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Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition – Volume II (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Ex Machina. And in June, I’ll be reviewing his Y: The Last Man.

It’s interesting how times change. Ex Machina was originally published in August 2004, written by a New Yorker as something of a response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It’s an exploration of a time when the country needed heroes and figureheads more than it needed politicians and diplomats. Is a superhero in Gracie Mansion any more insane than a cowboy in the White House? However, reading it now it’s interesting to see the similarities between Vaughan’s protagonist, the Honorable Mayor Mitchell Hundred, and Barack Obama. It’s the sign of a good storyteller that the tale remains relevant years after initial publication. It’s the sign of a great storyteller that the tale becomes even more relevant in the years that follow.

He's got the whole world, in his hands...

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Is 300 Racist? A Counter-Argument…

I know that we’re officially about five years past this discussion, but I was thinking about it lately. 300, as imagined by Zack Snyder and Frank Miller, gets a lot of slack for its perceived Islamophobia and racism towards Persians (modern-day Iranians). There’s a rather excellent article here outlining one perspective, which makes the argument that it’s a fundamentally racist film. I sat down and I watched it, and I kept the ideas in mind, and I jotted down some thoughts. it should be noted that I’m just a layman, I’m an expert or a professor in film or literature, but it seemed to me that a lot of the critics were taking the film far too seriously at face value.

I'd want to make this argument on sure footing...

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Final Crisis (Review/Retrospective)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. Later on today, we’ll be reviewing Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, so I thought I might take a look at a comic book tale which was heavy on Superman, Darkseid and Batman…

This epic elegy for a doomed civilisation, declining from splendor to squalor. This Final Crisis. This last ditch attempt to save creation itself from a loathing and greed beyond measure.

– Grant Morrison outlines the whole point of the book, in case you weren’t paying attention… in a narration which deserves to be read in the most pompously ridiculous style possible

Look, I could hitch a ride back with you. I have a real talent for gritty drama no one’s ever thought to exploit.

– Merryman makes a pitch for “relevance” in the hopes of escaping comic book “limbo”

Destruction or creation. Everything or nothing. A universe full or a universe empty. Life or anti-life. Grant Morrison certainly lives up to his reputation as a frustrating and challenging author – is Final Crisis the statement of a genre looking to make peace with itself, or nonsensical Silver Age surrealism repackaged for a modern world? Is it pretentious or profound? Insightful or devoid of interest? Can’t it be both, or are these mutually exclusive states?

We all knew Obama was Superman…

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Ultimate Spider-Man – Vol. 10-11 (Hardcover) (Review)

This represents the final volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, the relaunch of the popular character created by marvel as a way of introducing the iconic webslinger to the those who might be understandably wary of the backstory and continuity tangles the character has found himself in (did you know the character sold his marriage to the devil?). It’s been a landmark run, and a popular one and – by any measure – a successful one. There’s a reason that this ‘reboot’, to borrow a cinematic term, was famous for outselling the mainstream titles. So, as it winds down, what do we think?

What a Shocker…

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The Twilight of the Superheroes?

We’re a bit late to the party, but this week we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics, with a look at the medium, the company and the characters in a selection of bonus features running Monday through Friday. This is one of those articles. Be sure to join us for the rest.

Earlier in the week, I wondered if the dominance of the comic book medium by superheroes was affecting the general  perception of the relatively young medium. Is the time of the superhero long gone?

Some characters take this "superheroes as pagan gods" schtick a bit too seriously...

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The Crisis Surrounding “Crisis Crossovers”

We’re a bit late to the party, but this week we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics, with a look at the medium, the company and the characters in a selection of bonus features running Monday through Friday. This is one of those articles. Be sure to join us for the rest.

In 2012, we will witness the first true superhero crossover on the big screen, with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor joining forces as The Avengers to battle evil. The Hulk may even get in on the action. However,this sort of overlap is hardly new to the source material which will inform the film. It seems that the comic book medium is dominated by the crossover fad, with the two major companies churning out massive event after massive event. Is this a good thing which demonstrates the strength and flexibility of the monthly-publishing schedule, or does this style of writing only serve to make the medium even more insular?

Yeah, see how messy this picture looks? Multiply that by about 42 and that gives you the idea of the complexity we're looking at...

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It’s the 75th Anniversary of DC Comics…

… and to celebrate, we’ll be running a selection of comic book themed posts throughout the week.

We've come a long way, baby...

We’ll be looking at:

Those interested in this might like to check out The Dark Week, a week-long Batman-related event we ran to celebrate the anniversary of The Dark Knight and Batman’s birthday last year.

For those here for the movie news and reviews, don’t worry, this won’t itnerrupt with regularly-scheduled posting.