The Best and Worst in Comics for 2014

It’s been an awesome year to be a comics fan, with the overwhelming narrative of quality over gimmicks coming to the forefront. While there are certainly unanimous declarations of greatness, here we can discuss the best of the best. Also, please excuse us if your favorite titles and creators are not present.

Since this is obviously subjective, ya gotta vote for your favorite to win. Go go go!

 

 

Denzel Washington & Antione Fuqua Team Up To Be Magnificent

According to the Guardian, MGM is in talks with actor Denzel Washington, and director Antione Fuqua to star and direct the Magnificent Seven. The idea of the Magnificent Seven is based off of the 1954 film Seven Samurai, directed by legendary director Akira Kurasawa. MGM has wanted to remake this film for some time now. Originally, a script written by True Detective writer and producer Nic Pizzolatto​, was in the pipeline with Tom Cruise slated to star. After that fell through, MGM went back to the drawing board and found a winning combination  of actor and director to revive interest in the classic film.

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Yul Brenner, Charles Bronson, and Steve Mcqueen made this film a household name, so there are big shoes to fill. Tom Cruise was the original star, but he does not have the box office draw he once did. After the success of the Equalizer, replacing Cruise with Washington is a very good choice talent and financial choice, and this is off to a great start. Negotiations are early at the moment, but when Washington and Fuqua get together, the result is cinematic magic!

Ascension TV review

***WARNING*** SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD

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The new mini -series that premiered on Monday night at 9pm is yet another step showing that Syfy is still trying to get its SciFi on again. Ascension’s premise is that in during the Cold War at the height of the space race, it’s decided to take humanity’s best and brightest among 600 people and send them into space via the Project Orion initiative proposed under President Kennedy. The mission is to send these 600 people to Proxima Centauri to repopulate and ensure humanity’s survival.

As always, there is more than meets the eye. The show opens up 50 years into the journey with the death of Lorelei (played by Amanda Thomson) a prominent traveler, which initially looks accidental but is later ruled a murder. The question of course is who and why. From there, we start learning about life on this ship as Captain Denninger (Brian Van Holt) does everything he can to keep the murder quiet. He feels that if the rest of the ship knows that someone is killing people, it will cause a panic as USS Ascension has approached the point of no return back to Earth. In charge of the investigation is XO Gault (Brandon P Bell) who has risen above his station as a respected 2nd in command and is warned by his mother about mixing in with those above him. Then of course, there is Viondra Denninger (Tricia Helfer), wife of the captain. She is the Chief Steward who has daughters in strategic marriages to ensure that she and her family stay in positions of power. Of course she is also sleeping around behind her husband’s back. Just in case you needed a scorecard to find out how people are related and who they are sleeping with, Syfy, did provide a handy online scorecard to keep track of the characters.

As hinted to moments ago, there are classes on Ascension. There is a divide between those born on the lower decks (blue class workers) and upper decks (white collar workers). As the show continues on, we find out that somehow everyone has a vested interest in this divide and how it affected Lorelai’s death.

The biggest part of this series is not so much the murder, or the schism among the 600 aboard the ship. It’s also what’s happening back home as people are popping up with clues behind the truth of Ascension and those that know such as Harris Enzmann (Gil Bellows) are trying to keep its secrets hidden.

Part of what bothered me about the show is some of the clues are in plain sight such as, ‘pay attention to the little “psychic girl” Crista (Ellie O’Brien), she knows something is not right.’   Check.   And ‘pay attention to the mutineers, they know something isn’t right.’ Check.      Not to mention, you mean to tell me that in 50 years, if we are hearing this right, there has been no other serious crime beyond drunken bar brawls? Also, there is the dialogue. Ascension feels like it’s trying too hard to push the sci-fi envelope into BSG territory. It’s not cheesy but it does try too hard for tension without ever really letting it develop naturally.

While the first ½ was slow and the 2nd ½ picks up with some pretty tense moments, it’s the last 5 minutes of the show that may or may not keep audiences coming back for the next episodes. In the last five minutes, we are treated to a twist that has been shouted at you since Crista’s introduction. It’s that moment that will make you decide if you will stick around, provided that you haven’t been distracted by all of the butts and politics beforehand.

From what I have heard, if this mini-series is successful, we may actually see a regular series. From what I have seen so far, I honestly don’t know if I have that kind of commitment to another weekly show. Ascension so far feels like the kind of show that SyFy should take hints from how some UK shows are presented and make them in small manageable portions. This would let people enjoy them in shorter time spans as opposed to trying to force audiences on a steady weekly diet. I am also wondering that now since we know the twist, can the other 2 episodes hold up as well or have we all seen what is needed to be seen? Ascension in all of its hokey loftiness means well but it has 2 more nights for audiences to decide if we want to finish the journey with them.

