Monday, February 25, 2013

OBSCURE O.V.A.S., *Van Helsing: The London Assignment

Intended to be a tie-in to the Van Helsing live-action movie(no relation to Hellsing), this animated prequel is actually a pretty fair video feature. Not unlike some od the other ones of its time like Dark Fury or The Animatrix.

Monster-slayer Van Helsing investigate a rash of attacks in London on women, committed by Dr. Jekyll(but no one ever mentions Jack The Ripper). Jekyll has used arcane arts to drain women’s souls to make Queen Victoria younger so he can marry her.

Some reasonably good animation in this, and the anti-monster arsenal is impressive, as the Vatican scientist Carl takes down an entire horde of zombies amred with only a holy water gun. It features Hugh Jackman and David Wenham voicing their characters from the movie, plus Dwight Shultz once again kicking ass as the creepy Dr. Jekyll.

Where's all the male unicorns?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *The Amazing Screw-On Head

Originally a one-shot comic from Dark Horse Comics by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Syfy decided to do a TV pilot of it. This has been released officially online, as well as on DVD.

Set in the Civil War, Screw-On Head is a mechanical head that works for Abe Lincoln as a sort of Agent Mulder who hunts down supernatural threats against America. He has to fight the charasmiatic Emperor Zombie from resurrecting an ancient demi-god.

Aside from the robot bodies that Head rides around in, other cool steam-tech includes a chamber that converts people into smoke. Titsmouse’s animation greatly follows Mignola’s art style, even more than the Hellboy animated movies did.

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 8: Page 14

Story by Jer Alford. Art by Serena Paccagani.

Friday, February 22, 2013

MISC. MANGA, *Blade Kitten

This webcomic was the basis for the semi-popular video game of the same name, and incorporates nearly everything you'd be looking for in a 90s anime. Catgirls, space babes, cyborgs, alien creatures, ninjas, and more. The video game acted as a prequel to the comic as it was already in print prior to the game's development.

Kit Ballard is a bounty hunter, and one of the few members of the race of Felions left in the galaxy. Felions were catpeople that have had their numbers dwindle after the marauding Darques wiped most of them out. Kit now hunts down bounties as a "Breaker" on the planet Myrdia. After taking down the heavily armored outcast Kagemusha, Kit heads back to town to collect the money on his head. She the reveals the fellow Felion Alamao as a replicant android, and then runs into her old friend Lucy as they get started into another adventure with more mysterious aliens.

This has been collected into four separate comic book issues(so far), plus a special "Grande Collection" trade paperback. There's also a spinoff series set in the same universe, Dirty Justice, featuring sexy blonde space bounty hunter Justice Kreel. Definitely worth a look for fans of Outlaw Star and Trigun.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Comics If You're Horny For Pacific Rim

Since Pacific Rim has been described by it's director as “giant f***ing monsters against giant f***ing robots", I thought it would be appropriate to give your average American geek who isn't totally into either anime or tokusatsu a sampling of some comics they could dig up to get into gear for it. I figured it was best not to list too many comics that were adaptations or spinoffs to established franchises like Trasformers, Godzilla, Robotech, or Voltron. Some of them are taken from various games or toylines, but most are original concepts that were inspired from the mecha/kaiju genre.

Sherard Jackson did a great job in this totalitarian future where teenage girl Shon is trying to find her place in a world where the militant government uses mechas to keep the peace and wage war against their enemies. Shon is torn between joining the army as a medic like her parents to escape her poverty, and what might certainly be her own death sentence. Very reminiscent of Gundam 0080 in the way war effects everyone, including the common man.

