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I’ve Moved…

Nothing super major, but Faust’s Fantastic Forum can now be found here: http://danielrfaust.wordpress.com/

Update whatever needs updating.

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Thank You.

To the brave men and women who protect and defend our country, to those who served in the past, and to those who gave their lives so that people like me could dick around on the Internet…

…I salute you. And, I thank you.

To Me, My X-Men!

Do you know what the world needs? An all-ages, continuity-free X-Men title. A title where characters don’t die horribly (over and over again), where they don’t carry on lurid telepathic affairs, and where they don’t form blood-thirsty, baby-killing death squads.

To be honest, I’m kind of shocked Marvel doesn’t already have an X-Men title in their Marvel Adventures line. Good thing I’m around.

Time to fire up Cerebro and find us some mutants…

Cyclops (Scott Summers)

I know a lot of people don’t like Cyke because he’s all about rules and strategy and that’s just not “sexy.” But, y’know, every team needs this guy. Where would the Ninja Turtles be without Leonardo?

Marvel Girl (Jean Grey)

Can’t have Scott without Jean. Besides, I like Jean. Not a fan of the whole Phoenix identity…but I’m not sure that “Marvel Girl” is an appropriate name for Ms. Grey, either.

Beast (Hank McCoy)

No cats. Ever.

Wolverine (Logan)

I’d keep Wolverine the cranky, fly-in-the-ointment character he was meant to be. The title is X-Men…not Wolverine and Some Other Folks.

Storm (Ororo Munroe)

Despite the laughably horrible performance by Halle Berry, I do like Storm and always save a spot for her on any incarnation of the X-Men.

Rogue

I’ve always liked Rogue. It could be the accent. Personally, I like the original recipe Rogue, before she went and permanently absorbed Ms. Marvel’s powers.

Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde)

Shut up!

Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner)

I refuse to live in a world where Kurt is dead. This way,  I wouldn’t have to.

Colossus (Piotr Rasputin)

I think Pete, here, has the same kind of “he’s not a bad boy so he ain’t cool” stigma that Scott has. Too bad being (or, at least, trying to be) a good person doesn’t get the same kind of respect that being a douche gets.

Iceman (Bobby Drake) and Angel (Warren Worthington, III)

This roster is kind of out of control…and, even though I like Bobby and Warren, I’m not sure they need to be on the team.  Of course, with 3/5 of the original team here, I’d feel bad leaving them out.

Professor Charles Xavier

And, behind it all, I’d have Professor Charles “Hope You Don’t Mind if I Live Vicariously Through My Teenage Students’ Hooking Up With Each Other” Xavier. 

Rorschach’s Journ–Ah, Screw It: My Thoughts on Watchmen

Yes, the rumors are true: I have finally seen Watchmen.  In brief, I liked it.  I liked it quite a bit–maybe more than I thought I would.

watchmen

For the purposes of this review, I think I should first let you all know about my relationship to Watchmen.  I have read Alan Moore’s opus.  While I enjoyed the book, and acknowledge the influence it had on the comic book industry, I do not consider it to be Holy Scripture.  In fact, given the choice, I’d probably choose to re-read Chris Claremont’s Dark Phoenix Saga before I’d choose Watchmen.  That’s actually one of the reasons I waited so long to see the movie.  If it sucked, I did not need to get trampled in a stampede of rabid Alan Moore fans as they charged out of the theater to set cars on fire.

Turns out I really didn’t have much to worry about.

What worked?  Well, for starters, the cast.  I’m pretty willing to accept other rorschach2people’s opinions about things–especially since I expect the same in return–but, if you’ve read Watchmen and do not think that Jackie Earle Haley totally nailed Rorschach, then you obviously hate puppies, candy, and America.  Sure, Haley’s “I’m the Goddamn Batman” growl isn’t exactly how I imagined the character would sound, but all other things being equal, it worked pretty well.  Haley might have walked away with the movie, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson were also quite good as The Comedian and Nite Owl, respectively.  I’m willing to admit that I might be the only person on the planet who was excited to see Matt Frewer playing Moloch and Rob LaBelle as Wally Weaver–possibly the first time since Taken that these two fine character actors have appeared in the same production–but, I did “squee” internally when I saw them both for the first time.

Now, what can I say about Malin Akerman?  Correction: What can I say about Malin Akerman that won’t get me smacked by every woman I know?  Yes, Akerman’s Silk Spectre was pretty easy on the eyes.*  She also kind of looks like an adult version of Violet Parr, which is not a bad thing:

silk2 key_violet1

If I have one negative thing to say about Akerman’s performance it’s this: she comes off as too young.  Unless my math is off, Jupiter was about 27 when the Keene Act was passed, which would make her 35 in 1985.  Akerman, god bless her, looks at least a decade younger.  Not a deal breaker, just an observation.

For the most part, I think Billy Crudup did a pretty good job as Doctor Manhattan, although there were times when he came off as childlike, as opposed to disconnected.  I think the real weak link in the cast was Matthew Goode.  For someone who’s supposed to be the perfect human, Goode’s Ozymandias comes off as excruciatingly bland.  Maybe I’ve misread him in the book, but I would have expected him to be much more charismatic and a lot less…dull.

