Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bottom of the Pile - Mar. 27th, 2014

Author's Note: Bottom of the Pile is a weekly column (or at least, my attempt at said) in which I cover the comics that found their way to the bottom of my pile, thus being the best as I've always been a proponent of "saving the best for last".   Since bog standard reviews can be found literally anywhere, coverage can range from mini-reviews to funny comments to commentary on a creator's run or comics as a whole, depending on a wide range of factors including the comic itself, the amount of time I have, and my general mood. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Shuffle: DeLaZoo - Things May Fall


Kalamazoo-based rapper DeLaZoo returns with a fresh new song with a catchy, uptempo beat. It's been about a year since he dropped his last project, "Elsewhere Better", so it's good to see he's been staying polished as I always thought he had one of the better flows out of these YouTube rappers. Looking forward to what else he has planned this year.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Future of Gundam

Despite a brief period of absolute darkness, Gundam's actually been having a fairly good time lately.   Entering their 35th anniversary, Gundam launched October's Gundam Build Fighters series to surprising fanfare.   What was thought to be a sad attempt by Bandai to force toys down fans' throats turned out to be...well, an awesome way for Bandai to shove toys down fans' throats.  (I mean, it's still a toy commercial...it's just a well done one.)

And as the current season winds down while fans hope for a second season, Gundam has just recently held a live event, "Gundam 35th Anniversary - Rise!", to show us the current future of Gundam.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Battle Rap Wednesday: QP vs. Qleen Paper








QP (from Innuendo) is a weird cat.  His bars are probably the weirdest in the game besides Daylyt that can still be considered "good", and yet his performances seem to just depend on who he's up against and whether he takes you seriously or not.  When he's up against Remyd he's performing at such a crazy level he convinces the guy to join Innuendo.   Then when he's up against some random guy for whatever's left of Grindtime I'm not even sure he knows he's battling.

In this case though, no punches pulled.  Qleen pulls off some decent bars, but if this battle was over changing the name, he gotta stop being QP now and leave that to the Innuendo guy.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bottom of the Pile - Mar. 12th, 2014


All-New X-Factor

Because that's just what you do when your teammate's evil or brainwashed or lost their memory in the X-Men: you kiss them.  Apparently their ability to feel romantic inclinations is irrelevant.
All-New X-Men 

This just highlights how silly this story is at it's core.  The Jean Grey that actually did these things is very, very dead.  The Phoenix is currently gone.  Most of her family is dead, whether because of the Shi'ar or not--so what's the point of this trial, at all?  Bendis has just one more issue to tell us, since the crossover is over soon...
 
Astro City



It's a fair question, I think.  But then, I'm not exactly sure how you make a Xyzometer.   Come to think of it, given Samaritan's timeline doesn't exist anymore, he may not know either.

Black Widow
Really, Natasha?   I find this hard to believe.  Honestly, just how many high-level superhero/super-spies can there be?   That's a fairly specific skillset required, there's no way it pays the same as a managerial position at Starbucks.  Maybe it offers a good pension plan?

Hawkeye

 I remember when "Jingle Bells" sufficed as a holiday ditty.  This seems a tad more complicated.  Also, not really all-inclusive when you left out both Christianity and the Islamic faiths, but hey--still a fun "holiday" issue. 

Justice League of America



"Not here again!"  It's funny because I feel the same way about this arc; an inescapable prison that will take the end of what feels like the world's longest crossover to finally break free. 

Mighty Avengers

"No, wait, you wouldn't."   With all the retcons, reboots, mindwipes and "resets", it occurs to me now that a superhero probably has the least reliable memory of any human being possible.  Just about every superhero has saved the world at least once and doesn't even remember it, to say nothing of the times the world was saved and they didn't even know WTF was happening.

Revolutionary War: Motormouth



See what I mean?   And this is referencing something that happened twenty years agoNobody remembers all the times the world's needed saving.  

Secret Avengers

Y'know, I'm not sure when M.O.D.O.K. graduated from being the butt of a ton of jokes in the Marvel U/super annoying MvC3 character to working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but you'd think that with all the literary references sprinkled into his debut in this issue, he'd at leave have better grammar than this.  Really, was the first thing you use to "kill people good" tested on all the English teachers you knew?

Superior Spider-Man



I think we can safely say "Mayor J. Jonah Jameson" is no longer a thing.  But it DOES raise another question: How is JJ not in jail by now?  Isn't he also responsible for the Scorpion? 
Superman-Wonder Woman



Funny story: when I first heard about this page in Superman/Wonder Woman 6, I told myself it was fine.  See, a lot of Wonder Woman fans have a problem with the fact that the only way Wonder Woman was able to get a second book on her own was attached to Superman; being Superman's girlfriend.   