One of the first original American comics to bring the giant robot to the forefront was created by John Ostrander and later on Phil Foglio. Future human colonies and other allied alien cultures are under attack by the invading Mellenares, enormous killer mechanoids. To retaliate, humans invent giant robots called Robosoldiers. The majority of the series deals with alien robot pilot Elanian and his feline partner Pomru. The comic followed a lot of space opera tropes typical of shows like Battlestar Galactica and Robotech, but still an interesting comic approach to Space Invaders.
This is how the movie Monsters should have been. A crack opening to an underground world erupts in San Francisco, and huge monsters of every variety escape turning a huge portion of California into Monster Territories where kaiju run wild. To keep these in line, the government sent in a monster-hybrid called Jack, and also to catalog all of them is the slightly-augmented Jill who appears to just be a well-endowed white-haired human girl. Jack travels the wastelands terminating the monsters with a large katana. But, this all comes to a halt when the granddaddy of all kaiju Rroar shows up to put it all to an end. This 6-issue series also came with a special guidebook issue to the monsters in this world.
One of your standard 50s sci-fi terror movie plots was having an astronaut return to Earth as some kind of destructive beast. This 2-issue series took the concept a step further by making the astronaut into a giant zombie monster that turns anyone he touches into a zombie too. The only resource the U.S. government has for this is a German scientist long left in Area 51, who creates a giant Nazi robot to stop the monster. After supposedly killing the menace from space, the Nazibot then proceeds to try and conquer the world itself. So, there's some real funny twists in this modern approach to B-movies.
Meant as more of a political satire then an explosive war drama, this was actually a pretty good comic, despite it being a product of the Bush Administration(the 2nd one). The underfunded U.S. Department of Giant Robot Warriors suddenly has to pull their crap together when an miniscule Mid-East country develops its own mecha tech. So, G.R.W. head Rufus has to pull an amazing all-nighter to have a working model ready for the President's inspection. This is for early post-911 America with giant robots what Iron Sky was to nowadays with Space Nazis!
Out of nowhere, a giant alien robot shows up in San Francisco(again!)and starts wrecking the joint. What the delusional pilot doesn't know is that he's really the star of a reality show like The Truman Show. He's caught between the citizens of his homeworld being controlled by an evil organization, the United Broadcast Company, and the safety of Earth which has U.S. Army giving him a hard time too. It's a bizarre but explosive look at how a ratings war can cause a lot of turmoil.
Set in the mid-21st Century, Earth has been conquered by an alien race called the Jadak Empire. The few remaining resistance fighters come up with a plan to use their battle droids in an attempt to free the planet, but it all hinges on their secret Mech Destroyer weapon piloted by the daredevil soldier Reese, who is given a special mission to rescue their fallen comrades from a nearly impenetrable enemy fortress.
Based on the miniature board game, this 4-issue mini-series(which includes an Issue #0)mainly centers around the special defense force labeled G.U.A.R.D. who protect mankind from giant dinosaur monsters that just mysteriously show up frequently attacking major cities around the world. The pilots of one this special divisions giant robots made to stop the monsters, called the Sky Sentinel, are trying to prove their worth as their former captain got promoted to the new robot, Defender X, while investigating the strange giant humanoid warriors which also fight the creatures.
Hoping to cash in all the anime-styled comics back in the early 2000s, Wildstorm did this 6-issue mini-series spearheaded by Teen Titans veteran writer Marv Wolfman. Set in the future, two sections of the Mega Mech Science Academy are competing for the spot of top spot on the secret mecha-designing Platinum Project. Team Alpha and Team Omega have a fierce rivalry which comes to the forefront along with some typical anime highschool hijinks. Each issus also has a backup feature titled Nanobots which are kind of like a Tiny Titans version of the Metal Men.