2.75 out of 5 stars

Cosplay Spotlight with Matthew O!!

Born and raised in Brooklyn NY for 16 years currently reside in Edgewood, MD
I’ve been cosplaying for a year now but I’ve been going to cons since 2010
Other characters I have cosplayed are: Impel Down Crocodile, Red Hood, Arrow, Superboy and Tobi

  1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?

No one inspired me to cosplay it just happened. Two coworkers invited me to Otakon in 2010 and they said you should cosplay with us. I initially was hesitant because as much as I like anime and comics I always said cosplay was weird and stupid, but they said at least try it once and if you don’t like it then don’t do it. So I bought a akatsuki cloak and tobi mask from the dealers room in Otakon and Bam!!! I was in cosplay.

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2. When you are not cosplaying what else do you do and what are your hobbies?

When im not in cosplay I’m usually at the gym hitting the weights, playing basketball, (my all-time favorite sport), or playing video games.  I try to play more basketball now since I used to play it a lot back in Brooklyn and by a lot I mean everyday regardless of the weather. Since moving to MD in 06 I didn’t get to play as often as I used to and when I started to pick it back up I would get sore because the last time I would have played was a year prior. With the injuries I have now acquired from my on and off basketball years the chance of me being dominant again on the court isn’t happening. So instead of being Shaq and Ben Wallace, I have to settle for being current Vince Carter. (Aitch sez: “Is he still even playing??)

3. What is one big piece of advice you would give to a new cosplayer?

One big piece of advice I would give is that there is no gender/color boundary with cosplay. You can cosplay whoever you want regardless of your race, gender, ethnicity, height, and appearance. If that was the case I would never cosplay Arrow or Red Hood. I always say this line from 90’s rapper Biggie Smalls which is cheesy as hell but it works with a lot of situations: “just remind yourself ain’t nobody built like you, you designed yourself”.

4. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?

We, as cosplayers need to do a better job of accepting each other. There is too much you can’t do this and you shouldn’t do that when it comes to cosplay. Please stop being creepy with female and male cosplayers. Too many of my female cosplay friends share their stories about how con goers approach and talk to them and it makes them uncomfortable. Cosplay isn’t consent, and con goers should always remember that. If someone says “No” then back off.  Also I would like some cosplayers to get off their high horse with the “I am better than any other cosplayers” attitude at the cons. We are all nerds who have some similarities from being picked on and being an outcast. Now you want to bring that attitude into the cosplay world. Get out of here with that nonsense. If we remember who we are and where we came from, we can make it better for new cosplayers to get into this hobby.

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PCU 13 –Its A Ghostface Killah Christmas

 

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This week, Armand, El, and Jon man the fort and while Armand is bopping his head to the new Ghostface Killah, album drop, the crew discusses the following:

Star Wars – Rolling droids, Character names, Imaginary scripts, oh my!
Sony is hacked…AGAIN
Sony and Marvel Revelations Regarding Negotiations for Spider Man to Appear in Captain America 3: Civil War
College Football Variants for Marvel – Good Idea or corporate gone crazy
Darwin Cooke DC Variants
And speaking of DC, DC Breaks EVERYTHING:

Batwoman # 36 – Batwoman gets vampire-roofied and raped, Author states it is not a non-consensual
Batgirl #37 – Whoops, Transphobia!!
Klarion #3 – Bad guy is taking over the world using WILDLY popular replacements for wives so men don’t have to listen to them talk (apparently El is the only person who reads this book…)
WW #36 – yeah…that happened.
Earth 2 – Babs gets “fridged”, something…involving extra arms and brainwashing…happens to Helena…
World’s Finest – stopped covering two female characters, added brokeback + Supes carrying Catwoman around like a sack of potatoes, asking if Bats dropped something…

( ^^ this is what happens when Aitch is gone for a week!! All of these things happen!!)

No one knows why but Sega is developing its early game properties, including Crazy Taxi, into films
And also a Krypton TV show?
Gift Ideas for Comic/Pop Culture Heads

Album Release – Ghostface Killah 36 – Seasons / Wu Tang A Better Tomorrow

Laughing Ogre, Lansdowne lost their lease (With only a weeks notice from the Property Managers!) and are closing December 18th. No new location yet, but EVERYTHING (toys, books, collectibles, T-Shirts, Statues, Games, ETC.), with only a few exceptions, are 50% off through the 17th. Go stock up while you can.

And then the Exodus Casting Issues

In our Reviews

Sex Criminals 9
East of West: The World, The Valiant
Bitch Planet #1

Pull List for December 17 (Jonathan’s Birthday!)

