Best Shots: New Krypton, Ult Wolverine, Killer of Demons

Best Shots: New Krypton & More

Superman: World of New Krypton #1

Greetings! Now that year five is safely underway, let’s get right to it . . .

Superman: World of New Krypton #1

From: DC Comics

Writers: James Robinson and Greg Rucka

Art: Pete Woods

Review by Troy Brownfield

This issue makes an effective jumping-on point for the reset-shuffle currently going on in the Superman titles. After the events of “New Krypton”, Superman has skipped Earth to see what he can do about the planet of 100,000 super-powered Kryptonians that’s now parked on the opposite side of the sun in Earth’s orbit. As other characters pick up the reins in the two regular books, Superman will be right here.

While a lot of the issue feels like set-up, it’s very well handled set-up. Robinson and Rucka understand the character rhythms of the Man of Steel, and they create several opportunities to explain elements of Kryptonian society. In a way, this is a clever inversion of Superman’s role. On Earth, he’s the perpetual outsider with powers above those, etc. On New Krypton, he’s still the outsider for completely different reasons. The creators, though, make it abundantly clear that there’s a big difference between a super-being that just became super, and a Superman that has had powers for years.

Perhaps the thing that I liked best was the brief examination of the Guild system. DC makes smart use of the various interpretations of Krypton over the years by assigning some familiar outfits to different Guild levels. Of particular interest here is the Military, mostly because the leader is, as you may already know, General Zod. Robinson and Rucka play against expectations with a mildly surprising conclusion that lays in a number of possible plot opportunities. This is all clearly realized by Pete Woods.

I like several of the ideas here, partially because it seems pointed toward a more subtle type of Superman story than we’re used to. Even though I wouldn’t say that the first issue knocked me out, it’s a basically well-done issue by veteran, competent creators. I’m sure that we’ll see a number of strands that build off of the foundation here. We can’t be sure where that will lead at this point, but if you’re interested in Superman, then you should check it out.

Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #3

Writer: Damon Lindelof

Artist: Leinil Francis Yu

Colorist: Dave McCaig

Publisher: Marvel

Price: $2.99

Review by David Pepose

I'll bring it up now, since you can't write a review of this book without talking about it. We haven't seen an issue of Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk since February 2006.

So you wanna know -- three years later, is this series still worth it?

Yup.

While there has certainly been more than a few problems with writer Damon Lindelof getting this script out (perhaps not surprisingly, considering he's doing a little show called LOST), this story is certainly not lacking in quality. Lindelof not only keeps the reader hooked with some interesting dramatic structure, and really hits the sort of spunk that has characterized the Ultimate Universe at its best. How did Wolverine end up ripped in half in the mountains of Tibet? The answers here are pretty great, not to mention a wonderful internal monologue by the old Canucklehead himself.

It's also clear that he has a strong sense of what these characters are all about -- when Wolverine confronts a surprisingly rational Hulk, the Jade Giant cuts him down to size with an astute analysis of his own animalistic tendencies: "You've agreed to kill a complete stranger. That doesn't strike you as a need to use violence to compensate for your own lack of family... of identity... of love?" Add in a surprising new guest star in the final page, and this is definitely a series worth reading.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the art. This is some exceptionally clean work from Leinil Francis Yu, giving some great emotion even when half the issue is a conversation. He really pulls out all the stops, however, with the brutal fight sequences. Lindelof's script really plays to Yu's strengths, seemingly allowing him to take the reins of a rip-roaring good story. I'll be honest, if I didn't know that Lindelof's schedule had caused this series' delay, I would have guessed that Yu worked on this issue all 37 months. Dave McCaig also deserves some priase, with the greens, blues, and maroons giving the comic both menace and atmosphere.

All in all, this is a great comic, and one I think is going to read spectacularly when the entirety of the series comes out. While all accounts seem to indicate we won't be seeing the sorts of delays that went between issues 2 and 3, if this book is any indication, this might be one of the best minis from the Ultimate universe since Ultimates 2.

Killer of Demons: #1 of 3

Written by Christopher Yost

Art by Scott Wegener

From Image Comics

Review by Brendan McGuirk

David Sloan is just like you or me. He wears a shirt and tie to work, and can be found in his cubicle for eight hours each day. He wouldn't make a very compelling hero, except he's got this side gig. Oh, and that side gig demands he mercilessly slaughter the demons embedded among us.

Which is fortuitous, because it turns out following a white collar Killer of Demons makes for a pretty strong comic book concept.

My number one point of interest with this book was seeing the latest work from Scott Wegener. Were I a sports scout, I would compare him to a Ryan Ottley; they share the ability to provide straightforward, clean imagery that maintains their own distinctive flairs. Wegener didn’t disappoint. He captured demonic middle-managers every bit as convincingly as angelic Great Gazoos, matching style without sacrificing strong visual narration. It is his consistency that allows the story to mix Hellish monsters with the work-is-hell-ish mundane, without distraction. It just works.

Long story short, Sloan has been haunted by a foul-mouthed angel, given a mission to destroy the demons that walk the Earth, and the holy vision needed to recognize them. Now, if you’re saying it isn’t clear whether or not David might be a sociopath, don’t worry, he isn’t quite sure either. All he knows is that he sees demons all around, posing as humans as they inflict their evil influence over human matters both large and small. And he’s got to kill the hell out of them.

This opening chapter delivers. Our introduction to the Killer of Demons and his world is a well structured one. The story moves well, and with the dialogue even some of the demons come off amiable. There are a few large questions left unanswered, such as exactly why David must be this incubus executioner, and why he was selected. He faces these questions himself, though, which shows that Christopher Yost knows what he’s doing. Yost, most commonly known as the latter half of “Craig Kyle and ______,” does just fine writing a story without his usual keyboard comrade. Sloan is something of a blank slate, but blank slates generally make for the best action heroes. It is men of action, not contemplation, that make for fast paced adventure. Additionally, Yost instills in Sloan a dissatisfied desperation that really gives his bloody mission its reluctant charm.

There was one thing about this issue that seemed to betray its overall high quality. The decision to dedicate an entire page to a single, all-black caption of “Monday,” was either a poor storytelling decision or a page count flub. It wasn’t a fatal distraction, though, and was offset by a fun bonus gag advertisement. Still, it stuck out.

Killer of Demons #1 offers an original story from two solid pros, and shows the potential to be a successful action story with great visual contrast. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, which may just be the thing that makes it work. Well conceived, well written, well colored, well lettered, and well drawn, there’s really no sane reason to not check this one out.

Shrapnel #3 (of 5)

Writer: M. Zachary Sherman

Artist: Bagus Hutomo

Colorist: Leos “Okita” Ng

Letterer: Sean Konot

Radical Comics

Review By: Jeff Marsick

In the last issue, this series seemed to redeem itself. Our heroine Samantha’s ascent to the role of Venus’s Joan of Arc continued as all-out combat was met between Marines and colony resistance, both sides clad in exo-suit armor and hammering at each other with extreme prejudice. The cloak over Samantha’s past started to come undone, and her ghosts were starting to break the surface. It was thick and juicy and at thirty-two pages for just under three Washingtons I was ready to change my initial recommendation to Buy It Now. Then I read this issue.

The first thing I noticed was a glaring lack of action. It’s a talky, folks, and at times there’s more balloon than art, enough to make a Claremont issue of Uncanny X-Men seem like the latest work by Jason. It would be fine if it was witty back-and-forth like early Bendis getting his Mamet on, or if it was a character waxing poetic or riffing a somewhat entertaining monologue about life, love, or the pursuit of happiness. But instead it’s an egregious violation of a golden rule of good yarn spinning: telling too much and showing too little. Unfortunately, it also lays bare this book’s Achilles heel, that it’s a story too big to tell in comic form, or at least within five issues.

Page four is the perfect example of blatant handholding by the writer, who foists not so much a tiptoe through the tulips that are Samantha’s military past as much as pulls us on a forty-yard dash. Mr. Sherman puts on the hard sell that Sam is a former Marine hero, an unbelievably super bad-ass without peer (“That means you’re probably the best Marine anyone has ever seen.”), who went AWOL with her decorations after having done her share of killing innocent people. Sam’s character history is dry and rote enough to make your eyes roll back in your head, and lacks any originality that would make you care even an iota about her. Sam is equal parts Ripley and GI Jane (even goes so far as to share a head shearing scene to emphasize Sam’s bad-assness…just in case the anvil of description didn’t fall heavily enough on your head in the monologue), a cookie-cutter character cut and pasted from a recipe.

With her past exposed, and her future predictably laid out before her as the leader of the Venus resistance, the book suffers from further exposition and pithy dialogue, most of the time reading like a laundry list of Hallmark platitudes or Anthony Robbins go-get-em’s like “You’ll always miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take, sir”. In Sam’s pity party scene, she comments on her self-loathing and inability to look at herself in the mirror, “knowing no matter what you do, you’ll always be responsible for the things you’ve done—your actions—the blood on your hands.” Well, I should hope so, unless there’s a conveniently placed one-armed man in the neighborhood. It’s yet another shove in the back, dictating to us that we should feel sorry for Sam.

