West is back on pencils as this issue picks up with Ripjak ambushing the
Guardians that were searching for him (Talon, Aleta and Yondu). They fight back and forth with Ripjak coming
out on top. He somehow pulls the light,
the source of both her powers and her life, right out of Aleta. As Yondu goes to find help Talon is bested by
Ripjak as well. Ripjak then finds Yondu
and defeats him as well, knocking out three of the most powerful Guardians in
rest of the Guardians find their teammates’ lifeless bodies but Ripjak is
nowhere to be found. In fact, he
hightailed it right off of Mars completely.
I do wonder how Ripjak avoided detection by the Sentinels when he came
and went, but that, of course, is never explained. The rest of the Guardians stumble upon
Ripjak’s lair as they search for him and while Talon and Yondu don’t seem to be
too bad, Aleta is critically injured, to the point where her Power-Girl-esque
boob-window might not even save her.
when you think things can’t get weirder, we get the origin of Ripjak! He was the lone survivor of the Martian race,
the lead scientist in charge of saving the planet from a plague. Unfortunately he was the only one that was
saved as he created the antibodies (from the body of Spider-Man) too late to
save anyone else. He then created a
“battle suit” to contain himself (one that gave him pecs and other humanoid muscles
hearing his origin, Ripjak promptly uses the self-destruct feature of his lab
playset and a giant hole is blown in the planet. That’s not the only destruction that Ripjak
is providing though as we see him carry out his mission and incinerate another,
well-inhabited, planet, committing the planetary genocide that got him the
moniker of interplanetary serial killer.
Next Issue: So…the Guardians are dead, right? They have to be. Plus Ripjak is on the loose to kill
again. Damn, these guys suck at this super-hero
Another album that followed in the mold of Flick of the Switch in that it was not
well received by the critics or the general public and sounded pretty much like
every other AC/DC album before it. In
fact, many of the songs on this album sound the same as well, which has a lot
to do with Brian Johnson and his unique but limited vocal capabilities at this
stage in his career. “Fly on the Wall”
“Shake Your Foundations” and “Hell or High Water” could be the exact same song.
Tracks you may
Shake Your Foundations – Probably the most recognizable song
from this album, and a good one in its own right. It features Brian Johnson going up an octave
or two as well as a higher pitch on the guitar part than was usual. The solo in the middle still knocks it out of
the park (but you could have guessed that).
Tracks you should
Danger – Brian Johnson doesn’t alter his vocal delivery at
all, but the fact that this song deviates from the speed of the other tracks
into more of a plodding, bluesy delivery is a welcome change.
Playing With Girls – One of the best riffs/choruses in the
entire AC/DC discography. Seriously,
listen to it and you won’t be able to get it out of your head.
My personal favorite:
First Blood – From the opening guitar riff to the sing along
chorus, this should be a staple in any AC/DC playlist.
Sometimes, the critics and fans are wrong. Here they were slightly wrong. Could there have been more variety on the album
itself? Absolutely. Do I really
We are going to take a slight detour from the Guardians of the Galaxy this week and look at a new comic from Actuality Press that may ring a few bells. Next week we'll get back to our retro review of the space-travelling heroes.
back, Sam Johnson, creator of The Almighties, asked me to review The Almighties#1 as well as Geek-Girl and Mr. Mash-Up #0.
He recently contacted me as The Almighties are back with a Zero
Issue! While I was not super impressed
with issue #1, let’s see how issue zero shakes out. But first, the official stuff from Sam
Almighties#0 is out now - along with a chance for newcomers
to catch up on the team's debut adventure inThe
Almighties#1 new Limited
Variant Edition – both available atwww.actualitypress.com
the cover is better than that of issue 1 in my opinion. While it is still a team shot, the overall
drawing is much better this time around.
Though the “team” concept seems a bit fractured as no one looks happy or
very trusting of one another. Regardless,
Juan Ramirez does a decent job of drawing each character, and the inking and
coloring just add to the quality of the illustration. I really enjoy the clarity of the Almighties
logo as well. It is instantly iconic and
something that should remain relatively unchanged, regardless of the media that
the Almighties may inhabit in the future.
the fact that this is a zero issue, the events actually take place after those
of issue one. The first thing we get is
an abbreviated origin of Maxi-Tron (I’m sorry Sam, I can’t read that name
without thinking of Maxi-Pad). I’m not
really sure where that fits in the grand scheme of things, but I am always down
for a good origin story. Johnson does a
good job of managing a multitude of artists by giving each one of them a
specific story to tell. Some are more
successful than others, but the fact that he splits the art duties up in this
way helps to ensure that there isn’t a strange and abrupt transition between
pages, it all feels more natural.