Oddly Normal #4
Ultimate Spider Man 8
Rachel Rising Vol. 5: Night Cometh TP

Catch us at
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Email us at Pcupress@gmail.com
Twitter – @PCUncovered
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The Review Brew – December 10 2014

Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #7

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Adam Kubert
Reviewer: DJ “Leggo O’My Eggo!” Tanner

Events are always a tough pill to swallow when it comes to superhero comic books. While we all want a big spectacle, with a big story that changes everything and brings all the big toys together to crash. But they’ve also become something of a chore. While they still do make the big bucks, they don’t always seem to come together anymore because the story merits such a treatment. While this is general, AXIS has unfortunately proven to be a case of the latter.

I’m probably as big of a fan of Rick Remender as anyone else. I’ve been following his work since his seminal Punisher run, through Uncanny X-Force, and now Uncanny Avengers. The key thing that made those runs so powerful is that Remender was allowed to tell his own story that stayed consistently his. While there was crossover with the rest of the Marvel Universe, these were small and didn’t interfere with the story being told. Sadly though, AXIS has proven to be an easy example of why getting out of Remender’s way is an important factor. AXIS #7 has the same essential problems as the last few issues of the mini-series.

Overall the story has been scattershot with only a few overall plot threads not being farmed out to form an event tie-in. The other problem is the haphazard passing of the baton with the art teams. While any one of the artists involved would’ve been perfect for the event alone, having multiple artists who are very plainly rushed switching around erodes any sense of consistency in the event. Let alone that the art isn’t up to the usual standards of anyone involved. Adam Kubert alone could do so much better than this; Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine was such a classic story in large part of what he brought to the table, when he wasn’t encumbered by a near-weekly release schedule.

In terms of the story itself, the plot is largely what Remender has been building up to all along, and for all the criticisms I have for the comic, when it gets to the plot threads Remender has been building to: like Deadpool and Evan it works really well. However, it’s hard not to see the book as largely a launching pad for tie-ins, while it’s understandable that would happen in an event designed to sell comics, when those tie-ins overwhelm the flow of the story, it’s doing more harm than good. I do think Marvel has been doing very good with the books it has been launching lately: Ms. Marvel, Loki: Agent of Asgard, or Amazing Spider-Man. All of those have been launched, tied to, or have launched events, but even so they’ve remained very strong books, and rightfully so since they’ve been able to avoid strong intrusion from outside the context of the stories they’ve been telling. Meanwhile, the story Remender had been telling about the Avengers Unity Squad, Apocalypse, and the Red Skull has been seemingly hijacked for tie-ins and the Marvel movie line. Which honestly makes me really sad, the creative team involved can and have done so much better than this. I hope to be proven wrong by the end of the story, but so far I’m not really holding out hope.

2 out of 5 praying Deadpools

And Then Emily Was Gone #5

Writer: John Lees
Artist: Iain Laurie
Reviewed by: John Amenta

Note- Reviewer copy, actual issue hits stores on 12/17/2014

Do you like your stories served up in neat little pieces that make perfect sense? Do you hate being challenged by a book you read? If you answered yes, then no, please stay away from this comic. John Lees and Iain Laurie finish off their bizarre nightmare of a tale in ambiguity, but not frustratingly so.

From issue 1 of Emily,it was obvious that this story was going to be different. Lees weaved tormented characters with a setting that can be best described as macabre. Greg Hellinger is an ex cop who sees terrible things. Fiona is a young girl from the Isle of Merksay,who enlists Greg to help find her friend Emily,who may or may not have been abducted. Abducted by a Scottish folk tale called the Bonnie Shaw. Yeah,and that’s barely the weird stuff. Add in another island called Tallyman Holm featuring a nighttime circus/freak show, mind controlling parasites and the weirdest abbatoir in Scotland,and now we’re cooking with gas.

In this issue, Fiona and Greg confront Bonnie Shaw on Tallyman Holm looking to find and save Emily.Bonnie is willing to talk,but not so inclined to negotiate. Nothing goes to plan exactly and a new batch of questions are opened. The ending seemed primed for a sequel series, but works well in the context of the overall story if they choose not to continue. As nothing was really spoon fed throughout, the ending could be seen as open to interpretation as well.

Lees and Laurie crafted a fantastically unique 5 issue series for indie company ComixTribe. This is a horror story birthed from watching too much David Lynch,and eating too much haggis. I strongly suggest giving this series a shot,unless you like your stories ala paint by numbers,then I suggest you run. And pray that your parents never decide to give you to Bonnie Shaw.

