This media blow offers a terrifying vision of the future:
Planetary: Warren Ellis cutting loose with superhero tropes like he always wanted to. You’ve got
Doc Savage Axel Brass, John Constantine Jack Carter, the Fantastic Four the Four Voyagers, etc. The early issues suffer a little from a lack of protagonists – our heroes show up at a place, witness something happening, and then usually do nothing. But it rattles into high gear after a few issues and then takes off.
Half Nelson: I watched about half of this and then just turned it off. I just couldn’t keep interest in a white guy who’s (1) addicted to crack, (2) still able to keep a day job as a teacher and (3) engages his uniformly non-white students. Perhaps watching this in parallel with Season 4 of The Wire, where all three elements also exist and end poorly, made for bad timing. It’s not a bad movie at all – just doesn’t do it for me.
The Immortal Iron Fist: A solid, fun introduction to the character. I’d never read page one of an Iron Fist comic before but was able to follow this without difficulty. The action keeps up at a frenetic pace; the expository boxed text never clutters the scene. And even the plot twists are sufficiently surprising. If Matt Fraction stays on as a writer I think I’ll buy some more.
The Space Merchants: Have I mentioned C.M. Kornbluth in the last sixty seconds? No? Okay: Cyril Kornbluth was one of the sharpest, darkest, funniest minds ever to write in the sci-fi genre. He’s like Philip K. Dick on martinis instead of psychedelics.
Anyhow, The Space Merchants, written in collaboration with Frederik Pohl, tells the story of a bizarre and distant future. The narrator works for a nearly omnipotent ad agency that’s responsible for turning India into a single megacorporation (“Indiastries”) and has been granted the contract to colonize Venus. But corporate rivals and radical eco-terrorists (who believe crazy things like “the interests of producer and consumer are not identical”) keep trying to kill, kidnap or recruit him. Dark hilarity ensues.
Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The past year hasn’t been kind to my favorite Marvel character, who kind of became a dick during the whole Civil War storyline. Fortunately, in Dan and Charlie Knauf’s hands, Tony Stark becomes the conflicted yet ass-kicking futurist we’ve come to know and love. It only collects 4 current issues, but the printer pads the run out with a garish 1960s classic (the first appearance of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and a peppy 70s throwback (in which Tony holds firm against Nick Fury’s attempts to buy out his company). There’s also an extensive history of Iron Man in the back.