Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban (1920-2009)

Well, you know these always come in threes.

Word is in that Ricardo Montalban has passed away, age 88. He lists 167 performances in TV and movies (per, but he is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Roarke in the original "Fantasy Island" and as Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek (both the episode "Space Seed" and the movie "Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan"). In recent years, he had done appearances in movies and voice work in animated TV shows.

Rest in peace, Mr. Montalban.


Patrick McGoohan, RIP

Actor, producer, writer and director Patrick McGoohan passed away in Los Angeles today at the age of 80.

Best known as "Number Six" in THE PRISONER, a 17-episode series he created as a kind-of continuation of DANGER MAN (there has been some controversy over this, btw), McGoohan also starred in, wrote and directed a number of Columbo TV movies (winning two Emmys in the process); he also starred in the Disney production of "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" and Mel Gibson's epic "Braveheart." He was also in David Cronenberg's SCANNERS, for you genre fans.

I remember watching The Prisoner with disbelief and absolute confusion at the age of 11 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. It was in reruns on a local station at an odd hour, and the surreal show blew my circuits. McGoohan's Number Six was a model of privacy, self-control and integrity unlike nearly anything else in the rather dissolute '70s. (I know, it was broadcast in the '60s but I didn't discover it until much later.) McGoohan was one of those actors who is always watchable, always fascinating.

Very sad, but McGoohan created much that we value even today. (A remake of The Prisoner is currently underway on AMC with Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen.)

Rest in peace, Mr. McGoohan, and thank you.

Ain't It Cool News:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Grading the Comics- January 14

Another week, another batch of reviews.
I haven't read everything on my list this week (had a late night at a farewell dinner for a friend who's off to LA next week), but I did read a few. So here we go:

  • ACTION COMICS #873 (FOE) - Superman is caught between the Kandorians and the people of Earth, even as unsuspected enemies plot very bad things for the Man of Steel and his fellow Kryptonians. Plus a very unexpected reveal on the last page. A
  • BOOSTER GOLD #16 (FOE) - not read yet
  • CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI 13 #9 - A terrific book that keeps getting better. Pete Wisdom really shows how hard a guy he is and Captain Britain suffers a loss, the scope of which he doesn't quite realize. A
  • FINAL CRISIS #6 (OF 7) - You've probably read about this one. All I can say is, the pieces are definitely beginning to come together: Flashes Barry and Wally go on what could be their last run; the Green Lanterns don't give up; the last castle crumbles; Mr. Terrific makes a momentous decision and enlists a revived superweapon; Supergirl and Mary Marvel square off one final time; and Batman's big play comes to light, along with the return of a missing hero. We have an awful lot happening and the last page is a killer. Marred by uneven art, the story still comes through. B+/A-
  • GEN 13 #26 - not read yet
  • GREEN LANTERN CORPS #32 (FOE) - Kyle takes on Kryb, as the Star Sapphires show they can play nice when the mood strikes. Really interesting stuff AND we get more set up for the War of Light. And did anyone miss the significance of the response to the Guardians' Third Law? B+
  • NO HERO #3 (OF 7) - The rookie is put through hell to trigger his powers, while the team suffers another loss--and the rest get a history lesson about how to kill a superhuman. Warren is bringing some real heat to this book, y'all. A
  • PUSH #4 (OF 6) - not read yet (holding this one for last)
  • TRINITY #33 - Okay, no Trinity in the flesh, but we do get a telling of Wonder Woman's "breaking" in this new world, as well as the battle for Tel Aviv (which has some really heavy emotional moments) between the JSI and the Dark Trinity. Great character work by Nicieza in the backup especially. B
  • X-INFERNUS #2 (OF 4) - sold out! Hope to get it next week.

And that's where we stand. See ya!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Baby Update

Brielle Grace is doing well. Kat had an exam yesterday and the baby was described as "energetic" (IIRC), which is very good news. She's 32 weeks along and we're both eager to meet the new girl.

Grading the Comics- January 2 & 7 Double Header!


