Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Song of the Day: Tegan and Sarah - Walking With a Ghost

Twin sisters, that also happen to be lesbian. What are the odds? Not sure. What are the odds they also make great music as well? Not good. Tegan and Sara have been making music for years, with six albums to their name so far. Today's song comes from their fourth, So Jealous, which was released in 2004. Walking With a Ghost is a great song on it's own, so much so that The White Stripes decided to make a cover a few years back, with great results. The indie rock duo released their sixth album last fall, and it has since received some of their best reviews to date. Give it a listen.

Comic Book Review: The Flash #3

Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul continue the Flash run this week, pressing forward that has been comics at it's finest. Let's recap what we know real quick.

Barry Allen has been accused of murder,a murder that takes place in the future. Bizarre, I know. Even more bizarre are his accusers: The Renegades. A police squad from the future that mimic the looks and powers of The Rogues from the present. All of this while just trying to return to work, and get back settled in with his life.

This issue picks up in Iron Heights Penitentiary, where Digger Harkness is plotting his escape. He's lured all the guards into his cell, planning on taking them all out at one time. Problem is though, he doesn't have any weapons, so his attempt just lands him scrambling on the ground, surrounded by five guards and a doctor. When it seems like he's not going any where, but he discovers a hidden power: An ability to summon black lantern boomerangs, unlimited weapons.

In Central City, Barry leaves the police department crime lab, after being questioned when his DNA appears on the Mirror Monarch body. The lab director takes the results as sloppy scene work, so Barry gets his scolding, and heads out to see Iris.

This is where Johns really shows his grasp on the character, his reaction to all the mess he's in. Barry is not concerned with his life, instead his focus is on a case on the office, where a boy may be accused of a crime he didn't forget. Of course life won't let him forget about his troubles, as The Renegades show up ready to take him into custody.

They insist that Barry will murder the Mirror Monarch in eighty-four days, and that the have evidence that will convince him so. The Renegades seem to imply that Barry commits a murder in reaction to Iris being killed, but that's just my theory.

With a combination of freeze rays and glue guns, Barry is stuck and looking like he's headed back to the future with The Renegades. But suddenly, a boomerang flies out from behind The Renegades, taking them down and letting Barry Allen loose. Harkness approaches Barry, asking menacingly about what happened after his death.

So somehow, in someway, all of this is connected to Flashpoint. And all we know about Flashpoint is in the two page preview we got at the end of The Flash #1. But what about what happened in this issue? Are The Renegades really who they say they are? Is something going to happen to Iris, leading Barry on a quest across time to erase it from history? Is that Flashpoint? Am I asking way to many questions? Yes.

Fun book though, with great story by Johns, and fantastic art by Manapul, who seems to get better and better with each issue. While The Flash may not be the most mysterious book on the self, I'm positive that Johns will unveil to yes a few tricks that will propel this book to the top of any reading pile. Check back next month.

The Rebirth of Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is iconic. She's the most popular female character in the history of comics, maybe in popular media. Hate to say it though, but she's kinda boring. Most major character have stories that are essential to any reader's mythology. Like Batman, with Year One, and The Dark Knight Returns. And Superman in his All-Star imprint written by Grant Morrison. Those are just a few of their classic tales, as we could probably name dozens. Yet when I think of Wonder Woman, not much comes to mind. The popular theory is that it has something to do with her being so perfect, that her purity is her worst enemy. No one wants to be known for tainting Wonder Woman. So how do you write a good story about a classic character, and bring her into the 21st century? J. Michael Straczynski thinks he has the answer.

Starting next month, he will take over as the regular writer of the series, which is very exciting. He's not afraid to make changes as he tinkered with Spider-Man's universe in the controversial One More Day. And he's been writing the fan-favorite Brave and the Bold, most likely one of the best, and most fun team books around. Today though, we got a peek of what he has in store for Diana, in her milestone 600th issue.

One of the first changes we heard about, the costume. Even though the costume is iconic, it's not very practical. Who goes into battle half-naked? So after many different designs and ideas, Jim Lee and Straczynski settled on a new look to represent her new direction.

The new direction by the way, changes almost everything about Wonder Woman's continuity, yet keeping everything the same. I know that statement doesn't make much sense, but bear with me. The origins or Wonder Woman and rooted deep within Greek Mythology. She was formed out of clay by Zeus, and given to Queen Hyppolyta, ruler of the Amazons on their home of Paradise Island.

Diana grew up under the protection of the gods, the whole island being watched carefully. She also grew up sheltered, with no other men around the island of warriors. Eventually, Paradise Island needed an ambassador to the rest of the world, so they held a battle to determined who is the most capable Amazon. Diana was not allowed to participate, yet under a disguise she entered the competition and won. Im sure you know the rest.

With this new background though, the Gods have altered the timeline. The have gone back, and removed their protection from Paradise Island, allowing it's destruction when Diana was only three. Diana was then adopted and raised in the city, and twenty years later, she has questions. She realizes that she is different, and feels like she doesn't really know her real identity. So she's gonna find out.

This new street friendly Diana, has a costume to reflect the changes, keeping elements of the classic design, yet adding new ones, such as pants. Didn't see that one coming.

So for new readers, it's been said that now is a good time to jump on board, to appreciate a very underused character. Hopefully years from now, we can add this to the greats. Batman: Year One, All-Star Superman, Wonder Woman: Odyssey.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Song of the Day: Doves - There Goes The Fear

English alternative rock band Doves really hit their stride with their second album, The Last Broadcast. It featured one of their most popular songs, There Goes the Fear, which was also present on the great soundtrack to (500) Days of Summer. The band released an album last Spring, which got great reviews, and they followed that up with a Greatest Hits collection. While the band is not done making music, they're taking a break from recording for a little bit. So stay tuned.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Song of the Day: Elefant - Misfit

I'm sorry Elefant, but I'm not going to lie about you. This band is slightly infamous in the indie community for writing songs about absolutely nothing. The songs are a bunch of fluff, some sounding really good, others not so much. Their debut album, Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid achieved moderate success, with their standout singles and best song, Misfit, coming off it. Their follow up, Black Magic Show, was pretty awful, and even though the group is still together, the band hasn't made any news for a while. Listen though to this great track Misfit, which sounds similar to Interpol.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Song of the Day: Bloc Party - Blue Light

Bloc Party's debut, Silent Alarm, came out with a vengeance. They knew their sound, their strengths, and they had confidence, even a swagger. Their music was fun, that ranged from a blazing guitar, to a soft one that would permeated like a slow atmospheric linger. It sounded like the release of crafty rock veterans. After their second release, it became clear that they were stuck in a sophomore slump. The songs that were good were very good, but there was far fewer than on the first record. And the the third album came along, the emo, ambient noise, self-conscious record, that only had a few tracks worth listening to. It's quite a fall for a band that had so much promise, since the talent is there, just not the cohesiveness. Let's hope their hiatus will do them good, and they'll come back the brilliant band we know they are.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Song of the Day: The Rolling Stones - Miss You (Dr. Dre Remix)

In the summer of 2002, master producer/rapper/entertainer Dr. Dre remixed a Stone's classic, Miss You. It's probably the first time that songs relevant in while, and oddly enough it showed up on the soundtrack to Austin Powers: Goldmember. Yet when Dre brought it back, it was a seamless integration of a classic rock song and a great beat. I really wish this happened more often, as not many MCs are doing it right now except Kid Cudi. Either way, Dre made a good song great, and I hope I hear something like it soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Song of the Day: Lily Allen - Not Big

If you're a fan of Lily Allen, you've probably already learned a very valuable lesson: No matter how good of an idea it seems, understand no circumstances should you date her. Why? Well, she'll write a song about you, a song entitled Not Big. It's actually quite a funny song, with her insulting him in just about every way imaginable, sparing no details. That's what's great about her music, her witty honesty allows her to tell the WHOLE story, even calling out her lazy, pothead brother Alfie. No one is safe. Her first two records have been a blast so far, and even though she's claiming to break from music, we all know she'll come out swinging with a new album soon.

