Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movies-and-More: March 2009

Here's the run-down of March release dates for films, books, DVDs and music, as well as my box office predictions.
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In Theaters March 6th
The Horsemen
Watchmen
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Predictions: 1. Watchmen ($134 million), 2. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail ($7 m), 3. Slumdog Millionaire ($6 m), 4. Taken ($4.5 m), 5. He's Just Not That Into You ($4 m)
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In Theaters March 13th
The Last House On the Left
Miss March
Race To Witch Mountain
Sunshine Cleaning
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Predictions: 1. Watchmen ($80 m), 2. The Last House On the Left ($15 m), 3. Race To Witch Mountain ($5 m), 4. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail ($4.5 m), 5. Slumdog Millionaire ($4 m)
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In Theaters March 20th
Duplicity
I Love You, Man
Knowing
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Predictions: 1. Duplicity ($47 m), 2. Watchmen ($44 m), 3. Knowing ($9 m), 4. The Last House On the Left ($8 m), 5. I Love You, Man ($3.5 m)
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In Theaters March 27th
12 Rounds
Adventureland
The Haunting In Connecticut
Monsters vs. Aliens
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Predictions: 1. Monsters vs. Aliens ($45 m), 2. Adventureland ($32 m), 3. Duplicity ($26 m), 4. Watchmen ($25 m), 5. The Haunting In Connecticut ($16 m)
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Your Other Entertainment Needs:
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March 3rd

On DVD: 7th Heaven: Season Eight, Australia, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, ER: Season Ten, The Hills: Season Four, Wonder Woman
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On CD: Neko Case, Bela Fleck, The Prodigy, Andre Rieu, Rush, U2, Watchmen OST, Watchmen Score
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In Bookstores:
Jeffrey Archer's Paths of Glory
Spencer Johnson's Peaks and Valleys
Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones
Jodi Picoult's Handle With Care
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March 10th
On DVD: Battle In Seattle, The Boy In the Striped Pajamas, Cadillac Records, Caroline In the City: Season Two, Family Ties: Season Five, Get Smart: Season Two, Happy-Go-Lucky, Howard the Duck, Let the Right One In, Pinnochio, Rachel Getting Married, Role Models, South Park: Season Twelve, Synecdoche NY, Transporter 3
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On CD: Beastie Boys, Corbin Bleu, Sarah Brightman, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Cornell, Taylor Hicks, Beth Orton, Madeleine Peyroux, New Found Glory
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In Bookstores:
P.C. Casts' Hunted (House of Night #5)
Clive Cussler's Corsair
Lisa Lutz's Revenge of the Spellmans
Randy Wayne White's Dead Silence
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March 17th
On DVD: Disney's Bunnytown: Hello Bunnies, Dodes'ka-Den, Elegy, Goal! 2: Living the Dream, JAG: Season Eight, The Nanny: Season Three, Married...With Children: Season Ten, Mr. Belvedere: Seasons One & Two, Punisher War Zone, Seven Pounds, Twilight
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On CD: Gabriella Cilmi, Nick Lowe, Willie Nelson, Lionel Richie, Randy Travis
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In Bookstores:
James Patterson's Max (Maximum Ride)
Matthew Pearl's The Last Dickens
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March 24th
On DVD: Bolt, The Last Metro (Criterion Collection) Midsomer Murders: Set Twelve, Quantum of Solcace, Star Wars - The Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided, The Venture Brothers: Season Three, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Frieghter
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On CD: Busta Rhymes, The Decemberists, Hannah Montana The Movie OST, Indigo Girls, Martina McBride, Stevie Nicks, Now! 30, Now! Power Ballads, Papa Roach, Shrek the Musical BCR, Yanni
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In Bookstores:
Cassandra Clare's City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3)
Isabel Gillie's Happens Every Day
Jonathan Kellerman's True Detectives
Walter Mosley's The Long Fall
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March 31st
On DVD: Danton (Criterion Collection), The Fugitive: Season Two: Volume Two, Marley & Me, The Other End of the Line, Tell No One
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On CD: Chris Botti, Billy Ray Cyrus, Gomez, PJ Harvey, Diana Krall, Marie Osmond, Peter Bjorn & John, Queensryche, Keith Urban, Neil Young & Crazy Horse
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In Bookstores:
Harlan Coben's Long Lost
Lisa Jackson's Malice
Paulette Jiles' Color of Lightning
Jonathan Rabb's Shadow and Light