I completely understand that, but to writer Charles Soule's credit, he's pretty much been writing the best interpretation of The New 52 Wonder Woman since the moment he started.  She's a little more..hm, bloodthirsty (closest thing I can think of) than I think she should be, but she's also compassionate and brilliant and a tactical warrior.   Still and all, when I heard about this scene and was given no context, I told myself it was cool.  Just a little bit of pandering to the fanbase who thinks Wonder Woman is being relegated to just being Clark's girlfriend.

...But reading it now?  Fuck that.  These could very well be your last moments on the Earth.  But it's okay, you're with someone who you love and care about very much, even if you haven't told them as much yet.  But that's okay too, because you're going to use your dying words to express that feeling to them and say those three words that are so short but mean so much.  And how do they respond?  With the most self-aggrandizing response I can possibly think of: "Of course you do." 

No, that's just a shitty thing to do to another person, regardless of your gender.   Fuck outta here with that.   Still and all, Soule has mostly gotten this relationship bang-on from issue one, so I'll just count this as a minor misstep and we'll keep it moving.

Transformers: More than Meets The Eye 


 
I could have chosen any number of moments from this issue, as it's really a return to form for the comic after several issues of being unable to decide exactly what it's plot really was.  But I chose this one because of the sheer (and this is ironic) humanity of the moment.  This is how you take a group of characters that were meant to be nothing more than a toy commercial and make them relateable.  I think I can actually believe Megatron as an Autobot, after this issue.


Author's Note: Bottom of the Pile is a weekly column (or at least, my attempt at said) in which I cover the comics that found their way to the bottom of my pile, thus being the best as I've always been a proponent of "saving the best for last".   Since bog standard reviews can be found literally anywhere, coverage can range from mini-reviews to funny comments to commentary on a creator's run or comics as a whole, depending on a wide range of factors including the comic itself, the amount of time I have, and my general mood.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Shuffle: m-flo + Yoohei Kawakami - FLY


)
Okay, see this music video and song are actually interesting for a couple reasons.  First off, because it'll probably be one of the few times I'll be using The Shuffle to talk about a song that, on first impression, I don't actually enjoy, lol.

Now my not liking an m-flo song is nothing new--the closest thing they have to an album with zero skippable tracks for me is COSMICOLOR, and if I'm not in the right mood I'll skip Love Long and Prosper at "Soko wa, saigo no Frontier..."   I've never tried to portray them as a perfect group, just one that I really enjoyed.

With Fly, I noticed a couple things about half way into the video:

- The video itself is gorgeous, and probably the single most representative video for the experience m-flo has tried to provide with it's music almost since day one: the idea of leaving Earth behind for the stars and having intergalactic parties at space station clubs.   Whoever directed this is a genius and should stick with m-flo to help develop their vision for videos from now on.

- The actual music is pretty infectious.  Yes, it's another dance track but it's still beautiful.  DJ Taku hasn't lost his touch in the slightest.

- Where the song falls apart are the vocals.  Yoohei Kawakami sounds just good enough at English for the Engrish to be grating.  And this is coming from someone who's listened to Japanese music for over a decade, from people who speak perfect English to those who spoke the most mangled English ever.   It was so awkward that whatever there was to the lyrics was impossible to connect to.   And VERBAL?

*sigh*  VERBAL is probably one of the coolest artists I've ever been a fan of.  He just seems to do whatever the fuck he wants, from music ("I'm gonna make a group called the TERIYAKI BOYZ and get people like Pharrell, Kanye, and Daft Punk to produce my shit.") to fashion.


 C'mon.  You really think a guy who walks outside wearing THAT gives a shit what anyone thinks?  And that's cool, because within reason we should pretty much all think like that--all too often, we let our perception of what others think about us alter what we think about us, and that's wrong.

But wow.  That verse was truly, truly terrible.  There've been songs where all VERBAL does is show up, say some "hey, ho, let me spell my name", old-school 80's "emcee" type shit and that's his entire contribution to the song, and I've still  been totally into it.   This wasn't that.  This was a man walking onto a song that desperately needed some part of it's vocals to be decent, and sinking all hope of that with a giant fucking proton cannon.   The worst part was that his lyrics had some emotional weight to them, but they were strung together with a lazy, almost non-existent flow and rhyme scheme.


Now, it's....possible I'll like this song more as time goes on, or that I'll like it more in the grand scheme of the album.   But I dunno.   I just hope it works in the opposite way SQUARE ONE's singles did in attracting me.

Battle Rap Wednesdays: Danny Myers vs. Brixx Belvedere


)
Nothing like a good 3-0 to brighten my day.   Danny is quickly climbing the ranks and has pretty much already cracked into my top 10 with his performances against Rum Nitty, Mark Miner, and Young B the Future, so this kind of thing is pretty much expected. 

Also, it's about time for Danny to hit that big stage.  Hopefully I'll see him at a KOTD event (NEVER a big URL thing I hope--they ruin everything) in the future. 

