Thursday, June 28, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman Issue 009

PhotobucketThe Story
Batman fights off the Talons, lowering the temperature in the batcave to finish them off. He narrates a symbolic story of his ancestors using owls to hunt the bats out of the caves, only for the bats to return once the owls left. After he makes his way out of the cave he manages to get his hands on some names of people involved with the Court of Owls.

There is a backup story involving Alfred's father and a mystery involving the Wayne family. It ends with the reveal that the family was targeted by the Court of Owls even when Bruce was still a young child.

The Review
This is what the Court of Owls is all about. Batman fighting off a horde of near undead assassins. I honestly can't say much more than that the issue is absolutely wonderful, with Batman winning by a margin, though one wonders why Bruce Wayne warranted to many Talons, when everyone else who might have been better protected got maybe one Talon each.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 009

PhotobucketThe Story
Nightwing faces off against his ancestor, as their fight takes them across Gotham and into the subway, where conveniently placed pipe coolant takes care of the Talon.

Most of the issue covers William Cobb's past, from losing his lover and unborn child to society's pressure, to being scouted and trained as the new Talon. It also answers how the Grayson name came to be, and how his descendants went from being in a rich family, under a different name, to circus performers that were being groomed as assassins.

The Review
While I enjoyed the latest issue of Catwoman for the Talon's backstory, I have to admit that I'm a bit more invested in William Cobb's story. It helps that he's been built up over more than one issue. His story is one of the strong points of the Court of Owls events, as we get to see his rise and fall, helping us round him out as a character.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman and Robin Issue 009

PhotobucketThe Story
When Robin gets the news about the attack on the batcave, his first reaction is to go help his father. But Alfred urges him to go protect a general on the Talons' hit list. Robin approaches the general, who is in the middle of training exercises, and takes him to safety. He takes command of several of the general's troops, after the general is incapacitated by an injury, and with the kind of natural skill only found in comic books, Robin successfully fights off the Talon assassin.

The Review
I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it when Damian does something particularly awesome. I didn't like him when he first showed up. Arrogant characters are bad enough, but when the arrogant character is a child then I can't help but want to spank and then ground the little snot. But I can do nothing but stew in my own impotent rage because a kid like Damian could kill my ass in thirty different ways. Then I remember that Damian is a fictional character, and I am left to reevaluate my priorities in life.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman Issue 009

PhotobucketThe Story
While staking out the Penguin Catwoman and whatshisface witness a Talon attack. The Talon, who is the original owner of the knife Catwoman is trying to steal, holds off on his attack once he notices the knife. Catwoman is able to promise to get the rest of the set to him, just as the Penguin shoots the Talon in the face.

With the Talon dead, Catwoman leaves his body by the batsignal, which she turns on to alert Batman to the presence of the corpse.

The Review
I'm going to assume that the batsignal being fixed is something that happened in another issue of the Court of the Owls event. I am also going to assume that this issue of Catwoman took place later on in the story. I'm sure it's not a case of writers not talking to each other.

It's hard to comment on the individual issues in the Court of Owls event. Mostly because most of them are one shot stories involving the characters fighting Talons. Entertaining enough, but not exactly substantial. For a one-off story I have to admit that this might be the story I enjoyed most. The main reason for this was because I really connected with the Talon in this story. He just wanted his knives back, I can relate to that.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batgirl Issue 009

PhotobucketThe Story
The issue opens with a story about Japanese girls making balloons to carry bombs over the Pacific to America. The story continues on to Hailey's circus, where a member of the Court of Owls is chosing a new Talon, a girl caught in the bombing.

Cut forward to the present and Batgirl faces off against the Talon the girl in the story would become. She barely manages to fight the Talon off. Gordon is approached by the Court of Owls and forbidden from acting against them, at risk of harm coming to Barbara.