Johnson also does a good job with the issue as a whole. By utilizing the tried and true “tell me
about your teammates” way of storytelling, we are able to learn the origins of
the various members of the team in a more natural manner. While this way of doing this is far from
revelatory, the fact that Johnson doesn’t take the easy way out of just telling
the origins shows that he has thought about the book and how he wants it to
most of the meat and potatoes of the stories themselves aren’t great. Nite Fang’s story (written by Mike Gagnon)
doesn’t really do much besides tell us that he was a jerk that was bitten by a
werewolf. There is very little backstory
contained in those two pages that would make us really care about the
character. The Ms. F story, while not
really an origin, is just…odd. The
dialogue is a bit unbelievable. It’s
almost like he’s trying to make it conversational, like how real people talk,
but it comes out a bit forced. The
origin of Mason is two panels and a bunch of dialogue, again, not really making
me care too much about the character.
That’s the problem. In an issue
that is supposed to be a re-introduction of the characters, we don’t really
wind up caring too much about any of them.
takes us to the new character, Wayne Winston.
The fact that his origin story takes up so much space is a blessing and
a curse. While it causes me to start to
care about him as a character, it shows what Johnson could have done with the
other characters. The final story
revolves around Stefanos. After an odd
introduction to his character (something tells me getting a blowjob behind the
counter of your restaurant violates all sorts of health codes), President Obama
comes in to offer an opportunity to Stefanos.
In issue one, Agent Coleslaw is killed in the big fight at the
conclusion of the book. Obama wants
Stefanos to go back in time, using a cosmic cube with a reset button
(seriously?) on it and prevent this from happening. Stefanos accepts the mission, goes back in
time, and fails miserably at his assignment.
first, I thought it was silly to even have him go back in time if he was going
to fail, then I thought, you know what, showing that the superhero doesn’t
always save the day isn’t a terrible thing.
Then, when I saw how Johnson ended the story, I not only understood why
he wrote it the way he did, but I disliked it even more. By going back in time, Stefanos upset the
timestream enough to get George W. Bush elected to a third term. Hardy har har… That’s some low hanging fruit you’re picking
with that one. It’s neither original or
funny, unfortunately. IN all honesty,
instead of going for the easy joke, he could have spent those extra pages
filling out the origin stories of the Almighties.
5/10 – While the way the story is told is good, the content,
be it the actual stories themselves or the way they are written (sometimes I
don’t know if Johnson is trying to write a specific dialect or if he just
forgot to proofread) is not up to par.
only thing I can say, is that if Juan Ramirez had drawn the whole book, it may
have pulled everything together and made up for some of the glaring weaknesses
in the script. Unfortunately, while the
art is not terrible, it is not inspiring at all. While I do like the cartoonier art of Graham
Pearce’s contribution, that is unfortunately the highlight of a lengthy
book. Pearce does a decent job in his
storytelling as well. In fact, most of
the storytelling is good throughout the book, it’s just the general artwork
itself that doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for me. Could it be a matter of taste? Sure.
I will say though, the lettering is dicey throughout. There are many times I had to read things
multiple times as they were unclear the first time around (something you never
want to have to do).
say this though, the drawing of Bush at the end of the issue is pretty spot on.
5/10 – No one is winning any awards here, but they put a lot
of work into the book and it shows. They
should be commended for their efforts even if the results weren’t perfect.
Overall: 5/10 – Even
if I saw this book on the shelf in a comic shop and picked it up, I probably
wouldn’t have bought it based on the art.
After reading it, there are some good things here, there’s the seed of
competent storytelling and a couple funny moments. But it was mightily inconsistent. I am looking forward to the further
adventures of Geek-Girl though, as I enjoyed that book.
Flick of the Switch
definitely follows in the pattern of the last two albums that featured Brian
Johnson at the helm. There is nothing
wrong with this as it is still a competent album full of instantly recognizable
AC/DC songs. This album was not met with
much acclaim as people at the time were getting tired of the fact that AC/DC’s
discography felt like one big album. I
tend to like this album though as I feel it has more hidden gems on it than the
other albums from this era that had massive radio airplay.
