What do Punisher, Eminem, Free Comic Book Day, Wolverine, Star Trek and DC's Multiversity have in common? Do I really have to tell you they end up being discussed in this week's column? I do actually rant and rave about all of these things. Enter, those who are brave.
Free Comic Book Day Recap
I hope everyone had a good Free Comic Book Day this past Saturday. Mine was so-so. I visited two shops over the course of the day. Heroes Aren't Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC is where I always visit on FCBD. I think I've missed one year making the pilgrimage north. This year was a fairly disappointing year both in terms of the titles offered and how Heroes had actually set up the store. Of the titles offered, I really enjoyed the Love & Rockets book. It's nice to see L&R jump into the FCBD foray. The rest of the titles offered were pretty bland. Heroes had the titles spread out all over the store on the shelves next to the regular titles. That's good for them to get exposure of the regular books, but bad for fans who had to fight the crowds to get to the free books. Also, their enforcement was lax. I personally saw one guy who was pilfering seven or so copies of each title as he moseyed around the store. It doesn't take the detective skills of Batman to know where those books wound up. Can anyone say "Buy it now?" However, I did pick up the first three volumes of X-Men Essentials for less than $20. That was awesome. Newsarama had a good recap story of the fun had by all at Heroes, if you're interested.
That afternoon, I went to Heroes & Dragons in Columbia, SC. While the only free book they had left was Blackest Night, they had a phenomenal sale going on in their store. I have visited this store in the past when they have had their "sales" going on and wasn't too impressed. I walked in thinking I would walk out with very little. Wrong! Their sale was absolutely fantastic! Nearly everything in the store was on sale, if not at least 50% off. I managed to pick up quite a healthy stack of Justice League Europe issues, more than thirty in all, for around $23. Not bad. Not bad, at all.
Reading about the Punisher/Eminem team-up this past week has depressed me a bit. Sweet Jesus, I thought we had moved past the era where we had to have ridiculous crossovers involving Frank. I guess not. Though Frank has teamed up with lots of folks ranging from Wolverine to Archie, this one most definitely takes the cake for the "WTF" award. I think Punisher would put a bullet between the little prick's eyes just for the principle of the matter irregardless for his misogyny. If you're interested, XXL has the first part and should be on sale for your reading pleasure. Marvel will probably release a collected edition of the story... which means I may buy it.
I know, I know. Damn me to hell for being a Punisher completest. In a bit of positive Punisher news from Robot 6, it appears as if Jason Aaron ad Steve Dillon might be the new creative team on Punisher Max. Cool. I'm down with that so long as it's 100% Eminem free.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine = Meh
Already seen Wolverine? I did last weekend. It was mindless fun at best. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. I think there were lots of cool snippets and scenes throughout the film, but I kept feeling like there was something missing. Perhaps it was a cohesive threatening villain? I never really felt any suspense throughout the film because Stryker and Sabertooth were going to live and Deadpool was pretty much a no-show until the final, over-the-top action scene. It was cool to see Gambit, but he could have been used a bit more. In fact, my biggest complaint about the entire film was the usage of too many mutants. It was cool to see them all on the big screen, but if they had just stuck with a couple core characters, it would would have been much more effective. I could have given a shit when Bolt was killed if they had taken the time to build him up. I could have given a shit that Xavier showed up beyond a "hey, that's neat" knee-jerk reaction if they had built that yup a bit more. Instead, we get a Cliff Notes version of each character at best; quantity over quality.
The film probably falls somewhere between X-3 and X-1 for me, with X-2 still being the best. maybe they will choose to move the story further in the next film rather than diddling around in the past. I feel like the above complaints make it seem like I hated the film. It was enjoyable and action packed, what you would expect from a Wolverine film. I think the cast could have been cut by at least half in order to provide a little breathing room rather than providing the obligation to spend a little time with a lot of characters. The general consensus amongst critics and fans is that the filmmakers should have let this one cook a little bit more. Let's hope they get off to a better start with the next film.
Making the Trek
Wolverine can kiss his spot at the top of the box office for good this weekend. Star Trek comes out today. I saw it earlier and it is wonderful. Very seldom does a hyped film live up to its hype, let alone even surpass it. Star Trek does. J.J. Abrams somehow manages to breathe life back into the barely limping franchise with this movie. Hardcore Trek fans will find much to complain about, but as a casual Trek fan, this was just an awesome film watching experience. Each actor must have been carefully vetted by the creative team behind this movie because they all nailed their roles perfectly. The mix of action, sharp banter, and the promise of a new day for Trek fans is overwhelming, but in a good way. I won't spoil anything for you, my fine readers. Just go see the film.
Flunking out of the Multiversity
I think DC hates bringing in new fans. I really do. I've been on a reeducation journey with DC, picking up books that I enjoyed from my youth and books that I missed out on that are supposedly classic. With such an emphasis on old DC, I must admit that my curiosity about what's going on in the modern DCU is piqued. Well, it is until I read an interview or story like this; Multiversity. What the hell, DC? Do you enjoy confusing people that much? Do you need to mire all of that talent under your publishing house in all of that useless continuity and multiple universe junk? I would have thought the fan backlash from Final Crisis would have taught DC a lesson. Instead, it seems that they are getting trapped in Grant Morrison's endless cycle of ideas. I love many things Grant Morrison has written. he's one of my favorite creators. However, he seems to be throwing a lot of big ideas on the wall with very little thoughtful execution to shore them up with. I think DC needs a Dr. Phil style intervention. I would pay big money to see Dan Didio sitting across from Dr. Phil as he starts into one of his "Dan, what's your problem?" rants. Maybe that very event is occurring in the multiverse right now. Who knows?