Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tales of the TMNT #45

Hello, I’m a unicorn. In keeping with what I started last post, (and will probably keep up with for the rest of October) I’ll be looking at another horror themed comic. It, once again, is from the Turtles. This time, though, it surprisingly isn’t a Halloween special. This issue, involving Lovecraftian horrors, was released in April of 2005. I guess that weirdness happens to the Turtles any time of year. Now for the plot.

Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo are out camping. Donnie tells them the legend of Dudlytown, a small town from the turn of the century where the residents slowly became deformed and when the livestock were eaten these deformed monsters, the residents of the neighboring towns herded them into a church and just left them there as the town was slowly flooded. The town is gone, but there is a history of disappearances in the area. But it’s only a legend, right? Or is it something more? Perhaps the area is a cursed by an ancient evil, a small part of a cosmic horror, that overshadows the creatures that live there? What if Dudlytown houses such horrors, forgotten and waiting?

You’ll have to read to find out. This comic is great, especially the ending. Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you while reading? This has really only happened to me twice. The first time was Batman: The Black Mirror, which I’ll get to in October, and in this one. The difference between that comic and this is that it wasn’t a dramatic plot twist or as horrifying as it was in Black Mirror. It was a single sound effect and a crack on a stone that took the wind out of me.

My one issue is that the art isn’t as great as Tales #39, but it isn’t awful either. Also, and this isn’t a criticism, it’s just an observation, I think that, like in #39, the 2003 series did the story a little better. In it, the Turtles are brought to the Mansion of C.F. Vopelhart (an anagram for H.P. Lovecraft) while searching for  their friend Angel’s brother. This was one of my favorites because it gave us insight on the Turtles’ deepest fears. Leonardo fears failure (also excellent foreshadowing his wonderful arc in season 4) Raphael fears his anger, Donatello fears the deaths of the people he cares about, and Michelangelo fears betrayal. If you haven’t guessed by now, I love this show and will probably compare it to every TMNT comic I review. I just can’t help myself.

Yeah, you have a problem.

Oh, shut up. That show was awesome.

Says who?

Says me. Anyway, what are you waiting for? This issue is definitely worth a read, so read it now!

Kirin felt her stomach grumble and decided that she could use a midnight snack. She walked to the kitchen pantry and dug around for a bag of chips. When she turned around, she jumped. All of the doors to the cabinets and refrigerators had opened while her back was turned.

“Real cute, Textbox. But if you wanna scare me, you’ll have to do better than that,” she yelled.

“But I didn’t do it,” Textbox replied.

“Of course you did. Are you telling me that the doors magically opened all on their own?” she asked, annoyed.

“No, I’m just saying that I didn’t do it. It’s physically impossible for me to do it.”

“A-are you sure? Maybe this is some ability you just didn’t realize you had,” Kirin half asked half stammered. To the creature’s satisfaction, he could see that she was getting nervous.

We swears it. We swears it on the precious,” Textbox replied. The hairs on the back of Kirin’s neck stood on end. Someone or something was in the house.

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Tales of the TMNT #39

Hello, I’m a unicorn. Teenage Mutant Ninja Were-Turtle. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes it is as good as it sounds. Okay, a little back story. According to Wikipedia, Tales of the TMNT was an anthology series published to fill the gaps in continuity  from the main series. It was published in two volumes, sixteen years apart from each other. This  comic in particular is from the second volume.

There is a bit of continuity behind this, so let’s get it out of the way. In the original 80’s run of Tales of the TMNT, there was a Halloween special issue (later adapted into an episode of the 2003 series) called “All Hallows Thieves.” The basic plot is that a mysterious fellow and his associate, Hadji, want to steal an idol and become the King of Thieves. The Turtles stumble upon them because the idol made its way to April O’Neal’s shop. If you want to know what happened, I suggest reading the comic or watching the episode. This comic is a sequel to that Halloween special.

The basic plot is that Raphael accidentally gets sent to a future where the mysterious fellow I mentioned earlier has allied himself with werewolves and wants to take over the world instead of the vampires who already rule it. All of the Turtles are dead except for Mikey, who escaped after watching his brothers die. He and Hadji, who had been betrayed by the man who would be King of Thieves, lead the resistance until Mikey was turned into a werewolf. The sorcerer, Hadji’s former boss, needs the idol to get to the past and become King of the Werewolves. (You’d think he’d learned from the last debacle and set his aspirations a little lower. Duke of the Werewolves, maybe. Good to see that still he has ambition though.) Raph needs to stop him and return to his time by destroying a Turtle skeleton, the only connection to the past the sorcerer has.