Tracks you may know:
Nervous Shakedown – There were not too many songs from this
album that the public gravitated to, but this was one of them. It is more of the same, a traditional AC/DC
Tracks you should
Landlside – It opens with a very Ted Nugent-ish guitar part
and then just barrels full speed ahead through the rest of the song. Not a terrific song by any means by the speed
at which it is played harkens back to songs like “Rocker” from the Bon Scott
Bedlam in Belgium – Yet again, another AC/DC song that
sounds like the rest of the AC/DC songs.
This is a good one though, I love the guitar riff on this and Brian
Johnson’s voice is absolutely one of a kind.
My personal favorite:
Badlands – Does it kind of sound like “Bedlam in Belgium”?
Sure. Is it still a good track? Absolutely.
I can see why fans and critics alike were growing tired of
the AC/DC sound. I, however, enjoyed the
fact that this album received so little fanfare that many of the tracks were
ones I had never heard before.
The things you had to do to be committed to a mental hospital back in Greystone's heyday were ridiculous. Things that are celebrated nowadays, like being homosexual, would get you a one way ticket to Greystone or a similar institution.
The picture above does very little to really illustrate the majesty and architectural beauty of Greystone as a whole. Unfortunately, Greystone as we know it has been torn down and a more modern facility was erected on the grounds. The building in the picture above was the last major building standing and the last building in use before
it too was abandoned.
Seriously, if you want to see beautiful architecture and what the ravages of time can do to that architecture,
we have learned to this point about the War of the Worlds has involved a huge
hole where the fate of Spiderman is concerned.
Even the definitive War of the Worlds story, the three-parter that took
place between issue fifty, Galactic Guardians number one and the fourth annual
was vague as to what definitively happened to Spider-Man as his body was
apparently taken back to Mars. The cover
of this issue shows Spider-Man’s costume.
Does this mean Spidey himself is alive and well on Mars? I doubt it, it’s been 1000 years, but they
sure as shit will let us believe anything in order to buy the book.
good news here is that Scott Eaton is back as guest penciller. While Kevin West was good at what he did,
having a fresh “voice” for the artwork has been a nice change of pace. We open on Mars, where the Guardians are
about to enter the airspace of a planet that has been quarantined since the attack
on Earth. In order to enforce that
Quarantine, Sentinels (the old X-Men villains) have been dispatched to watch
over the planet and prevent any interference.
They are an old, outdated technology though and are easily dispatched by
the Guardians. Gallagher tries to build
up tension, and drags out the fight, but once you hear Vance say to the crew
that Sentinel technology is “outdated” you know the outcome.
and Talon get into yet another fight, one that Nikki breaks up, leading to one
of the weirdest looking panels I have seen in this comic, then we get another
account of the War of the Worlds (hooray!)
After that we head down to Mars where Ripjak has seen all of this
unfold, even though the Guardians had their ship cloaked the whole time. The Guardians teleport down to the surface of
Mars and immediately see a museum of sorts and begin to look around. It is a museum of the war, complete with the costumes and armor of Earth’s fallen
heroes. Vance sees Captain America’s
mask and gets all fanboyish. He opens
the container housing the mask in order to take it and it disintegrates. Let’s
get this straight, Vance is on the search for an interplanetary serial killer,
someone that has not just killed people, but committed mass genocide, and Vance
Astro is more concerned with antiquing.
God damn I hate this character.
the Guardians going through more of the museum, complete with videos of the
attack, until they stumble upon Spider-Man’s costume. They are also greeted by a sarcophagus
emblazoned with Spider-Man’s face. Apparently
the Martians were so taken aback by Spidey fighting them till the bitter end
that they had his body enshrined after his death. They then removed his body from the
sarcophagus because the scientists were attempting to create antibodies from
his blood to counteract a plague sweeping through their planet.
ruminate on that nugget of history, we are transported to deep space, where
Starhawk begins his quest to learn who is true parents are.
Mars, Talon and Vance get into another argument (enough Gallagher, we get it,
they don’t like each other) and Talon, Aleta and Yondu split from the rest of
the group to go and find Ripjak. We end
the issue with Ripjak welcoming their arrival, and their death.
Next Issue: Hopefully someone dies, or at least Talon and
Vance stop acting like little bitches, and can we please hear about the War of
the Worlds again!?
A little more on Greystone tomorrow, but in my short time living in New Jersey, it became an obsession of mine to learn as much about the institution as possible. It's a beautiful place that has unfortunately been torn down by this point. If you do a Google Search of it though you will see how captivating it is.
