James' Rasslin' Corner

Salutations IDKers,

This is your friendly nerd that barely knows what he’s talking about James W. Two quick things about myself: I do not enjoy writing and I am terrified of people thinking that I am dumb so naturally I decided to write a post about a subject that most think is dumb…RASSLIN’!!!!!

That’s right it’s officially Mania (WrestleMania) season and the Royal Rumble is right around the corner. If you are a casual/former fan and want to dip your toes back into that swampy, sleazy hot tub known as the WWE then come on in the water’s just fine.  The winner of the Rumble has a guaranteed a spot in the main event of WrestleMania and the seeds for most of the Mania matches are planted at this event as well. So, if you haven’t been abreast of what’s been going on, you can at least familiarize yourself with the big players leading up to the spectacle of the year.

Monday, Jan. 22nd also marks the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw.  This makes jumping back in a lot more palatable to the casuals as the anniversary Raw is slated to bring back all of the familiar faces you remember.  Wrestlers like Shawn Michaels, Stone COLD Steve Austin, Ric Flair, DX, Undertaker, Doink the Clown, and I’m sure a few surprises. This will be the “go-home” (last show before a Pay-Per-View) show before the Royal Rumble so do yourself a favor and check out this week’s Monday Night Raw.

I am so pumped for the Rumble this year. This event is my favorite I think, just because of how unique the Rumble match is and this year we have the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble which may have a certain Rowdy female surprise entrance(probably not) or maybe even the return of AJ Lee(probably not). Besides that we have an intriguing triple threat match between Kane, the next top guy Braun Strowman, and the current WWE champion BROCK LESNAR!!!! Brock is the obvious favorite to win because of his drawing power for Wrestlemania but there may be some chicanery that puts Braun in the main event picture.

Again I feel like I have to reiterate how much I love Rumble itself due to its unpredictability. I think the Rumble is responsible for a couple of my most “mark-out” (to get overly excited/freak out over a wrestling event, happening or wrestler) moments as a fan. One of the more recent moments was AJ Styles debuting as an entrant against Mr. Wet Hair himself Roman Reigns. I lost my freaking mind. As a matter of fact, to cap off this dumpster fire of a post I think I want to put together my top 5 most memorable mark out moments. Check these out and feel free to send yours to @ IDKMPodcast or to myself @BealeStBully.

5. AJ Styles WWE Debut- I was a huge fan of his while TNA had their hayday and never thought I’d see him in the WWE. Just Phenomenal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuBVcsPVPyQ

 

4. Hardy Boyz Return to WWE: After what Matt had been through with Lita , I never thought I’d see these two in the WWE again. Especially at Wrestlemania, where they had just dropped the ROH tag titles the night before!!! UTTER DELIGHTFULNESS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVeC9wXZLUc

 

3.Chris Benoit  wins Heavyweight Title: So this one is touchy being that well…you know. At the time Benoit was my favorite wrestler and I identified with him as I was short, not good looking and scrappy. This also is one of the few times wrestling has made me cry. Watch both videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMFV8OaoMN4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pQskgvHNX8

 

2. Mankind winning WWE title: This won the Monday Night Wars. I remember how insane that crowd was and I’ll never forget Michael Cole used Mick Foleys' name in the commentary and I was like who the hell is Mick Foley. It felt like such a big deal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KybuIy0wKXk

 

1. Goldberg wins the WCW title from Hollywood Hogan: This had to be the most emotional I have ever been as a fan. Goldberg had to beat two people before he got to the zenith that was Hogan that night. It felt so epic because the NWO felt like this unbeatable gang and ONE guy defeated them. And it was on a Monday Night Nitro not a PPV. Bobby Heenan’s call on this made it all the more epic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTDjV5WVCwY

 

 

 

Essential Comic Runs: KINGDOM COME

Oh, Kingdom Come, how I adore thee...

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When I started this op-ed column, I knew immediately that the first Essential Comics write-up would be about Kingdom Come.

Set under the D.C. Elseworlds label, this is a gorgeous 4 issue mini-series of an alternate future in the D.C. Universe where the world has moved on from the classic heroes who don't kill, to the new age heroes who are more than happy to oblige. Mark Waid (Daredevil, Irredeemable) has crafted a story for the ages. Heroes fight Heroes! Heroes fight Villains! In fact, I would go as far as to say that there would be no Injustice comic series without this run's influence.

Highlights:

      - If Alex Ross' magnificent artwork doesn't grab you, just admit you're dead inside.

      - Figuring out who the the hero parents are of the new age of metahumans is a fun side quest that lets you enjoy the artwork even more.

      - If you're a fan of the classic Red Robin (pre-new 52) outfit, this is where it originated!

      - Character designs, such as The Flash and Green Lantern, are magnificently inspired.

      - Billy fucking Batson. One of the greatest Captain Marvel/Shazam story arcs I have ever read.

Well, there you have it IDKM-ers! If you haven't read this series, I can't think of a better one to pick up next! Have you read it already? Read it again! And once you have, or if you already have strong feelings about this series, let us know in the comments!

  • Nanney!

Ed's Pulls of the Week!