While Batgirl faces the Talon and defeats her, Gordon finally makes his way up to the roof where he activates the batsignal, only to discover that is what the Court of Owls wanted him to do all along, having replaced the batsignal with their own signal.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cartoon Reviews: The Legend of Korra Episode 09 - Out of the Past


Plot Summary
Act 1
Tarrlok hides Korra in a box that looks somewhat like the platinum Hiroshi Sato used on his robots. He returns to City Hall and claims that Equalists attacked and kidnapped Korra. Lin hears about the kidnapping on the radio, and goes to break out Korra's friends.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Movie Reviews: Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter

This movie was glorious.

Don't get me wrong, it was piss stupid, but it was the kind of stupid that entertained completely. It's the kind of movie that's perfect to watch in a theater with a crowd of people who are equally aware of how stupid the entire thing is. It's the perfect popcorn movie if you turn your brain off before going into.

But this is a review, so let's turn those brains right back on and point out exactly why Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is such a terrible, terrible movie.

First off, the premise. Abraham Lincoln. Vampire Hunter. Do I really need to say more? Honestly though, this was the entire reason I wanted to see this movie. I knew it was going to be stupid, and I was not disappointed.

Movie Reviews: Brave

Me and Pixar have been playing a game for the past few years. I go to the theater expecting every new movie of theirs to be the first bad one, and they continue to prove me wrong. Ignoring Cars 2, which I did not go see because it would have felt like cheating on my part, is this the one where I finally win?

I wouldn't really call it winning, because I love Pixar and don't want to see them begin their descent from the lofty throne of excellence they have inhabited for most of my life. Fortunately Brave is not the movie that begins the downfall of Pixar. At least I don't think it is.

Brave is the story of Merida and her relationship with her mother. After some mystical doohickery they go off on an epic quest to right wrongs and keep their kingdom from falling into ruin. It's very different from Pixar's prior endeavors.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Anime Reviews: Medaka Box Episode 10 - I will not forgive you!!

The Plot Summary:

Unzen gets a call from Yobuko and learns that she, Yoshinogari (the one with the claws I assume), Kunisaki (the one with the pink bicycle I assume), and the Disciplinary Committee Vanguard members plus backup have all failed their task. Unzen tells Yobuko that she should back out as he warns her about Medaka striking back but Yobuko tells Unzen that Medaka is not at all a pacifist and relays to him what Zenkichi had told her.

It's okay guys, she was just better than you.
Zenkichi told her that Medaka was not trying to save him, Akune, and Kikaijima but that it was Yobuko, Yoshinogari, and Kunisaki that she was trying to save. Had any of the three been harmed, their attackers would have been harmed just as much back in return. Yobuko buys this but she believes it is a bluff and tells Unzen that none of the Disciplinary Committee members were hurt in the attacks. Yobuko continues to tell Unzen that Medaka is not the type to retaliate when attacked which causes him to crush his smartphone. Completely loathing at the thought that Medaka was trying to save both allies and enemies, Unzen decides to go and deal with the Student Council himself all by himself.

Medaka reveals what caused all of those holes to be something called the Super Ball. She explains that they are capable of bouncing all over the place and believes it is Unzen’s weapon of choice. Unzen appears in the Student Council office and confirms that is what he uses but that his are different from the regular kind. He tells Medaka that she and he are opposites of the same coin, saying that they are both monsters and that one loves humans while the other loathes them. Zenkichi suspects that something is wrong with Unzen coming to just talk with Medaka. Medaka soon realizes that the Super Balls are not just Super Balls but custom-made explosives. Medaka does exactly what Unzen expected her to do: ask him to stop but he sets off the explosions before she could finish.

Unzen surveys the damage done to the Student Council office and finds that he has failed: One of his explosives failed to explode as Unzen realizes that Medaka has splashed water on not just it but many others. He finds that she had broken the window shortly before the explosives went off and to his dismay, finds that all of the Student Council members are all unharmed, save for Medaka. Medaka tells him that she had used the rug to wrap Zenkichi, Akune, and Kikaijima up to protect them from the shockwave of the blasts. Unzen comes to realize that Medaka is not at all a sane person and mocks her.