This album feels like Back
in Black side B, it is that close to the seminal AC/DC album. In my opinion, it’s just as good. The band was on a roll, probably still coming
off the high that they garnered with the popularity of Back in Black. On a side
note, in the early 2000s, this album took a stranglehold of my car CD system
for a good six weeks. It’s just that
Tracks you may
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) – Another AC/DC
classic. Not much to say about this
besides the fact that if you listen to classic rock radio long enough, you’ll
undoubtedly hear this song.
Tracks you should
C.O.D. – Does it sound like every other AC/DC song? Sure.
Does that bother me at all? Not
even a little bit. Every song on this
album is just begging to being cranked in your car stereo, this song is no
My personal favorite:
Inject the Venom – It’s not the most popular song in their
catalog, but it might be the heaviest.
This song is one that I could listen to on repeat for days.
all out brawl between Drax the Destroyer and Cuchulain the Irish Wolfhound, and
Kevin West took this issue off! The art
is brought to you by Scott Eaton who is more realistic and more exaggerated
than Kevin West in terms of his characters, bringing a decidedly different (and
welcome) feel to the book. It’s almost
Texeira-esque but not as exaggerated.
and to an extent Eaton, provide an interesting setup to this issue. To show that everything is happening
simultaneously, between the Drax/Cuchulain brawl and the machinations of the
rest of the Guardians, they present everything together. The top half of the page is the rest of the
Guardians and what they are doing throughout the issue while the bottom is the
continuing battle between Drax and Cuchulain.
This is an interesting way of doing things and something that was
attempted with less success by Jim Valentino during his run as well.
battle between Drax and Cuchulain is a back and forth affair for the majority
of the book without much in the way of events to report, so I’ll focus on what
is going on on the top half of the page.
Vance escapes the prison guards and hides out, trying to find Charlie in
the process. Unfortunately tOrk finds
him first and is about to finish the beatdown that he started last issue when
he realizes that Charlie is all healed thanks to Diablo’s special serum. I assume he makes it like most concoctions in
prison, in the toilet with a mixture of spit and things bought from the
commissary. Charlie surprises him and
knocks him out, and even in a small space, Eaton does a great job making the
action as big as possible. Just as
Charlie puts the finishing touches on Tork, Vance shows up as well.
We then cut to Nikki and
Yellowjacket who have skirted around the “no girls allowed” rule and come down
to bust some heads and break Charlie out.
What the warden and the prison guards don’t realize is that they have
brought Talon with them. Yellowjacket
increases his size and sics him on the prison guards. At this point the storylines merge into one
as Cuchulain and Drax have damaged a nuclear reactor, causing it to blow a hole
The Guardians take the warden back
to their ship and continue to prove Charlie’s innocence, which is when Nikki
pipes up with “think about the scar”.
The scar that Charlie received from the Spirit of Vengeance was not
present on the video that the warden had as evidence of Charlie’s guilt. The real culprit was a clone of Charlie, the
one that we saw for one page a few issues ago that Rancor sliced up. The warden begrudgingly agrees to not pursue
any further action against Charlie and the Guardians and we cut to stockade as
Yondu and Talon look for Cuchulain amid the rubble. He comes out completely unscathed and they
teleport to the ship. Drax then emerges
from the rubble and sits in front of a television screen playing the alien
equivalent of the “emergency alert broadcast”.
After the Guardians send Cuchulain
on his way back to Earth, with their gratitude (and a little something “extra”
from Yellowjacket, or so it’s eluded to) they turn their attention to Mars,
which is apparently the base of operations of Ripjak as well as a quarantined
planet ever since the War of the Worlds.
Next Issue: More War of the Worlds talk!? And you thought they were done with that…
What does AC/DC do after their singer dies? They put out the best album of their careers,
that’s all. This album is loaded with
hits. Hell, every track is instantly
recognizable and rarely does anyone change the channel to get away from them. Brian Johnson fit seamlessly into the band
and delivered a phenomenal performance to start his era.
Tracks you may
"Hells Bells", "Back in Black", "Shoot to Thrill", "You Shook Me
All Night Long", "Have a Drink on Me", "Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution" – I
could probably name every song on this album.
We all know them, we all love them.
Everything that was great about Highway
to Hell got even better.
Tracks you should
There are not too many you probably don’t know, but “What do
you Do for Money Honey” is a great song that epitomizes the fast guitars, high
pitched growl that has become AC/DC’s trademark sound.
My personal favorite:
I’d like to say it’s something besides “You Shook Me All
Night Long” but I can’t. I've heard it
hundreds if not thousands of times, and I could keep listening to it
forever. That’s why it’s a classic.