Okay, here's the stuff from last week:

  • FINAL CRISIS SECRET FILES #1 - Recap of Libra's origin story with some marginalia shoveled in at the back. Nice to see Len Wein working again but the story itself was inconsequential and the art was okay but nothing special. C-
  • GREEN LANTERN #36 - Setting up the War of Light with Sinestro in the hands of Red Lantern leader Atrocitus, while Hal finds out more about the Blue Lanterns (who have a really impractical recruitment process, not to mention a pretty silly ambition regarding one Green Lantern). Plus a Sinestro Corps member changes color and a green ring gets hypercharged. Important in building toward the aforementioned War but not a terrific story in and of itself. C+
  • INCOGNITO #1 - A real neat story, of a supervillain in witness protection who's having a hard time adjusting. A-
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #28 - JLA meets Milestone in a bruising clash that is not what it seems. McDuffie returns to the characters he helped create (and publish) all those years ago. B+
  • JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #22 - A strong ending to the World Under Gog storyline that's been running for... oh, a long time now. Superman-KC has a nice few moments at the end and Starman gets to do something new. A
  • KICK ASS #5 - I'm out. F
  • SUPERMAN #683 NEW KRYPTON - Superman is caught between Earth's heroes, who want to "talk with" the Kryptonians who killed some of the Science Police, and the Kandorians, led by a vengeful Alura. Things are not going to end well. B+
  • TEEN TITANS #66 - A feeble attempt at recruiting new Titans, a supervillain declaring revenge, and a core member takes a hike. I'm out. F
  • TRINITY #31 - Well, my interest is sustained for yet another week, so it can't be that bad. B-/C+
  • ULTIMATE HULK ANNUAL #1 - Truly awful. The art is okay but the storyline (Power Princess beats the $#!t out of the Hulk, who's naked and obsessed with pancakes) is really atrocious. Probably the worst Ultimate Universe story I've read; doubly so for the ending. No, just plain no. F
  • ULTIMATE X-MEN #99 - Rogue lines up some help in taking the fight to Magneto, but her plans are derailed as human Sentinels attack the X-Mansion. Interesting set up but the payoff was regrettably weak. And Vindicator is right--taking out Magneto IS more important than helping out the X-brood. Oh well. C
  • WHAT IF SECRET WARS - Doom keeps the Beyonder's power and kicks butt all over the Marvel Universe. Yep, the heroes who died on Battleworld stay dead and yep, Doom takes down pretty much everybody. And stays in character doing it, which is even better. B+
and here's this week's offering:

  • AUTHORITY #6 - StormWatch and the Authority come to an agreement, things begin to move and an old enemy makes a very big play. Plus an unexpected ray of hope for Jack and the Engineer. B+
  • MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 #4 - The end of the current mini sets up the next one in ways one could never miss. It was pretty good and had some neat gross-out moments, wrapping up a lot of "whatever happened to the OTHER guys...?" Still don't think I'll come back for another helping, though. Gotta cut somewhere. B
  • TRINITY #32 - More legends about how Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman ended up in this quasi-Earth, with unsettling resonances for many of the would-be rescuers. Plus a character study of Triumph and Tomorrow Woman and why they're fighting the good fight. B
  • WALKING DEAD #57 - Rick and Abraham set out for reconnaissance and recovery, while the others hunker down and wait for their return. Features some of the most disturbing content of the series, which is really saying something. A

Wow, that's kind of a light week. Four I'll definitely buy, two I might-or-might-not. Hm.

And finally, my "trimming the list" candidates (stuff that won't be on my pull list any longer):

  • KICK ASS - Enough is enough.
  • REIGN IN HELL - I've seen about as much as I need to see for this mini.
  • SPIRIT - Once Darwyn walked away...
  • SQUADRON SUPREME - Not enjoying it so much I want to shell out $3 (or more)
  • TEEN TITANS - The team's falling apart and I just don't care that much.
  • TERROR TITANS - ugh.
  • TITANS - I wish the reunion of the original Titans was better than this. But it isn't. We're getting rehashed Trigon and now Jericho-gone-bad-or-is-he? nonsense. Isn't anyone interested in trying something NEW with these characters?

Wow, clean sweep of all the Titans books. Oh well.

That's it for now, friends! See you next week.