VFCast Season 3 Episode 13: A Goat with a Woody, that is too hard to resist!

Quantum_and_Woody_8_08

Title: Quantum and Woody: Volume 1 Director's Cut
Author: Christopher Priest
Artist: Mark D. Bright 
Publisher: Valiant Comics (Acclaim Publishing)  
Release Date: I donno, originally in '97

There is a darkness in me, one that grow and twists and burns. It calls me in the night to do things, questionable things, things never to be spoken of. I am becoming it’s creature, it’s thrall, it’s dark servant. I will do it’s bidding, I will serve this dark power, the one that flows from the darkest corners of my soul, and I shall be REBORN!

I love superheroes, but sometimes I get so very tired of the trite nonsense that the genre is often filled with . If you are a comic book fan I’m sure you do to. Mr. Priest clearly has the same warm feelings for old school superheroes that The Vestrymen have, but he has a complicated enough relationship with them to make reading 90s superheroes seem like a good idea.

Vestrymen Grade: Buy

Reviews from the Future: New Avengers #4

new-avengers-4-galactus-jock

Why does everyone always give Galactus such a hard time? He is just a working stiff, trying to provide for himself and his ‘children.’ Silver chrome isn’t free you know?

Title: New Avengers #4
Author: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Steve Epting 
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 3/20/2013

I’m going to spoil New Avengers #1-3 in my review of #4, so if you haven’t read it and you want to, go and get it and then come back.

So Cap is out of the picture now and The Beast is in, because the Science Cabal does not have any patience for non-scientists gumming up the works and when you are having a moral dilemma sucker-punching and mind-whipping Cap is always a good plan.  Namor should probably be watching his back.

Not much is actually happening in each issue of New Avengers. It really feels to me like Hickman and Epting thought up a set piece for each issue and then sat down and wrote a plot that would allow them to use all their awesome set pieces. The set pieces are always awesome, though. Captain America using the Infinity Gauntlet to push back a second earth narrowly avoiding an inter-dimensional collusion with ours. Black Panther and his Science Teen Force fight to save a world from being destroyed. An alternate universe herald of Galatcus tells us what Galactus is for. I suppose its unfair to say not much happens. Exactly one thing happens in each issue of Hickman’s New Avengers, and that thing is awesome!

I have my problems with the pacing of this book, obviously, but the art and content matter more than make up for it. If you liked Hickman’s FF/Fantastic Four run, or if you just think Space Operas just need some of the spandex set to be really awesome you should start reading this book.

Vestrymen Grade: Buy

Reviews from the Future: Secret Avengers #2

Secret Avengers 02-015

Title: Secret Avengers #2
Author: Nick Spencer
Artist: Luke Ross 
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 3/13/2013

It seems like Secret Avengers could just end up being a book where one member of the team that Spencer put together in issue one goes out and does insane spy things in fictional places that only exist in the Marvel 616 Universe. I, for the record, would be completely down with that book.

The action moves along quickly Luke Ross’ art give a moody, cloak-and-dagger feel to the whole thing, and somehow, even with the distance that Spencer’s writing keeps from his subjects, I am invested in the welfare of every one of them after just 60 pages.

Like so many of the Marvel Now titles, this book isn’t trying to be to deep, or too literate, it is just trying to deliver on the promise of the title in an internally consistent, well plotted and characterized way. Also it has Taskmaster in it, so that is always fun!

Vestrymen Grade: Buy

VFCast! Season 3 Episode 12: Kung-Fu Mystic Medical Rom-Com!

img013

Title: Doctor Strange: The Oath
Publisher: Marvel Comics Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Marcos Martin
Release Date: 12/12/2012

Having had a LOT of fun with Doctor Strange and Brian K. Vaughan recently, when we remembered that there was a Vaughan created story staring the Master of the Mystic Arts it was just too tempting to read that thing.

Also did you remember that Doctor Strange was an MD? Did you read the 70s-tastic Marvel Comic’s Night Nurse? Do you want ol’ Doc Strange to have homoerotic tension with his “Man-Servant” Wong, while flirting with a girl, using Sherlock Holmesian quips? If you answered yes to all of these questions you are likely our first, and most loyal listener. How are you, Christi?

