Attention! Its critical you take action now!

 So I’ve been reading and watching stuff. This should come as no shock…

I’ve had a soft spot for a ripping space opera. I’m generally not hung up on the science of space travel and could give two shits about the xeno-biology and language styling of races from beyond the stars. I mean, its nice when considered and mentioned. I appreciate the effort. But if the trade off for scientifically correct exposition is sweeping epic battles between fleets of ships and the like… well its not like I studied science after the 10th grade.

I mention this as a lead in to one of the things I finished last night at about 1:30am (I’m typing this at 8:40am so it’s a good thing I’m not a math wiz either else I’d be reeeeally tired) was the first volume of a comic series called Annihilation Wave. Published by Marvel, whose comics I only buy if it’s written by J. Michael Straczynski, Matt Fraction, Joss Whedon or Warren Ellis it is, I have to admit, a small letdown as it’s penned by none of the above. Don’t get me wrong, Keith Giffen is a talented writer and artist but I’ve also just came off Y – The Last Man, so I’m being a bit of a comic snob. As such, I can see certain obvious tells about Annihilation Wave and fairly crude writing techniques that are just about part and parcel for superheroes nowadays. Also the art isn’t worth mentioning after the first 1/3rd of the book.

But, like the science, I find myself not caring because it’s a space opera.

This comic has been niggling at me to buy it and so far, above critique aside, I haven’t cause to regret the purchase. It’s hitting the right notes for a Space Western (Not an actual space western as that would be Firefly) or Space Fantasy. You’ve got an alien and abominable foe of pure malevolence. You’ve got a young man entrusted with great power who could be the universe’s only hope. You’ve got big space battles with big space ships. And something that was most compelling is that you’ve already got an ensemble of characters, a dramatis personae, whose exploits of 20 plus years of Marvel comics saves a lot of pages normally wasted on exposition and origin stories.

At any rate I quite like this book. I like that the supercomputer in young Richard Ryder’s mind calls out “Attention! It is critical you take action at this time!” as a throwback to The Last Starfighter. I like that Ryder’s costume/powers are basically turning him into a human rocket that crashes through starships like a flaming guided missile that screams and complains a lot. I like that Annihilus of Fantastic Four fame is getting some decent villain-like moments. It kind of reminds me of Ellis’s take on him during Ultimate Fantastic Four. I rather like what they’ve done with Drax the Destroyer, which was take a character who was basically the Hulk in a purple cape, and then watch Pitch Black twenty times in a row so they could make him as much like Riddick as legally allowed (He’s green and doesn’t wear goggles. That’s about it).

It’s far from the best thing I’ve read, but I’ll be reading Volume 2 by next week.

The other thing I saw was Cloverfield. Holy God Damn!

Drew Goddard wrote it and Drew Goddard frankly had some serious game prior to this movie, just damn floored me with Cloverfield. He wrote about the only episode of Buffy Season 5, not written by Joss Whedon that actually gave me some hope that the franchise wasn’t dead (Other writers stole that hope away the very next episode). He has written episodes of Dexter and most folk should know my blinding love for Dexter. He’s wrote for Lost, which may well be the only thing that gets me to watch that series. And I’m sure there are other things too, though nothing on a blockbuster movie scale.

Anyway, Cloverfield. Wow! Talk about starting the New Year off well. Without spoiling a lot (though most of those who read this, saw it with me so really, what’s the point?), was a humanising look at an impossible but ultimately familiar scenario: The little guys who end up between the toes of something huge that rampages through a metropolis. There isn’t much more to say that hasn’t been said except for one thing:

It only cost $25 million dollars.

Peter Jackson directed a film that was pretty much the same thing, only it was a gorilla, went for 3 hours and cost $200 million. J.J. Abbrams did it for $25 million and it took an hour and 10 minutes (which, in this movie climate, is TV sized really). Take a guess on who’s sleeping on a pile of money surrounded by beautiful women…

…Well it’ll still be Jackson because Lord of the Rings will keep that man hip deep in enough women that Orlando Bloom will be left scratching his head and wondering why he can’t find a date anymore. But still, at $25 million, Cloverfield is going to make enough money to bankroll King Kong Returns which will have two giant gorillas that have a baby right after intermission a couple of minutes into hour six!

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