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Avengers #50

Brian Michael Bendis & various
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......It's hard to believe that we're already fifty issues into this series, but here we are at the anniversary. Judging from the cover and the way things have been going, I expected the New Avengers to go up against Norman Osborn's newly-assembled team of Dark Avengers (especially since they were discussing who was wearing whose costumes at the beginning). That was one of the problems I had with Civil War. The two Avengers teams fought each other really early, and frequently, so it was hardly exciting when a battle took place. There was no anticipation. There was no waiting for that big fight - it was just there, and often. It seems Bendis has learned from his mistakes as, instead of pitting the two teams against one another immediately (which would see a cool Hawkeye vs. Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel vs. Ms. Marvel, Wolverine vs. Wolverine, etc.), Osborne had the insight to play the New Avengers' lure to battle against them, and instead the Avengers found themselves fighting The Hood and his mercenaries. And this also made for a very cool fight. I usually don't like more than one artist illustrating an issue, as is the case here, but the various artists involved in this issue took on one page that followed a single (well, nearly) New Avenger in their battle, and it made for kind of a cool overall effect. Except for Greg Horn, whose art I find distracting and garish 99% of the time. But overall, this was a fun issue and I'm glad to see the story building toward something. So far, I've been pretty impressed with Dark Reign.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Stores 2/25

Here are the highlights of books shipping to comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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John Byrne's Compleat Next Men (Volume 1): Premiere Edition HC - IDW has already released big black and white editions of this series at an affordable price, but if you want quality, here's the first hardcover edition in full color. This collects issues 0-10, which is two less issues than the original collection, and doesn't include the prequel 2112 GN.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Angel #18
Atomic Robo (Volume 2) TP
Beanworld (Volume 1): Wahoolazuma HC
Crayon Shincan (Volume 7)
Eerie Archives (Volume 1) HC
Incredible Hercules: Love & War Premiere HC
Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four (Volume 1) TP
Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #5 (of 6)
MPD Psycho (Volume 8)
New Avengers #50
Showcase Presents: Superman Family (Volume 3) TP
Starman Omnibus (Volume 2) HC
Tintin In the Congo HC
Waltz With Bashir SC

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Incredible Hercules: Secret Invasion HC

Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente & Rafa Sandoval
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This is one of those straight-forward superhero books that's really fun to dive into. The story begins with Hercules driving to see the sleeping Celestial in California with Amadeus Cho (one of the smartest people in the world) and goddess Athena, the latter of whom speaks to the gods of the different cultures of the world to appeal to them to aide Hercules on a quest. Aware of the invasion of skrulls on Earth, Athena proposes that they send champions to fight the skrull gods Kly'bn and Sl'gur't, reasoning that by destroying the deities, the will of their followers will also be destroyed. These skrull gods are pretty bad-ass, having defeated tons of other gods (who are slaves, behaving as broken satellites, revolving around their fortress), and Kly'bn turns out to be the god whom the Skrull Queen (who impersonated Spider-Woman during the invasion) follows, and whose prophecies she read and interpreted to come up with this invasion in the first place. I guess I never really realized who the "He loves you" all of the skrulls quoted referred to until Kly'bn said "I love you."
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Hercules ends up going to confront the skrull gods with a team of gods, which I thought was really neat: a god squad from different cultures, including Snowbird, Ajak, Demogorge the god-eater and Amatsu-Mikaboshi, with Amadeus and his puppy along for the ride. At one point the group confronts Nightmare as they kind of stop to ask for directions, and of course that doesn't turn out well, but it led to some interesting dynamics between the team, particularly between Hercules and Snowbird who, together, defeat Kly'bn in the end. There are a lot of cool moments throughout this book and plenty of smart uses of powers and prophecy. I guess I wasn't really expecting much in terms of characters with a big oaf of a strong man taking center stage in this title, but Hercules is kind of lovable in a dopey sort of way, and the secondary characters play off of him very nicely. Sandoval did a pretty amazing job of penciling the book - there were a few scenes where I really admired his renditions of Snowbird (who I think is one of the best designed superheroes period). I didn't have any problems following this story without having read the initial arc of the book, and rather enjoyed the quest aspect of this chapter of The Incredible Hercules.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Stores 2/18