Is The Witcher 3 being delayed really so bad?


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Shuffle: Go Crazy - m-flo + SOL (Big Bang)


)
This song is super generic to be honest.  Like the epitome of super-catchy, easily digested pop music. But I'm honestly not that upset about it.   SQUARE ONE was borderline unlistenable for me aside from it's three singles due to the abundance of dubstep.  Their follow-up, NEVEN?   Not too much better.   I remember One in a Million being an excellent dance track, and then there was No Way, where Verbal actually rapped (remember when he did that all the time?  ), and after that you can keep most of that one too.  So if the feel of Future is Now is more along the line of this, where I can at least listen to the music instead of wanting to throw my laptop out the window?   We're doing great.

Now, speaking of SQUARE ONE...you'll notice that, much like they did on SQUARE ONE, on this song m-flo has teamed up with someone from a popular K-Pop group, this time it's BIG BANG.   To start out, this isn't new at all--m-flo did this back on Beat Space Nine, nearly ten years ago and long before K-Pop exploded and became the phenomenon it is today.  (And again on COSMICOLOR, which is still a little bit before the K-Pop thing.)

Even still, it's not a surprise.  Not long after SQUARE ONE debuted, one-half of the group Taku Takahashi was fielding questions from longtime m-flo fans who were...less than satisfied with the album.   I spoke to him then and one of the things he mentioned was how he felt Japanese artists weren't really doing anything new, and how m-flo wanted to push the boundaries; that if they just wanted to be popular they'd essentially do more m-flo loves stuff and let that do.   He went on to talk about how Korean music was doing things so much better and bigger than Japanese artists were, and I agreed because they'd actually managed to cross over cultures and make it to America.   In short, collabs like this are something we should just get used to.

I just hope this time m-flo's moved on to dancehall and is done with the experimental dubstep stuff.

m-flo's eighth album, Future is Wow, drops this March on the 26th.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Shuffle: wimp - BACK-ON ft. Li'l Fang (from FAKY)


Gundam Build Fighters is probably one of my favorite anime to come out of the last few seasons, and while the first OP was pretty incredible, this one is shockingly an improvement.  (Though to be fair both have the energy and hype-building power that a show like this needs for it's opening.)

 I've been a BACK-ON fan since Chain, but they've always been missing something that I couldn't quite figure out until this song: they needed a better vocalist.   I don't know who or where they found this new girl, but...yeah.  They should keep her. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bottom of the Pile: March 5th, 2014



Avengers A.I.
Game shows must be a cinch in Latveria.

Forever Evil

Captain Cold explaining the key differences between Johnny Quick of Earth-3 and the Flash of New Earth.  Personally I think the whole having two legs thing is more important, but that may just be me.

Iron Man

Arno Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man 2020, was a character originally created in the early 80's by writer Tom DeFalco.  He was everything people thought Tony Stark was: a jerk mercenary using the advanced technology for his own personal gain.   Here Kieron Gillen is finally allowing the new Arno to wear a version of the Iron Man 2020 armor, but what's most interesting is that: When Arno Stark was originally created, the year 2020 was some super far-off future most people could barely imagine.  Now it's all of six years away.  

I won't be around to see it, but if superhero comics still exist then, you all know one day the Justice League of America and the Legion of Super-Heroes will have regular team-ups because they're from the same time period, right?

Loki: Agent of Mischief
 
First off, I love to be proven right so I have to point out that looking at the letters page this book seems to largely appeal to exactly who I assumed it would.

Secondly, I want to say that Verity is a bit of simplistic genius: what's a better love interest for someone who's entire existence is lies than someone who can always see the truth.  But then...

Thirdly, I realized she's kind of an Avatar insert for the aforementioned fans of the book.   Still, I want to like her--her story's just sad enough to endear me to her, and in general she hasn't really done anything to piss me off. 

Magneto


 
Magneto #1 reminds me that comic books have been about cycles for decades.  In Magneto's case, while he's known as a villain he often spends frequent bursts of time hanging out with the X-Men as a "hero".  The difference between all the other times and his most recent burst, though, was his utter lack of remorse for his former actions.  It was only a matter of time, then, before he looped back around.

Make no mistake, no matter how layered they try to present the guy, this is almost entirely different from what Scott was doing with X-Force--he's killing people here while they aren't actually doing anything wrong at the time, in cold blood.  And, apparently, with no small sense of humor about it.  Still, one can only wonder how long it will be before things loop back around...

Moon Knight

I had another panel I wanted to use, but this one kind of struck me in the face and said it was more important, so allow me to give an amateur perspective on comic book art.  First off, I absolutely love this panel.   Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire did a fantastic job on the pencils and colors in this issue.   But I love this panel probably more than anything else.  Moon Knight is what many people would call a "street level" superhero.  But what does that mean?  Well, often the term is used to define heroes who aren't gifted with abilities "far beyond that of mortal men", and instead are either extremely talented or just a little better than the real world would allow us to be.  They usually spend more of their time fighting drug dealers, purse snatchers, and murderers--basically, real life crime over gigantic world threats.

