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Tenth Anniversary Bash! (NTR 10)

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(Now Thatís Rich, Issue Ten)

Not a big deal for you, Iím sure. To me, ten columns mean something. It means that I can remain consistent with my writing. Iíve just entered the last leg of my final year of high school and the work has latched on with its ugly teeth and it wonít let go. Writing this a day before deadline puts me to shame. Iíve told one of my fine editors that itís all in my head and that all I have to do is write it down. This is in fact true. I find writing anything these days is easy. It flows like blood from a self-inflicted knife wound. The problem with anything in life (especially when you have a dozen different deadlines) is that some things get pushed because of a lack of time. Never the less, Iím here now and have several things to talk about. So come along, pick yourself up from wherever youíre sitting and letís talk. Just you and I.

Iíve thought back to the last two weeks and all the things Iíve absorbed. I saw some fantastic movies and got back to reading comics. So all in all, though I had (and still have) all this schoolwork, itís been good. Life seems to balance itself out. It can never truly be heaven or hell. Thereís always someone somewhere there for you trying to pick you up. Well, at least thatís the way with me as of late.

I think the first movie I saw in the last two weeks was X2. We went to a nice downtown theater and got crappy seats. Iíve never sat that close and actually enjoyed a movie so much. The first of the new age Marvel movie sequels turned out pretty well. Overall, it was convincing and had an interesting balance between the character moments and the action. Seeing all these characters come to life again was great. I am currently reading New X-Men and Ultimate X-Men and enjoying both immensely. The movie reinforced my love for the X-Men; in fact the only thing I found that they could have improved on was focusing on a tighter cast of characters. Donít get me wrong, I was as ecstatic as the next guy that they focused on characters that arenít well known, like Mystique and Nightcrawler, but the time they had for the movie didnít do many characters justice. The best rendition though was undeniably, Pyro. They made him work extremely well. The only character I felt that came off as completely bland was Cyclops. Again, they didnít a lot enough time to most characters leaving many plot threads not fully explained and then miraculously tied up in the climax. The movie would have benefited from a longer run time, but like with all things, sacrifices must be made. More character development and less action would have subsequently bored viewers not familiar to the universe. At least from the X-Men comics Iíve read, there is an equal balance of great soap opera style character development, over the top (though usually highly rational) villains and some great plots and action. The set up for the next movie was well done, but how long does it take for a bloody dam to burst open?

Next movie I got a chance to see was the sequel to The Matrix. I was really tired that night for some reason and I fell asleep during some key scenes and missed the entire major theme. Though what I did see was good. I automatically felt that the film (yes, film not movie, you can argue it till youíre blue in the face and itíll still be a film) felt very different from the first. The boundaries between all these real world, matrix concepts was nicely conveyed. The entire Oracle prophecy, and the parallelisms and commentary it provided on the religions of our world at the present time was thought provoking to say the least. The movie had a lot going for it; a lot of thought put into the philosophy and plot. For the most part, presented well. The problem was I found (that others who went with me also pointed out agreed upon) is that it felt too much like a movie and not an experience as the first one had so easily accomplished. The story I found suffered from incoherent flow. Plot development, action scene, and philosophy. It stuck to this formula pretty much throughout the filmís duration. It felt too divided and didnít have that natural flow that the first one had. The different philosophical concepts (the ones I didnít fall asleep to) were interesting and for the most part related to the bigger Matrix universe. And of course the action scenes were jaw dropping, especially the revolutionary highway car chase scene. I wonít give away any details since I know that not all of you have had a chance to see it yet. When you do, drop me a line and tell me what you think. Definitely worth a second viewing. I found that it packed so many intelligent concepts into it that things were lost if you stopped thinking for just a second. Overall though, I liked it.

Comics, comics, comics! When one of my best friends introduced me to them in the latter part of 2001, I didnít know Iíd be hooked. Even though Iíve been bogged down with work as of late, whenever I canít sleep I read a comic. Thereís something about the experience. I canít really put my finger on it. Just this connection between the medium I suppose. Just the endless possibilities, the imagination, the stories. Iíve introduced books to other people and they too have become hooked. I donít think itís necessarily the industry that I love; itís the range of stories, and ideas. Some great comics I got down to reading this week were the latest Batman issue, and the latest New X-Men (issue #141). This new arc by industry veterans Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee started out on a lackluster note. I was expecting something akin to the Long Halloween, Dark Victory Batman work that Loeb had done and got a very uninspired, conventional, tedious story. The consistency in Jim Leeís artwork didnít sell, but forever remaining hopeful I trudged on. The first couple issues had this ďbig character of the monthĒ approach and a simple plot, which didnít interest me in the least. Then last monthís issue hit and I was blown away. The Batman, Joker confrontation. The reason the issue works so well is that, heck what am I saying, the reason this issue was fantastic was that Loeb got to the root of the Batman character. The references to The Killing Joke and Batman continuity are well done, complemented by the painted artwork by Lee. The characterization, and the beliefs that were presented by all the characters came off as completely authentic. One of the best issues Iíve read in a long, long time. Hopefully the book will have a turn around now for the better catapulted by how well this latest issue was handled. Hopefully the book wonít end up going in circles like it has. Well, weíll see.

And that my dear reader has been the all comics tenth anniversary bash. Quite a mouthful. Iíll be back in two weeks with a few disappointments. Most notably, taking a comprehensive look at why I think Free Comic Book Day 2 failed miserably and why the new Authority relaunch was complete, utter crap. And who knows what else will turn up. Any comments, questions and the like can be posted on SBCís very own message board or by e-mailing me by the link with my name at the top.

Have a good one.

R.F.



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