Here are the highlights of books shipping to comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Naoki Urasawa books - This week two new manga from the master of suspense debut! 20th Century Boys and Pluto - two series I hear really good things about, particularly the latter title, a reinvention or "ultimate" version of one of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy stories.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Amber Atoms #1
Batman and the Outsiders: The Snare TP
Captain Britain and MI-13 (Volume 1): Secret Invasion TP
Daybreak (Volume 3) GN - Final volume!
Diana Prince: Wonder Woman (Volume 4) TP
Eden: It's An Endless World! (Volume 11)
Essential Classic X-Men (Volume 3) TP
Garth Ennis's Battlefields (Volume 1): The Night Witches TP
Johnny Boo (Volume 2): Twinkle Power HC
Punisher War Journal (Volume 5): Secret Invasion Premiere HC
Superman Chronicles (Volume 6) TP
Ultimate Spider-Man (Volume 10) HC

Monday, February 16, 2009

Manga Monday: Orange

Benjamin
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Orange is among the first wave of full-color manga to be released from Tokyopop. It's published in a larger format than most manga (9.9 x 7.2) to better showcase the beautiful painted panels, and clocks in at 144 pages, which takes easily less than an hour to read through. If this book weren't painted, I guess I wouldn't really see the need to publish it in color, which is kind of the point of this new line: to publish manga in color where color plays a vital role in the story. There's a little orange in the title, I guess (but much less than you'd think), the majority of the pages featuring blue tones, making for kind of a dull color comic, especially to kick off a new line with. But there were a few pages that were very vibrant that made the color worthwhile in the end. The story focuses on a character named Orange who's sick of life. She feels it's pointless and the people around her are shallow and cold, so suicide seems to her the only viable option out of her situation. Luckily, when she's about to attempt stepping off the roof of her apartment complex, a strange man stops her. Over the next few weeks, she's captivated by the man, meanwhile frustrated and angry with him, until he chooses to commit suicide in the same fashion she was going to, making her realize the ugliness of the act. To be honest, I felt a real disconnect with this story. It seemed really pretentious to me. Romanticizing suicide is nothing new or clever, and Benjamin does not paint a full enough picture to convey that Orange is cornered to the extent that suicide is necessary to escape. In fact, I feel like I hardly know Orange at all, let alone care about what she wants to do with her life. She's a stock character in a generic story. But even if a reader doesn't like the story, the painting in the book is nice. I'll give it that. A little hazy and expressive, for a very pretty effect. But...that story. I think Tokyopop could have found a better color manga to kick this line off with, or if this is the best shining example of the artform, they should have done their readership a favor and left them untranslated.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guardians of the Galaxy (Volume 1)