Comic Book Review: Green Arrow #1

Oliver Queen's been lots of different things in his life. Spoiled rich brat, Justice Leaguer, opinionated politician, dead, resurrected, crappy and then positive father, mentor, and husband. Until recently, the status quo hadn't really changed much, but that all changed about six months ago, with the final issue of James Robinson's Cry For Justice miniseries. In the final page, Ollie did the unthinkable: murdered a villain who was responsible for the destruction of Star City, not to mention the death of thousands.

Oliver eventually realized that his actions were wrong, and he turned himself in to stand on trial for his crime. In prison, he would lose everything, his secret identity, his friends, and more importantly, his wife. Oliver did get one break though, he was acquitted for his crimes, yet he was banished from Star City. With nothing left, Oliver took to the mysterious forest that generated from the white ring in Brightest Day, becoming Green Arrow full time.

With all this drama going on in Green Arrow's life, DC felt it would be a good time for a relaunch, so JT Krul, who took over the Arrow-family after Cry For Justice, brings us a new chapter in Oliver's life, Green Arrow #1. Krul takes us back to the original inspiration for Ollie, Robin Hood, the man of people.

In short, this issue establishes Green Arrow's new life, the much more violent man who will steal from the rich, to give to the poor. And with Star City still recovering from it's destruction months ago, it has many poor, yet the rich aren't so willing to give. Corruption begins to overwhelm the city with it's crooked politicians, and the people are becoming more and more impatient with the lack of resources. With these constants it creates a fend for yourself attitude, and a battle for power emerges between the people, and the politicians.

We also get a peek at the new Queen Industries, who are entering new ownership since Ollie is gone. The new owner is an eccentric billionaire from Russia, Isabel Rochev, and she plans to make Queen Industries a power again by expanding their services. The first area of expansion is their new Defense Contracting, and the first client, Star City. The city government requests Queen Industries create weapons for them, and the company complies with a army of super soldiers. With the new fleet of defense, they are determined to restore order, even if it means taking out the Green Arrow.

Green Arrow relaunch was a great starting point, a strong beginning for everyones favorite Emerald Archer. Krul did a really good job making Ollie a hero again, a figure and a symbol for the broken people of Star City. I hope Krul doesn't disappoint us again, as we know he's capable of destroying everything likable about a character as noted by the remarkably awful Rise of Arsenal.

It looks like Ollie will be fun again though, so maybe the Brightest Day banner on the top will prove true after all. Brightest Day indeed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Song of the Day: Asher Roth - G.R.I.N.D.

At first glance, Asher looks just like any other white college kid. Preppy, pretentious, douchey. Upon further review though, it's a little more complex. While he may not have the street cred, and while he may not be flashy, he makes up with a smooth flow, and a fun story. Last years debut, Asleep In the Bread Aisle, became known for the hit I Love College, the raunchy tale of his drunken school days. The record was actually really good altogether though, featuring guest stars such as Busta Rhymes, Chester French, and Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley. He's currently hard at work on his next album The Spaghetti Tree, which will feature today's song of the day, G.R.I.N.D.

Comic Book Review: Justice League - The Rise of Arsenal #4

You can come out now, the horror is over. Well, sort of. Writer JT Krul's miniseries, The Rise of Arsenal, comes to a close this week, with the fourth and final issue of the controversial series. I find it quite ironic that the series was called the "rise" of Arsenal, as the character sank down into a dark pit, with no end in sight. Let me explain.

This issue picks up right after Roy, or Arsenal, is dropped of at the rehab facility, that will help him find his peace. The only problem is though, that his drug habit is making him hallucinate about his dead daughter, haunting, and taunting him into a mixture of rage and despair. His hallucinations about Lian bring him to a conclusion, he must kill the Electrocutioner, the man who rigged the bomb causing Lian's death. So after tricking the orderlies to enter his cell/room, he attacks them, retrieves the keys for his restraints, and breaks out.

Roy's next stop is the Star City Penitentiary, the jail that is housing both the Electrocutioner, and Green Arrow, who is being held for his murder of Prometheus. So Roy storms in the facility, brutally beating down any guards that get between him, and the Electrocutioner. The guards are helpless against Arsenal, who possesses such a fury that won't cool until he completes the mission. So in a last ditch effort, the guards release Green Arrow from his cell, and he goes after Roy.

When Roy and Ollie meet, there's a small amount of talk that ensues, right before the two go after each other. In Roy's drug induced state, he's in no position to take on Ollie, but Roy is not concerned with him, only the Electrocutioner. So after the beat each other around, Roy finds a break after spotting the Electrocutioner, so he chases after him with a knife in hand. He finally catches up with the villain, and holds a knife his throat, much to the chagrin of Ollie who is playing the voice of reason here. But Ollie can't help, as Roy puts distance between them in the form of security bars. So Oliver can only watch, as Roy takes his knife, and guts the Electrocutioner, and then casually walks out the prison doors.

Roy's last step for putting his daughter to rest, is burning down their former house, the home he raised Lian that contained so many memories. He longingly watches as the house becomes engulfed in flames.

The story concludes with Roy patrolling the city, showing him being a vigilante, yet in a much more violent way. It then encourages us to follow Roy's further adventures in the pages of Titans.

I'm going to have to pass on following Roy's story again. I mean I just don't see the allure of reading about a misogynistic, violent, druggie, and his constant brooding. Don't get me wrong, I understand that Krul was playing on the irrationality, the disparity and helplessness one would experience after losing a child. But he went way over the top, and made Roy a character you hate, instead of you would feel sympathetic for.

At this point, I feel a lot more warm towards Ollie, who even though murdered a man, he realized his mistakes and paid dearly for them. I haven't had a chance to read Green Arrow #1 yet, but I hope Krul doesn't make us hate Oliver too, because there's not many other Arrow family characters left for him to ruin.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Song of the Day: Arctic Monkeys - Fake Tales of San Francisco

What's incredible to me about the Arctic Monkey's, is their ability to impress. They wowed us with their debut, the witty songs with a classic British rock sound that made them an instant classic. With their follow up two years later, they brought us back the music we love, but with a more mature tone noticed in the songwriting and composition as well. And for last year's Humbug, they came back swinging with a darker, funkier sound, brought to them by new producer Josh Homme (frontman of Queens of the Stone Age and My Crooked Vulture), and most likely a large amount of acid. Their wasting no time, as they are already going back to working on a fourth album between tours. Today though, we revisit the favorite of Fake Tales of San Francisco, where the boys call out all the posers and phonies. Greatness.