Underground robot fights! Beats cockfighting. Set 2079, this is set in a future where mecha fights were a national sport called Rotogin, but because of a fight that lead into the destruction of a major city, the sport was banned. Now, there are illegal battles held in abandoned areas, and the mechas a specially modified for combat. This ain't like those "robot wars" fights you see at cons between remote-controlled cars with robot claws. You get to see the real criminal element involved with thugs running the bouts, plus how the star pilots are a savage divas who will do anything to win. This series went on for 4 issues including an Issue #0.
Taking hints from both Gundam and Desert Punk, Dreamwave took another dive into the mecha genre in this sci-fi tale set on the alien desert world of Dessica. The story centers around Valeri, a lone robot pilot/ace mechanic, is stuck between two warring factions as her home town is the center of an all-out mecha brawl. She has to escape with a lone mercenary who uses her for his own ends. Most of the actual mecha action is over by the first half of this 4-issue series, but is still makes for a decent space military story, especially the detailed artwork.
Okay, I plan on getting into this in another blog sometime, but this is probably the head of the hill of mixing giant robots with giant monsters. Shogun Warriors was an American re-release of several giant robot toylines from Japan from various anime titles like Getter Robo and Mazinkaiser. This even included some live-action movie monsters like Godzilla and Rodan! Marvel Comics got the rights to take three of these robots: Brave Raideen(here called "Raydeen"), Combattler V(here called "Combattra"), and Danguard Ace into the regular Marvel Universe in a 20-issue series in the late 70s. This was shown as a being in canon with the Godzilla comic series they did which had already wrapped up just prior to this, with mentions of their giant robot, Red Ronin, plus occasional appearances from their token supervillain, Doctor Demonicus. The story involved three random specialists being chosen by a group of scientists to pilot their trio of giant robots to fight alien threats, like the evil Lord Maur-Kon and his crew. This was an intensely cool comic, and great for fans of 70s super robots. It's weird how Cobattra which was one of the first combiner robots could be operated by one human pilot, while the other four vehicles that made it up were controlled by miniature robots. Marvel fans will like guest stars like Nick Fury and the Fantastic Four.
Another mixing of two genres, this takes the original version of Red Dawn(the good one!), and the anime mecha classic Gundam. The comic came out in the mid-80s, but the story takes place in the "future" of 1993 where Russia invades the United States and takes over the entire heartland within a matter of weeks thanks to their advanced battlesuits. The only hope to save the rest of the country is the prototype mecha, Tiger-X. The big problem is the creators are suffering from mental tempering and don't know where they left it. It's up to some ragtag survivors to find it and pilot it. This series went on for two mini-series and a one-shot special by American-manga godfather Ben Dunn, so it's worth a look to see one of the first original western attempts at doing a mecha war story.
Warren Ellis did his take on Godzilla with this mini-series. Set in an alternate history, the U.S. first bombed Tokyo in 1945 instead of Hiroshima. Fast forward to modern day, where Tokyo is constantly harassed by giant monsters. Zoe Flynn joins the Tokyo Storm crew, who defend the city with mecha called ARCangels which also just showed up and the Japanese modified for Tokyo Storm to operate. The secret behind all the giant robots and monsters is tied to a St. Elsewhere-styled ending, but definitely worth looking up. It's available as its own trade, and as a double-feature with Ellis' other title, Red.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