Batman #28 - I'm a little down on the War of Jokes and Riddles story arc going on right now, but I'm going to push through and hope it gets more exciting.

Elsewhere #1 - Super excited about this one. I love a fantasy comic, and when someone combines fantasy with bits of true mystery, I'm all in.

Ghost Station Zero #1 - I don't know much about this book, but I love the cover and art, so I'm going to give it a try. And it's from Boom! Studios. I need to branch out a little more.

Green Arrow #28 - I'm trying to expand my DC knowledge, and this Green Arrow story arc is pretty interesting, but I'm still not too attached to the Arrow.

Green Lanterns #28 - I'm quickly becoming a HUGE Green Lantern fan in general, so any comic line involved them, I'm in. And I love the current story arc going on.

Hadrian's Wall #8 - It's a good old fashioned crime mystery set in space. This limited series is about to conclude, so I'm interested to see how they tie everything together.

Justice League #26 - I'm not usually a reader of the superhero team-up books, but, again, I'm trying to expand y DC horizons, and this is a new arc getting started, so I'm going to give it a try.

Mech Cadet Yu #1 - I don't know much about this at all, but I like Greg Pak, and the art looks good, so I'll give a #1 issue a shot.

Nightwing #26 - He's my number #1 most favorite comic book character. Enough said.

Reborn Volume 1 - I've already collected all of these issues, and I'm just a HUGE fan of this limited comic run from Mark Millar and Greg Capullo, so I'm just collecting this.

Seven to Eternity #8 - This is the last issue of this comic. I'm not really a big fan of this fantasy story, but I subscribed to it, so I'm going to finish it through.

World Reader #5 - This is a strong book, and the story is slowly hooking me. The story is very intriguing, and I want to see how it goes.

REVIEW: World Reader #4

If you're looking to sink your teeth into an intimate space opera, I highly recommend World Reader. The story follows a psychic who can read and feel the minds of dead planets, or more specifically, the former inhabitants of said dead planets. Because of her unique talent, she gets to tag along with a space crew whose objective is to find a planet that is suitable for life. As they hop from planet to planet, her job is to use her abilities of 'ghost mind reading' to learn how other civilizations failed.

Of course, most of the 'badass' space crew hates her and doesn't believe in her abilities, so she starts off having to prove herself time and time again. And as she 'mind reads' planets, she sees a pattern of what can only be described as a 'planetary serial killer' on the loose.

Issue 4 picks up with her and a new found love trekking through a dead planet and discovering a symbol that leads to her first introduction into said 'planetary serial killer.' And the issue comes to a close when the space crew reports that they found life, either on that planet or a separate one.

World Reader is definitely a fun and easy read to get into. The art leaves a little bit to be desired. It's very heavy on broad strokes and a little drab on color. The dialogue and description in Issue 4 is short and to the point, so it makes for a quick read that's still very rich in story. If you've got room to on your subscription list at your local comic shop, I would recommend adding this excellent AfterShock title.

- Ed

Rating: 7.5/10

REVIEW: Rapture #3

Valiant's big summer event follows the likes of Ninjak, Shadowman and Punk Mambo as they venture into the Deadside in order to stop a sinister plot to open up the proverbial gates of hell to the real world. If you're a fan of Valiant's work, like myself, the Rapture event should be an exhilarating crossover that builds with every issue.

Unfortunately, we're three issues in, and there is still a lot to be desired. Let's start with the positives first. Every issue has displayed some amazing artwork from Cafu. He is legitimately one of the best comic book artists working today. His style of art fits perfectly with the tone of the story. And his detail on the characters and the world is as good as it gets.

When it comes to story, all three issues have dragged on, and #3 is no exception. The issue starts off with some backstory on our main antagonist, Babel, and it's some pretty interesting stuff. He is literally Babel from the biblical tower. And the way it's is used in this story is pretty cool. Once we get to the present day though, things start to lurch to a crawl. All that basically happens is a subpar fight scene with Ninjak and crew against a random monster that pops out midget monsters. Gross. And after that, we get a glimpse of why Shadowman is the worst Valiant character in existence. It's supposed to end on a cliffhanger, but it didn't make me excited for Issue 4 at all.

I'm a valiant Valiant reader (see what I did there?) so I'm going to stick with this until the end. However, I would be hard pressed to recommend this to anyone who isn't even slightly familiar with the Valiant Universe. Unless X-O Manowar, Bloodshot or the Harbinger crew show up, find another Valiant title to sink your teeth into, like Divinity or Eternal Warrior.

- Ed

Rating: 6/10

REVIEW: Jean Grey #4

I almost skipped past this title last week, but when I saw that the Unworthy Thor would make an appearance, I decided to give this title another shot. It's not that I don't like the Jean Grey story currently being told, it's just that nothing was very compelling in the first three issues. The gist of the entire arc, so far, is that young Jean Grey starts getting feelings of The Phoenix approaching. This justifiably scares the crap out of her, so she decides to go to the other superheroes who have faced The Phoenix and 'won'.

