Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: Bluffton

By Reboot

This week, I review the original graphic novel Bluffton written and illustrated by Matt Phelan and put out by Candlewick Press.  Matt Phelan hias previously a Scott O'Dell Award for his first graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn and was nominated for two Eisners for another graphic novel of his, Around the World.  Bluffton is slated to be released this month.

To start, this is historical fiction piece taking place in the early 19th century revolving around a young boy, Henry, in small town in Michigan not far from The Actor's Colony of Bluffton.  This is a time period I happen to already enjoy.  And to make it even better, it involves a young Buster Keaton and the vaudeville scene.  I enjoy going to vaudeville shows to this day so it would be hard for me not to dig this book.

Matt gets me again with the water colors.  I love water colors.  I have a commissioned art piece done in water color and they're just great.  Everything about the illustrations in this book works exceedingly well.

And then there's the story telling.  This story is jam packed with heart.  It was so sweet and wonderful and pulled me right in all the way to the end.  I had a hard time not getting a little choked up by the end (no spoilers, don't worry).

If I had to pick one thing that could have made it perfect, it have been maybe changing up the lettering a bit.  I understand hand lettering is long and tedious and it is somewhat ridiculous to expect Matt Phelan to hand letter an entire graphic novel.  However, there are at least a few points in the book where the digital lettering pulls you out of the absolutely beautiful aesthetic that Matt has graciously created for all of us to enjoy.  If anything, this critique is more of a praise for his art than anything else.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for adults and kids alike.  Anyone that enjoys historical fiction, this time piece in particular, or just a light hearted adventure with a little drama, then this is a story for you.  

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Review: Batman '66 #1

By Reboot

Today I'm going over issue #1 of the digital-first now in print Batman '66.  This new look at this iconic incarnation of Batman is written by Jeff Parker and illustrated by Jonathan Case.  The cover is drawn by Mike Allred and colored by Laura Allred.  I made that a separate sentence because it's the Allred's and they are incredible.  I don't think I need to explain myself any further. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

[IGH] at the Movies: Pacific Rim

The IGH team went to an advance screening of Pacific Rim, the newest offering from Guillermo Del Toro.  Gotta love those advanced screenings!  Here are our thoughts about Robots VS. Aliens!

Wilderowens' Thoughts

I admit, I went into Pacific Rim with low expectations.  The trailers just didn't get me excited.  The film also had some mixed early reviews, so it wasn't at the top of my list.  While I enjoyed it more than I expected, it wasn't the best movie in my view.  

It had a great concept but the plot got too convoluted and busy. 
For non-spoilery example, the mind link that controls the robots, aka the drift, was poorly executed, even though a good concept.  Way too many side stories in two hours meant a lot of random plot holes that bothered me.  Additionally, the now convoluted plot required characters that just constantly spewed exposition, in the form of scientists played by Burn Gorman and Charlie Day.  While they served their purpose, it was tiring to see them pop-up on screen, just to pick up the story and move it along, especially when they didn't always make sense.    On top of that, these two also provided the comedic relief, so it got to the point that I was rooting for their death.

The leading man Charlie Hunnam was definitely a disappointment, but the majority of the cast lacked passion in their performance.   Idris Elba and Max Martini were the only actors that really carried their roles well, with a special shout-out to Ron Perlman with his over the top performance.  One highlight of this cast was the fact it was fairly diverse.  Still, I would have liked more passionate performances from a group of people trying to save the human race.  

The saving grace for this film is  the scope and special effects.  This is a must watch film for the big screen and preferably in 3-D.  It is amazing to see large and coming right at you.  Setting the fight scenes in major cities gave the robots/aliens tremendous scale and even in the fake IMAX looked great.  The 3-D worked with the fight rather than making it harder to follow, which is a rarity.  The sound effects were also amazing, which in my opinion added to the realism of the characters.  The sound seems to be getting better and better in films and this year has been the proof of that.

See Pacific Rim for the fight scenes, or for the over the top concept, or for the effects.   Don't see it if you are going to want a solid story, since it will disappoint. 