MISC. MANGA, *My Dearest Devil Princess

Well, there's never a shortage of manga about your average high school guy who gets some otherworldy dame to be his girlfriend/fiance/love slave. Where as these girls are sometimes an angel or a goddess,Hakoiri Devil Princess literally takes the concept strait to Hell. Written by Matoko Matsumoto(creator of Kaprekar and his artist partner Maika Netsu put together this tale of a boy's unwitting deal with the devil.

Keita buys a "family heirloom" from his schoolmate Natsuki, which when opened acts as a source for the ditzy devil princess Maki. She offers him three wishes in exchange for his soul. Since Keita doesn't want to forgo his soul, but inadvertantly wishes for her to stop crying. Maki then moves in with him and his father until he makes his next two wishes, she also occasionally summons some of her guardian spirits from Hell to help out. Aside from Keita's jealous male love interest, the only Earthly opposition that Maki gets from completing her task is a pushy angel named Sheeta who becomes Keita's homeroom teacher. Then, the crafty sexpot demon Miki appears, and she tricks Keita to making a wish from her, mostly because she is in line for the throne of demon queen after Maki. So now, Keita is the "master" of two wanting demonic genies.

This manga went on for about six volumes in Japan, but only ran for two in America when its publisher, Broccoli Books, closed its American branch. The story is pretty good for you standard magical girlfriend manga, and decent artwork. Even though you can't currently get the entire series in English(unless some other publisher picks it up), it is worth checking out from your local manga library.

Friday, February 8, 2013

MISC. MANGA, *Batman: Child Of Dreams

Kia Asamiya is most known in the States with his manga creations of Silent Mobius and Steam Detectives. He's also worked on several American comic titles, like X-Men, Titans, Fantastic Four, and Thor. Aside from the manga adaptation of Star Wars, he's also done an official Batman manga that ran in Japan from 2000-2001. His was the the second official manga based on Batman. The original was popularized in Batman: Brave And The Bold in the theme of a 60s anime series. But, Child Of Dreams took alot of influence from the first few Tim Burton movies with a darker Caped Crusader.

Yuko Yagi is a female reporter from Japan who comes to Gotham with her crew to see about getting an interview with the Dark Knight. They're not in town for one night without getting captured by Two-Face. Batman shows up and stops him, although its later revealed that its not the real Two-Face, but someone who used a special drug to turn him into Two-Face and has a terrible side-effect of draining the life out of them. Batman then has to contend with dopplegangers of Penguin and Riddler, but its a Joker wannabe that causes some serious problems. During this, Bruce Wayne starts dating Yuko who he believes has some connection to the mysterious drug. An assailant dressed as Batman shows up, who is really Yuko's producer, Nagai. This makes the trail of the drugs leading to a Japanese pharmaceutical company which is run by Yuko's uncle, Kenji Tomoko. He suffers from a strange ailment which rapidly ages him physically. Batman suspects he is the one behind the whole thing, and uses some of Batman's DNA to give himself a newer stonger body. Kenji's plan is to get rid of the old Batman, and become the new one making everyone think he was the original all along. The real Bats manages to "boff" him out though, and returns to Gotham.

This was a very impressive manga take on an American superhero. Unlike the Spider-Man manga, Child Of Dreams could very easily fit into the normal continuity of the DC Universe, and not some Elseworlds story. Asamiya's art style is awesome, and really gives the characters more of a profile than you usually see in traditional manga with huge eyes or non-existent noses. The manga takes on Batman rogue gallery is a serious bonus, although you only see pictures of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in an interview at the end of the book. One of the few downsides to this though it was printed in American in left-to-right as opposed to the regular Japanese format, so Two-Face's scarred half is on his right side. The English adaptation was handled by comics regular Max Allan Collins, who is best known for writing The Road To Perdition. This is currently available in paperback and hardcover format through DC Comics. Totally makes for a great goddamn-Batman adventure!

Nostalgia Critic's in an anime. Your argument is invalid.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

MISC. MANGA, *The Agents

Originally done as a 6-issue mini-series from Image Comics, this manga-styled look at the groovy world of the 60s spy genre was eventually collected into a "pocket manga" by Antarctic Press. It was conceived by Ben Dunn and Kevin Gunstone who have previously worked on Warrior Nun Areala and Marvel Mangaverse together.

The story takes place in an alternate history where both New York and Moscow were nuked by Prof. Daedalus, a Mr. Bond-type villain who succeeded only because his regular arch-enemy, Nigel Cord, was unavailable to stop the nefarious mastermind, so they sent one of his Roger Moore replacements. This little mistake causes the world's governments to now umbrella under Great Britain, which has the central intelligence agency known as "The Agency". Zoom to modern day where Daedalus has settled into part of South America where he rules it similar to Dr. Doom in Latveria, and he announces to the world that he is dying of a tumor. Because of this, he wants to share his scientific genius with the world. This sets in motion several factions trying to obtain Daedalus' secrets including The Agency, and the underground organization known as C.A.B.A.L. Meanwhile, the vivacious Lady Pippa is sent from The Agency to help out their operative in America, the masked vigilante Haiku who is this world's version of Kato, but after his Green Hornet has died. Nigel Cord on the other hand has dealing with both Daedalus and C.A.B.A.L. while The Agency leads a full assault on Daedalus' headquarters.