You can download this podcast: Vestrymen Season 3 Episode 12

The music for this episode of Vestrymen from the Future! is used under a Creative Commons licence. This week, we feature Reigning Sound– “Shaw”, The Undynamic Pop Experiment – “Jo(h)n”, and Cosmic Analogy Ensemble – “Ain’t No Love Lost”. Intro music by Jonathan Coulton.

Review from the Future: Nova 2

Nova v5 002-021

Title: Nova #2
Author: Jeff Loeb
Artist: Ed McGuinness 
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 3/20/2013

We’ve had a string of “it is not high literature,  but it sho’ is fun” reviews lately and you can chalk up one more.  In a big plot twist in the meta-narrative of our reviews the image you see above is everything you need to know about Nova #2.

 

Loeb’s writing keeps things moving right along, and the plot is certinally has Easter Eggs for people who have paid attention to Marvel’s cosmic red headed step superheroes, but you should be able to jump right in, regardless of weather or not you know what a Xandarian is.

Ed McGuinness’ art straddles the same thin line between realism and space opera inspired fancy that Loeb is playing with in the script, a more significant challenge in the art, I think.

Nova two is a hot rod to the stars, an atomic milkshake, a trip to space Disneyworld. I wouldn’t want to read it every week, but man is it a fun little pallet cleanser once a month.

Just in case I haven’t given you enough of feel for what his book is here are some moment from it:

  • Rocket Raccoon and the most dangerous woman alive make a hospital visit
  • Moonbrakes!
  • “Help me Sam Alexander, you are my only hope!”
  • “Did you way ‘trust them’ or ‘never trust them?’”

Either Leland and I are having more fun in our lives lately, or comics got fun again last month. I’ll let you decide, dear reader.

Vestrymen Grade: Buy

Reviews from the Future: Batman and Robin #18

2013-03-13 07-47-31 - Batman and Robin 18-001

Titile: Batman and Robin #18
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciler: Patrick Gleason
Release Date: 3/17/2013

What do you want me to say about this comic book? Do you want me to say that I miss a fictional 12-year-old? I do. Do you want me to say that reading it made me think that comic book writers are a waste of money, and perhaps we should just have artists, since they clearly write better stories on their own? The trolly part of me thinks that. Do you want me to tell you that this is a really excellent comic book and you should “read” it, yesterday? You should do that thing.

Peter J. Tomasi gets writer credit but all the heavy lifting in this issue is done by Patrick Gleason. Gleason’s work gave me the chills on more than one occasion. Bruce’s suffering, his visceral pain is right there on the page and there is absolutely no missing it.

Even if you are not a Batman fan you should pickup this book, to see how a goodbye to an iconic character is done right.

VFCast! Season 3 Episode 11: [Insert long and awkward Mormon joke here]

Orson Scott Card is in the news and so we read the only OSC book we had floating around! Get ready for Indians, Folk Magic, Mormon Overtones, and a model of the compassionate hero in Red Prophet.

RP4COV

[Begin interjection by Leland:]

Wet dog, yo.

First and foremost, we apologize a trillion times for the lateness of this podcast. My vacation, combined with the unexpected death of my puppy, led to a series of unfortunate events that pushed publishing the podcast back further than anticipated from when we recorded it on Friday. We hope you still enjoy it, late as it may be. Here is a picture of my late dog, because we know you all love pictures of dogs almost as much as you love videos of sleepy kittens. We’re sorry, we are for real.

[End of interjection. Carry on, Cabel.]

Whatever you think about Orson Scott Card’s politics or social beliefs I always find his creative voice to be unique. Card is geeky without being too self-aware, and is thoughtful while avoiding the descent into pseudo-intellectual profundity. Card’s heroes are deeply committed to kindness without the feeling like OSC is cheating for them; He never oversimplifies the worlds he creates in order to give ‘softies’ an artificial advantage. Card’s characters are always aware of intersectionality, race, and gender politics without often making me feel like I’m being preached to. Card is not either of The Vestrymens’ favorite author, but he generally spins a good yarn, and I loved Ender’s Game.

Red Prophet is a unique experience, both as a comic book, and as story archtype. I wonder what OSC’s Superman story would have been about.

You can download this podcast here: Vestrymen Season 3 Episode 11

The music for this episode of Vestrymen from the Future! is used under a Creative Commons licence. This week, we feature Crete Boom– “Evil Brother”, Lucey Foley – “Making Circles”, and Bell X1 – “The Great Defector”. Intro music by Jonathan Coulton.

Quick Review from the Future: Wolverine #1

Wolverine-v5-001-(2013)-(Digital)-(Nahga-Empire)-13

Title: Wolverine #1 
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Author: Paul Cornell
Artist: Alan Davis
Release Date: 3/13/2013

So I haven’t even started writing this review and already I’ve lied to you. That image above suggests that you Wolverine #1 is a fun, silly, playful, sexy book, full of flirty sexy fun. In fact, Wolverine #1 will crush your soul.

I don’t want you to get the idea that this is a poorly written or poorly drawn comic book, it is not. Few people in comics today can convey motion, grim determination and terrible, terrible violence as well as Alan Davis.  The art straddles the line between an iconic 70s super-hero style and a Gotham Central/Daredevil grittiness wonderfully perfectly driving the emotional heft of Mr. Davis’ emotional swings wonderfully.

“Cabel,” you say. “You just wrote 50 words about how awesome this comic is, so what the heck is going on with your first paragraph,” you say. Well new best friend, the content of this comic is sad, disturbing, emotionally effecting and downright depressing. In other words it is the perfect “The Best At What I Do” Wolverine story. Pick it up, especially if you are a Logan fan.

Vestrymen Grade: Buy

Quick Review from the Future: Avenging Spider-Man #18

Avenging Spider-Man 018-006

Title: Avenging Spider-Man #18 
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Author: Christopher Yost 
Artist: Marco Checchetto

I am enjoying the heck out of Avenging Spider-Man #18 since the Superior turn that Spider-Man has taken recently. While SSM is reserved for the important, life altering, character defining, big plot moments, Avenging is a silly, fun, buddy comedy comedy. the art is nice too!

I’m not sure there is anymore to be said about this book. Is SSM is a truffle soufflé than Avenging is vanilla ice cream. Avenging is fun to eat, but it just slides right down to your stomach without really leaving much of a trace.

I enjoy this book, and will keep reading it and I suggest you do too, unless you hate things that are fun.

Reviews from the Future! Star Wars #3, In the Shadow of Yavin

Star Wars - Death Star Spread

Title : Star Wars, In The Shadow of Yavin #3
Publisher: Dark Horse
Author: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D’anda

My interest in Star Wars has waned significantly over the last 15 years. This is not because the prequels were terrible (they were) or because the expanded universe literature has been hit or miss (it has). It’s because the narrative that captured my imagination so thoroughly when I was a young lad looks a bit too tired and too derivative to eyes that have spent too many hours in a college film classroom. I lost my innocence somewhere among the twisting corridors of higher education, and I have only myself to blame.

Star Wars - HanClearly Kurosawa was better at this sort of thing than Lucas, but I’m still excited to revisit these characters who lived a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. I think I always knew that George Lucas had written a pretty cool universe with some great characters, but it always felt like there should have been a bit more depth. It turns out that Brian Wood’s Star Wars is the antidote to a poison I barely realized I had swallowed. Kicking off shortly after the battle of Yavin IV, the series seems poised to flesh out some of the character growth that was only implied in the films. It’s not a re-characterization; Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewy feel like the same characters that Lucas invented. It’s more like episodes 4-6 told us the action-packed bits of the story without bothering to linger on the characters, and Wood is striking a more mature balance.

Star Wars - Leia PilotCabel and I have already talked about book #1 on the podcast, so I won’t retread too much old ground except to say that all the elements we liked from the 1st issue, the art, the dialogue, and the pacing, are present in #3. Carlos D’anda’s artwork continues to absolutely stop the show. This is not only the best looking Star Wars book I have ever read, it’s some of the best art on the newsstand. D’anda draws crisp and energetic action, along with some really gorgeous set-pieces that really force you to experience scale, but his real strength is in his character art. It’s always tough to draw a cast based on such a recognizable group of actors, and the book strikes a rare balance between creating comfortable likenesses of the characters while maintaining a larger-than-life gloss commiserate with the rest of the art.

Issue #3 has some moments where the plot stutters, and where the dialogue gets overwrought. The grey squadron story drags its feet through the soap-opera swamp just a bit, and love triangles are often a mess to write. Though the situation can feel forced, the character’s choices make a lot of sense to me and the shuffling pathos is offset by Han and Chewy going full tilt swashbuckle mode engage on Coruscant, so minor bits of melodrama shall be forgiven. After all, this is a space opera, right?

Peace