Legacy
Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Paul Pelletier
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The original Guardians of the Galaxy collection was the first non-X-Men graphic novel I ever picked up when I was a kid. "The Quest For the Shield." It was kind of lame, but I did like some of the original characters like Aleta and Starhawk. So, I was happy to hear that they were relaunching Guardians of the Galaxy, even in a new incarnation, and especially as it was spinning out of the really well-done Annihilation crossover.
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The Guardians are stationed in the severed head of a Celestial in Knowhere (a sort of limbo), and are on a mission to repair rips in the fabric of space-time left in the wake of the two big cosmic wars. The dangers they face are a group of religious nuts (The Universal Church of Truth, who abolish all nonbelievers and are on a quest to convert the universe to the one true religion), and skrulls that have infiltrated Knowhere in an attempt to halfheartedly tie the book into Secret Invasion, but separate enough to be a decent story in its own right. Major Victory also appears among the group (a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the far future) with holes in his memory, and Starhawk comes close at his heels, shooting everyone in sight. There's a lot of action in this book and dissent among the ranks of the team, which include: Star-Lord, Quasar (Phylla-Vell), Adam Warlock, Drax, Gamora and Rocket Raccoon, with Mantis (one of my favorite characters from Annihilation: Conquest, so it was nice to see her again) and Groot as a support team, as well as the chief of security on Knowhere, a talking dog named Cosmo. I like Pelletier's art: it's very clear and cartoony at times. It kind of reminds me of Alan Davis, to be honest, which is a very good thing in my opinion. But there's not quite the same magic in this book as there was in the Annihilation books, although it is off to a decent start and I really did enjoy my time reading this first collection. I did prefer the team that Star-Lord assembled in Annihilation: Conquest to the more popular characters that make up the team in this book, but there are some heavy-hitters on the team that appear here that a lot of people are probably happy to see, and it does do a good job in that regard of sampling different parts of the Annihilation books and bringing them together in this book.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Agents of Atlas

Agents of Atlas TP
Jeff Parker & Leonard Kirk
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Agents of Atlas #1
Jeff Parker & Carlo Pagulayan
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***Includes Spoilers***
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I've heard such good things about Jeff Parker's original Agents of Atlas mini-series that I've wanted to check it out for some time. I also was a fan of Jeff Parker's Interman from years back from Octopus Books. What nudged me over the edge to stop putting things off was not only the new ongoing Agents of Atlas series, but the Atlas chapter in the recent Dark Reign: New Nation, which featured small stories from several books launching alongside Marvel's Dark Reign crossover. And while the new Agents of Atlas series is dipping into events of the new Marvel Universe, it still remains the distinctive book Jeff Parker established with the original mini-series.
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I like how Jeff Parker plucked this obscure "Avengers" team from the 1940's-1950's surrounding an incident with President (at the time) Eisenhower and breathed new life into them over fifty years later (and let's face it, 3-D Man was not going to cut it - his absence is for the best). I also like how the story played out in the original mini-series collected in one volume with back-up stories featuring the characters' original appearances in Marvel Comics and their original team-up. A mystery calls for the team to come together to perhaps face off against an old foe: The Yellow Claw. So Gorilla Man and M-11, the Human Robot, save Jimmy Woo from a SHIELD facility, and with the help of Marvel Boy, attempt to figure out what happened to Woo on a secret mission, meanwhile collecting the rest of their teammates over the next few issues, including Venus and Namora. Next the team investigates the mysterious Atlas Foundation and has several run-ins with their old foe before an unexpected, but interesting conclusion. I love all of the characters involved, their tragic pasts and interactions with one another, and it's all illustrated very beautifully by Leonard Kirk.
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The new Agents of Atlas series that debuted this month features the same characters as in the first mini-series, this time in charge of the Atlas Foundation, kind of like how Angel and his gang were in charge of Wolfram & Hart during the final season of Angel. They're kind of faking being the bad guys, and thus, make a deal with Norman Osborne to share resources, but hope to change things from within. It's a cool premise for a new series, distinct from other Marvel titles. And while the art by Pagulayan feels perhaps a little stiff, it is pretty to look at.
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From my initial impressions of Agents of Atlas via the chapter in Dark Reign: New Nation, I kind of expected my favorite character to be Namora, tough and regal and no-nonsense. But I was surprised to find while reading the original series and this debut issue that Venus has captivated me. She has a really neat, tragic background and while her powers are very passive and may get a little stale after a while, she's a fun character, as demonstrated by her walking into Norman Osborne's office as she did.
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I don't think it really matters if one starts at the beginning with the mini-series, or jumps on board with the new #1, this team resurrected at the hands of Jeff Parker is just plain fun and holds plenty of surprises.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Stores 2/11