Issue 4 has Jean Grey travel to a snowy, icy mountain to meet Thor and ask for training so that she can eventually take on The Phoenix. And, of course, Thor is 'drunk' while a small army of ogre-like creatures attempt to kill him.

Some funny and entertaining banter ensues between Jean Grey and Thor while they hold off the ogres, who are surprisingly terrible fighters. I mean, it's a small army against a mutant and a suddenly unworthy god. But of course, Odinson Thor had a plan the entire time, and towards the end of this small and entertaining romp, you realize that you were pretty entertained with this book.

My main concern with this (and other X titles) is the fact that they clearly have been skimping on the art. A lot is left to be desired with the style in this book. It almost looks like it was the draft before the final draft. The art was okay, but it was just missing a unifying quality to it.

Nonetheless, Jean Grey #4 is a harmless and entertaining book that continues down the path of Jean Grey eventually facing off with The Phoenix. Let's hope the payoff is worth it (they better not screw up the Phoenix art).

Rating: 6.5/10

- Ed

REVIEW: Kill or be Killed #10

If you haven't picked up this title yet, do yourself a favor and get volume 1 right now. Ed Brubaker is absolutely killing it with this story about a college kid who feels compelled (maybe by a demon, maybe not) to kill every month in order to stay alive. Throughout this series, Brubaker has slowly built a world and introduced new characters to enhance the main star's story.

In #10, Dylan, our main character, spends almost all of his time contemplating the actions he's been taking in the previous issues. This particular book is very light on action, but the story and setup that's being told gets to a payoff on the last page that finally brings the central question into play.

Is Dylan crazy, or is there actually a demon making him kill in order to live? The way Brubaker has been telling the story, you'd never know which one it is.

And as if the story weren't already amazing, Sean Phillips's art blends perfectly with the mood and tone of the world. I'm usually not a fan of the drastic and minimalistic use of color and lines, but it works so well here that it enhances the mystery going on in this book. Issue #10 is worth the read, but if you're looking to get into the title, you've got to start with #1. Trust me, you'll thank me for it.

Rating: 9.5/10

- Ed

REVIEW: Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps #24

I must admit, I pretty much don't know anything about the Green Lanterns. My only real exposure to them was the epic Ryan Reynolds romp. I know, I know... what a fantastic way to be introduced to such a badass character. For some reason, though, Green Lantern always intrigued me. The grand scale and universal backdrop of this story is what always drew my interest, so finally, I decided to shell out some money and buy #24. Actually, I bought issues 22, 23 and 24 so that I could start along with the new arc.

To say I'm enjoying this iteration of the Green Lanterns is quite the understatement. #24 picks up with Hal Jordan investigating a crime within the Corps and arguing with John Stewart, another Green Lantern. And then there's this Yellow Lantern lady, Sora, (there are multiple colors??) who picks a fight with Kyle Rayner (another Green Lantern) for good reason. 

So basically, the Green and Yellow Lanterns used to sworn enemies. But thanks to the efforts of John Stewart and Sora, the two colors are now working together in relative harmony. That is, until, Hal Jordan's investigation and Sora's actions toward Kyle Rayner throw a huge wrench into the peace pact.

The story being weaved in this arc, called Fracture, is expertly crafted and written. There are a multitude of characters and plot points being used in this story, and it all feels very put together and unhindered with complication. I came in as a newbie Green Lantern reader, and I can tell you with full confidence that this story is so streamlined that nothing is confusing. Issue 24 leaves a very juicy cliffhanger that pushes along the story into new territory. I can't wait to read more!

Rating: 8.5/10

- Ed

REVIEW: The Defenders #3

Wow! This title keeps getting better and better. Three issues in, and I am completely invested in all of these characters - Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Punisher, Black Cat, etc. And this is coming from a guy who hated the Luke Cage Netflix pilot, thought Daredevil's show was boring and actually kind of liked Iron Fist. Jessica Jones on Netflix was fire though.

Issue 3 starts off with some baller moves from Black Cat as she goes mano-e-mano with the big baddy of the first arc- Diamondback. The first two issues do a great job of actually making a villain seem intimidating. And by the end of Issue 3, I'm legit scared for these Defenders. Can we talk about Black Cat again? I had no idea this character existed until a month ago, and I believe she's only appeared in a few scenes here and there, and I'm already her biggest fan. The presence she brings to the story is very intriguing and mysterious. How have I never heard of her before? She's definitely got a big role to play, and I can't wait for the big reveal.

Issue 3 moves along quite briskly as the team tries to understand why the Punisher thwarted their efforts in chasing Diamondback. And throughout the story, there is some great exposition on Luke Cage and Diamondback's history, and how Diamondback's resurrection in cause for major concern. The cliffhanger Issue 3 ends on is quite the doozy. And I can't wait for #4.

I cannot stress enough how amazing David Marquez's art is on this series. The way he draws this book completely matches the tone that Brian Michael Bendis is going for. There are some beautiful panels of the Punisher and Diamondback that really make you pause. And Bendis's talent for weaving multiple characters into a meaningful story is on high display with this book. Issue 3 continues to build on the momentum that the first two issues started. I can't wait to see where Bendis and Marquez take The Defenders.

Rating: 9/10