This was a real entertaining mini-series which incorporates several 60's action/sci-fi shows and movies, including: Thunderbirds, Get Smart, In Like Flint, and The Avengers(the UK show). Ben Dunn's artwork shows out with great detail and an obvious appreciation for the mod style. If dug the X-Men: First Class movie, then this one is right up your alley(minus the mutants).

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 8: Page 12

Story by Jer Alford. Art by Serena Paccagani.

MISC. MANGA, *Sorcerer Hunters

There are plenty of times when the manga is better than the anime, and Sorcerer Hunters is a shining example of this. Satori Akahori(creator of Saber Marionette J)wrote this, and it was illustrated by his occasional partner Rei Omishi. This original post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure was often considered an hentai because of its joking use of S&M.

Set in the mystical realm of the Spooner Continent, several teams known as Sorcerer Hunters are sent out by the goddess figure of Big Mama to stop evil magic-users from tormenting poor citizens. The main team involved in this are the skirt-chasing Carrot and his girlish brother Marron, along with the large spectacles-wearing Tira. They are later joined regularly by Tira's older sister Chocolate(who totally lusts over Carrot much to his shagrin), and the beefcake Gateau. During the first part of the series, they tangle with the diabolical "sorcerer doctor", Sacher Torte, and his minions, one of which is Gateau's sistert Eclair. They actually go through a large story arc afterwards which acts as a prequal with Carrot's parents when they were Sorcerer Hunters. This leads into the final arc where Big Mama's brother Charlotte returns froms the dead, and plans to use Carrot's god of destruction that lies within him to bring about a new apocalypse.

The Sorcerer Hunters manga has some really great artwork by Omishi which really carries the artwork flowingly from page-to-page. Akahori's writing is featured better in the manga than in the original anime TV series based on this. The OVA series sequal followed by the manga a little better, but your best choice is the manga. Tokyo Pop for a while released this in their Mixxzine(and then later Tokyo Pop)magazine, and then later in graphic novel, at first in regular Americanized printing as well as in their "Authentic Format".

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

...And once again, Ash is in drag!

ANI-MOVIES, *Wonder Woman

'Bout f*cking time Wo-Wo got her own gig! After three other made-for-video animated movies, DC Universe put together the first origin story involving one of their Big 3, Wonder Woman. Unlike Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: New Frontier, and Batman: Gotham Knight, this one isn't continuing from an already established storyline. It takes the original premise of Wonder Woman from the 40s, and resets it for the 21st Century.

A few thousand years ago, the Amazons were under the subjection of Ares, the Greek god of war. Queen Hippolyta leads her sister-warriors in a battle to liberate themselves from Ares, and their bastard son, who like all good mothers, Hippolyta beheads. The Amazons are freed, and allowed to live on a secluded island called Themyscara(aka: Paradise Island), but must keep watch over the now less than powerful Ares who they keep imprisioned. Shoot ahead to modern day where skirtchasing pilot Steve Trevor crashlands on the island and is taken in by Diana, the daughter of Hippolyta brought to life from clay. The Amazons determine that Steve is not a theat, and hold a tournament to see who would be the one to take him back home. Diana disguises herself as a common warrior, and wins. But, its discovered that Ares seduced his jailer Persephone, and the two of them made their escape off the island. Diana now has to deliver Steve back to America, but at the same time find Ares. Once back in the States, Steve offers to help Diana. After a few drinks, they are attacked by a demigod working for Ares. Diana stops him, and learns that Ares is at an ancient temple leading to Tartarus. Diana and Steve fight Ares and Persephone in the temple, but are unable to stop them from entering the underworld, where Ares gets his uncle Hades to restore his godly powers. Steve takes the injured Diana to a hospital, where they explore their feelings. Ares then leads an assault on Washington D.C. with an army of monsters. Diana rushes to stop him, but is outnumbered. Fortunately, the Amazons arrive, and go all 300 on Ares' forces. Not even the combined might of zombie Amazons, and Ares' now more empowered strength stops Diana and the others from defeating him. Diana returns with others to Themyscara, but Hippolyta realizes that the Amazons should continue to learn more about the "world of man", and appoints Diana as their emissary. Diana now goes incognito as a regular American citizen with Steve knowing her true identity, which is now dubbed Wonder Woman. The film ends with her taking on the supervillainess, Cheetah.