Comic Book Review: Batman - The Return of Bruce Wayne #3

Many have wondered, including me, how it all was going to connect. How Bruce Wayne's travels though time would coincide with one another, and eventually with the future. Well today, we get The Return of Bruce Wayne #3, which takes place almost one hundred after the second issue. This issue is filled with pirates, secret treasure, and bat mythology, and this is where we will begin to see the barely visible threads that linger across time itself.

Bruce exhaustedly stumbles out of the ocean, right at the feet of Blackbeard and his fellow pirates. The exhaustion is physical, and mental, as he begins to get flashes of his life, finally remembering the who he was, and how he got in this position. Blackbeard believes Bruce to be The Black Pirate, a legendary captain, and pilot of The Black Rose. Blackbeard is also convinced that The Black Pirate is the only person who can locate the hidden treasure that is buried deep within the caves in Gotham. Bruce makes it clear that they have the wrong man, but Blackbeard is not one to be negotiated with, so he grabs a young boy on the shore, and threatens to kill the boy if The Black Pirate does not help. Not wanting anyone to get hurt, Bruce agrees to use his skills to find the treasure, as long as the boy is safe, and no one else gets hurt. The boy now begins to stand up for himself, sweet talking Blackbeard, who he calls Commodore Thatch, a legendary sailor that inspired the boy himself to set to sea. The boy also reveals his own name, Jack Loggins, but take note that the boy is narrating the story in the form of a diary, where he calls himself Jack Valor.

So Bruce leads the pirates to the caves, all while Jack does a little more explaining. In narration, Jack reveals that Bruce couldn't possibly be The Black Pirate, but out loud, Jack talks about the local lore of the deer-people joining the bat-people in the caves. Clearly Jack is knowledgeable, and once the pirates notice that, he goes back to the charade of being a clueless boy.

As Bruce leads the pirates though the Miagani cave, Jack marvels at his ability to avoid the traps set by the bat-people. The bat people are true to the name, hanging from the ceiling, and fashioning their hair like bat ears, and never letting themselves be seen. Their traps have unique triggers, but are predictable, especially the bat-arrows.

After Bruce leads the pirates through the first wave of traps, they approach a room that is filled with rotting bodies. Here, Jack begins to talk of another folk-tale, that of the ghost of Jon Valor, the original Black Pirate, but Blackbeard immediately dismisses the idea.

Bruce pauses in front of the room, and realizes that it was the methane gas that killed the men, and not a rumored ghost. He orders that all torches be extinguished before they move one, and also adds to not step on any raised stones. Of course, some of the men fail to pay attention and step on the rigged stones, causing a blue energy to attack them. They men that were not effected rush out the room, and come out behind a waterfall into a different area.

In the present, Batman and Robin are in Bl├╝dhaven, namely Command-D where Darkseid was stationed in Final Crisis, and where Batman's body was found. They're in contact with Wonder Woman, who is at the Justice League headquarters as they discuss how to stop a rogue Batman. That's an interesting thought, as we know Batman was somehow tainted by Darkseid, but the mention of corruption is somewhat new. Back with the Justice League, Wonder Woman puts the League on Black Alert, due to the fact that Superman and the others that left with him have not reported since their trip to the end of time. With that, she turns the mic to Red Robin, as they lay out a strategy for stopping Batman. Tim doesn't really have a strategy though, instead he talks about the relic Batman and Robin found in the secret Batcave under Wayne Manor, the cowl that was draped over the elk antlers. The cowl has highly advanced technology in it, yet it is part of a relic 11,000 years old. Dick chimes in from Command-D, saying that the holes in the cowl match the spikes stemming from the machine that Bruce was connected to in Final Crisis. A new theory is agreed upon: Bruce escaped the machine, shot Darkseid, and was struck with the Omega Effect sending him back in time.

Back to the caves, the pirates are breathing in the sweat, fresh air of this area, as opposed to the methane from the previous room. While Blackbeard's crew is catching their breath, Jack slips away to have a private word with Bruce. Jack says that his real surname is Valor, revealing himself to be the real Black Pirate and captain of The Black Rose. He pulls a cowl from his vest, which looks just like Batman's cowl, except that it has no ears, similar to Red Robin's cowl. Jack says that the cowl belonged to his grandfather, Jon Valor, and the original Black Pirate. Blackbeard, who has attached wicks to his hat and lighting them, giving his head the appearance of being on fire, now notices Bruce and Jack conversing amongst themselves, and demands to know the details of the secret meeting. The pirates corner Bruce off the rock cliff and into the water below with only the cowl in hand. Blackbeard realizes that Bruce is the only man who knew how to maneuver around the traps, so he sets off to follow the trail of the river to find Bruce.

Blackbeard and his men now come to the Bridge of Bones, which confirms to them that there is treasure inside the cave. As the approach the bridge, a batarang hits one of the pirates in the chest, and another receives an arrow in the throat. The pirates are on edge now, and are even further spooked when they look across the bridge and see what they believe to be a ghost, but is actually Bruce wearing the cowl. Bruce/Batman, now pulls his usual awesomeness, and engages the pirates before finally taking them down with the help of a few bat-people.

Bruce and Jack throw Blackbeard and crew into the River of Night, and Jack then takes Bruce to meet the Miagani people. Jack is quite familiar with the bat-people, as he has been allowed to hide in their caves for years. He shows Bruce the carving that the bat-people worship, which is the same statue that Dick discovered in Batman and Robin, Barbatos. Bruce is allowed to see the sacred part of the cave, part of a great mystery that the bat-people claim to hold a great power.

Bruce is led to another cave, where he sees the cowl held to the stone by antlers, as well as his boots and utility belt. He knows these were his items, and he begins to make a connection to the man-of-bat, the Miagani, and Annie...

Bruce exits the cave, right as an eclipse is starting. He realizes that the eclipse triggers his transportation, so he hands Jack the cowl, and tells him to never stop fighting.

Jack tells us some of the events that transpired after Bruce left: Blackbeard/Thatch, was taken to the gallows shortly after the events in the cave, ending most of the piracy in the area. For the pirates that didn't stop, Jack took to using the cowl and stopping them, meeting a girl along the way that he would eventually marry. Jack also wrote down the story of Bruce, including the past places, and people of Bruce's former life. Note that this was at the instruction of Bruce himself, who told Jack all about his former life, maybe in order to leave clues for the future. After the story was completed, Jack met a wealthy brother and sister who instructed him to lock the papers inside a small casket baring a Bat-symbol. Jack never forgot the words that Bruce had spoken, and even as an old man, he still feels a presence when he holds the old cowl.

The last pages take place in a different time: The old west. Two men ride to an abandoned building where they meet a man playing cards to propose a business offer. They offer gold, if only their problem can be taken care of. The man holds up a Joker card, as he reveals himself to be Jonah Hex. The men need the greatest bounty hunter in the west, to take down a new stranger: The Batman of the old west.

Only half way through, and this series is already captivating every bit of my imagination. I can't stop thinking about what will happen once Bruce returns to the present, or what Darkseid has done to make that event disastrous. That casket that holds secrets to Bruce's past lives is the same one that was stolen from the mansion in Batman and Robin. So hopefully we'll find out why El Penitente's men wanted it. Two weeks from the next issue of Batman and Robin, and five weeks until the next issue of Return of Bruce Wayne. That sucks, but it will give plenty of time for us dorks to theorize how all of this connects. Please feel free to leave any theories in the comments.