From a storytelling standpoint, both David Hayter and Zach Snyder did a good job of cutting down the massive text of Moore’s original, without losing too much of the core story.  The decision to use the opening credit sequence to tell a large chunk of the Minutemen backstory was a brilliant one, as were the decisions made regarding which aspects of the main characters’ backstories to include, and which to cut.  I was blown away by the adaptation of “The Abyss Gazes Also” and “Old Ghosts”–my favorite chapters–although I must agree with the overwhelming sentiment that the bathroom scene between Rorschach and Big Figure came off as a bit odd.

Personally, I didn’t miss the squid.  Again, this could go back to my whole “I don’t worship at the altar of Watchmen” thing, but I think the change works.  From a storytelling point of view, there wasn’t nearly enough time to fully explain Ozy’s giant mutant brain-squid.  However, we were shown the destructive nature of Doctor Manhattan’s powers throughout the entire film.  (It just struck me this morning that the Watchmen film basically used the “exploding man” story that Heroes did at the end of its first season, a storyline that was attacked for “stealing” the idea of destroying New York to create world peace from Moore’s Watchmen…and I found the whole thing pretty funny.)

Oh, and was it me or was Archie’s flamethrower the greatest ejaculatory metaphor ever caught on film?

What didn’t work?  The slo-mo.  Stop with the slow motion action scenes already, will ya!  Enough.  Once or twice, maybe, to prove a point or show something particularly awesome, but you don’t have to do it every time someone throws a punch.  I fear that the “Superhero Slo-Mo” may soon ruin films just like Bullet Time did.

Overall, I’d give Watchmen a 9 out of 10, with most of that last point going in the “Not bad, but not what I would have done” column.

===========

*: Seriously, have you seen Malin Akerman?!?

“Even a Man Who is Pure in Heart…”

According to this story in the New York Daily News, 2009 is going to be “The Year of the Werewolf.”  A week or so back, Entertainment Weekly made a similar pronouncement.

I love werewolves.  They are, hands down, my favorite monster.  Need proof?  Well, some of my favorite movies are The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, and Ginger Snaps (bet most of you have no idea what that last one even is).  I’ll even go so far as saying that, as bad as Van Helsing is, it had a pretty sweet looking werewolf:

the_wolfman_from_van_helsing1

So, while I’m happy that 2009 may be “The Year of the Werewolf”–yes, I’m pretty psyched about Benicio Del Toro’s remake of The Wolf Man and hold out hope that 2009 might see Ginger Snaps 4–I’m a little annoyed that most of the projects mentioned in these articles are actually vampire series.  TwilightTrue BloodUnderworld.  All vampire series.  So, even if it is going to be “The Year of the Werewolf”, Hollywood is still forcing our furry brothers to ride the foppish coattails of those pasty-faced bloodsuckers.

And, in this Era of Change, that’s just wrong.

Merry Christmas!

Whether or not you’ll be celebrating the season, I hope everyone has a great December 25th.  I’ll probably be eating non-stop for at least the next 48 hours.

Now, for no good reason, I give you Muppets:

 

Happy Holidays!

Four on the Floor #16: Badass Bounty Hunters

The Situation: Let’s face it, some guys are just too tough, crafty, or out-and-out evil for regular law enforcement agencies to take down. That’s why we need bounty hunters. Bounty hunters have been a part of American pop culture since the days of the Old West (if not longer), and they seem quite capable of morphing into pretty much any genre you can think of–westerns, sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries, you name it.

The Criteria: Since bounty hunters are so prevalent in popular culture, there are countless examples that you can choose from. But, since I had to limit myself to four, I decided to pick guys (Domino Harvey came close to making the cut…would that I could pick five) who were obviously doing what they do for a tangible reason–whether it’s money, revenge, freedom, or a combination of one or more–as opposed to characters who claim to be bounty hunters, but end up regulating out of concerns more noble than money or vengeance.

1. Brisco County, Jr.

A Harvard-educated lawyer, Brisco never wanted to follow in his father’s bounty hunting footsteps. That is, until County Sr. is brutally gunned-down by John Bly and his gang. With sidekick Socrates Poole, rival-turned-associate Lord Bowler, and Comet the Wonder Horse, Brisco County, Jr. straps on his dad’s six-shooter and searches the Old West for the men responsible for his father’s death. Oh, there’s a weird golden orb from the future involved, too.

2. Ezekiel Stone

Zeke Stone was a cop. When his wife was raped and the man responsible goes free, Stone murders him in cold blood. Then, wouldn’t ya know, Zeke gets killed and gets sent straight to hell. Fifteen years later, there’s a prison break in the underworld and the Devil makes Stone a deal: return to Earth, track down and return the 113 escaped souls, and earn a second chance at life. Bounty hunting + damned souls = awesome.

3. The Man With No Name

C’mon, it’s Clint. The Man With No Name more or less re-invented the western, as well as cementing the idea of the laconic anti-hero in American culture.

4. Boba Fett

Fett’s like Eastwood’s Man With No Name in a helmet and jet-pack. Forget everything that’s been done to and with this guy since 1983, when he first showed up in Empire Strikes Back, you knew he was a badass. He didn’t speak more than a dozen words in Empire or Return of the Jedi, and he still managed to become one of the most (if not the most) popular characters in the trilogy.