But they're still superheroes, right?  They're still insane people who put on blatantly conspicuous costumes and masks and use their free time to go out and beat the hell out of "bad guys".  And that's why I love this panel.  Because the scene up to this point is this very normal, by the books kind of detective crime scene that you can see on  television at hours 8 through forever on channels 5-all of them.  And then here comes Moon Knight. Wearing his ridiculous costume, looking almost "pasted" into that artwork, like he's not real.  Because he's not; he doesn't fit in this very regular world that's been constructed--he's out of place, like he just decided to step into our world and do his "job" like it's the most normal thing in the world.  That is why I love this panel.  Excellent work guys.

New Warriors

How to make your new superhero endearing in one easy step: put them in over their heads and make them say stupidly over-confident things while protecting innocents.   Yep, New Warriors #2 got it in one.   I pretty much want to see Sun Girl win at everything, now.
She-Hulk
Conversations between mooks absolutely never get old.  They get trounced so often by the heroes that you almost wish they could win every now and again.  Except, y'know...if they did it'd probably mean the death of a superhero or an innocent person or something, and that's no good.
 Wolverine and the X-Men


 To be fair, these mini-Nightcrawlers are adorable.  But how long have they been hanging around the school that they've become basically a normal thing? 

Author's Note: Bottom of the Pile is a weekly column (or at least, my attempt at said) in which I cover the comics that found their way to the bottom of my pile, thus being the best as I've always been a proponent of "saving the best for last".   Since bog standard reviews can be found literally anywhere, coverage can range from mini-reviews to funny comments to commentary on a creator's run or comics as a whole, depending on a wide range of factors including the comic itself, the amount of time I have, and my general mood.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Battle Rap Wednesdays - Rum Nitty vs. Tycoon Tax

The other half of the JC vs. Chilla of 2014 makes an appearance at Blackout 4.   His performance here pretty much catapults him to being worthy of at least one shot at the top tier.  Also?  Nitty's 3rd is one of the best third verses I've heard in a long-ass time.  Tycoon Tax wasn't terrible, but Rum Nitty comfortable 3-0'd him. 



Only problem I had with this battle?  At one point Nitty compared himself to Tay Roc.   ....Fuck outta here.    From what I've seen of Roc, the only way Rum Nitty wouldn't bodybag him is if he choked from being on the big stage (the Ill Will effect) or he took him light and didn't write for him (the JC).  I swear some of these "top tier" guys get way more respect than they deserve.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bottom of the Pile - Feb. 26th, 2014

Back again.  My apologies for being late, but school has grown to be quite the pain as the months go on.

Aquaman 28
Old, old school imperialism at play here.  "We built something here, so that means you don't own it all anymore!"   Who exactly thought it'd be a good idea to possibly start another international incident with Atlantis?  The last one didn't exactly go well...

All-New X-Men 23



"They aren't coming to get her!  They can't!" This argument would carry more weight if Earthlings in the Marvel Universe weren't constantly in space.  Hell, currently one of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard is an Earthling.   In light of this information though, they all sound fairly silly. 

Hawkeye 15
The thing I've never understood about how this comic works is all the Avengers references.  How much of a threat can you make on Clint, realistically?  You can't kill him.  You kill him, you alert the Avengers, and that's game over.   You've got money?  They've got money.  You've got lawyers?  They've got lawyers.  You've got guns?  They've got gods and super-soldiers and men with armors so hi-tech we won't have them in the real world 50 years from now.   If a friend of theirs turns up missing...it's like killing a cop.  It's only a matter of time before your world is brought to a short, swift end.   Suffice to say, no I don't believe the way this issue ended.  Only someone new to comics would.


Mighty Avengers 7
 
One of my favorite things about Marvel in the last few years are the hilarious introduction boxes.  They should be a thing in every comic Marvel has that can pull them off.

Revolutionary War: Super Soldiers
 
Probably my favorite summation of the 90's I've ever seen.  "You can buy a bigger set of shoulder pads." belongs on a Pete Wisdom T-shirt, somewhere.


This one's a bit short, but it gets that way near the end of the month.   March should hopefully be far more appealing.

Author's Note: Bottom of the Pile is a weekly column (or at least, my attempt at said) in which I cover the comics that found their way to the bottom of my pile, thus being the best as I've always been a proponent of "saving the best for last".   Since bog standard reviews can be found literally anywhere, coverage can range from mini-reviews to funny comments to commentary on a creator's run or comics as a whole, depending on a wide range of factors including the comic itself, the amount of time I have, and my general mood.