DC Goes Digital - Finally!

In a surprise series of events, DC has announced two new deals to take their publishing digital. The first - a partnership with comiXology, the popular iPhone and iPad app that distributes comics from many different publishers. The second deal is one with the PlayStation®Network, who will publish their comics for the PSP.

Of course, not every comic is going digital, there will be a mix of classics, along with the new bi-weekly series, Justice League: Generation Lost. This move seems to be an attempt to attract new readers and bring them to the shops, as they are releasing some of the favorites, such as Batman: Year One, Batman: Hush, Green Lantern: Rebirth, The Losers, and All-Star Superman, just to name a few.

As far as pricing, the app is free, and a select group of comics will be free as well. But for the others, you can expect a price range from $0.99 to $1.99.

This of course is a work in progress, so we shouldn't expect every issue to be available for download on it's release day. But this is an exciting new era for comics, let's just hope it doesn't mean the evetual end of the LCS.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Song of the Day: Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

Funeral, easily one of the best albums of all time, and certainly will prove to be one of the most influential down the road. When I looked though the tracklist on the record to pick the song of the day, I stumbled for a few minutes, as it's hard to single out one song that can demonstrate the sheer brilliance of this band. Every song is beautiful, yet each on fresh, with a story to tell that is just as captivating as the music. So after I got over my initial uncertainty, I just decided to pick the first track, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels). I hope you're excited as me, about the August 3rd release of their third album, The Suburbs.

Naughty Bear!!!

Next week, a new game is being released, a game that features two of the greatest things of all time: Mindless Violence, and teddybears. Yes, you get to be a disgruntled teddybear, out with an array of weapons to kill your fellow bears. Check out the trailer.

How awesome does that look? Seriously? Check it out next Tuesday for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Song of the Day: Radiohead - The National Anthem

Radiohead, one the interesting, yet one of the best. They make the type of music they feel like, not caring whether or not people will bring it mainstream, just concerned in the blend of musical flavors they're creating. Maybe that's why non-conformist douche-bags, such as Pitchfork, name Kid A, the best album of the 2000s. Now while I enjoy Kid A, it sometimes becomes a little overwhelming with the amount of craziness it achieves, making me wonder if my laptop is playing music, or activating itself into the killing machine that would take over the world we all predicted it would. Nevertheless, Kid A is a screaming epitome of everything Radiohead is, regardless if you like them or not. Today's featured song is The National Anthem, a track that in true Radiohead fashion, mixes a blend of two genres you wouldn't expect: Jazz, and electronica.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Song of the Day: The Weakerthans - Night Windows

Canadian band, The Weakerthans, have been described as many different things throughout their career; folk punk, folk-rock, post-punk. But for the music of theirs that I like, and the song I'm featuring today, we're gonna settle on indie-rock. This song come from their last studio album, Reunion Tour, which was released in the fall of 2007. I'm going to be honest with you, the album wasn't a hit, and all the reviews it got we're mediocre at best. The band seems to have found a niche when it delves into the more sadder of emotions, a deeper sort of song. The problem is though, that they make different types of songs on their records, leading to an imbalance of fluidness. Of course, all this is just subjective to the type of music you like, so maybe you should ignore me, and listen to the song.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Song of the Day: She & Him - In The Sun

She & Him are a folk-pop duo, consisting of the always wonderful Zooey Deschanel, and the super cool M. Ward. The band likes to go for a happier folk song, a short, fun, toned down tune. They've won over many a critic since their debut album (or at least Zooey has) and continued to impress with their second, even with a surprising lack of variety. The band second release picks up right after the first, mixing the enjoyable tracks with a few slower ones, and a couple of covers. Zooey's other career brings a lot of attention to the band, and the increase of press after their sophomore record will be followed by a tour this summer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Song of the Day: Kanye West - Homecoming (ft. Chris Martin)

Today's song is off of Kanye West's third album, Graduation. Initially, West recorded a version of this song with John Legend singing the chorus, and it was pretty good. But that was a completely different song you hear compared to the version that was released on his album, with a new beat, new rhymes, and a new chorus sung by Coldplay's Chris Martin. This version even featured a new title, Homecoming, over the previously simple Home, and it's a perfect ode to arguably one of the best cities in the world.

Batman: City of Scars

Christopher Nolan is great. His last two takes on the Batman series have been absolutely incredible. Joel Schumacher on the other hand, not so much. Pretty much everything about his over the top Batman films were horrible, including the Bat-Nipples. And I didn't care too much for Burton's Batman.

As comic book fans, we like to see the blend of comic fantasy, and good film making, but it's usually hard to pull of. Schmacher's were way too fantastical, everything flashy and gaudy. Nolan has been the only really bright spot of Batman on film, yet he seems to follow his own blend of continuity, not really a story we've seen in the books before.

Enter Aaron Schoenke, a filmmaker whose been doing Batman films for a while now. His films are able to blend a comic book Batman, and an area of dark realism, leading to a great film. He just released another fan film yesterday, Batman: City of Scars. Schoenke, who wrote and directed the film, tackles a dark story about a boy that Joker kidnapped, and even includes some guest appearances by Black Canary, Renee Montoya, and Crispus Allen. Check it out.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Song of the Day: Franz Ferdinand - Auf Achse

Scottish rockers, Franz Ferdinand, really wowed us all with the release of their self-titled debut album in early 2004. Their alternative, indie, funky, rock music became an instant hit, and received so many rave reviews it's ridiculous. Dubbed one of the best of the decade, this record went on to sell over 3.6 million copies worldwide, and it was for good reason. They'ev released two good follow-up albums since then, and have been working on a fourth for later this year. Check out this track off their first album, Auf Achse, which means on the road in German.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Song of the Day: Weezer - The World Has Turned And Left Me Here

What can be said about Weezer that hasn't been said before? They're one of the best of the 90's, representing the alternative rock sound so well, and inspiring a whole new generation of music. And while some may say that their new, pop-friendly direction is lame, there's no denying their fun, energetic, annoyingly catchy music that'll rattle in you head for hours. But flash back to the Blue Album real quick (I wasn't even two when it came out) and listen to arguable one of the best alternative albums of all time. You can start off with the third track, The World Has Turned and Left Me Here.

Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #4

Every time I review this book, I feel like I write exactly the same thing. The story doesn't progress far enough, it's very mysterious, I like some of the art, all probably things you've seen multiple times on my reviews of the other issues. I'm sorry to say that you're in for another similar review, as the same complaints remain valid in my mind. Spoilers:

Deep in the Peruvian Jungle, The Hawks stare in bewilderment at the portal in front of them, a portal that is powered by their dead carcasses. After some contemplation of their next step, The Hawks decide to enter the portal, which leads to vivid visions of all their previous lives. The scene is quite shocking for them, but they are able to pass though, and exit into another strange scene: Large floating rock masses, each with what appears to be villages established on top.

