost twelve and a half years ago. The sense of wonder and grandeur in the novel is just as compelling today as it was to an inexperienced reader all those years ago. A timeless classic.
Note: This novel is part of my 25 Series To Read In 2014 challenge.
One of the most polarizing films of recent times is Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, the prequel to his Alien movies. From all I’ve seen, opinions are sharply divided right down the middle, and I fall in the camp of people who hate and dislike this movie. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting from this, possibly a movie that could stand up to the awesomeness of Alien, but instead what we got was on the same level as the terrible Aliens vs Predator crossover movies. And that’s me trying to be the least bit positive there actually.
After a decent enough start, the movie just went downhill and it never looked back. I was honestly surprised that we had been given such a distinctly terrible movie from Ridley Scott. Amazed at it really. Anyways, here’s my review of the movie.
Note: Spoilers for the movie follow.
Yesterday, Marvel/Disney released a set of three photos from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy (check here), the first movie in the Marvel Cinematics Universe that will take place entirely in space and will feature the wider (science) fantastical world of Marvel comics. Its going to feature the team often dubbed as the Cosmic Avengers and has some interesting star power behind it in the form of Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in two of the lead roles with WWE wrestler Dave Bautista in a third and the other two CGI-animated characters being voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.
We also got a 15-second teaser trailer at the same time, which was kind of nice, but far too brief. Personally, I don’t like teaser trailers. They are far too short to do anything really, even if I end up liking them. But then, but then just this morning, I saw a tweet by actress Karen Gillan in which she shared the FIRST FULL TRAILER of the movie! And I was hooked. Man, if the movie holds up to what this trailer is showing, this movie is going to be great.
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.
As a kid, I remember when the original trilogy was released in India in theaters. There was a huge promotion about it, to the tune that you could get these nice little stickers in packets of chips that you could then use to add to these booklets that you could buy from confectionaries, grocers etc. That was when my fascination with Star Wars began. Years later, I picked up my first Star Wars book, Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston, and a few years later I saw the third movie in the prequel trilogy in theater with a friend, and then soon after that I saw the original trilogy for the first time, in college. I then went on to read a ton of Star Wars novels, thanks mostly in part to a well-stocked college library (or libraries rather, I should say), and I’ve almost always had fun.
In 2012, George Lucas and Co. began to roll out 3-D versions of the movies, starting with Episode I. It was a fantastic experience for me. But my excitement for watching the successive movies in the new format died out when it was announced that all plans had been put on hold pending Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. And now Disney has no plans to rerelease the movies in 3D, moving forward instead with a new trilogy and several spin-off films. Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.
So, anyway, here’s a repost of my review for the 3-D version of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Back in 2011 I joined my friend Paul’s movie review site and one of my first review for him was for the third Transformers movie, which I had seen just before. Might have been the same day, may be not. I don’t remember. Its been a while. At the time, I really enjoyed the movie, though it did have some disappointing moments. But the fun was key, that is always the key.
Since then, I’ve seen the movie quite a few times on television, and since writing that review, I’ve gained a much better perspective on things. And I’ve learned to be more critical of things as well. You could even say that I’ve grown as a reviewer since those early days. As Paul’s site is now pretty much defunct, I’m going to start reposting all my reviews here on the blog so that they are better… preserved. This review is by old-me, so keep that in mind!
Once again, a very light reading week, with no graphic novel reading at all. I took a trip to India and back over the weekend, mostly because preparations for a cousin’s upcoming marriage and mom’s treatment, so reading time was extremely limited. I’m even behind on my novel reading at the moment, so I’m generally not doing well on that front at all.
Some really fun titles launched this past week, such as Night of the Living Deadpool, so it was an entertaining week at least, for the most part.
Last year, news arrived that Disney had bought Lucasfilm and that once the deal was done with, the company owned full rights and licenses to anything involved Star Wars, Indiana Jones and other properties that were under the purview of Lucasfilm. At the time, there was absolutely no news about future Star Wars movies, and the license for all related comics was with Dark Horse Comics, who’ve had that specific license under contract for almost two decades and have done their share of adding to the Expanded Universe over the years, building on what Marvel originally did. But then, as expected and dreaded, it was announced a few days ago that by the end of this year, the license would be shifted back to Marvel and that Dark Horse would no longer publish any new Star Wars materials.
Part of this entire move has been that within weeks of buying Lucasfilm, Disney announced plans to do a third Star Wars trilogy of movies, Episodes VII to IX, and even plans to do several spin-off movies, most notably involving the Bounty Hunter Boba Fett, one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars setting. The big question now is how much of the Expanded Universe would Disney adhere to, and whether it would just chuck out all of it. Details are starting to emerge on this front and there has been a lot of talk about it recently. Here is what I have to say on the matter, as someone who has been invested in the setting since early 2001 and has really come to love everything about it, whether good or bad.
There have been a lot of big events in comics of late. Last year alone saw some really major events from the Big 2: Throne of Atlantis, Battle of the Atom, Trinity War, Infinity, Age of Ultron etc. And the new year is also heralding quite a few more from both of them. But, I have to say that in terms of uniqueness and freshness, nothing quite beats Valiant’s Unity series, which continues to surprise at every turn. Perhaps that’s because Valiant’s sandbox is pretty new. Perhaps that’s also because writer Matt Kindt is doing some of his best work here. Regardless, Unity is a series that I’m really enjoying.
The first two issues of the series were fairly good. My lack of familiarity with the characters has been an element that has hampered my enjoyment to some degree, but I won’t deny that both issues were some of the best issues I read last year. The third issue, released this week, builds on both of them and it provides a really great change in the status quo of things. Something that is unexpected. And the way that it ends, in the epilogue, well, big changes are in store it seems!