This comic is actually pretty good. I noticed that in a lot of my Tales of the TMNT comics, the art is either ugly on the Turtles, contorting them in ugly or blocky ways, or ugly on the people, making their faces unpleasant to look at. This isn’t the case with this comic though. The art looks great. The black and white makes it moodier and the Turtles’ faces are extremely expressive.

The story is excellent. The writer did a great job of mixing sadness, humor, and pure awesome. In this story, a giant mutated turtle fights werewolves. That, folks, is why I love comics. In any other medium, a scenario like this will shatter any suspension of disbelief. I would like to note though, that the story isn’t original. If you watched the 2003 series, you may remember the episode “Same as it Never Was” that came out two years before. In it, Donnie was sent to a future where he’d disappeared and the team was destroyed. That is the basic plot here too. I’m not saying that the comic ripped the episode off because there was an equal effort in creating an emotional reaction on this story and in that episode. It’s just something I noticed.

Overall, it’s worth a read, especially if you’re a TMNT fan. The art and story is great even if it isn’t 100% original. It’s a great Halloween story and a fun read. So what are you waiting for? Read it now.

“Hey Textbox, Have you seen my broadsword?” Kirin called as she rifled through a box in the storage room of her basement.

“I’m the disembodied voice in your head. How can I see anything?” Textbox pointed out. 

“Obviously you can see some things on your own. You couldn’t follow me when I left, so you probably can only “see” the layout of my house. Or you constructed the layout from my memories. You never quite explained how this whole voice in my head thing works anyway.” Kirin sat up, vainly hoping to hear an answer. When none was offered, she gave a sardonic laugh.

“What? Deadpool’s textbox is at a loss for words? Somebody call the presses, I think history has been made!” she announced. The creature listened to this exchange with interest. There was tension between the two. Definitely something he could use to his advantage. When Textbox remained silent, she tried a different approach, “You know, it’s pretty rude to show up, crash in someone’s mind, and annoy the heck out of them. All without an explanation.”

Ah-ah-ah Kirin,” Texbox began, “Remember what I said: I would if I could–“

“But you can’t, so you won’t. Yeah, yeah. What else is new?” Kirin shifted the box she was rifling through out of the way and opened another one labeled dolls. “Ah, here it is.” Seeing it behind the box, she pulled a broadsword in its scabbard out from a crevice between the doll box and a box of Christmas ornaments. Unsheathing the sword, she examined the blade. “Hmm…could use some polishing. Maybe a little sharpening. Just enough to get off the rust,” she muttered thoughtfully. She stood up and walked upstairs.

Kirin? Watcha doin’?” Textbox asked as she stepped outside. She walked to a scarecrow she’d set up for Halloween and unsheathed the sword.

“Eatin’ chocolate. What’s it look like I’m doin’?” she muttered as she swung the sword, stopping a hairsbreadth from the scarecrow before swinging again. After a few practice swings, she dashed, ducked, swung, stabbed and jumped as though she was fighting an invisible swordsman.

“What did that scarecrow ever do to you?” asked Textbox as she lobbed off an its arm.

“Nothing. I’m just practicing. Last night I was taken by surprise by that intruder. Next time, I want to be ready.”

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A Letter Of Congratulations for DC

Dear DC,

Congratulations! You’ve been in the lime light for a full week. Everyone’s talking about you. While many are angry at you for what you’ve done in the past week, I believe it’s pure genius.

No superhero, especially Batwoman, should get married. Ever. No one wants to see their heroes move forward and, heaven forbid, be happy! Marriage is the end of any great story.  Joe Quesada was right. His and J. Michael Straczynski’s masterpiece One More Day proved that to us that marriage is stupid. What does a three times Eisner Award winner know about marriages in comics anyway? Sure you’ve alienated readers, but who needs those losers anyway? They only give you the money that keeps your company afloat.

Now let’s talk about the Naked Harley Quinn Suicide contest. Many would wonder what kind of sicko would think this was a good idea for a contest, but they just don’t understand it. I think that you want to show her at her most vulnerable and in a way that isn’t at all exploitative. It isn’t misogynist to sexualize a woman taking her own life when she’s drawn cartoonishly.  The fact that it’s cartoonish makes it all the more brilliant. Because we all need to laugh at tragedies that have affected millions of people. No, a message of hope would not do for those reading comics. Who would want to look to an ex-abused, mentally ill woman trying to move on with her life for hope? And the fact that everyone thought that it was a good idea without thinking how it could be taken the wrong way takes a special brand of genius.