In Georgetown, Boston Brand is teleported into the room of a sleeping Dawn Granger. She wakes up, attacks him, and changes into Dove, but he begins to explain the unique situations that the white ring put him in, so she backs off. (I found it interesting that she can see him, unlike all the other people he's encountered). As Dawn backs off, another large bird attacks, Hawk, the resurrected hero who seems to suffer from a permanent state of roid-rage. Held in the clutches of a very Angry Hawk, Boston once again goes though his white ring speech, explaining everything that's happened since he resurrected that small bird in issue #1. Though whole resurrection thing catches Hawk's eye, and he tells Boston that he needs something done...

In Silver City, New Mexico, we meet the young man who will be the new Aqualad. His name is Jackson, and he's walking through the arid New Mexico heat with his girlfriend Maria. She wants to go swimming, but he doesn't as he's never learned to swim. She persist, and is about to jump off a boulder, into where a body of water once was. Jackson grabs her before she can fall to her death, as there's nothing but dried out fish where the water once was.

In the sea within the Bermuda Triangle, as rescue ship is searching for a wrecked airplane. They see two people strapped into an airplane seat, looking very dried out, almost even like zombies. Suddenly, something jumps out the water, an Atlantean woman, and a group of soldiers who she orders to attack the ship crew.

In Pittsburgh, Ronnie Raymond is passed out in bed, after exerting all his energy at beer-pong. He's laying there, when he hears a voice, so he turns around, to see Gehenna completely made of salt. She grabs him by the throat, and demands he say her name. As another student walks in the room, Gehenna disperses into a cloud of salt, leaving it all around the room. the bottom panel on the page shows Jason, asleep at his desk, with what appears to be the Firestorm Matrix pulsing over his head.

Back with Boston Brand, Hank Hall reveals his requests: For Boston to use his White Ring to resurrect Donald Hall, the original Dove.

I must say that I'm excited about this new Aqualad, and hopefully he'll emerge as a legitimately entertaining character, and not another lame cliche. I really hope things pick up in the next few weeks though, as the whole mysterious mysteries things is getting old. Check back in two weeks, where I may just copy and paste this article and give it a new title.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Song of the Day: Iron & Wine - Passing Afternoon

The man behind the indie folk name Iron & Wine, is no other than Samuel Beam, and 35 year old South Carolina native. His music is known for it's poetic lyrics, behind the soft guitar, or banjo, or both, creating a perfectly relaxing vibe. Some may find it too relaxing though, as each song very similar to the other, without much variety. But the music is perfect for chilling out, or maybe your just feeling nostalgic, and want to listen to the quietly spoken words that Beam sings, almost like he's telling you a story around a fire. One of my favorites of his, today's song, Passing Afternoon, is in my opinion, the essential track for any Iron & Wine listener.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Song of the Day: Girls - Laura

Not many frontmen can say that they have escaped a cult. Not many lead singers have distanced themselves from a childhood so ugly and frowned upon, that most people wouldn't be able to function properly ever again. But that's what makes indie rock band Girls so interesting. Their sound is very recognizable, and has even been compared to Elvis Costello, Buddy Holly, and The Beach Boys. And you can hear it, that 1950's, chill, west coast rock, but with a darker, stranger twist. I would encourage any fan to research the cult, Children of God, the cult that frontman Christopher Owens was raised in. His strange childhood has granted his a unique perspective on life, one that he likes to share with us in his music.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Song of the Day: Brakes - Crush On You

Brakes, or Brakesbrakesbrakes as their known in the US, are an English indie rock band. Since 2005, they have released three album, each of which have been named the best album of that respective year. And it's not just small unknown magazines that love them, prestigious ones such as NME, Pitchfork, and the even more obscure Rough Trade. Now while some people may contend that their music is nothing special, others (like me) who really dig it, will encourage you to check it out, starting with the fifth track on their third album, Crush On You.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Song of the Day: Black Kids - Hurricane Jane

When Black Kids played the Athens Popfest in Athens, Georgia, they were immediately proclaimed the next best thing. The band got nationwide attention by multiple music sources, from NMW, Vice, Myspace, and even the indie douches Pitchfork. Yet, most of the press changed their tune after the release of their debut album, Partie Traumatic. But in the smoking hot mess that was their record, were bright spots, songs that were actually fun and great. Among those, Hurricane Jane, our song of the day. So let's just hope they get it right next time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Song of the Day: Girl In a Coma - Their Cell

Girl In a Coma are a three piece alternative rock band from San Antonio. The trio have had the unique opportunity to open for some of their idols, such as Morrissey, and Frank Black, and other artist they admire like Tegan and Sara and Social Distortion. Their melancholy guitars have a such a catchy rhythm, yet they almost always sound sound depressed, even in their happier songs. Check out song of the day, one of their more popular singles, Their Cell.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Comic Book Review: Nemesis #2

After a month delay, Nemesis, or as I like to call it, Anti-Batman, has returned this week. Millar takes this story further by exploring the origins of the character, and in turn, revealing motives. The origins are surprisingly Batman-esque, but with a somehow darker, sicker, even perverted twist.

Twenty years ago, at the childhood home of Matthew Anderson (Nemesis), a startling scene was discovered by the police. The Anderson's, a rich, powerful family, with cultured and distinguished taste, have been secretly hunting down teenagers, to presumably murder them only after torture. The case was broken by a detective Blake Morrow, and after going to the Anderson home to make the arrests, he discovered the father of the family dead, a suicide.

As a result of the grisly findings, Matthew Anderson was adopted by his father's brother, who also took control of the Anderson electronics empire and fortune. The new life Matthew had bored him endlessly, so he ran away, ran away to learn about the world, and gain knowledge of the street. He trained, and became a gang lord at age twelve, and at fifteen, became Asia's largest drug exporter. By age twenty-three, he was heading death cults, and found himself at a point where he could honor his mother's dying wish.(She was put to death by a court, the electric chair.) To destroy the cop who cracked the Anderson case.

So with that, Nemesis was born, and present day, he now wishes to annihilate Morrow, but only after destroying his personal life first. So Nemesis takes to toying with Morrow, leaving clues to crimes, and then committing them. These are no small crimes, he goes all out, by destroying football stadiums, stealing priceless gems, and killing prominent members of the community. All of this is just a prelude of course, to the main dish, a public execution of Morrow, and the President, on March 12th at midnight.

After a final clue, Nemesis deals what appears to be a fatal blow, by attacking the Pentagon. He pumps a nerve gas through the entire building, killing 20,000 people, except two: Morrow and another official. Of course, Nemesis didn't just want to kill everyone, he infiltrated the building and stole all the USA's international secrets, and then posted them on the internet. Morrow of course is too stubborn and driven to retreat or surrender, so he plots his revenge.

The Washington police set up a bait and switch. They set up a story about a little girl needing a heart transplant, and soon a donor is found and being transferred to the city. Knowing Nemesis is evil enough to intercept the transplant, they set up road blocks, SWAT Teams, and helicopters.

Sure enough, Nemesis makes his move, grabs the hearts, and begins to trek back to his base. But he meets an unexpected obstacle, the roadblock. Being the master of improvisation, he splits his car into a off-road hi-tech motorcycle, very similar to Batman's in The Dark Knight. After bypassing the block, the runs off a pier, and into the ocean, but not before taking down the helicopter with a handy rocket launcher. Now underwater, he swims into a sewer gate, a back route into his base. After a bit of swimming and climbing, he emerges from the sewer, and is met with the surprise of a lifetime: Morrow and his team. He heart was fitted with a tracking device, which led Morrow right to Nemesis' location. As Morrow and the SWAT team take Nemesis into custody, he begin to scream violently.
"You think I didn't plan all this?"