Here are the highlights of books arriving in comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Batman R.I.P. Deluxe Edition HC - Grant Morrison's acclaimed Batman story is collected in a nice hardcover for anyone who missed it the first time around.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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All Star Superman (Volume 2) HC
Arkham Woods GN - Read my review here.
Devil's Panties (Volume 3) GN
DMZ (Volume 6): Blood In the Game TP
Invaders Classic (Volume 3) TP
Jihai (Volume 1)
Nova (Volume 3): Secret Invasion TP
Showcase Presents Aquaman (Volume 3) TP
Spike: After the Fall HC
The Sword (Volume 2) Water TP
Thor #600
Welcome To Hoxford (Volume 1) TP
X-Factor: Secret Invasion Premiere HC

Monday, February 09, 2009

Manga Monday: Otomen

Otomen (Volume 1)
Aya Kanno
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The new shojo manga Otomen, by Aya Kanno (the artist behind the very different, violent Blank Slate), follows high school dream guy Asuka Masamune, a martial arts jock who's all-around pined after by the female population. But he harbors a dirty little secret behind that manly exterior: he loves girly things. Loves them. His interests are very feminine and include sewing, cooking and reading shojo manga. But Asuka lives in a world where men must act like men, so he keeps his interests buried deep within. Well, that is until ladies' man and general trouble maker Juta Tachibana notices Asuka's habits. Juta draws these habits out through Asuka's crush, the lovely Ryo Miyakozuka, who herself is quite the counterpart to Asuka, unable to sew or cook for her life. Juta encourages Ryo and Asuka's relationship, often tagging along as a third in this unlikely group of friends, but secretly, he's a renowned manga artist who is using Asuka as the basis for a very successful shojo manga.
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The relationships between the three main characters is pretty complicated, but that in turn makes it pretty interesting. Asuka is pretty much perfect and exemplary in everything he does, but lacks the confidence to indulge his whims publicly, which Juta, in turn, encourages to both of their benefits. Because if Asuka doesn't grow, neither does Juta's manga character, which is why he's trying extra hard to make the oblivious Ryo realize Asuka's feelings for her. Usually I don't really like the "perfect" type of guy in books because a flawed character is always more interesting, but this little feminine twist is just enough to make me want to root for Asuka. And Juta is wonderful. He ultimately wants to see Asuka happy, but is a sly womanizer with dubious motives. It's Ryo who's the least interesting at this point, but I'm sure as the relationship grows between the trio, more of her personality will come forth. Ultimately, this manga is a lot of fun, quite the difference from Kanno's bleak, dark Blank Slate manga. I welcome the change.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Walking Dead (Volume 9)

Here We Remain
Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard
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***Contains Spoilers!***
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Following the catastrophic events that took place at the end of volume eight of The Walking Dead, volume nine begins with the group separated - well, those who survived the previous battle. Plenty of heart-breaking scenes smatter this book, from young Carl having to watch over his sick father, and growing up quite a bit in the process, to Rick himself dealing with the loss of his wife in a sad, crazy way. But it's good to see that these characters aren't in a comfortable place again, as it's much more exciting this way, with danger lurking around every corner, Kirkman proving once more that despite appearances, everyone is very, very vulnerable in this new world. And I'm glad that Michonne is alive. She's my favorite character in the entire book (she kicks ass and she's very flawed), and I like the rapport building between her and Rick. There's also a nice bitter-sweet reunion between the survivors later on, but I'm not sure about the new development in the series: stumbling upon a group of people trying to get a guy who may be able to cure the plague to Washington D.C. It seems a little too much like, you know, a zombie movie. I like this book being about how the survivors make out amid the devastation, carrying on the human race in pathetic tatters. But who knows? Kirkman has done an amazing job so far, so I suppose I'll just have to trust him and leave the story in his capable hands.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Previews: April '09 Comics

Here are the highlights from Previews Catalogue of books shipping to comic shops in April!