This was actually one of the better DC Universe selections. The animation was truly exceptional from the first two American-animated movies(Batman: Gotham Knight was all anime), and the story moved along really well. The only real downside was that alot was cut out for the sake of meeting Warner's 75 minute time limit. I dunno why, but all their OVAs have to be no more than 75 minutes. Because of this though, there's quite a few corners that get shaved, like no explanation of where the technology for the invisible jet came from or how Diana even knows how to pilot it, and how a powerless Ares made it off Themyscara and all the way to Cuba with no boat or anything.

The voice acting was pretty fair too, especially Nathan "Captain Hammer" Fillion as Steve Trevor. The character designs were also good. I liked the fact that they went back and made Hippolyta a brunette unlike on Justice League and the original Wonder Woman TV series where she was always blonde. Ares seems like a villain from a Yoshiaki Kawajiri anime film. Artemis looks pretty buff, like she usually does in the comics. Diana appears to be alot taller and athletic than in most other animated incarnations of her. Aside from the colossal design she had in Justice League: New Frontier, this version has her as a real warrior type, and not just a buxom chick in a swimsuit. Plus, she actually uses her tiara and lasso as weapons which she barely did on Justice League or on the 70s live-action show.

Aside from the short runtime on it, Wonder Woman is a very satisfying superhero movie, animated or otherwise. The whole focus on this was mainly on Wonder Woman's mythological ties, and since she's a myth-based hero like Thor, Hercules, and Captain Marvel, at least most of the plots she's involved with are about gods and demons. Since this movie got most of that taken care of, if they end up doing some kind of contuation from it in say Wonder Woman 2, they'll hopefully be able to focus a little more on the actual superhero side of the character. Definately want to see Wo-Wo take on Villainy Inc.!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 8: Page 11

Story by Jer Alford. Art by Serena Paccagani.


Alright! Finally a Marvel animated movie that fanboys can wet themselves over. This is an original double-feature with no direct connection to any of the previous Marvel animated made-for-video movies like Ultimate Avengers or Next Avengers.

First off is Hulk Vs. Wolverine. This is back when Wolverine was still working semi-freelance for the U.S. military. He's asked to hunt down the Hulk who was reported to wreck a small Canadian town. After tracking the trail to a shirtless Bruce Banner, who then hulks out and the two of them go at it bigtime. Then, the Weapon X crew shows up with Sabertooth, Deadpool, Lady Deathstrike, and Omega Red, to bring both Logan and the Hulk to their secret HQ. Wolverine busts out and frees Banner, while taking on all four of the "claw people". Hulk brings the party to a stop by trashing Weapon X's base and finishing up his fight with Logan. There's lots of blood and brutality in this mutha! There was no pulled-punches, no Wolverine using his claws on just Sentinels. Deathstrike goes sh*thouse on Logan, and practically orgasms during it. However, Deadpool totally steals the show. He's like an a-hole Spider-Man! Hopefully they might make Deadpool Vs. The Marvel Universe.