So far, I've had a blast with this series, since it poses an interesting scenario: What happens when the man who plans for everything, is angry, evil, violent? What happens is Batman became a criminal, one who's bent on destroying society all for defending his crooked family's namesake?
The results or those situations are horrible, but fun to read about.

Next issue, which will hopefully be out next month, will see what happens when you put Nemesis is jail. Did he really plan to be caught? Does he actually have an answer, a solution to everything? Who knows.

Song of the Day: Teddybears - Yours to Keep (feat. Neneh Cherry)

The Swedish electronic rock group, Teddybears, initially released this song in 2000, featuring another Swedish artists, Paola. This first version wasn't nearly as catchy, as it was heavily based on a rave like flow, and the vocals were quieter, almost not noticeable. That's not to say it wasn't good though. But when the band rereleased the song on their 2006 album Soft Machine, it featured a more poppy beat, and had vocals by Neneh Cherry this time. I like this version much better, and the album as a whole was excellent as well. Look for their new album, Devil's Music, to drop this summer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Song of the Day: The Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now

English punk band, The Libertines have had a rocky career. Not because of talent of course, they are some of the greatest punk rockers around, it's one of their best members that hurts em though. Pete Doherty, a talented co-frontman, and perpetual moron, who always seems to be in some sort of legal trouble. Take for example last December, when he was in court for a driving offense. As he was leaving the court, a bag of cocaine fell out of his pocket. He literally brought cocaine into a court. Not the smartest idea. Regardless of his troubles though, when he is not driving his bands apart, he is a talented musical mind. After a couples years on hiatus, the band is planning on touring this summer, so look for that. But, with no promise of new material, you also should check out their two great albums, Up the Bracket, and the self titled The Libertines. Todays song of the day is the first track off their second album, and one of their most popular. Enjoy.

Comic Book Review: Batman #700

700 issues. Wow. In 1940 the first issue of Batman was released, at the small price of $0.10. Now, seventy years later, we get the 700th issue of the character we know and love. And who better to bring us this issue than the master of modern Batman, Grant Morrison himself? The issue is told in four parts: "Yesterday", "Today", "Tomorrow", and "And Tomorrow..." Each part is drawn by a different artist, the first, Tony Daniel, followed by Frank Quitely and Scott Kolins. The last two, Andy Kubert, tackling Batman of the future, and David Finch, taking us to the Batmen of the far future. The stories are separate in themselves, but they all connect, in one mysterious episode that spans across time. Spoilers:


Batman and Robin, Bruce and Dick, are surrounded by some of their most dangerous enemies. Joker, Riddler, Scarecrow, Catwoman, and Mad Hatter. Take note that the Mad Hatter is not Jervis Tetch, but the impostor Hatter with the mustache and beer belly who claimed to be Tetch. Not only are Batman and Robin surrounded, but they are strapped down to a chair, and connected to a Maybe Machine, a machine that generates visions of how things may have been in one's life.

The machine is the product of Professor Nichols, who is also present, but not as a villain, just a defenseless man who has no choice but listen to the Joker. The Joker tells the professor to to reset the machine, cause he's going to send Batman back to witness his creation, a moment that of course continues to haunt him. Batman warn that the machine takes three minutes to reset, and he only needs two to escape the restraints. Joker doesn't care though, and begins to flip though his Joke book, a collection of his greatest tricks and ideas such as Jokerfish and Jokerworld death parks.

As the machine is being primed, the doctor tries to explain that another round of the machine would kill Batman, as it does more than create illusions, it actually transports the person there, a time machine. Before the machine can be activated again, Batman has already escaped the chair, and he and Robin beats the crap out of the villains. As the rogues gallery goes down, Gordon bursts in with a SWAT team, and they begin to haul the villains away. Gordon says that he received a tipoff from Professor Nichols himself, which is interesting for a number of reasons. One is that Batman said after he escaped, he was going to use the machine to go back in time and alert the police himself. Another is that Professor Nichols, who is shaking with fear, does not acknowledge making the call, but he just tells Batman that he will clean up and "set things strait."

With Batman driving, Robin begins to rattle off a few theories that seems to be bothering him: Why can't Professor Nichols go back in time and stop the Wayne's from being murdered? If the Wayne's were saved, would the Grayson's still die? And what would happen to all the people that Batman and Robin have saved? Batman simply says that everything is as it is, and you can't change what has happened. In a small panel on the bottom, Professor Nichols in has lab on the floor, apparently clutching the Joke Book that was left there. That panel seems to tie in with Batman's last words, saying that the future will be revealed whether it's welcome or not.


Batman and Robin, Dick and Damian, are called to the scene of a crime by Gordon, The victim, Professor Carter Nichols, shot in the heart by an apparent laser, a smile on his face, a maybe machine set next to him, in a room locked from the inside. Dick notes that Professor Nichols would be in his 60's, but the victim appears to be in his 80's.

Dick and Damian head to Crime Alley, and one the way, Dick tells Damian a little about the Professor. He says that Nichols became reclusive a few years ago, and he lost contact with the outside world. Dick was hoping the Professor would be able to help them find Bruce, but now his death will of course hinder that. At Crime Alley, Damian wonders aloud why they there, and Dick starts the creation of Batman speech. Damian of course knows the story, but Dick then clears it up. Every year, Bruce would leaves a black wreath at the spot where his family was murdered, and since he's not there this year, Dick is honoring the tradition.

After Dick sets the wreath, a young couple come running from around the corner, yelling that a group of "bad guy" are headed down their way. Batman pulls out his trade mark Robin staffs, and he and Robin quickly beat down the group of large men in a visually stunning scene by Frank Quitely. After taking care of that threat, Batman and Robin approach a pimp and some of his ladies, who immediately declare a truce to become Bat's new feelers on the street. Batman agrees, and the pimp's lady, named Serena, tell Dick of an underground weapons auction that Mr. Freeze told her about. Batman says the mutants will stay off the street tonight, and it can stay that way if the pimp continues to cooperate, which was already said. But Batman says that tonight is special, and the pimp agrees to lay off his usual activities for "Bat-Night."

Scott Kolins takes over the last few pages, as Batman and Robin have fun for a few overs, helping fix all sorts of emergencies, and even stopping for pizza. But the fun is interrupted for a moment, as Batman and Robin must crash the underground auction that is being attended by Riddler, Penguin, and Mr. Freeze, who were all set to bid for the Joker's legendary Joke Book.

After crashing the auction, and now set atop a building, Robin begins to brag about his crime fighting achievements for the night. He says that as soon as he finds the "locked-door killer", he will have proved his point that he would make a much better Batman than Dick. Dick contests though, saying that Damian would be the worst ever, since there is NO locked room killer. Dick says it was suicide, but Damian replies with the fact that there was now weapon.
"How am I supposed to follow you insane leaps of login?" he asks.
"Maybe when you do you'll be goo enough to be Batman." Dick replies. "Trusts me. It'll all make sense one day."