Dark Horse
Aliens #1 (of 4) - This mini is the first part of a relaunch of Dark Horse's very successful licensed property.
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Playboy's Trump!: The Complete Collection - Harvey Kurtzman teamed up with Playboy in 1957 to work with other artists from his MAD days to create the short-lived Trump! magazine. It only lasted two issues, but they're now being collected together in this book for the first time.
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Thumbelina: The POP Wonderland Series - This is the first in a new line of pretty pastel children's stories recounting famous fairy tales by POP, an artist highly regarded in Japan.
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DC Comics
Absolute Promethea (Volume 1) HC - Alan Moore's fantastic series is getting the Absolute treatment in this first of three slipcased editions, featuring the art of J. H. Williams III.
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Bayou (Volume 1) TP - I started to read this Zuda Comics title on DC's website and it has some really beautiful art, so I'm not really too surprised to see this collected in print.
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Final Crisis HC - In case you missed it, all seven issues of Grant Morrison's mega crossover event are being collected in a hardcover.
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The Flash: Rebirth #1 (of 5) - Geoff Johns turns his rejuvenating eyes from Green Lantern to Barry Allen in this new mini-series.
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The Literals #1 (of 3) - It's the spin-off of a spin-off. More specifically, this mini-series features characters from Jack of Fables, who was himself spawned from Fables. And it also happens to be part of a crossover between those other two titles in the Fables universe.
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Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye #1 (of 3) - Yay! The second Seaguy mini-series from Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart is finally seeing the light of day!
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Showcase Presents: Super Friends (Volume 1) TP - This is a little less material than other volumes of Showcase Presents, but you can also pick this up for under $10.
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Drawn & Quarterly
A Drifting Life TP - Visionary creator Yoshihiro Tatsumi (The Push-Man and Other Stories, Good-Bye, etc) made this massive 800+ page autobiography that's being released in one fat volume.
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Fantagraphics Books
Prince Valiant (Volume 1): 1937-1938 - I've never read any of Hal Foster's classic Prince Valiant strips, but what an excuse! This 10 x 13 collection is in full color and newly restored, and this is just the first of many of the adventure strips to come (Foster's strip ran for 35 years, after all).
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The Troublemakers HC - Gilbert Hernandez's latest graphic novel sees print after too-long of a delay.
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You'll Never Know (Book One): "A Good, Decent Man" - The first in a trilogy of hardcover annually-released hardcovers by Carol Tyler (Late Bloomer).
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:01 First Second Books
The Color of Earth (Volume 1) GN - A new coming-of-age story by manwha creator Kim Dong Hwa.
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IDW Publishing
Star Trek Omnibus (Volume 1) TP - The latest omnibus collection from IDW.
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Marvel Comics
All-New Savage She-Hulk #1 (of 4) - From Planet Hulk comes Bruce Banner's female counterpart. I think it's neat to bring back a savage She-Hulk now that the other green beauty has been tamed.
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Captain America Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special - This is the first in a series of commemorative comics celebrating Marvel's anniversary. There's an all-new story from the golden days by James Robinson and Marcos Martin, as well as a classic Joe Simon/Jack Kirby reprint.
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Dark Reign: The Cabal - This one-shot follows Norman Osborn's Iluminati of villains in five stories that flush out their intentions.
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Exiles #1 - Exiles is being relaunched. Again. This time under the capable hands of Jeff Parker. Could be a lot of fun. And Blink's back.
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Fantastic Force #1 - A new series spinning out of Fantastic Four that follows the last superheroes from a devastated future.
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Gambit Classic (Volume 1) TP - Okay, I think they're officially scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point. But I'm sure Gambit's involvement in the upcoming Wolverine film has a little something to do with this.
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Guardians of the Galaxy: The Power of Starhawk Premiere HC - Collecting Marvel Presents #3-12, this hardcover sees Starhawk's origin and Nikki's introduction in a future world that will eventually bring together a group of heroes in the form of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
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Marvel Zombies 4 #1 (of 4) - Aaaaand they just keep coming.
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Pride & Prejudice #1 (of 5) - The latest of Marvel's literary adaptations is Jane Austen's classic Victorian novel of manners by two-time Rita Award winner Nancy Butler, and art by Hugo Petrus.
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Spider-Man 2099 (Volume 1) TP - Sure. Why not?
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Spider-Woman #1 - Bendis's long-awaited Spider-Woman series finally arrives with art by Alex Maleev.
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Ythaq: No Escape #1 (of 3) - Christophe Arleston and Adrien Floch's Soleil title continues in a new mini-series.
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Olympian Publishing
Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3) - This was originally going to be an Archaia Studios Press offering before their restructuring. It looks good.
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Red 5 Comics
Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time #1 (of 5) - I've really got to check this series out. This is the third mini-series featuring this cute creation.
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Top Shelf Productions
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume III: Century #1 "1910" - Finally the third volume of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's fantastic League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! This will be the first of three 80-page graphic novellas that each take place in a different era.
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Viz Media
Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (Volume 1) - A new manga series that sees a citizen randomly selected to be killed every 24 hours in an effort to motivate people.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