With that face, I don't believe you.
It is then that Medaka snaps and all hell breaks loose. She tells him she will not forgive him. The force of her words causes Unzen to feel fear for a moment. Medaka tells him that the ideals he keeps saying that she believes in are false and that she is merely only trying to do what she believes is right but she would never let any ideals, if she did have any, put the lives of her friends in danger. Akune tells Zenkichi that Medaka’s transformation is just like what happened back in their first year of middle school. Unzen moves to attack Medaka who punches him straight through the building. Medaka sees Unzen has survived the attack due to his uniform’s special properties and is thrilled to deliver more to him.

The Review:

Medaka's transformation is the turning point of the series and it was a thrilling way to end it with the stakes raised high for both her and Unzen. Her quick reaction to the explosives is inhuman enough that Unzen was shocked by it. She is clearly a different person having given into her rage.

While the fight came at the near end of the episode (just that one punch from Medaka sent Unzen straight through the school building), the execution of it was great. The fight starts in the next episode however as all of this is just build-up to it.

Zenkichi and Akune talking about how Medaka had transformed three years prior to the current situation is something to keep a mind on. They act as if it is nothing new. This episode has proved that Medaka is not just some perfect being...or is she?

Next episode:

If you liked my review, Watch the Episode Here!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Reviews: Monster Hunter Alpha

I don't review books anymore. Part of the reason for this is because reviewing books is hard while reviewing manga and anime is easy. Okay that's not the real reason, I've just been narrowing my focus down to animation and comics, as such book reviews have been cut from my roster. It didn't help that my book reviews always underperformed in the views department. Guess the people that find their way here for the cartoon reviews aren't interested in books.

But there is one series I will always make an exception for, and that's the Monster Hunter series, by Larry Correia. It's easily one of my favorite series, if not necessarily my favorite. I don't really do favorites, instead I have a blob of stuff I really like, and what is on top tends to depend entirely on whatever was released most recently.

Monster Hunter Alpha is the first Monster Hunter book that does not follow Owen Pitt. Instead it focuses on Earl Harbinger, the werewolf leader of MHI. When Earl's old army commander finds him, and tells him about an old enemy becoming active again, Earl drives up to (location?) where he becomes involved in a supernatural attack on the local community. Without his professionally trained team to back him up, Earl has to rely on himself and the locals to face a threat unlike any he has ever encountered.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Anime Reviews: Medaka Box Episode 9 - It's not justice if you don't go overboard!

Plot Summary
Medaka runs into Shiranui and says she had a bunch of suggestions in the box that happened to be complaints about the music room. Medaka is on her way to the music room where the orchestra is to deal with the soundproofing of the room as per the complaints. She came a long way as a one-person Student Council as she expressed gratitude for Zenkichi, Akune, and Kikaijima’s help. Shiranui then expressed interest in wondering who the fifth and final person is that will fill in the position of Student Council Vice-President. Medaka asked if Shiranui would take up that position but Shiranui flat-out refused, saying she is not into being part of groups. Shiranui mentioned that she and Medaka hate each other which Medaka told her that is the reason why she asked: the others are too quick and kind to agree to Medaka’s methods that she wants the next person, someone like Shiranui to go against her methods. Onigase happens to come by the two and when asked where she is headed, she tells them she is on her way to deliver towels to the music room.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Manga^3 Episode 001

Have this brand new podcast that we've started! This is the first of hopefully several. Let us know how we can improve, and if there's anything we can do to fix the audio. Right now we're just recording it from my speakers to audacity. Hopefully it doesn't hurt your ears too much.

Cartoon Reviews: The Legend of Korra Episode 08 - When Extremes Meet


Plot Summary
Act 1
While Korra and the airbender children help Mako, Bolin, and Asami move in, Ikki lets slip to Asami that Korra likes Mako. Korra shows Asami to her room, locking Ikki out. Tenzin comes to the room and tells Korra that the new chief of police is being sworn in, and that the two of them should go there.