Brief Musings on Skyfall

This past weekend I saw the newest Bond movie, Skyfall, and overall I was really impressed the film.  The opening credit sequence was beautifully filmed and the song performed by Adele was perfect.  The movie was about 2 and half hours long but it was so exciting that it held my attention throughout.  I didn’t even look at my phone to see what time it was until the two hour mark, and even then I couldn’t believe that much time had passed.
Javier Bardem was a superb villain.  I hated him during the film.  Just the sight of him and hearing his awful laughter would get me to tense up.  His backstory and his master plan were well thought out and believable.  As for Bond, I also think Daniel Craig did a great job.  Growing up, Pierce Brosnan was always my Bond, so although I’m used to a classier, more refined 007, I still enjoyed Craig’s performance.  (Although, Bond only drank one martini in the film, opting for scotch as drink of choice.)  Judi Dench played M, and Ralph Fiennes antagonized her as Gareth Mallory, the man who would transition into her role after her forced retirement.  Dench was faced with many difficult decisions and shouldered a lot of the blame for the course of events in the film, but she played her part with dignity, a strong sense of pride, and a deeply rooted love for her country.  Ben Whishaw, who played Q was adorable.  I particularly enjoyed the conversation he and Bond had upon first meeting each other.
As with all Bond films, action is what the viewers are hoping to see and Skyfall certainly delivered.  There were explosions, collisions, dangling on ledges, kimono dragons, and William Tell style shootings.  The movie reminded me of a well played chess game.  You always want to be a few steps ahead of your opponent, and Bardem was.  It was up to 007 to change the game.  The only element that was severely lacking from Skyfall was a Bond girl.  There were several girls in the film, but none of them really stood out to me or anyone I saw the movie with as the quintessential Bond girl.  Although Eve Moneypenny has a shot in the next film.  If you haven’t already seen Skyfall, I definitely suggest seeing it in theaters.  And if you did see it, what did you think of the movie?
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Why Spider-Man is Amazing & Why You Should Have Faith in Dan Slott

If you follow me on any form of social media or have known me since high school, it’s no secret that Spider-Man is by far my favorite superhero (Marvel, DC or otherwise).  Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man comic series is coming to an end this December with issue #700 which is written not only by one of my favorite Spidey authors, but also one of my close friends, Dan Slott.  A lot of people have been giving Dan grief online about his new series, Superior Spider-Man, that debuts in January of 2013 and as a longtime reader of his work, it’s been driving me nuts.  Personally, I think it’s just silly to be questioning Dan’s storytelling skills after everything he’s written for us so far, so I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite issues from his Amazing Spider-Man run as a reminder why you should be looking forward to whatever he has planned for us all!  Don’t worry, I haven’t included any spoilers, so if you’re looking to begin reading Spider-Man, below is a great place for suggestions on where to start!  If you’ve read #697, the last page should’ve gotten you PUMPED for the final three issues.  So in conclusion, don’t be mean to Dan, or you’ll have to face me (and I have a black belt in karate)!
 

5. #693-#694 – One of Dan’s most recent story arcs about Spider-Man’s accidental sidekick, a tween named Alpha, comes in at number 5 on my list.  After a school field trip to Horizon Labs, a previously unnoticed kid who was in attendance acquires superpowers.  Peter is tasked with mentoring and training him.  The boy is given the name Alpha because he is the only “Alpha-level” superhero on the planet.  I really enjoyed this story because it was interesting for Peter to see a kid who was in the same situation as him royally screw up and use his powers for selfish reasons.  It served as a kind of affirmation that Peter’s life choice of fulfilling his potential and taking responsibility, was the correct one to make.  Seeing Alpha act as a self centered teenage heartthrob who books an appearance on The Vampire Diaries was in a way, like seeing Peter through the looking glass if he hadn’t had Aunt May and Uncle Ben to instill such noble values in him.   The trade for #693-#694 isn’t out yet, but check with your local comic book store about obtaining the issues! (Update: You can buy the trade The Amazing Spider-Man: Danger Zone on Amazon!)

4. #648-#651 – Dan’s first Spider-Man story arc after Brand New Day ended and the page count per issue increased, ‘Kill To Be You,’ is one of my favorites because it lays the groundwork for the Spider-Man universe we were to expect as Dan’s run continued.  It’s the perfect jumping on point for anyone who is interested in reading Spider-Man comics.  Peter finally obtains the coolest job ever as an associate at Horizon Labs, a job that allows him the flexibility to fulfill Spider-Man’s responsibilities as well as pay his rent.  Basically, Peter is a little older, a little wiser, a little smoother, and a whole lot cooler than his previous incarnations.  The story is quite eventful and includes the reintroduction of the Hobgoblin, finds Spider-Man in a new suit, and has Peter team up with Black Cat to face off with Kingpin and Montana.    You can read the full story in Spider-Man: Big Time.