While we’re talking about Miss Quinn, I’d like to say that the promo issue is just so full of Harley’s charm. Here is the link: http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/4471728.html. The fact that it was published on 9/11 makes it even classier. Harley is no longer a charming bimbo tragically caught in an abusive relationship. Now she’s a complex anti-hero who committed the mass murder of children through explosive game boys. It’s so much easier to sympathize with her now that she’s committed an act of terrorism. And this is in a book intended to be fun and silly. Because when you think hilarity and fun, you think terrorism. Thanks for staying as classy as you’ve always been.

Forever your’s,

The Unicorn Comic

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My Opinion on Batwoman

Hello, I’m a unicorn. Let’s talk about marriage! Why? Well, five days ago, the creative team on Batwoman walked out on the project because the editor decided last minute that she couldn’t get married to her fiance Maggie Sawyer. I’m going to be breaking my usual form today so that we can talk about this idiocy.

First off, two disclaimers. One: I’m not going to discuss Gay rights here. Not because I don’t support Gay rights. I just don’t think that her cancelled wedding was cancelled only because she is Lesbian. Otherwise, why have her openly Gay in the first place? It’s something bigger than just that, and I’ll get to it in a minute. Two: I have only read one issue where Batwoman appears and that was from 52. She was really cool in it and I like the idea of her, but I can’t tell you about the relationship of Batwoman and Maggie. From what I’ve gleaned from Amazon though, her stories are excellent and she has achieved a pretty big fan base. Instead, I’m going to talk about the main reasons why this refusal to let them marry is asinine. So let’s begin.

The main is reason is that this is the same attitude behind One More Day. And we all know how much everyone loves that story. Co-publisher Dan Didio said in response to the criticisms, and I quote, “Superheroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own interests. That’s something we reinforced. People in the Bat Family, their personal lives basically suck.”

Oh great Krypton, where to begin? Comic book writers seem to be under the impression that we want to see our heroes fail and be miserable all the time. We don’t. We want to see the characters we love grow and change. We want to see them move forward, not just stay static; perpetually failing at relationships and at life. We want to see them with the person they love or to find a better job or to raise a family. Writers seem to think that marriage is the end. As the fifteen year marriage of Superman and Lois, the twenty year marriage of Spider-man and MJ or the forty-eight year old marriage of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman can testify, this is obviously not the case.

My first review, The Amazing Spider-man #648, was a part of an arc called Spider-man–Big Time. For all of its flaws (believe me, there are many,) the writers did understand that Peter Parker needs to have things go better for him in his personal life at least once at least once. From a dramatic standpoint, the happiness of a character makes their fall to rock bottom even farther. What another tragedy to someone who is always miserable?

And it’s not like marriage is a walk in the park. They could cheat on each other, grow apart, feel neglected. One could get hurt or kidnapped. If there are any comic book writers reading this that writes for a married superhero, just put forth effort and use your imagination! Is that too much to ask?

Like I said before, I really doubt that she’s not allowed to get married because she’s Gay. They openly supported a Gay Green Lantern and that was very publicized. Her orientation probably plays a role in it, but, like I said, is a symptom of a bigger issue. Like Gail Simone, (a writer best known for her awesome portrayals of women in comics) said, “It’s more of a marriage thing in general.” DC also seems to think that we’re angry because we think they’re homophobes.

No, DC, we’re not angry because we think the mandate has something to do with her orientation. We’re angry because you have become so out of touch that I’m wouldn’t be shocked if you tweeted “Let them eat cake” in response to us voicing our frustrations. You have every single fan at your disposal and thousands if not millions of blogs like mine voicing our ire. All you need to do is listen and not speak to us like we’re the ones with problems.

Another tip: An editor is not a writer. Sure, they’re supposed help make the stories better. Help. Not write. Help. They’re there to catch typos and point out inconsistencies. They don’t write the story. That’s what writers are for. Nothing good ever comes from the editor writing the story instead of the writer.

You’re the guardians of your characters and you aren’t doing your job. And a part of your job is listening to what the majority of your fans have to say. And I don’t think you’d like it. We fans are the best at what we do. And what we do is voicing our rage. All you need to do is listen.

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Monsters University

Hello, I’m a unicorn. Sorry for the delay between reviews but–

Dude, where have you been? I thought you died. I was even planning a viking funeral when I found your body.

Whoa there Evey, I just went away for a bit. I’m back now, but since school started, I may write on here less frequently.  Don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned you, textbox, as much as I wish I had.

