It’s been a bit since I’ve given y’all any manly recommendations for your pugilistic pop culture life, so I figured I’d better round up a few. After all, I wouldn’t want you to start slipping and watching Grey’s Anatomy or Men In Trees.
Justice League Unlimited #29
Writer: Adam Beechen
Artists: Carlo Barberi & Tom Fowler
I’ve always said that the TV show Justice League Unlimited was everything the JLA comic should be. Well, this issue of Justice League Unlimited adds to my feelings. THIS is the JLA done right.
You’ve got great icon and obscure super heroes with lots of action and interaction. You’ve also got entertainment for all ages without talking up or down to either generation.
Best of all? you’ve got B’Wana Beast! Yes, you read that right? B’Wana Beast. Not that politically correct mistake, “Freedom Beast”. (Groan? that musta took a think tank to come up with.) No sir! B’Wana Beast, the real deal, the real “Lord of the Jungle.” Best part is B’Wana Beast is shown in all his manly, politically incorrect glory. He’s fighting, burping, bad mouthing and taking no prisoners. Superman can’t contol him and he can’t even contain this jungle wild man. He has to talk Animal Man into it.
Did I mention that this issue also has one of DC’s greatest bad guys in it? Gorilla Grodd! It’s like I died and went to Four Color Heaven.
Adam Beechen does a wonderful job in fleshing out B’Wana Beast and showing his Alpha Male personality. It’s funny; it’s fresh and downright entertaining. There is quick and witty dialogue exchanged throughout the story by every character. Everybody gets a good line or two. Animal Man tells this story and does it in a way that you understand and enjoy. Even though Animal Man may look like the Vertigo Comics version, he is much more enjoyable and real than that LSD trip we were all drug through in the 80s and 90s.
It’s a treat for me when two of my favorite obscure childhood characters get some spotlight in the DCU. No wonder this book is my favorite monthly comic.
The art by Carlo Barberi and Tom Fowler is perfect for the story and the book. Everything is big, clear and bright. The story telling is dead on and you can understand what’s going on without any ten ton blocks of text. This is a book you can hand to your kid or keep for yourself. Big time pleasure will be had by all. Beechen proves that you can write straight ahead action/adventure without any talking heads, gore, cussin’ or perverted twists. This is what mainstream comics should be all about. After the last two columns I did on the state of mainstream super hero comics its only fitting that this issue of JLU pop up to show that the right way can still be done. This is proof of what can be done when writers write for everyone (including themselves) and not just for themselves.
From the front cover and Grodd’s classic line to the last page, this issue of Justice League Unlimited is the best $2.25 you will spend this month. My wife said I liked this issue because B’Wana Beast and I act and talk the same way. Hmmmph! I told her she was crazy and then sent her to fix me a sandwich and fetch my loin cloth and helmet. Women! Can’t live with em’, can’t stuff em’ into a sack.
My suggestion is for you to go buy this issues and treat yourself to some fun the way it’s supposed to be. If you love the classic and obscure DC heroes then here is a place where you can get them without all the whining, preaching, endless jibber-jabber and intergalactic mumbo-jumbo.
A little red meat aggression is good for the soul. Just ask B’Wana Beast.
Green Lantern Corps #7
“The Dark Side Of Green.”
Writer: Keith Champagne
Artists: Patrick Gleason & Preatis Rollins
Okay? as most of you know, I had a 2-year run writing Guy Gardner. I did my best to add some layers to the character and build him up from a one trick Frat Pony that Wizard wussies always tried to keep him in. I even heard that they would put on renaissance fairs where they’d all dress up as the Guardians and reenact the “Batman One Punch” scene that fulfilled all their “I got beat up on the playground as a kid” fantasies.
Other writers that never took the time would also take their pathetic stabs at trying to make Guy a tough guy. That would fail terribly when they would turn him into a prick because that’s what they thought being a tough guy was all about. I chalk that up to wrong writer, wrong character or lack of research. Others you could tell they didn’t care about the character or the readers and were just collecting a check.
In Green Lantern Corps #7, writer Keith Champagne slips on the sap lined gloves and shows that he can knock some teeth out with his writing of Guy Gardner.