Wysefyre's Thoughts

I went into Pacific Rim knowing only two things - Guillermo Del Toro directed it, & it had monsters vs. robots. Del Toro’s a phenomenal director but live-action monsters vs. robots on screen? It seemed like a recipe for disaster. Turns out I was wrong, but there are three categories we need to talk about because while the movie's enjoyable, it's not without flaws. 

I felt the overall concept of the movie was a very strong one - monsters attack the world, the world unites to create robots to defeat them, & we get to see how it all turns out. However, somewhere in the script writing process, the plot gets muddled. It sticks with the main concept, but because they want to have character development & make the story interesting, the writers started to throw in all kinds of b-plots. It felt like they were trying to do too much in too little amount of time. Also, some of the dialogue, particularly during the fight sequences, was terrible. Luckily, the movie had a stellar cast t0 help make some of the clunky dialogue work.
*Side note, Highlight to read (contains HUGE spoilers of the ending) –
[ Have to give a big shout-out to the writers for NOT playing up the romance angle. That final moment on the raft was much more intimate without the kiss. Thank you.]

Charlie Hunnam (our dashing hero), who’s a really good actor, seemed incredibly wooden in this. There were some good moments, but mostly, he was just okay. I felt he was the weak link in the cast. 

As the only female in the cast, Rinko Kikuchi held her own. I really liked her & wish she had more screen time. Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, & Max Martini were all great. Elba was respectable yet badass, Perlman chewed the scenery like nobody's business, Day was amusing, & Martini was wonderfully stoic, but the actor who I just adored, & who has become one of my all-time favorite character actors, was Burn Gorman. Other than not being able to hide how British he is (nor should he ever try to), it seems like there is no type he can't play. He stole the movie for me.

Let's talk effects. HOLY ACROPHOBIA! From the opening shot, I knew that the movie was going to be something special. The effects were stunning. The fights were amazing, but the effects that I kept thinking about were the ones that gave the audience a sense of height to the Jaegars (robots) and Kaiju (monsters). They looked enormous & took my breath away. However, there were many moments spent thinking about Voltron. I don't want to spoil that for you, but when you see it, you'll know. 

One final thought  - I don't normally say this, but I would recommend seeing it in 3-D. It truly enhanced the movie.  So far, Pacific Rim is my favorite movie of the summer. I give it four out of five Jaegars.

Our [IGH] team members quick reactions:

Poohbear - Let me tell you, I went into this movie thinking it was going to be another Cloverfield. Not that there's anything wrong with that but I'm not into alien takeover movies or apocalyptic movies where humans are the ones to suffer and ultimately die. In this though, Del Toro focuses on the human aspects and he made all the right choices in the film. From the story, to the character development to the visuals, to the effects, to the casting, to the non-love-love story, I loved it! For my full review go here

Reboot -  If you're looking for a nearly mindless, totally over the top, soundtrack of the week, cliche action movie with every overused line in the book crammed in it, then this is the movie for you.  And let me clarify that by saying it is absolutely 100% okay to totally get into a movie like this one for those reasons.

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Monday, July 8, 2013


A little known fact is that George Lucas stole Star Wars from the world's greatest playwright (and thief) William Shakespeare.   Ok, that's complete bunk but it would be pretty amazing.  Still, this wonderful mash-up of Shakespearean English and Scruffy Nerf Herders exists in Ian Doescher's mind.  Out last week from Quirk Books is his edition of William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope.

Now, I'm just going to assume that anyone reading this knows the story of Star Wars: A New Hope and not recap it here for you.  If you don't know A New Hope, leave wherever you are RIGHT NOW and find the Star Wars original trilogy and watch it now.  Seriously, you need to see what all the buzz is about.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: Catalyst Comix #1

By Reboot

Today I'm reviewing another installment of Dark Horse Comics' superhero revival, Catalyst Comix #1.  This comic is divided into three distinct stories in the same universe (one lead story and two back ups) all written by Joe Casey with art by Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, and Ulises Farinas with characters originally created by Barbara Kesel.

The book will rotate lead stories every three issues and starts with Frank Wells aka Titan.  I think this is probably for the best.  I like this format and I think it will help Dark Horse differentiate itself a bit from the big two since they don't have too many anthology books like that (They do, however, have Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman).