Comic Review: Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed

Published: January 9th, 2019
Written by: Ryan Stegman
Art by: Juan Gedeon, Kyle Hotz, Ryan Stegman (cover)

Marvel Comics, 33 Pages

Review:

I’ve been really enjoying all of the Donny Cates Venom stuff between the ongoing series and the other Web of Venom one-shots. This one wasn’t written by Cates, however, but it was written by Venom artist Ryan Stegman.

Considering that Stegman knows Venom just as much as Cates, at this point, makes this a pretty interesting and unique take on the modern Venom world.

The story shows the Venom symbiote take the form of a dog in an effort to protect Eddie Brock. Recently, Venom went through some heavy shit and he can no longer communicate to Brock in the same way. He’s damaged but he still has loyalty to Brock.

Also, this continues to add more depth to the return of Carnage, who we saw working his way back into Venom’s story back in the previous Web of Venom one-shot.

Stegman got to take a break from the art, apart from the cover, but Juan Gedeon and Kyle Hotz’s art was more than satisfactory.

Overall, this was a quick, fun read and it served to enrich the current Venom mythos.

But now I’m tired of waiting for the big Carnage return. I want that sinister bastard back because when used the right way, he makes Venom stories more interesting. In the hands of Donny Cates, I’m sure we’re in for some really great issues coming up.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the recent Donny Cates Venom series and its Web of Venom spinoffs.

Maxim Is Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2014.

Let me start by saying that I really like looking at Mila Kunis and pretty much every other girl that Maxim throws on its cover to perk up dude’s peens and get them to buy a copy at the newsstand. Hot celebrity chicks wearing next to nothing will always turn the head of men in heat. For the record, men are always in heat; it’s the nature of the beast that is us but at least some of us aren’t pathetic dick-driven saps.

This is why I have never actually bought an issue of Maxim. Well, that and the absurdity of their headlines, which completely make me shake my head in disbelief. That is actually what this whole damn article is about.

Do the editors of Maxim think that men are women? I only ask this because at its core, on a content level, Maxim is essentially Cosmopolitan for people with dicks. I’m sorry but I have a dick and I’m not buying into this charade. To be blunt, I wouldn’t be surprised if Maxim was some attempt to further emasculate men by pretending that they’re trying to give the illusion of building them up.

To make my point clearer, let’s looks at some of the headlines from their covers:

“Is Your Girl Cheating?”
“Share The Love Bro!: How To Steal Your Best-Friend’s Girl”
“Can We Get That To Go (Waitress Sex)”
“I Do The Bridesmaid: Get Great Wedding Sex”
“She Wants To Cheat: Sex Secrets Of The Hotel Bar”
“Eat. Lay. Love. The Good Sex Diet”
“How To Scam Hot Chicks Even If You’re Too Timid To Even Buy Actual Pornography”
“Tongue Twist Her: How To Kiss Her Where It Counts”
“Love Lessons: Sex Tips You Can’t Live Without”
“5,000 Women Want You.. To Know What They Want In Bed”
“Become A God: In Bed, At Work, Behind The Wheel”
“Cheat And Don’t Get Caught: Women Tell You How”
“Touch Her Right Here: 10 Hot Spots For One-Stroke Seduction”
“Unleash Her Inner Nympho”
“Sex Unlimited!: Make Any Girl Seduce You!”

That’s just 15 headlines from random covers. They’ve been putting this shit out monthly for over 15 years. Not to mention that it has 16 editions in 75 countries. Maxim sells over two million magazines per month!

While reading those headlines, many of which I’ve seen on newsstands, I felt like my masculinity was shriveling up and dying just from glancing at those words. I mean, who writes that shit? More importantly, who reads it? Certainly not men. Well, possibly human beings with penises but not actual men.

Have we been reduced to insecure little bitches that cower in the face of sex? Are we gossipy woman-like creatures who need to thumb through the latest sex article because we’re fearful that our significant other is a loose trollop? Are we really all pigs that want to fuck our best friend’s girl? What does Maxim think a man is, exactly? And if they are this far gone on the understanding of masculinity, is it possible that they also don’t understand femininity?

Here’s reality though. You see, if Maxim’s tips and tricks were working, wouldn’t there be an extra two million dudes per month turning their game up – becoming superstar pimps leaving their mark on the hearts and uteruses of females everywhere?

Maxim is in the business of selling magazines. Sex sells. Maxim sells sex. People buy it. The formula is simple.

But as far as taking any of it seriously, get your shit together. Maxim isn’t here to help you and they really don’t care if they do. They sell a tried and true formula that works while desperate males continue to buy into it in an effort to quell their insecurities.

With the rise of feminism, women have become much more secure and have taken charge of their own destinies. That’s great. On the flipside however, men are seemingly reduced to the housewives of yesteryear, sitting in a bookstore café, nibbling on biscotti, reading Maxim – trying to get love tips to please their women, just as women used to do forty or fifty years ago. The roles have reversed and these men are just lost.

Well fellas, I’d hate to be the one to break it to you, but you aren’t going to find yourself in the pages of Maxim.

Getting back to the hot ladies in the magazine, yes.. I like to look at them. However, in this day and age, porn is free and at least people are naked and fucking.

Film Review: The Hills Have Eyes, Part 2 (1984)

Release Date: June, 1984 (Mystfest – Italy)
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Wes Craven
Music by: Harry Manfredini
Cast: Tamara Stafford, Kevin Spirtas, John Bloom, Michael Berryman, Penny Johnson, Janus Blythe, John Laughlin, Willard E. Pugh, Peter Frechette, Robert Houston

Castle Hill Productions, Hills Two Corporation, 90 Minutes

Review:

“Sue, it ain’t natural to be in a place without a disco.” – Foster

I’m not a fan of Wes Craven, despite many in the horror community probably wanting to take off my head for such a statement. I’ve explained why in reviews of other Craven films, so I won’t rehash all of that again.

I also don’t really like The Hills Have Eyes.

So it probably goes without saying that I’m not a fan of this sequel.

While this is worse than the first one which was just kind of okay, this film actually is more interesting.

We check back in with two of the characters from the previous movie, one of them, a girl that left the inbred psychos of the desert, returns with some friends on some sort of dirt bike camping excursion. It seems silly that she would ever go back there for any reason but hey, it’s best not to think too hard about this movie.

This plays a bit more like a slasher than the previous film and while I like that formula, it goes to show that maybe Wes Craven completely dialed it in for this sequel, as he wasn’t necessarily creating anything new and was instead, trying to make his own Friday the 13th, even though his original A Nightmare On Elm Street movie was better than any Friday the 13th film.

The crazy inbred family returns and they aren’t too pleased to see that their little sister (or whatever she is) has come back and is looking pretty normal, living a normal life with normal friends that fuck and do drugs.

The action is okay but the film is pretty dull, overall. I like the premise of the film but it’s not executed in a way that it really matters and thus, this is pretty forgettable.

There isn’t much that’s memorable about this other than Michael Berryman getting a rematch with the dog from the first movie and a moderately interesting bit where the kids try to use a mine shaft to their advantage.

Also, the score to the film is really bad and it just sounds like Wes is deliberately ripping off Friday the 13th in the poorest and most generic way possible.

Willard E. Pugh, who I love in Robocop 2, was kind of funny in his scenes here but other than Pugh and Berryman, there really isn’t anyone of note in this picture.

A poor sequel to a film that really didn’t deserve one, done by a guy who already eclipsed the thing he was trying to ripoff. Maybe this was just done for a paycheck.

Rating: 4.75/10
Pairs well with: other early Wes Craven works, as well as other cannibal killer movies.

Comic Review: Cyco KO!

Published: September 6th, 2018 – December 19th, 2018
Written by: Robert Feldman
Art by: Robert Feldman, Peter Simeti

Alterna Comics, 67 Pages

Review:

I’ve been picking up everything from Alterna Comics, as of late. I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about Cyco KO, as I’m not a big reader of humor comics but it still had some interesting character design and looked like something I’d probably find some enjoyment with.

Well, it was funnier than I expected. The tone and style of the humor is similar to old school Adult Swim programming before it got shitty.

Each issue is really its own story and you don’t have to read one to read the others but all three still work well as one body of work.

While this was a really fun comic, I feel like I just got my feet wet with the character and his universe. I hope that this spawns more miniseries or an ongoing title. Alterna seems to prefer doing limited runs, however.

This is a cool, exciting comic and if you like your stories humorous, bizarre and unique, than this is probably a comic book that you’ll want to pick up.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: Alterna’s other recent releases but especially the more humorous stuff like Mr. Crypt and Baron Rat.

Talking Pulp’s Pull List – 1st Quarter, 2019

This is my personal pull list as it stands, right now. From month to month it changes, as I read a lot of limited series stuff but I figured that doing a quarterly update would be cool for my readers that keep up with current comics.

So this is what I have my local comic shop pull for me each month, most of which I will review every time I get to the end of a story arc.

I’ve broken them out by publisher and alphabetized the list to make it flow easier.

And if there’s anything you like that I’m not reading, tell me in the comments.

Strikeouts are what I removed and a double asterisk** means I just added it.

Marvel Comics:
-Conan the Barbarian**
-Daredevil
-Dead Man Logan
-Guardians of the Galaxy (upcoming Donny Cates run)
-The Immortal Hulk**
-Infinity Wars
-Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker
-The Invaders**
-Killmonger**
-Man Without Fear**
-Marvel Knights 20th
-Marvel 2-In-One
-Mr. & Mrs. X
-The Punisher
-Return of Wolverine
-The Savage Sword of Conan**
-Superior Spider-Man
-Typhoid Fever
-Venom
-Wolverine: The Long Night**
-X-Force**

DC Comics:
-Batgirl
-Batman: Damned
-Batman: Kings of Fear
-The Batman Who Laughs**
-Deathstroke
-Detective Comics
-Doomsday Clock
-Drowned Earth (all related crossover titles)
-Electric Warriors
-The Green Lantern
-Justice League Dark
-Justice League Odyssey
-Nightwing
-Red Hood: Outlaw
-Sideways
-The Silencer
-Suicide Squad
-Suicide Squad: Black Files

Dark Horse Books:
-Mystery Science Theater 3000
-Stranger Things
-Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion

Dynamite Entertainment:
-Battlestar Galactica Classic
-The Shape of Elvira

IDW Publishing:
-G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
-New Upcoming Transformers**

Image Comics:
-Murder Falcon
-Spawn**

Valiant Comics:
-Bloodshot: Rising Spirit

Film Review: Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Release Date: April 2nd, 1982 (Sweden)
Directed by: John Milius
Written by: John Milius, Oliver Stone
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard
Music by: Basil Poledouris
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Sandahl Bergman, Ben Davidson, Gerry Lopez, Mako, William Smith, Max von Sydow

Dino De Laurentiis Corporation, Edward R. Pressman Productions, Universal Pictures, 129 Minutes

Review:

“Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That’s what’s important! Valor pleases you, Crom… so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to Hell with you!” – Conan

Conan the Barbarian is a hard movie to top in the sword and sorcery sub-genre of fantasy. It really set the standard in 1982 and it also spawned innumerable ripoff films, mostly from Europe and mostly schlock. A few wannabe Conan pictures were good but there’s too many to address when I’m here to specifically review this film.

This is also the superior Conan film, as its sequel didn’t live up to this one and its remake, decades later, was lacking the lightning in a bottle that made this film special.

When I was a young boy, I looked up to this film. I looked up to Conan and his struggle and his fight to seek out justice for himself and eventually, the world he lived in. In 2018, this would be considered a film that exudes “toxic masculinity” while being dismissed as shit by third wave feminists and male apologists. Sorry, but Conan, even fueled by revenge, was a flawed hero that went on to be a king, against all odds, and continually vanquished the evil in his world. In fact, this film got me into reading Conan comics, as well as the original stories by Robert E. Howard.

Conan the Barbarian is a balls out, unapologetic action film about one badass dude that’s not just going to take the bullshit of tyrants.

Now the film, like its title character, has its flaws. But compared to other big action movies of the time, those flaws aren’t as bad and not as apparent.

The acting is what you would expect from a Schwarzenegger film, the direction is much better than average and the special effects are actually great for a 1982 film that didn’t have a massive budget.

The thing that really makes this film more superb than it would have otherwise been is the score by Basil Poledouris. Conan the Barbarian has one of the coolest and most powerful themes in film history. It isn’t just the title theme that’s great though, it’s the music throughout the entire picture. It just sets the mood and pacing right. It accentuates the action and subtly gives life to the slower bits.

My only real complaint about the film is it does feel drawn out too long. They could have fine tuned it, whittled it down by 15 minutes and it probably would have moved at a brisker, more energetic pace. There are a lot of action sequences and there are a few moments where you feel like you’ve reached the big finale, only for the film to stretch on more. But don’t get me wrong, all the action bits are damn solid.

The opening sequence of this film is powerful, beautiful and breathtaking. It is the best shot and best paced sequence in the entire movie but it really draws you in and makes you want to go on this long journey with the hero. James Earl Jones, no matter how many times I have seen this scene, is still absolutely chilling.

Conan the Barbarian is a film that couldn’t be made in quite the same way that it was in 1982 with Hollywood politics being what they are.

Although, I could be wrong about that, as the new Conan the Barbarian comic by Marvel surprised me in how badass and brutal its recent first issue was. But maybe that’s only because it speaks to a particular audience that Marvel knows they’d lose if they messed with the formula.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: Conan the Destroyer, the Conan the Barbarian remake, Red Sonja and the first Beastmaster.

Comic Review: Nightwing: Knight Terrors

Published: October 3rd, 2018 – January 9th, 2019
Written by: Benjamin Percy
Art by: Travis Moore, Christopher Mooneyham, Klaus Janson, Tamra Bonvillain, Nick Filardi

DC Comics, 184 Pages

Review:

So I was reading Nightwing like a good, long-time Dick Grayson fan, enjoying the story that wrapped up in issue 49 and then all of a sudden, I picked up issue 50 and felt completely lost. Somewhere between the issues, in another comic title that isn’t Nightwing, our title hero was shot in the head, lost his memory, quit being Nightwing and changed his name to Rick because the editors were sick of fans making Dick joke memes.

Color me lost.

Regardless, I said “fuck it” and kept Nightwing added to my pull list because I figured that I’d still give it a shot. I mean, I’ve been a fan of the character my whole life and sometimes a little change is good.

…and then sometimes it isn’t.

This hurt my head, probably even more than that bullet hurt Dick Rick Grayson’s head. Wait… it’s “Ric”? I guess DC’s gotta make him edgy and shit.

So this story is about Dick walking around feeling sorry for himself, treating those who love him like total shit and then being all smuggy and douchey about it like some Millennial communist that hates his rich ass parents because they embarrassed him by picking him up from an Occupy rally in the family Porsche.

Anyway, while Dick is busy sucking at life and starting a career of cab driving in the hood, some actual heroic people find his old stash of Nightwing suits and decide to put them on and take up the mantle. So this new but inexperienced team of four Nightwings end up in over their head, thanks to Scarecrow. The real Nightwing ends up having to step in and save them, even though he’s still just Dick being a dick.

This was a damn challenge to get through but I wanted to believe that this was going to build to something worthwhile. After this seven issue story arc, I’m done. Nightwing is off of my pull list, as one of the best DC Comics titles has been reduced to canary cage liner.

Well, at least I have twenty-plus years of back issues I can revisit where Dick isn’t an insufferable asshole and he does a lot more than just mope and bitch like a petulant toddler.

Rating: 2.75/10
Pairs well with: some douchebag teen’s private diary about their fucked up suburban parents.