This book is no longer firing on all cylinders. Too much time is spent force-feeding us Sam’s character when more should be spent on convincing us to care whether or not Venus falls. The Marines have taken elevators three and five, which seems to be a bad thing, but we’re not told why the civilians don’t just circumvent them by taking escalators two and four. Or why there’s a gravity well on a nearby comet the resistance can blow apart. Or why a McQueen-class transport broadcasting primus code should be any more intimidating than a James Dean-class transport broadcasting Morse code.

The artwork is at times great, especially like last issue, when the mechs are the focus. There’s a real Ashley Wood quality that is fantastic. But the bulk of the issue isn’t mechanical, it’s organic, and renderings of people are rough and inconsistent, with the overall look murky, hazy, and eye-straining to follow.

Hard-core sci-fi fans will want more out of the series and less of issues like this. The issue’s end is right out of Return of the Jedi, and given what we’ve seen so far, I find it hard to believe that the last two issues won’t conjure up anything less than further predictability and formulaic writing. My recommendation to wait for the trade hasn’t changed. Don’t worry, Hotwire, the upcoming Suydam book Cholly Flytrap, and fifty-two page Aladdin from Ian Edginton will be better allocations of your required monthly Radical Comics reading fund.

First Time

Written by Sibylline

Illustrated by Alfred, Capucine, Jérôme d’Avaiu, Virginie Augustin, Vince, Rica, Olivier Vatine, Cyril Pedrosa, Dominique Bertail and Dave McKean

Published by NBM

Reviewed by Michael C Lorah

The title First Time has several meanings. The ten stories between its covers each feature a first-time sexual encounter – first lesbian encounter, first time ever, first congress with longtime fantasy, etc. – and each story is illustrated by a virgin artist in the erotic field. Dave McKean, of course famed for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, handles a short piece revolving around the erotic possibilities of sharing a pornographic film together. Fresh off one of last year’s best comics, Three Shadows, Cyril Pedrosa shows an emotionally brutal, submissive affair, and Aqualung artist Oliver Vatine explores a sex club.

Tying all these threads together is the scripting by one-named author Sibylline, who handles pornography with a surprisingly sensitive and believable touch. Each story is from a woman’s vantage point – including that of a female blow-up doll! – and Sibylline imbues each short with a clear and strongly realized emotional core. Most enjoyable, nearly every story paints sex as a positive, joyful experience. There’s no shame or humiliation here, as nine of the women (unfortunately, not the doll) are willing partners in each act, and everyone comes out of their experiences richer for it.

A book like First Time doesn’t compare to something like Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls. For one thing, the grandiose literary ambition isn’t here, and in many ways, that’s really a positive thing. Lost Girls was many things, but arousing wasn’t really one of them. First Time focuses intently on the sexual experience rather than any literary parallels. It has a visceral quality that goes hand in hand with the emotional pleasure the women in each story experience, and that directness and bald humanity make it a much more stirring book.

Frankly, even if the book had nothing else going for it, there are ten great artists drawing pretty people doing pretty things to one another here. Alfred (of Why I Killed Peter), Virginie Augustin, and Pedrosa just rock their tales, and McKean certainly lives up to his legendary status. It’s frank, it’s fun, it’s a little messy and awkward; in short, First Time is a little like its subject matter. Apparently, comics are the vanguard of quality porn – which is cool, because honestly, porn never suffers in any economy.

Grimm Fairy Tales #36

Writer: Michael Dolce

Artist: Jeff Zornow

Letterer: Bernie Lee

Colorist: Garry Henderson

Zenescope

Review By: Jeff Marsick

The Ugly Duckling continues its Zenescope treatment this issue, part two of what began in issue number 28. This time the focus is on Ted, a fashion designer in the vein of Project Runway’s Christian Siriano, minus the fierce and the cocksurity. Ted is also a serial killer, a Bundy prodigy on a mission from Belinda (the comic equivalent of Ben Linus from Lost) to prevent any woman who ever gives him the time of day from discovering her inner swan and then leaving him for something bigger and better. His mission is a purging of sorts, but ultimately he reasons it’s for each woman’s own good. The message is that true beauty resides within, whereas the kind that bursts forth to sell magazines and kill on the catwalk is corruptible and contemptible. The return of Robin Summers from issue 28 as a persistent itch in need of a scratch sends Ted headlong to his fate.

This series is consistently good entertainment, lush with cheesecake artwork and twisty (if too often predictable) plots that spin familiar kid’s tales into a web of adult complexity. Lately, though, the tenor has changed to one more decidedly dark, and the title has sought to push the horror aspect of the book, at times choosing graphic violence and sadism over better storytelling. Issue #36 suffers from the weight of that cross. It’s a jerky collage of scenes, past with present with yet to happen, that ultimately wraps up way too quickly and neatly. The plot is too contrived and forced to be believable. For instance, when Rita, a twenty-something Suicide Girl type (when drawn by Mr. Zornow as pixie cute, it’s nigh impossible to think of her as an ‘ugly duckling’), learns that Ted knows ubermodel Robin Summers, she gushes effusive: “I adore her, Ted. She’s just so…so everything. I wish I could be her. So beautiful. So perfect.” It was laughable in its acidity but the punchline never came. Rita would never aspire to so vapid and vain an aspiration, and expecting us to believe otherwise is either just lazy or a male writing female characters based on the former’s hoary perception of the latter. Later on, Ted brings a victim to his ‘home’, a pad decorated in early 20th century abattoir, complete with a filleted swan (in case you missed the connection to the fairy tale). Again, it is just tired writing, heavy-handed and unimaginative.

I hope this is just a temporary hiccup in the series, a momentary lapse of storytelling judgment, and that next issue’s second part of “Little Miss Muffet” will be a return to what we have come to expect from the title. Better storytelling and less splatter will surely be a step in the right direction. Unless you’re a completist, I would skip this issue and wait for the trade.

PELLET REVIEWS!

Cable #12 (Marvel; review by David Pepose): Not a bad read, but one I ultimately think will work better in trade format. Swiercynski's premise is a really strong one -- Hope having to protect her erstwhile protector, Cable, at his most vulnerable -- but I ultimately think the tension is undercut, as the situation is resolved rather quickly. I never really felt that Hope was in trouble, which is too bad. That said, Swiercynski's interactions between Cable and Hope were great, as was a moment between Cable and his father Cyclops. Jamie McKelvie, who handles most of the art chores this issue, is a good fit for this story, considering the tone it took -- this is a book that shows not Cable's strengths as a savior, but his fitness as a father.

Jonah Hex #41 (DC; Reviewed by Erich Reinstadler): Picking up where issue #40 left off, we find Hex recovering from his first run in with Sawbones, the insane doctor William Zimmerman. It's not an easy recovery; Zimmerman did quite a job on Hex. Luckily, he has help in his recovery. Hex's old 'friend' Tallulah is on hand to help Jonah recover and find his needed vengeance. Tallulah, very much Hex's equal, can kick ass just as violently and expertly as he can. The fact that they share something that sort of resembles love just makes their brutal escapades in the search of Sawbones that much more interesting. Since issue #1, Palmiotti and Gray have made Jonah Hex one of the true must-read titles from DC. Though, heaven help me, I've got a perverse hope that they tackle his post-Crisis time in the far future. Just once. Please, guys?

Executive Assistant Iris #0 (Aspen; Reviewed by Erich): This zero issue does what a good first issue should do - Introduces the titular character without revealing too much. What do we know? We know that Iris is exactly as the title suggests, an executive assistant for Chinese businessman Mr. Ching. Having had his proposal turned down by Russian Nikolai Krilov, Mr. Ching's assistant Iris pays Krilov's compound a visit. A few violent encounters later, Krilov finds himself prepared to accept Ching's business proposal after all. This was an interesting book. Being an introductory issue, we don't get much in the way of story, just action. Not that that's a bad thing. But I will want to read another couple of issues, ones with fully fleshed out stories, before deciding if the title will be a regular for me or not. My best suggestion is to pick this up and decide for yourself. At two fifty, it's an inexpensive introduction to the new series. I look forward to seeing if David Wohl and Eduardo Francisco can make this book live up to the promise it shows.

Spider-Man & The Human Torch In...Bahia De Los Muertos one-shot(Marvel; reviewed by Erich): Tom Beland & Juan Doe (no, really) bring us this fun one-shot. The Human Torch and Spider-Man, together on a working vacation in Puerto Rico fighting a human-devouring monster. It's either sheer genius or a god-awful failure. Happily, Beland and Doe gave us a fun romp thru the tropics. The monster, Luminestro, has had quite a feeding frenzy thanks to the resort beaches. Asked for help, the Torch and Spidey come face to face with the monster and..... utterly fail. One spoiler I refuse to give away is who they go to for help. It's the damndest idea, one that comes from waaaaaaaaay out in left field, yet makes perfect sense given the story and setting. The only complaint I have about the book is that by editorial decision, Torchy doesn't know Spidey's secret identity anymore. Dan Slott's Spider-Man/Human Torch mini did such a spectacular job of defining their friendship, including Pete's reveal to Johnny who he really is, that as a fan I feel a genuine sense of loss at that dynamic. Other than that, however, this was a fun book, worthy of your money.

In cased you missed it...

Amber Atoms #1

Story and art by Kelly Yates

Colors by Michael E. Wiggam

Published by Image Comics

Review by Lan Pitts

In the style of Flash Gordon and Ender's Game comes Amber Atoms. A sci-fi/adventure comic with a rich layout and wonderfully drawn characters and landscapes. The story begins with a sort of prologue: the Dar-Tongo (ape-like creatures) reign is over and peace in the galaxy can start again. Flash forward to several generations later. The ruler of the Dar-Tongo, King Yamoon, even goes on a talk show and discusses how there is no animosity towards the "Great Rebellion" and assures the general population his race has grown and matured. Meanwhile, our heroine Amber Atoms is going after an assassin droid that got loose, but then her father shows up and finishes the job since he thought his daughter couldn't cut it.

Meanwhile on Richaati, Heart of the United Worlds, King Yamoon is handed some interesting news. His approval rating has just come in and he has placed third in the polls with all indications of further upward movement. The king's response: "Yes, excellent. Everything is going according to plan." Crafty little creatures. Back at the Atoms' dinner table, there is some heated words between father and daughter. Then, Amber is sent out to power off her workshop, but when she comes back home, she sees her mother on the ground and her father being man-handled by a blue-skinned warrior. Amber is spotted and one of the intruders open fires, but Amber escapes. However, Amber is shot from behind by a giant ant creature before she could make it to her weapons shed. Talk about a cliffhanger!

I really enjoyed this issue. Kelly Yates has a great style. Not just in his art, but the way how he presents it. The pages are never cluttered and incredibly structured. Now, there are a few spelling errors: poles, should be polls, for example. Nothing too outrageous that it didn't take me out of the story, and I'll just chalk it up as a rookie's mistake. Yates is doing a one-man show here and I can't give enough kudos for creators like that since he did the story, art and cover. He is accompanied by Michael E. Wiggam on colors, who did coloring on some Star Wars books and he just knocks it out of the ballpark. The best part, I thought anyways, was how Yates never went into how Amber is a girl. She's just Amber. She's a kick-ass character, though she may not exactly be the best at what she does. I also enjoyed the kid-friendly vibe from it. Easy to read and easy to understand, this would be a great book for a young comic-reader in the family. With the economy the way it is, it's a shame there isn't new material like this since books like this aren't really selling well.. Image took a chance with this one, and I'm glad I took a chance on picking it up.

David Watches “Watchmen”

Watchmen

Director: Zack Snyder

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup

Studio: Warner Bros.

Publisher: DC Comics

Review by David Pepose

Alan Moore once said that Watchmen was unfilmable. After watching Zack Snyder's adaptation of the seminal comic, I respectfully disagree.

But that said, Moore might be rejoicing anyway. Because this movie has earned its shaky reviews. I give Zack Snyder an A for effort, but I can't really say that Watchmen was a good movie.

The reason for my disappointment? Well, I called it a back in December in my Dial H for History column - Watchmen isn't supposed to be a high-octane superhero movie like the rest of the genre movies. Watchmen is a character piece, built upon the interactions and emotions of its protagonists. But this movie tries to be more of the same, and fails because of it.

Now, before I get too deep in this, there are certainly some things that Snyder should be commended for. The first is his obvious devotion to the comic -- this may not be the greatest review in the world for this movie, but I can't say I fault the guy for making stupid decisions to appease executive-biased focus groups.

If anything, Snyder goes for the opposite, cranking the dial to 11 for every possible iconic image. And why not -- it worked out fantastically for 300, a film which I raved about when it first came out. The scene where Nite Owl dreams of nuclear armageddon is a hauntingly beautiful image (as is his return to heroism), and, as all the reviewers before me have written, the introductory montage was one of the highlights of the film. Snyder has always had his strengths in his visuals (hence the popularity of earlier works like 300 and Dawn of the Dead), and in Watchmen, when he hits, he swings for the fences.