Keith shows that he cares enough about the character to walk that tightrope between making the character act like a jerk and an all out prick. He nails the Guy character by showing that he has done the research of the best traits of Guy Gardner by making him everything he really is, a tough guy, a teacher, confident and man enough to know when he’s over his head and needs some team work. Keith makes Guy Gardner the hero you want at your back when the world is shaking and the bad guys have you pinned down. You know that some how, some way he will lead you out of it.
I liked how in this story Keith gave Guy a cadet that is female and while still showing that Guy admires her for her shapely alien figure, he also admires the way she handles herself in battle. There’s a key scene in the book when Guy as a coach and leader must give R’Amey a little love tap to get her to “Ring Up” for the fight at hand. Sean Connery would be proud.
The art by Gleason and Rollins is really good and make for an easy eye follow. They do the super hero stuff without making the mistake a lot of the other super hero artists do by making panel to panel continuity confusing. You can see these boys have had good schooling and a good script. The cover is very eye catching and I don’t mean that as a pun.
If you enjoy Guy Gardner, then read this issue. If you like good writing then read anything else that Keith writes. Glad to see you got your manhood back, Guy Gardner.
Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage #1 and #2
Writer & Artist: Howard Chaykin
Pass on this and read the above.
Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing 2006
Director: Isaac Florentine
Starring: Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Ben Cross, and Eli Danker
Director Isaac Florentine is a passionate, meticulous and innovative director. He has an eye for action and mood that few have. He’s one of those directors that see the camera shots in his head, and knows how to make it come through on the camera. I first discovered his work on Action Night. Action Night was the one night of the week that I would rent an action movie and me and my sons would watch it. Now as “adults with insults”, they like to bust my chops on some of my low budget selections, but they all remember these movies with a great fondness.
Getting back to Isaac Florentine, it was one of his first films, Desert Kickboxer, that I first came across his ability to direct action. The film itself was typical late 80s early 90s rock em’ sock em’, but the action scenes were really well done and stood out. As I am with music, once I find someone I like I look for more and anything that might be like it. I followed Florentine’s career and was rarely sorry. He’s done films with friends of mine such as Gary Daniels, Cary Tagawa, and Kevin Bernhardt as well as other folks you know like Dolph Lundgren, Amy Jo Johnson, James Brolin, Marc Singer and many more.
Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing is his latest film and has just been released on DVD. It’s the somewhat sequel to the Walter Hill film only without any of the same actors and just a thread of the story line from the first one. Doesn’t much matter for watching this one.
Michael Jai White (Spawn) is former U.S Heavyweight Champ, George ” The Iceman” Chambers, (Ving Rhames was in the first one) and while in Russia he gets put into a very brutal and nasty prison on trumped up charges. Once there, you guessed it, he is forced to fight in a sadistic and brutal fight with the Russian champion of the prison, Uri Boyka (Scott Adkins).
The British Adkins is a highly trained mixed martial artist and it really shows in this film. He also does a great job with the Russian accent in the film. You may have seen him busting heads in other films such as Pit Fighter, Unleashed, The Medallion, Special Forces, and the upcoming The Bourne Ultimatum.
The fight scenes in this are nothing short of great. There is no CGI and no wires. White and Adkins do all their own stunts and fights. Michael Jai White is a very under rated actor and has shown that he is not only talented in action movies, but has done some wonderful serious drama as well. So fear not, there is no bad B-Movie acting in this film.
I strongly suggest that you check out a couple of other films of Florentine’s. High Voltage and The Fighter. High Voltage is filled with incredible action, a great cast and fast paced fun. If you like The Transporter and Crank, then you’ll enjoy this lower budget gem.
The Fighter stars Olivier Gruner, James Brolin, Ashley Laurence, Marc Singer and R. Lee Ermey. It’s a Foreign Legion/kung fu western and nicely done. Singer is great as a crazed and evil German that Gruner has to fight at the end. I highly recommend it.