 
3. #677 – Issue #677 features an unlikely team up between Spider-Man and one of my other favorite superheroes, Daredevil.  After Felicia Hardy, also known as Black Cat, is framed for a robbery, Peter employs Murdock to help prove her innocence.  He knows it to be true because after breaking up with Carlie, Spider-Man spent the previous night trying to mend his broken heart and catch a rebound date with Felicia (who refused his offer).  The second half of the story (collectively called ‘Devil in the Details’) can be found in Daredevil #8 penned by Mark Waid.  Part of what makes this crossover so entertaining is that Daredevil and Spider-Man have less than compatible personalities.  If you’re interested in finding out if they were able to get Felicia off the hook, you’ll want to pick up Spider-Man: Flying Blind.
 

2. #678-679 – Time travel is my favorite science fiction topic to read about.  Because there are so many rules, time travel is a difficult topic to tackle, but when it’s done correctly, the result is something so intriguing, that I am barely able to express my love for it in words.  The time door arc is one of those very stories.  Grady, a co-worker of Peters, creates a time door which allows the person who enters to step one day into the future.  There’s no problem when Grady steps through it, but when Peter does, we see that New York is completely destroyed.  Peter must go back to the previous day to try to stop his ‘day off’ from resulting in the future he foresaw.  With only the help of Grady and the next day’s newspaper, Spidey must heed Madame Web’s warnings and race against the clock to save our city.  Plus there’s a bunch of sweet Doctor Who references.  You can read the story in Spider-Man: Trouble on the Horizon.

 
1. #666-673 (Spider-Island) – It is not uncommon to hear people claim that Spider-Island is the story arc that made them love Spider-Man again.  And trust me, said claim is justified.  Whenever anyone asks me for recommendations of my favorite Spider-Man stories, I always suggest Spider-Island first and foremost.  All you need to know is that the entirety of New York City is infected with a plague, giving them the same powers as Spider-Man.  That means that roughly 8 million people have spider powers.  Chaotic?  That’s an understatement.  Spider-Man employs the help of the rest of New York’s finest (superheroes that is), and they assemble to ward off the Jackal and his newfound army.  The hardcover trade also includes issues of Venom, the prologues to Spider-Island (named Infested), and several other issues.  You can buy Spider-Island here.
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Batman #13 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

I’ve always deeply loved and adored Gotham’s finest crime fighting Bat team, whether they’re gradually kicking butt across the beautifully drawn panels in a comic, animatedly doing so on my television, or being portrayed by actors on the big screen.  I definitely own more Batman comics and trades than any other title in my personal library and I love each and every one with my whole heart.  I’ve often spoken with people (more recently) that have enjoyed the Christopher Nolan films, but are intimidated by the comics because they’re unsure where a good starting point would be amongst all of the Bat history.  With DC’s reboot of The New 52 last year, it made it easier for some folks to jump in on the story and gain some background knowledge before delving further and exploring the extensive Bat lore.  Many longtime comics readers have been critical of DC’s New 52, but I myself was thrilled to be given the opportunity to introduce my world to a bunch of newbies.  Having already been very familiar with Batman, and with Scott Snyder’s beautiful prose, I had very high hopes for the series and as anyone who has been reading will tell you, Snyder and Capullo’s Batman is certainly a standout in the new wave.  If you haven’t already, you can pick up a copy of the first trade Batman Volume 1: Court of Owlsand the second trade Batman Volume 2: The City of Owls on Amazon.  And you can read my spoiler free review of the issue after the photo ^.^
After tearing through the first 12 issues of Batman, and waiting (not so) patiently after reading all of Scott Snyder‘s tweets, I was extremely anxious and excited to see one of my favorite villains return to wreak some havoc in Gotham city.  After months and months of waiting, it finally happened.  Today was the day that the new story arc began and The Joker himself resurfaced!  I literally counted down the minutes until my lunch break so I could run to my comic book shop and hold in my hands the very issue I had been coveting all along.  If anyone could write a Joker story, it would be Scott Snyder.  Again, the high expectations were set, the pressure was on, and my heart began to race as the first speech bubble appeared at the top of the page.  I read and read until finally, on page 8 his giant face graced Bruce’s monitor.  I don’t want to spoil any of the issue for those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I will say that it was everything I wanted in a Joker-centric story arc and more.  And it was only the first issue!  Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl all were already involved in the story, and The Joker made it clear to Gordon that he has is out for Barbara.  There was even an appearance by my favorite female villain, The Joker’s lovely counterpart, Harley Quinn.  The final page of the issue was so shocking and terrifying, that I’m quite uncertain as to how I will be able to wait until next month to get another piece of the story.  And as always, the artwork is absolutely breathtaking.  Greg Capullo designed gorgeous die cut covers for each of the issue #13’s of the titles involved in the “Death in the Family” story arc which I recently blogged about for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.  I was pleased to find that I was able to intimidate several of my instagram followers who all admitted that they would be having nightmares after viewing my ‘mask.’  On Sunday during NYCC, my number one priority is to attend DC’s Bat panel, and if the audience dons Joker masks (at SDCC they were all Court-of-Owls-mask-clad) I will simply squee in delight!  What have you all thought of the story so far?!  Tell me in the comments, on twitter, or on tumblr!
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