Unfortunately, though, while Snyder may have an eye for composition and action, he doesn't seem to have a clue about heart. It's surprising that a director who gave 300 an emotional core with added dialogue and the Queen Gorgo subplot has managed to do Watchmen so little favors. The emotion simply isn't there for many of the characters -- or simply too subtle to register. This may be one of the main problems of an adaptation of comics -- everyone has their own personal take on voice, timing, timbre, etc. -- but to me, the big visuals came at the expense of the soul of this story.

Perhaps the weirdest thing about all this is not simply the lack of subtext and irony, but the utter absence of tension. About 20 minutes into the movie, Jon spells out the end: hm, I can't see the future -- must be nuclear holocaust. Eh. The problem is that the movie doesn't really give us a reason to feel fear (it's not like Laurie seems shocked by this announcement, she just wants dinner) -- occasionally telling us the Reds are coming, but never showing us how scared and tense the world around them is becoming. A Doomsday clock is mentioned, but who cares? How ominous is that? Especially in times like these, a feeling of apocalyptic claustrophobia should be easy to instill in audiences -- yet I never felt that there were any stakes in this movie. And it hurts the romantic scenes as well -- there's no build-up of the connection with Dan and Laurie, they just room together until she suddenly jumps his bones. It seems forced and fake -- like Dan that first time, it's just trying to go through the motions while its mind is elsewhere.

The acting, however, is what really hobbles this film. The Comedian, for example, sounds like he's trying to make friends with Dr. Manhattan in Vietnam -- when he gets slashed across the face, he isn't wildly lashing out after a disfiguring injury, but more coldly shooting a woman in seeming annoyance. Dr. Manhattan, mainly due to Billy Crudup's lilting voice, sounds more stoned than robotic, more placating than dangerous. Ozymandias, meanwhile, sounds fey and evil, not the aloof but likeable polymath that America loves to adore. (He also sports a menacing turtleneck that screams "evil hairstylist.") But both Silk Spectres were really the worst hit of the bunch, simply because the emotion wasn't there. Laurie doesn't explode on Jon when she finally walks out on him -- because there's no build-up, the fight really seems less anger and anxiety and more shrewish. The elder Jupiter barely seems to have any reaction when her daughter tells her of the Comedian's secret, and then goes straight to honking Nite Owl's butt.

Of course, there are some decent performances. Patrick Wilson makes some steps in the right direction as the awkward Dan Dreiberg -- but it takes awhile for the likeability factor to kick in. In my mind, Nite Owl is the window for comics readers -- he's the well-meaning, if socially inept, fanboy made good. But the real star of the show is obviously Rorshach. While starting off on a pretty terrible note (those interior monologues were killing me the first couple of scenes), Jackie Earle Haley soon began turning out incredible performances, up through his escape from jail. Maskless, Haley looked like he was born to play the part -- when the mask was on, however, I sometimes felt his voice sounded petulant, overemotional. In my mind, Rorshach is so disconnected with his emotions that everything comes out a monotone. Black and white. Silence and speech.

Interestingly enough, for a comic that was so devoted to preserving (one reviewer even said "embalming") the original text, some scenes were left out, and others simply mangled. Ignore the squid for a second: we've got bigger fish to fry. While Rorshach's death was one of the best moments of the film -- Haley screaming "do it!" sent shivers down my spine -- the moment was almost immediately undercut by Nite Owl dropping to his knees and screaming "noooooo!!!" A poignant moment turned to laughter -- a scene more unintentionally funny than the painfully awkward sex scene aboard the Owlship. Other scenes Snyder inserted more action to "pep" it up a bit -- meaning the scene where Adrian reveals his plan stops and starts like a car in the mud, and the jailbreak becomes meaningless posing. And I would be remiss in saying that two of the most iconic scenes in the book -- Hollis Mason's death and Adrian's "I did it!" pose -- were cut completely from the movie. While other scenes like Rorshach visiting Blake's grave or the Comedian tearing through a crowd of protesters were fantastic, it just didn't balance out against some of the more awkward or bland sequences.

At least to me, Zack Snyder proved that while Watchmen is indeed a filmable property, that doesn't mean it would yield a spectacular product. The cardinal sin for this well-intentioned mediocrity was that the acting -- the very foundation of the work -- was neglected for absolute fidelity to the comic. To me, Snyder's adaptation almost came off as an adaptation of a Yuan drama when you don't know Chinese -- you might know the script letter for letter and produce it with gusto, but the true spirit of the story is lost in translation.

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