Road House 2: Last Call
Directeor: Scott Ziehl
Starring: Johnathon Schaech, Jake Busey, Ellen Hollman, Richard Norton, Will Patton and Marisa Quintanilla
Okay, y’all remember the original movie Road House with Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliott. Well this is “Son Of Road House” where Dalton’s son has to come back home and save his uncle’s bar and find out who murdered his dad.
The story is a throwaway. You know that right off and no need to fool yourself. The first ten minutes of this movie suck like a like an open chest wound. Once the hero, Johnathon Schaech gets back home things pick up. This is a modern day western. That’s all you need to know for the story. In the 50s they churned these out and everybody loved em’. Why should this be treated any different?
I’m going to give you the highlights of this movie that warrant you renting or buying it:
- Jake Busey is as wonderfully over the top as his dad, Gary would be if he were in this film. He makes a great and sadistically funny bad guy.
- Richard Norton as the boss bad guy. Norton has entertained us all so much though the years in all the great action movies and shows here he has not lost a step as he plays a suave, well dressed, but very deadly drug lord.
- Great character actor, Will Patton kinda takes the Sam Elliott role in this one and shows with perfection why you don’t mess with old dogs. His fight scenes were great, very realistic and well done. Worth repeating.
- Ellen Hollman; she’s the female lead and love interest. She’s also a school teacher, former army ranger and no damsel in distress in the movie. Hollman is fantastic in her role as Schaech’s girlfriend and looks super hot as she kicks as much ass and mows down as many bad guys as anyone else in the film. She will remind you a little of the Ali Larter‘s dual personality character (Niki/Jessica) that hurts people in the hit TV show Heroes. Only using better cuss words.
- The main reason for renting Road House 2 is for the climatic fight scene between Ellen Hollman‘s character and the female bad girl Marisa Quintanilla. This is the best and most violent catfight I have ever seen in the movies. This fight alone is A-List and better than anything that went on in Kill Bill. It’s close quarters, it’s mean, it’s bloody and brutal. Famed stuntwoman Sophia Crawford did the fights and stunts for Hollman in this. You may know Crawford from her work in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Mission Impossible, Birds of Prey and most every other really good action film you’ve ever seen. Quintanilla is also amazing with her acrobatics and knife throwing talents. If nothing else, rent this movie and just watch this fight. It’s worth the rental price.
Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week
– stuntwoman and actress
Okay, since this seems to be my all action recommendation column then why not continue it with a real woman of action. As I mentioned in the review on Road House 2, Sophia has been in all the great action films and is best known for being the double for Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy, The Vampire Slayer for many years. You’ve gotta go to Crawford’s website and check out her demo reel of her stunts. They are amazing. http://www.sophiacrawford.com.
Busted Knuckle Manly Cover Of The Week
The Mercenaries (1968), Movie Poster
Starring: Rod Taylor, Jim Brown and Yvette Mimieux
Okay, so it’s not a comic book cover. Well? it should be! This is one of the foreign release movie posters from the movie and as you can see it don’t get much manlier than going toe to toe with a chainsaw. This movie was actually one of the best Mercenary movies ever made and a real hidden gem of a film. You should try and hunt it up if you can. The tagline for the film was great: “Brutes, Savages, Heroes! Paid to fight in the fury of the Congo.” (Special thanks to Flint Henry for this find.)
Okay, this week’s Busted Knuckles has been a big one. I hope you enjoyed this double-sized all action episode. You’ve been writing me for more manly recommendations so I thought I’d deliver.
Son Nick Smith In “Bear Down” Game Face
I have become a hard man to live with here at the ranch since my Chicago Bears have won the playoffs and the NFC Championship. Now my Bears are Super Bowl bound. The last few weeks have been wild here. My son Nick and I have entertained all our friends and cohorts at his house every Sunday with edge of the seat games. It looks like a big showdown with The Colts in Miami. The Bears have gotten no respect this year and even now are a 7 point underdog. That’s fine with me. That’ll just make em’ play harder.
The media finds them boring because they don’t have a “T.O.”, a Michael Vick or a Tom Brady. Too bad. They’re just gonna have to respect a team that packs their own lunch bucket and whose collar is blue. I hope you other Knuckleheads can find it in your hearts to root for my Bears here in less than 2 weeks.
Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you.
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