Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"52" Parts 1 & 2 by Greg Cox

"52" Parts 1 & 2
by Greg Cox
Multicast performance
Produced by GraphicAudio
Approx 12 hours

"52" was a weekly comic published by DC comic beginning May of 2006. This comic covered a year in the DC Universe where just following the "Infinite Crisis" The world's greatest superheroes were missing but there was no lack of super powered heroes. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are missing after saving the world, the universe, and the multi-verse from a version of Lex Luthor trying to make his perfect world. But the world is not without its superheroes. The main heroes in this year long comic publication are a mixed batch of interesting characters.

Booster Gold and his robot/computer sidekick , Skeets, are in Metropolis. Booster is a time traveler from the 25th century and with the aid of Skeets they prevent crimes and disasters by referring to the timeline recorded in Skeets memory.

Supernova, whose identity is unknown and at the same time key to the entire "52" plot line, is a hero that makes a sudden appearance in Metropolis, surprising both Clark Kent and Booster Gold.

Black Adam, who was originally a villain, an opposite to Captain Marvel/Shazam. At the beginning of "52" Black Adam is somewhat of a dictator over the country of Khandaq. He is trying to form an alliance with countries like, Iraq, Iran et. al. to protect their citizens. A world wide crime organization called Intergang tries to gain support from Black Adam by offering him a woman they captured as a slave. Black Adam retaliates and kills the gang representatives and through her frankness the woman becomes Black Adam's wife. After showing Black Adam "how to be good," he takes her to the Rock of Eternity, once guarded by the wizard Shazam, now guarded by Captain Marvel. There he pleads his case and she becomes Isis. Isis and Black Adam seek out Isis brother who was enslaved by Intergang. When he is found he has been severely beaten by Intergang to the point he cannot walk. Black Adam gives the boy some of his own powers and he becomes Osiris. Now Black Adam has a family similar to that of the Marvel family. But Intergang is not happy with Black Adam's rejection.

The Question and Officer Montoya play the parts of catalysts between all the goings on. First they thwart a terrorist bombing attempt at Black Adam's wedding. Then they prevent the death of the new Bat-Woman, by stopping intergang and their twisted religion of crime from sacrificing Gotham City's new hero. Montoya discovers The Question has terminal cancer and discovers he has been training her to become the new Question.

Through the one year publication of the comic Booster Gold becomes an anti-hero, Skeets begins taking on an evil identity bent on domination. Super Nova takes Booster's place as Metropolis' new hero and through the help of Rip Hunter, another time traveler attempts to stop Skeets' evil plans. (Great time travel paradoxes in this plot line.) Black Adam saves his country from famine, only to have his family destroyed by the Four Horsemen and he then seeks his revenge on the Horsemen, Intergang and the scientists that created them and starts World War III. Montoya and Nightwing then assist Bat-Woman in protecting Gotham City from Intergang.

With a sprinkling of some of DC's minor superheroes; Nightwing, Captain Marvel and a few others the world is protected, but is it enough, these new heroes are a big help as the Multiverse attempts to be recreated.

Greg Cox novelized this year long publication and GraphicAudio in all their audio splendor brought the comic back to full color production with sound.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:58 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Infinite Crisis" parts I & II by Greg Cox

"Infinite Crisis" parts I & II
by Greg Cox
multicast production
Produced by Graphic Audio
approx 12 hours total

I think I may have become addicted to GraphicAudio audio book productions. These guys really know how to suck you into a story and leave you, in this case, feeling as beat up as the superheroes involved. I mean that in a good way, the sound effects, music and acting puts you in the middle of the action and you feel every punch thrown. With all the action in a comic book, the transition to novelization of a series and then to audio book there lies the potential of losing some of the ambiance created by the brightly colored panels, but here's where GraphicAudio shines. Not only do you get all the ambiance, you are placed dead in amongst the action.

Infinite Crisis was a seven-issue limited series of comic books published by DC Comics beginning in October 2005. It was written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Phil Jimenez. The series storyline was based on the 1985 series "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and it revisits characters and ideas that were from the earlier work. Greg Cox then took that series and created the novelization of the series. Then we move to audio book "Movie in your Mind" form from GraphicAudio. GraphicAudio released the production in two 6 hour segments.