In Stores 2/4

Here are the highlights of books hitting the shelves of your local comic shop tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Scott Pilgim (Volume 5): Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe GN - The latest volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's hipster graphic novels arrives! Can you believe there's only one volume to go?
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Agents of Atlas #1
Air Gear (Volume 11)
Avengers: Nights of Wundagore TP
Bang Tango #1 (of 6)
Black Panther 2 #1
Captain America: Truth Premiere HC
The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy (Volume 6) HC
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein (Volume 1): Prodigal Son HC
Eternals (Volume 1): To Slay a God TP
Fairy Tail (Volume 5)
I Am Legion #1 (of 6)
I Saw You...Comics Inspired by Real-Life Missed Connections SC
Jersey Gods #1
The Legend of Zelda (Volume 3)
Marvel Europe TP
Marvel Masterworks: Amazing Spider-Man (Volume 1) TP
Mighty #1
Myspace Dark Horse Presents (Volume 2) TP
Naruto (Volume 34)
One Piece (Volume 20)
Papillon (Volume 2)
Parasyte (Volume 6)
Punisher MAX (Volume 11): Girls In White Dresses TP
Saga of The Swamp Thing (Book 1) HC
Secret Warriors #1
Simon Dark (Volume 2): Ashes TP
Slam Dunk (Volume 2)
Tiny Titans (Volume 1): Welcome To the Treehouse TP
War of Kings: Darkhawk #1
X-Men: First Class Finals #1 (of 4)
X-Men: The Lives and Times of Lucas Bishop #1 (of 3)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Manga Monday: Arkham Woods

Christopher Rowley & Jhomar Soriano

Arkham Woods is a new manga from Seven Seas, illustrated by Jhomar Soriano and written by revered science fiction author Christopher Rowley. This horror manga follows LA teen Kristi Rivers, who has recently moved to Arkham Woods, a little New England town, to help her mother renovate and sell the house bequeathed to them by Kristi's strange uncle. Together with a few friends, Kristi begins to uncover things in the recesses of the house that are quite disturbing. This book really does a great job of creating a real creeping dread in the first half of the story as Kristi finds a ring of keys and searches the house for what they belong to, eventually noticing a little door hidden away behind odds and ends in the attic. One of the keys unlocks the door, which contains several boxes, easily opened by the other keys on the ring. What's inside is unsettling. There are headless human skeletons in the big chests, and in smaller boxes, they find the skeltons' heads locked up separately. And they aren't quite as human as they at first imagined. Shortly thereafter, the teenagers find scratches on the basement floor that resemble swastikas. Very eerie stuff and played out with a lot of tension. I really, really loved the first half of this book, but then things begin to be explained, and it all takes a turn toward silly, as Cthulhu is being raised and people start to get possessed, etc. It's really too bad that the scariness of the book was undercut, but I still enjoyed the story overall. Christopher Rowley's inspiration for the whole story was H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, which is kind of unfortunate, since that's where the story heads when it starts to get off-track, but perhaps we would never have gotten those fantastic opening chapters without that latter material that Rowley built the story around. Soriano's art is really nice throughout, very clear with the exception of a few messy action scenes, with some really neat designs for big bulky monsters toward the end of the book. I would definitely recommend this book just because that opening half is so strong, and I'm sure some people will appreciate the ending more than I did. Overall, this is a fun horror manga with a great original story.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Movies-and-More: February 2009