Awww. I missed you too.

So, on to Monsters University. I though that–

Wait, Monsters University?!

Yeah, what about it?

You do realize that this is your first review on something completely unrelated to a comic book or super hero?

You’re right. Wow. So… uh… how should I go about this? It’s a special review after all.

I dunno. Just tell the internet what you think like you’ve always done.

Um… okay. I thought it was so-so. I’ll break it down to the good and the meh. There isn’t anything particularly bad in it. Monsters University was just average.

The Good: The animation was beautiful, with each monster getting a unique  design. It’s fun just looking at all of the creatures they could come up with. The world was bright and colorful. The best thing about it was the voice over acting. They got Billy Crystal, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi to reprise their roles as Mike, Sulley, and Randy respectively. They brought a lot of energy and chemistry to their roles and were pretty funny. The fraternity brothers of Oozma Kappa were really funny and memorable, but the character that got the most laughs out of me was Sherri Squibbles, the mother of one of the fraternity members. Out of all of the characters, she got me to laugh out loud the most. I liked the shift in main protagonists. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Monsters Inc. but I remember the story being slightly more focused on Sulley. This movie is Mike’s time to shine. We see that he how had to work hard for to get into his major wasn’t a natural talent. Sulley, in contrast, is a jock with skills but a questionable work ethic. I like that they took risks with the plot, but I won’t spoil how. The story still very cliched, but there were one or two  chances taken that I didn’t see coming.

The Meh: Practically everything else. Like I said, the story is an homage to college films by playing up the cliches. I didn’t mind it as much, except it got in the way of character development. And when there was development, it felt forced. Mike and Sulley’s relationship suffered the most. We see them as rivals, but then they do a quick 180 and become best friends. The gags were more cute than funny, getting only a couple of laughs out of me. The villains weren’t memorable or interesting. They were just jocks without and defining characteristics other than being jocks.

Overall, it’s worth a watch. Was it up to the caliber of the first film? No. Monsters Inc. was perfectly fine as a stand alone film. This prequel was unnecessary, but is good as prequels go. It stayed faithful to the original while telling its own story. It is better than many movies out there, but lacks the heart from the first movie. I wasn’t blown away by it, but kids and adults will enjoy it and the message about how people come in many shapes and sizes. I enjoyed it for what it was, and you probably will too, dear reader.

***

Kirin read and reread her review, checking for any typos. Yawning, she clicked publish, knowing that she might find more when she looked at it with fresh eyes the next day. She closed her laptop, and, feeling thirsty, walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water before bed. Her bedroom window silently slip open and a creature with long hairy hands and dagger-like claws pulled itself inside her room.

He perked his long, pointed ears, listening for someone who might discover him. He wasn’t concerned, though, because most humans couldn’t see the denizens of his realm, but better safe than sorry. He heard the girl speaking to someone, but only smelled her. Curious. Suddenly he heard the girl walking back to her bedroom. He quickly snuck into her closet.

“I don’t know, textbox. I always assumed that Aunt May taught Peter Parker how to sew,” Kirin said, “I mean, where else would he– huh? Weird.”

What?” asked a distinctly male voice. The creature, strangely enough, couldn’t smell or see him. If he hadn’t heard the voice, he would have assumed the man wasn’t there at all.

“I could’ve sworn the window was closed when I left. You think someone broke in?” Kirin muttered.

Cool! Then we can play Home Alone! I already have the schematics for a Rube Goldberg flame thrower. Ooh-ooh! Can I say ‘Keep the change ya filthy animal’? Pretty, pretty please?” The male voice said excitedly. His voice was grating and obnoxious to the creature’s ears. He decided that the male would be the first to go. The girl sighed.

“No, textbox, we are not playing Home Alone. If you had any brains to your name, you’d notice that things operate differently in this universe than in Marvel’s. Home Alone antics are an easy way to get a bullet to the brain, not catch a bunch of hapless thieves,” Kirin said. Obviously she was as annoyed as the creature.

Brains to your name? What the heck does that even mean?” he asked.

“That’s not the point. My point is that I’m calling the police like any sensible person would,” she said then called out, “Hello? I don’t have any prescription drugs or anything of value, and, since you didn’t damage anything, I won’t press charges if you leave right now.” The creature didn’t move. He heard her run to the phone and place a call. Soon, people arrived in carriages that sound like screams. From the closet, he heard them search the house from head to toe. They even checked his hiding spot, but none saw him. They left as quickly as they came. Now that they were alone, he could have some fun.

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