Four-Color Flashback returned last week with the first of nine installments discussing the controversial Vertigo series Preacher. I’m new to the series, Paul’s been a fan since it first started in 1995, and we roundtable it. (Or is it a cross-table? There are only two of us.)
This week, we discuss Preacher: Vol. 2 – Until the End of the World…
Paul: Okay, Mr. AJ, you survived the first explosive, expletive-laden volume of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. Here we are, back for more, so tell me…how do you think the second volume, Until the End of the World, holds up?
AJ: I loved the first volume. I had some problems with it–Arseface, Detective Bridges’ sexuality–but on the whole, I thought it was a really entertaining comic with some brilliant ideas. I’m happy to report that Until the End of the World not only continues the witty, profane, blood-splattered fun of Gone to Texas; it also does it one better by introducing some seriously compelling bits of mythology.
Last summer, I started a column entitled Four-Color Flashback, wherein I went through and discussed/analyzed a legendary run of comic books I’d never read. In that case, it was Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men (read the first part here). It was a fun experience, and toward the end of the column, I stated the desire to return to the concept “some time in the next century.” That time is now!
Unlike last year, which was just me rambling on endlessly by myself, this summer, I’m joined by Paul to discuss Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s notorious Preacher. Paul is a huge fan, and I’ve never read a single issue, so we’re both bringing different perspectives to the table. The series lasted for 66 issues from 1995 to 2000, and has subsequently been collected in nine trade paperbacks. We’ll be going through them one at a time, starting this week with Preacher: Vol. 1 – Gone to Texas, collecting the series’ first seven issues.
So pull up a chair, do your best John Wayne impression, and enjoy.
(That was me commanding you with the Word.)
Saying this upfront: NO SPOILERS. Paul and I have also discussed the film on the show.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A bunch of kids pack into an RV for a weekend of fun, sex, and sexy fun. That they encounter the extremely creepy owner of an ancient gas station on the way does nothing to deter them from their destination: a remote cabin in the woods, owned by one of the kids’ cousins. The place immediately seems a little off, there’s some disturbing stuff in the cellar, someone maybe reads Latin, and eventually bloody mayhem ensues. Though they should know better, each one succumbs to some very stupid behavior for which they will be punished.
This is the set-up for dozens, maybe hundreds, of horror movies. The Cabin in the Woods is something different. When we first meet these kids, they seem like lively, intelligent college students. They don’t seem like they would do some of the dumb things they end up doing. Which seems par for the course for this kind of movie, except The Cabin in the Woods dares to offer a justification as to why the victims would seemingly offer themselves up as fodder. There’s more here than meets the eye. Characters played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are part of a shadowy organization which makes everything much more complicated. This I guarantee: If you’ve only seen the ads, which paint the movie as your generic Halloween Saw Massacre deal, it is not that. At all.
Gobbledygeek episode 92, “Am I on Speakerphone?,” is available for listening or download right here.
Calling all jocks, nerds, sluts, virgins, and stoners: there’s a certain cabin you might want to take a trip to. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s long-delayed The Cabin in the Woods is finally in theaters this weekend, so Paul and AJ offer up their thoughts. We know the movie isn’t just about kids going to a cabin and getting sliced and diced, but how much can we say here without pissing off the Internet? As far as that goes, in lieu of a witty banter portion, we discuss our NON-SPOILERY thoughts on the film up top before getting into a SPOILERY discussion. So, yeah. It’s a barrel o’ laughs, there’s some arguing, and lots of affection for certain cast members. Why don’t you go ahead and walk down into that dark cellar?
Next: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Titanic were both recently released in 3D. Both of our hosts enjoy one of these movies, and both of them also hate the other one of those movies. Expect fistfights and the death of a friendship.
(Show notes for “Am I on Speakerphone?”)
I'm so blind I can't even watch this movie. Whew. Bullet dodged.
Gobbledygeek episode 73, “Where We’re Going, We Won’t Need Clothes,” is available for listening or download right here.
For the final week of Gobbledyween, Paul revisits Paul W.S. Anderson’s magnum opus Event Horizon for the first time since theaters and AJ watches it for the very first time. Also probably the last. You see, it’s not very good. Unlike The Evil Dead, The Thing, and Dawn of the Dead, this one’s not so much a classic, but the boys still mine some discussion and humor from the proceedings. They also ponder the philosophical query: does one need clothes? As always, there are some Formspring questions to round things out.
Next: it’s a Bat-stravaganza as we tackle Batman: Arkham City and the new Batman: Year One animated film.
(Show notes for “Where We’re Going, We Won’t Need Clothes.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 72, “No More Room in Hell,” is available for listening or download right here. (GOBBLEDYUPDATE: Technical issues appear to have been resolved. We now return you to our regularly scheduled gobbling.)