Here's the run-down of February release dates for films, books, DVDs and music, as well as my box office predictions.
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In Theaters February 6th
Coraline
Fanboys
He's Just Not That Into You
Pink Panther 2
Push
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Predictions: 1. He's Just Not That Into You ($25 m), 2. Push ($24 m), 3. Taken ($15.5 m), 4. Coraline ($11), 5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($10 m)
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In Theaters February 13th
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Friday the 13th
The International
Two Lovers
Under the Sea 3D
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Predictions: 1. Friday the 13th ($40 m), 2. Confessions of a Shopaholic ($31 m), 3. Push ($14 m), 4. He's Just Not That Into You ($13 m), 5. The International ($8.5 m)
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In Theaters February 20th
Fired Up
Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail
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Predictions: 1. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail ($27 m), 2. Friday the 13th ($24 m), 3. Confessions of a Shopaholic ($20 m), 4. Push ($8.5 m), 5. Fired Up ($7 m)
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In Theaters February 27th
An American Affair
Assassination of a High School President
Crossing Over
Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
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Predictions: 1. Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience ($38 m), 2. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail ($15 m), 3. Friday the 13th ($14 m), 4. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li ($12 m), 5. Confessions of a Shopaholic ($11 m)
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Your Other Entertainment Needs:
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February 3rd
On DVD: Becker: Season Two, Bewitched: Season Seven, Friday the 13th Uncut, Friday the 13th Part 2 (Deluxe Edition), Friday the 13th 3 3-D (Deluxe Edition), Hounddog, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (On Friday the 6), Mystery Science Theater 3000: XIV, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Oliver & Company, Partridge Family: Season Four, The Secret Life of Bees, Space Buddies, Zack and Miri Make a Porno
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On CD: The Bad Plus, Bow Wow, Chris Cornell, The Fray, He's Just Not That Into You OST, Boney James, Kid Bop Kids, Liza Minnelli, Willie Nelson, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Wynonna, Young Dubliners
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In Bookstores:
Kristin Hannah's True Colors
James Patterson's Run For Your Life
Gregory Xavier Robillard's Captain Freedom
Patrick Taylor's An Irish Country Village
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February 10th
On DVD: The 400 Blows (Criterion Collection Blu-Ray), Blindness, Friday the 13th: The Series: Season Two, Frozen River, Melrose Place: Season Five: Volume One, Miracle at St. Anna, My Name Is Bruce, Nights In Rodanthe, W.
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On CD: Lily Allen, Missy Elliot, Ben Folds, Warren G, India.Arie, Ben Lee, Annie Lennox, Mos Def
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In Bookstores:
Alex Berenson's The Silent Man
T.C. Boyle's The Women
Linda Fairstein's Lethal Legacy
Christopher Moore's Fool
Spencer Quinn's Dog On It
L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries: The
.....Return (Volume 1): Nightfall
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February 17th
On DVD: Body of Lies, Changeling, Choke, Dead Like Me: The Movie, Faces (Criterion Collection), Flash of Genius, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Hobson's Choice (Criterion Collection), How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, Midnight Meat Train, Murder She Wrote: Season Nine, Quarantine, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Season One, Religulous
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On CD: Eleni Mandell, Morrissey, Lionel Richie, Sam Roberts, M. Ward
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In Bookstores:
Maeve Binchy's Heart and Soul
Barbara Delinky's While My Sister Sleeps
Peter Robinson's All the Colors of Darkness
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February 24th
On DVD: Akira (Blu-Ray), Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder, Last House On the Left (New Edition), The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice, Sex Drive, What Just Happened?
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On CD: JJ Cale, Jonas Brothers, K'Naan, Steve Wilson
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In Bookstores:
Lincoln Child's Terminal Freeze
Kim Harrison's White Witch, Black Curse
Robert B. Parker's Night and Day
J.D. Robb's Promises In Death
Danielle Steel's One Day At a Time