Following that is Hulk Vs. Thor, which seems like they borrowed the premise from Marvel Ultimate Alliance. In it, Odin, the grand poobah of the Norse Gods, is taking a siesta to replenish his power, which leaves Asgard vulnerable to attack from his prick son Loki. So his Fabio-looking other son Thor and his band of merry gods have to defend it. Loki decides to bring Bruce Banner to Asgard and seperate him from the Hulk. He then uses Hulk like a puppet and uses him to trash Thor's posse. However, Thor electocute him out of Hulk, but with no Banner to control him, the Hulk goes all "Dolemite" on Asgard. Realizing that its Loki's fault, Thor gets him to go to Hell to retrieve Banner's soul(because Loki was stupid enough to kill him!)and get Loki's giant daughter Hela who runs the underworld to release him. She teleports Hulk to Hell where Banner rejoins with him and takes control of him. Hela then sends Banner back to Earth, and takes Loki's soul. This one had some pretty decent action in it, and stars pretty much the entire Thor universe. The Enchantress though is HOT! HOT! HOT! Thor was a brain dead for giving up that babe!

This was a pretty good outlet for Hulk, although its more of a vehicle for the mutants and gods in the Marvel Universe. It's a dream come true to most superhero fans. It's a definate improvement over the last two Hulk movies.

How they did cosplay back in the 70s

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Tales Of The Black Freighter

This is an original animated feature which takes all the material from the actual Watchmen comic, and comprises it into a single short-movie. This OVA pertains to the live-action Watchmen film. If you were to get the Watchmen Motion Comic, you'd see it as it was in the comic in relation to the events going on around the reader, who is a geek that uses pirate comics as a way to escape the sense of doom the world is heading towards in this "doomsday clock" alternate 1985.

Tales Of The Black Freighter is a straight-up pirate/horror story about a sea captain who is the lone survivor of an attack on his vessel by a possibly-undead band of buckaneers. He makes it to a deserted island, along with the floating remains of alot of his crew including his first mate. The captain makes a raft out of the corpses, and heads home to warn of them of the mysterious Black Freighter which threatens to destroy their town. After seriously tripping out on some bad seawater, the captain makes it back home, but under the delusion that the town has already been sacked by the pirates. He subsequently murders two innocents he believes sold his people out, and bludgeons his wife(maybe to death)who he thinks is a pirate that's invaded his home. The captain then heads out to sea while being chased by the townsfolk, only to find the Black Freighter waiting for him. This played out like a great Tales From The Crypt-styled horror comic set in a pirate world. The animation is very well done too, a little different from the type your probably used to from Bruce Timm's style though.

The other feature on this is Under The Hood, which is a live-action documentary about the life of Hollis Mason who was the first Night Owl(aka: "Night Owl I"). This is formatted like a TV news show from 1985 which looks back at an interview they did with Mason(Stephen McHattie)back in 1977 when his book tell-all book about being a superhero was released. They talk with Mason about being in the original Minutemen, which was the Golden Age superhero team that preceeded the Watchmen. They also have the original Silk Spectre too played by the totally fine Carla Gugino, who looks hot even back in the 70s. Plus, Matt Frewer(Max Headroom)as the retired supervillain Moloch is particularly creepy. There's also a documentary which partially goes over the regular Watchmen movie, and the making of Under The Hood. Also included is the first episode of the Watchmen Motion Comic. Black Freighter is available either on its own, or in the Watchmen Ultimate Edition.

Friday, February 1, 2013

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 8: Page 10

Story by Jer Alford. Art by Serena Paccagani.

ANI-MOVIES, *G.I. Joe: Resolute

You mean the guns actually shoot bullets this time?! Awesome! This online series was first premiered as a single compilation movie on Adult Swim, and was used as a kickoff to a line of action figures, in pretty much the same way that the Sigma 6 anime series did. But Resolute acts as sort of a "mature audiences" finale to the G.I. Joe animated lineage that's built up for the last 25 years. It was also meant to respark interest into the franchise when the first live-action movie came out. Originally, this was shown as a pilot at the San Diego Comic-Con.