It's New Year in Gotham, and clock is set to twenty minutes. Batman, Damian, is dragging a cyborg on the back of a four wheeler, a aggressive interrogation. He begins to explain: A madman named January is holding the city ransom. He request is the Joker's Joke Book, and if it's not giving him, he will make it rain a toxin, Joker venom, that will make everyone laugh them self to death, but not before turning into Joker zombies. In twenty minutes, the venom becomes permanent, leaving everyone to die. The cyborg that Damian has, knows the location of January, and of the baby and old man that was kidnapped by the madman as well. Damian's tactics still haven't broken the cyborg, whose name is Max, but the threat of being eaten alive by carnivorous rats makes Max want to sing. Max yells that the location is some place in Granton, so with the new info, Damian leaves the cyborg to die a painful and gruesome death.

With about ten minutes left on the clock, Damian has a nifty device analyze the Joker venom, that in turn will send to results to the lab and synthesize an antidote. He tell the computer to send the cure to Gordon, Barbara that is. Will the results processing, he personally calls Gordon, and tells her that a cure is being sent. She warns him that if she finds him, she will lock him up, but right now, he's her only help from the Joker Zombies.

Batman retreats to the sewer, where he is met by large Joker mutants. There's only a little less than six minutes on the clock, so with time to fight, Damian recruits Brother-I to use long range lasers, and take out the mutants.

Batman emerges from the sewer, in front of 2-Face-2, a Joker baby, and an old Professor Nichols. 2_Face-2 has a normal face, and a ugly mutant face that bulges from the side, and is speaking. The gag was has to do with duality and New Year's: Father time, Professor Nichols, and a baby, who supposedly has a twin. Batman offers up the Joke Book, and January attacks him with a robotic eye, an eye that belonged to the cyborg Max. Batman uses his grapple to knock 2-Face-2 unconscious, and another man appears, a young Professor Nichols. He tells Batman to rescue to baby, and he will take care of the rest. The rest involves murdering his future self, who is almost dead anyways, and the last part is going back and making a call to the police years ago, the call that happened in the yesterday story. With that, the Professor leaves, but not before leaving a note for Batman, that will supposedly explain everything.

So Batman rescues the baby, a baby revealed to be the child of Warren and Mary McGinnis. Batman leaves the book to burn in the house, a book he says that can only be read by the insane, a group that is too many. He injects the Joker/McGinnis baby with the cure, with only two seconds left on the clock, and he wishes the Commissioner a happy New Year.
"Tomorrow belongs to Batman." he declares.


Each pages is a different Batman, each of a different FUTURE era.

The first one, Batman Beyond, as Terry McGinnis fights while being instructed by an old man who watches on a computer console.

The second, a post apocalyptic world, where futuristic soldiers are chasing a young woman though a dump of some sort. But a raggedy Batman and Robin, wearing tattered suits, and brandishing heavy weaponry come to her rescue.

Third one, a Batman is a modern future, an english dialect that is hard to interpret. A Batman in a classic suit with modern revisions, walking around a "cave" that holds all the previous Bat suits. He prepares a gliding cape, and leaps out the window.

The final one, a Batman that is similar to the One Million look, fighting his way though bunch of clowns in a Japanese inspired city.

The last pages show Gordon lighting up the Bat signal on the roof. "No matter when. No matter where. No matter how dark."
Dick and Damian swinging across the page, in brilliant fashion.
TO 700 MORE!

This issue was a great tribute to the Caped Crusader, one that meshes most incarnations of the character together so seamlessly. Nows a great time to be a Batman fan, between Batman and Robin, Return of Bruce Wayne, Streets of Gotham, and all the other character tie ins. This issue is a must for any fan, a landmark, a milestone, one that won't soon be forgottenn

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Song of the Day: Gym Class Heroes - Taxi Driver

Gym Class Heroes, the alternative hip-hop band from the NYC, have great range. Sometimes rapping about using Myspace to find love, or maybe listing off crazy ex's, the band frontman, Travis McCoy took a little freestylin time to name check some favorite bands in this short song, Taxi Driver. The band achieved mainstream success after the mega-hit Cupid's Chokehold took over the radio a few years ago, but their follow up album didn't meet the same standards. The group did not become disheartened though, and are expected to release another record later this year. Until then, look for Travie McCoy's solo album which dropped today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Song of the Day: Chromeo - Momma's Boy

Momma's Boy, by the Canadian electro/pop duo Chromeo, is quite a strange song. But then again, they are not your usual band. Members P-Thugg and Dave 1 like to joke that they're the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of time (they probably are), yet that's not they only thing that makes them interesting. Their strange, catchy, beat heavy songs are not your norm, but their fun, interesting and a blast to listen to. They are currently working on their third album for release this summer, but make sure to check out their new single Night by Night now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Song of the Day: Monsters of Folk - Say Please

Monsters of Folk are just that. Four musicians that are each "monsters", masters even of that genre. Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and the always great M. Ward, all combined their talents to make a great album last year. The album was what we expected, but yet, nothing what we expected. The music was very much similar to these artists other projects, yet the lyrics, the stories, the songwriting, was nowhere near as mopey as Bright Eyes, or Ward himself. The record took a lot more upbeat turn and we got an album that is worthy of the title, Monsters of Folk.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Song of the Day: Fanfarlo - Ghosts

The London based Fanfarlo are still a recently new band, a band that just released their first album in the fall of last year. The band is a blend of the indie folk sound that seems to be in the water lately, yet they make it sound fresh again. They're most popular single, Harold Wilkens or How to Wait For a Very Long Time, is a faster folky song, but with song of the day Ghosts, the band takes a slower Arcade Fire approach. Take a listen.

Comic Book Review: Red Robin #13

The winds of change sweep though Red Robin this week, as fan favorite writer Fabian Nicieza takes over the book, much to the delight of Tim Drake fans. With no disrespect to Chris Yost, whose constant use of flashbacks proved quite annoying, Fabian has proven that he can handle the world of Tim, especially after the arc he used to finish the title last year when it was still Robin. Fabian's return promises a much lighter tone to the book, very different from the dark, brooding Tim we saw for the past twelve issue.

Tim, Dick, and Damian set off on patrol, the first time all three have worked together in Gotham on friendly terms. As Batman and Robin go tackle a Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum problem, Tim goes off to respond to a Lynx disturbance. Tim reveals that after the organized the gang treaty months ago, some leaders have strayed, one of those being Lynx. As he eavesdrops on Lynx meeting with her crew, he begins to contemplate what action he should take against her.

That decision is one of many he needs to make, with this new direction of his life brings new questions, so he has complied a checklist to help out:
1) Figure Out Where to Live
2) Figure Out What to Do
3) Figure Out How to Do It
4) Figure Out Who to Do It With
5) Figure Out Who to Do It Against

Tim meets with Lucius and Tam, mostly to discuss the engagement Tam announced to Vicki Vale a couple issues ago. Lucius knows that the engagement is a sham, but he warns the fake couple to be cautious of what they give to the press from now on, and everyone agrees. After the meeting, Tim tells a very embarrassed Tam that they need to talk about their relationship, possibly hinting at a future there...

Back on patrol, Red Robin scares one of Lynx's crew members into calling out the gang leader, to publicly challenge her to a fight, and damage her rep. Once Lynx emerges out, her and Tim engage in a quick, acrobatic fight. After Lynx gets in few blows, Tim wraps her up and takes her down, but things quickly turn more strange. Lynx tells Tim that she is a cop, a member of the Hong Kong Police Force, trained in gang infiltration. Tim ponders over whether to believe her or not, but ultimately decides that Lynx is best served behind bars, so her leaves her with the GCPD.