5 Twisted Nightmares of 5

Southern Bastards #6

Storytellers: Jason Aaron & Jason Latour
Reviewer: D.J. “Where’s The Off Button?” Tanner

Southern Bastards is one of the best comics coming out at the moment. No joke. People probably hear this regularly, but every issue you read, you get reminded why. Jasons Aaron and Latour are doing some truly career-making work. When you consider that Jason Aaron in particular has become very familiar as the guy who’s done long runs on Wolverine and Thor, seeing him on something like Southern Bastards which is fairly close cousins with Scalped in tone is likely a real kick in the teeth to people coming in from Marvel.

This issue in particular breaks from the harrowing events of the freshman arc to focus on the story of one Coach Boss. One of the meanest bastards (there’s that word again) to walk the dog piss soiled earth of Craw County, and for good reason. I won’t spoil the events of the issue, because frankly you should be reading it. But if you’ve read a Jason Aaron story set in country, it won’t disappoint. There’s blood, guts, pain, hurt, and loss. Along with lots of cussing, violence, and daddy issues. And Jason Latour steps up to bat, I’ve enjoyed his work ever since his Silver Samurai backup story in Wolverine, and he only kicks more ass with each issue. The artwork is more gritty and bloody than your average Big 2 comic, and here it absolutely fits. The lettering is awesome as ever, it enhances the narrative flow of the comic, and it also doesn’t obstruct the gorgeous art. There’s nothing more annoying than a fat caption blocking your view of the art, here the lettering is used as needed, and in a way that its actually additive.

That being said, what’s the overall reason to buy this comic? What distinguishes this comic is that this is one where you can kill the titular main character, and the world moves on. While there of course is going to be a protagonist, the journey of Coach Boss, who he is and how he came to be is just as important as Earl Tubb. The story isn’t just about him, or even Earl, it’s about Craw County. A living breathing piece of society in Alabama with life breathed into it by the Jasons, with designated meeting places in a BBQ shack, and football being God. What they do is amazing in that you’re invested in the future of these people, even the one who beats a man to death with a giant stick. While it’s easy to say that Jason Aaron has a few themes he likes to rehash (namely father/son relationships), he can write the hell out of people. And if you don’t like people, well you can enjoy one of the best artists in comic with Jason Latour. For me that is quite frankly enough. Well… That and the amazing letters pages with the recipes.

5 out of 5 Y’all Hauls

 

Bitch Planet #1

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Valentine De Landro
Reviewer: Brett Israel

I was excited when I first heard that Kelly Sue DeConnick would be starting a new creator-owned series at Image Comics. I was even more excited when I heard the title “Bitch Planet”. Since then, I ignored previews and interviews about the book in order to get a blank slate for starting the series. Name aside, Bitch Planet is a tour-de-force that may be one of the best first issues I’ve seen from Image this year.

The aforementioned Bitch Planet is a planetary prison for female prisoners from Earth. The issue wisely decides not to spend much time explaining where technology is, or how the prison planet came to be. Instead, it focuses on setting up a new class of inmates at the prison, in particular one Marian Collins and her husband’s efforts to get her out while back on Earth. This set up might sound familiar to those who have watched Orange is the New Black, but DeConnick’s story takes a very different turn. Readers will be left with questions about the other inmates or the jail itself, and the issue does a great job of making us care about these characters through just a few pages of details. By setting up then quickly subverting expectations, DeConnick’s got me hooked already.

While the story is fantastic, the art really brings the issue together. Bitch Planet is the first time I’ve seen Valentine De Landro’s work, but I’ll definitely be looking at her other work. Her work reminds me somewhat of David Aja’s with broad lines and seemingly simple cartooning. There’s a kinetic energy through the issue, starting with the first page which follows a woman walking to work in a traditional 9-grid style. There’s a great variety of faces and body types, and I’m excited to see more of what’s to come.

Bitch Planet stands out as one of the best new Image series in a year full of great new Image comics. I can’t recommend this issue enough. DeConnick and De Landro’s work will be something to keep an eye out for in the future.

5 bitch plutos out of 5

Santa Claus is a Time Lord

Pop Culture Uncovered:

Yes, Santa IS a time lord!!!!

Originally posted on Drawing Power:

How does Santa Claus travel across the entire world in a single night? How has he lived for this long? How can he carry all those toys on his sleigh? These are the questions non-believers use to try and convince believers that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. The good news for all those that want to believe in Santa is there’s one answer to all those questions: Santa Claus is a Time Lord.

Santa Claus: Time Lord

As a Doctor Who addict, this revelation, surprisingly, only struck me the other day. I quickly googled “santa claus, time lord” and discovered (sadly) I wasn’t the first Whovian to make this connection. On the bright side, it made it much easier to compile all the evidence for why Santa Claus is a Time Lord.

1. He travels the entire globe in one night: Even if Santa’s sleigh traveled at light speed, the act of…

View original 329 more words

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