The series picks up on its own not recognizing the pilot as Snake Eyes has apparently been with the group for a while. In fact, Resolute occurs sometime after alot of history between Joe and Cobra has gone on. In it, Major Bludd is killed trying to warn the world of Cobra's latest plot, which is using the very atmosphere to send particle beams down to nuke cities. Moscow goes up in a blinding light, so the Joes mobilize to stop Cobra. What, again? Yes, again! Snake Eyes takes off to have a final showdown with Storm Shadow which is brutally wicked, but filled with more flashbacks than the entire series of Kung Fu. Meanwhile, Gung-Ho, Roadblock and a few others go to stop Destro and Baroness from taking over a research area, as Tunnel Rat heads off into space to single-handedly take down Cobra's entire satellite network. Duke and Scarlett take on their mission to confront Zartan and some cronies from using an abandonned Russian complex for a nuclear power source. They then find out that Cobra's secret base in in Springfield U.S.A. of all places(Damn you, Bart Simpson!). Duke storms is to find Cobra Commander left in an impregnable men's room, but reprograms Cobra's particle beam weapon to target the base, with Co-Co's corpse of course no where to be found in the wreckage, leaving room for an eventual sequel.

Even though the animation seems like a seemless anime feature, it was actually done by Titmouse who also did Megas XLR and Metalocalypse. It was written by comics author Warren Ellis whose work in Planetary, Transmetropolitan, and The Authority really shows up in the scripting. The first few episodes of the series are now officially online, and the DVD is out too featuring the original pilot too. There's some seriously great action and dynamically upgraded animation from previous Joe incarnations. So now you know...

JESI THE GENIE, *Part 8: Page 9

Story by Jer Alford. Art by Serena Paccagani.

ANI-MOVIES, *Green Lantern: First Flight

Green Lantern: First Flight is similar to DC Universe's previous direct-to-video animated film, Wonder Woman, in the fact that it is an origin story. Now technically, they covered Hal Jordan's story slightly in Justice League: The New Frontier, but this one is all about him and the Corps in modern day. It's about the Silver Age Green Lantern, who is officially the second GL to appear in DC Comics, although most moderate fans are more familiar with the John Stewart GL from the Justice League animated series.

Hal Jordan is a test pilot on Earth who gets chosen by a dying alien to become the new bearer of a powerful ring which enables its user to create nearly anything they can imagine. With it, Hal becomes a Green Lantern, one of a special force of space protectors that use their rings to keep order in the galaxy. They are lead by a small race of elders called the Guardians on the planet Oa. Hal comes under the wing of Sinestro(they gave a power ring to a guy with that name?)who is the resident top gun of the Green Lantern Corps, and they begin to search for the intergalactic criminal Kanjar Ro. He is planning on using a special yellow element which is supposed to counteract the Green Lanterns' power. Kanjar Ro is also is secretly in league with Sinestro. But Sinestro turns the tables on him, and goes to get the yellow element from the alien race of the Weaponers. They create a special yellow power ring for Sinestro, along with a giant yellow lantern core. Sinestro then heads back to Oa to seize control from the Guardians and destroy their Green Lantern power core. Fortunately, Hal temporarily fuses himself with the green power core, and defeats Sinestro.

Now, I'm not the biggest GL fan out there, but always thought he was one of the better "space heroes". The movie doesn't seem to focus so much on Hal Jordan's rise to being a hero, as it is clearly more about Sinestro's fall from grace. We learn waaaay more about Sinestro and his contempt for the way he thinks the Guardians have let the universe go to Hell. The other Green Lantern Corps members get some decent airtime too, like Kilowog, Kanjar Ro, and Ch'p(What? No G'nort?). The animation in it is probably the best that's been put into an DC Universe title so far, at least for one that was made in America. Once again though, the main problem it has is the same with all DC Universe movies in that its at least 15 minutes short. They could've turned this into a full 90-minute long feature, but for some reason they all have to end it around 75 minutes. It would be nice for them to commit to doing an entire full-length movie instead of this compressed for TV airtime edition. But the fast-paced action and cosmic adventuring really help to sell it. Hopefully, they'll do a followup with the Sinestro Corps War!

What anime does to your brain...