Upon returning to the Bat Bunker, Alfred and Damian question whether Tim's actions against Lnyx were appropriate, especially after the help she provided during Blackest Night, and Jason Todd's wars. But Tim argues that he knows what he was doing, that everything is a part of a bigger plan of his, showing them the large monitor of the computer with panels of notorious villains. At the bottom of the page, questions 2, 3, and 4 are checked off Tim's list, showing that he just needs to find a partner, and a place to live.

Tim Drake is definitely one of my favorite characters in the DCU, and I'm glad the new writer has such a firm grasp on the character, and his motives. The new, lighter direction that Red Robin is heading is really enjoyable, so I encourage any Tim fans who previously enjoyed Robin, to jump back on. Also would like to mention that Marcus To is getting better and better with every issue, with his clean pencils that make everything easy on the eyes.

Overall, I found this issue great, and this will on the top of my list every month. Thanks Fabian!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #3

Brightest Day continues to chug along this week, in the fourth installment (issue number three) of this universe spanning story. Summery:

Right after being teleported to the Anti-Matter Universe, Boston Brand confronts one of the most powerful DCU villains, The Anti-Monitor himself. At that very moment, the white ring decides to very inconveniently withdraw whatever veil was concealing Boston, making him visible to the Anti-Monitor. The Anti-Monitor is not happy at being disturbed, and is about to attack, when suddenly, the ring tells Boston to fight. So Boston thrusts out his ring bearing fist, and a white collage of the resurrected heroes attacks the Anti-Monitor, hurting him. Boston thinks he's finally realized his purpose: To gather the resurrected heroes, and together defeat the Anti-Monitor. The ring tells him NO, and as he listens, the Anti-Monitor stands up, and prepares to attack himself, but Boston, with newfound confidence in the ring, readies a counter. The ring fails him though, and the Anti-Monitor sends him flying into dark nothingness. With the ring letting him fall, Boston promises to be more careful, and the ring replies OK, sending a white safety net to Boston's rescue.

In Pittsburgh, Ronnie Raymond wakes up inside the University hospital, confused, with Professor Stein sitting by his bed. Stein goes on to explain the lab exploded after Ray Palmer successfully separated the Firestorm Matrix, landing both members of Firestorm in the hospital. The Professor warns that Ronnie and Jason must be separated from no one, and in Jason's room, he's getting a similar speech from his father. Jason's father is telling his son that he needs to return home to Detroit together, but Jason refuses to go, saying that he must finish his studies. His father demands that he return home now, and Jason replies with a angry comment regarding the death of his mother. Furious, his father exits the room, telling his son to do whatever he wants. Ronnie is now getting his things together to leave, and as he does, he begins to question why Ray and Stein have not been giving details, as they warn about the danger of being Firestorm, yet they don't provide any reasons. Ronnie, now fully dressed, exits the door, and he begins to angrily rant about the treatment he's been receiving from Jason, all caused by the actions of Black Lantern Firestorm. Ronnie says that he got another chance, and he's not going to waste it, so he walks out the door, and sees Jason crying on his hospital bed. Ronnie walks outside mumbling to himself: "You Should've Told Them..." As the words linger, a scene of Black Lantern Firestorm killing Jason's girlfriend flashes in his mind, hinting that Ronnie was either in control, or that he kept all the memories. As tears form in his eyes, Jason's dad drives by, yelling at him to stay away from his son.

Aquaman and Mera are standing in the shallow depths of the North Atlantic, as Arthur is attempting to use his powers properly. When Arthur sends out the telepathic signal, a zombie Shamu whale appears, and grabs Aquaman to violently drag him under the sea. Arthur quickly defeats the whale, and begins to contemplate why his powers have been acting so strange. As Mera follows him under water, she suggests that he return to Atlantis, so maybe the Atlantean scientists can run some tests. Arthur firmly declines, saying that he will not return to the people that abandoned him. Mera agrees, and tells him that the only home she needs is Arthur himself, so she smiles and goes in for a hug, masking the look of uncertainty on her face.

In Pearl River, New York, The Martian Manhunter is examining bodies of the family that was brutally murdered by their mother/hidden white martian. He looks into the bodies, that have had the skin pulled, leaving only the sinewy muscle, yet, he finds a lead: A hair of the family dog. J'onn locates the dog at a rescue shelter, and he begins to scan the mind of the canine, revealing the ugly scene of the Martian killing the family. Shocked by what he sees, J'onn is determined to fix the Martian problem, but he first sets off to leave the dog with the lonely, elderly daughter of Professor Erdel, only after wiping the traumatic Martian experience from the dog's mind.

A page here seems oddly out of place: A plane flying over the Bermuda Triangle is losing it's tower communications. In Silver City, New Mexico, the White Lantern begins to blink, and lets a flash of light explodes. Back in the Bermuda Triangle, the airplane is struck by a white streak of lightening, destroying it completely.

In the Peruvian Jungle, the Hawks are making their way towards Hath-Set, who is using their dead bodies for an unknown purpose. As the Hawks finally find the point where Hath-Set was, a portal is opened, a portal made from the bodies of the former Hawks...

What I previously liked about the book has now become somewhat of a hinderance in my opinion. It seems like the stories aren't progressing far enough each issue, leaving us with only a little for knowledge of the surrounding mystery. That being said, the story is still very intriguing, I just wish we could get a little more info every issue.

In a recent interview though, Geoff Johns promised that some characters purposes will become more clear in issue 7, so let's all hope that Brightest Day continues to entertain, and also for more zombie sea creatures, because those are just cool.

Song of the Day: Chester French - She Loves Everybody

The first song you've probably heard by the Harvard duo, Chester French, was this one, She Loves Everybody. This ode to safe relations was a promise of the talent to come, a new exciting, intelligent band to welcome to the indie scene. Sadly though, reviews on their full length debut, Love the Future, were mixed, some loving it's interesting qualities, others questioning their talents and capabilities. Regardless on your feelings towards the record, there's no doubt that this song is fun and fresh, hopefully next time around we'll see this same energy.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Song of the Day: The Young Veins - Young Veins (Die Tonight)

Nest Tuesday, The Young Veins, the new band fronted by former Panic at the Disco member Ryan Ross, will release their debut album. The band and album is heavily inspired by 60s rock music, something you'll notice as soon as you listen to the first track, Change. I'm quite impressed with the record so far, and you can check it out as well, as it is streaming on their myspace page. Be sure to listen to it, and look for them on tour this summer while listening to this self-titled song.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Song of the Day: The Cribs - Men's Needs

The Cribs are an English four piece alternative indie band, consisting of brothers Gary, Ryan, and Ross Jarman, with legendary Smith's guitarist, Johnny Marr. The band has been slowly picking up steam the last couple of years, yet they really hit it big after the release of their third album, Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever. That album was produced the Franz Ferdinand frontman, Alex Kapranos, and featured many dark, catchy guitar hooks, which was heavily shown in their biggest single, Men's Needs. The Cribs recently released another album, their fourth, Ignore the Ignorant, which was critically acclaimed and dominated the UK charts.