When there is no more room in hell, the Gobbledygeeks will walk the earth. And while we’re here, we shall discuss George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead! That’s right, zombiefolk, it’s Gobbledyween week three, so we’re turning our rotting, shambling corpses upon one of the original undead classics. Part consumerism satire and part gory munchfest, the film set a high bar for zombie films that not many have been able to shuffle up to. After we discuss the film and go off on some bizarre tangents, we talk about the Walking Dead season 2 premiere and answer some off-the-wall Formspring questions.
Next: for the final week of Gobbledyween 2011, we will discuss Event Horizon, a movie that Paul has not seen since it was in theaters and one AJ has never seen. Good times!
(Show notes for “No More Room in Hell.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 71, “Things to Do in Antarctica When You’re Dead,” is available for listening or download right here.
The second installment of Gobbledyween 2011, John Carpenter’s The Thing, gets discussed just as its new prequel/remake is hitting theaters. The boys discuss the film’s paranoia, claustrophobia, and intensity, as well as why Paul considers it possibly the greatest horror film ever made. Also mentioned are the film’s initially poor reception and Christian Nyby/Howard Hawks’ original The Thing from Another World. Plus: Paul talks concerts, AJ talks Moneyball, and they both review 50/50.
Next: Gobbledyween week three rolls along with a discussion of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
(Show notes for “Things to Do in Antarctica When You’re Dead.”)
Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are. This feature started last month.
So, September 2011, what kind of havoc did you wreak? Let’s find out…
BEST RETURN TO FORM
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #1
Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: Georges Jeanty (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), Michelle Madsen (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse
To say that I was pleased upon finishing the first issue of the new “season” of Buffy is an understatement. Season 8 started off very well, with Buffy leading an army of 500 Slayers and trying to unmask the mysterious foe Twilight. And to tell the truth, it was great for much of its run, with an occasional stumble (vampires being outed to the public wasn’t handled with much finesse). But the last story arc, with the reveal of Angel as Twilight, cosmic sex, and general batshit insanity, was so damaging that even someone who considers Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the greatest piece of entertainment ever given us by man had come to the conclusion that it might be for the best if Ms. Summers was finally laid to rest. The final issue of Season 8, though, was a dramatic 180 from the pace and structure of the last few issues leading up to it, and the Season 9 premiere continues in that vein. With Giles gone and magic vanquished, Buffy is depressed and adrift, working as a waitress and getting blackout drunk. It’s all done with Whedon’s razor-sharp wit and keen sense of twenty-something angst. The final “shock twist” is so humdrum and everyday it’s hilarious. In many ways, the metaphorical “party” is over for our Scoobies; now what? I can’t wait to find out.
THOR (DVD/Two-Disc Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo/Three-Disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)
The penultimate pre-Avengers Marvel franchise hit like a thunderbolt! Well, a severe summer shower at least. Chris Hemsworth (Papa Kirk from Abrams’ Star Trek) plays the titular Thunder God, an impetuous and brash young warrior eager to earn the respect of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, he reignites a war with his people’s ancient enemies the Frost Giants, and finds himself exiled, penitent and powerless, to Earth. There’s a rushed romance with a sexy scientist (Natalie Portman); a fun but sadly bloodless battle to reclaim his birthright Mjolnir, the literal hammer of the gods; and a final showdown with his half-brother, the once and future God of Mischief. But the real highlights of the film aren’t the action set pieces: Hemsworth is a joy, with the muscles and the cocky but charming smirk; Hopkins chews the scenery appropriately, adding to the Shakespearean vibe director Kenneth Branagh was aiming for; and Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show with his wounded-little-boy-in-the-body-of-a-god routine. My earlier review was perhaps a bit glowing for what is probably just a good-not-great summer popcorn film…but then perhaps not. I look forward to watching it again and seeing if the ol’ Asgardian magic can still enchant me like it did before. – Paul Smith
(Originally reviewed by Paul and myself in “The Hammer Is His Penis.” Like Paul, I also wrote a review for the blog.)
RANGO (DVD/Two-Disc Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)
The latest in the trend of computer-animated talking animal movies was the first for the studio (Paramount) and the director (Gore Verbinski), and still manages to rank as perhaps the best of the genre. What on paper sounds like just another cliché-ridden cartoon for big kids turns out to be incredibly original, quirky, and thoughtful, with a wonderful voice cast (led by Johnny Depp as the titular pet chameleon lost in the “Wild West” of the Mojave desert), and what is conceivably the most stunning, eye-wateringly beautiful animated vistas and landscapes ever. Paying homage to everything from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to Chinatown, and featuring hands down the coolest freaking cameo you’re likely to see in a long, long time, Rango is a must-own. My highest recommendation! DVD and Blu-ray special features include an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a featurette on the film’s creatures, and commentary from the filmmakers. Blu-ray extras include the ability to watch the storyboards alongside the movie picture-in-picture, a behind-the-scenes featurette, an interactive trip to the town of Dirt, and more. – Paul Smith
(Originally reviewed by both Paul and myself in “Secret Origins.”)