For years, the rift between the Justice League's leaders has been widening. Batman's paranoia has given birth to an army of robotic assassins. Batman created the Brother Eye satellite to make sure "meta-humans" don't abuse their super powers. Somehow the satellite is hijacked and begins it's jihad against superheroes.

Wonder Woman has declared herself judge, jury, and executioner, taking a foe's life in an act that was broadcast worldwide. Superman is under the influence of mind control. With the Justice League divided and a super-villain coalition openly targeting the heroes, ordinary civilians find themselves caught in the crossfire.

The heroes have lost their way, their values, and their responsibilities. Only those who understand the true meaning of sacrifice are prepared to rectify this crisis-a crisis that originated in an alternate era when infinite earths collided in a cosmic cataclysm that erased history and lives. And those who survived are looking to restore all they have lost, regardless of the consequences.

In an epic adventure with battles taking place all around the world and even into the center of the universe every comic book fan will enjoy listening for their favorite hero. Nearly every superhero ever created by DC Comics makes an appearance and even some new ones.

Be prepared to be completely blown away with a great story by Greg Cox, created by DC Comics, and converted into a "Movie in your Mind" by GraphicAudio.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:01 PM Comments: 0

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Batman: Inferno" by Alex Irvine

"Batman: Inferno"
by Alex Irvine
Multicast Performance
Produced by Graphic Audio
Approx 7 hours.

Let me start this review off by saying, I think I may have just listened to the best Batman story ever. Not only was the story itself captivating and entertaining but the production has gone beyond my expectations from Graphic Audio audio books. This audio book is a simple Batman book with only two villains a new one named Enfer and the best Batman villain ever, The Joker.

When It comes to continuity, I'm not sure where in the comic book realm of Batman this book comes in but this book would make for a great sequel to the 2008 movie blockbuster, "The Dark Knight." This book takes place just as Bruce Wayne/Batman is building his Bat-Cave and has only been protecting Gotham City for a couple of years. The Joker has only recently been sent to Arkham Asylum, in this book Arkham is run by Dr. Jonathan Crane.

One thing I've noticed about DC comics is that the stories really don't rely on a running continuity, as long as the stories stick to the main theme of Batman. The Dark Knight run of Batman comics, books and movies do have a darker side and more sinister of villainy of crime for Batman to contend with and this audio book definitely has a Dark Knight feel to it. In fact the audio book contains the warning, "Due to subject matter, 'Batman: Inferno' contins realistically harsh language that may be offensive to some." So, you have been warned.

Before I get to the summary of this book I have to talk about the production of the audio book. I have reviewed several Graphic Audio productions before, and I am always impressed with the acting, sound effects and incidental music, so I was prepared for what Graphic Audio promises of "A Movie in Your Mind." This time around that was an extreme understatement. This production blew me away. The main premise of this book is fire and, let me tell you, the production conveyed that in a very explosive audio book. I was extremely impressed by the voice-work/acting of the actor that played The Joker in this production, Richard Rohan, who also does the narrating and the voice of Batman, he did a smash up job. And never once in the production can you tell or even have the hint that the same person narrating is either Batman or The Joker. The Joker has been portrayed by several great actors through television and the movies, Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. In the movies the Heath Ledger Joker gained infamy from being so dark. This Joker story is another dark story and Rohan, from this audio book borrows a bit from Heath Ledger, but at the same time you can hear some of Jack Nicholson's Joker and some of Cesar Romero, so Rohan makes the character his own, while still paying homage to the classics.

Let's talk about the story. Gotham City is burning and the police still don't know where to stand when it comes to the Caped Crusader, Batman. Batman doesn't worry too much about public opinion, his goal is to keep Gotham City safe. As for the burning, Batman is doing everything he can to find out who is starting all the fires and what he can do to stop this firebug. Batman discovers that the up and coming villian goes by the moniker of "Enfer" (the french word for hell.) Enfer draws his influence from a French poet and, is seeking to cleanse the fire stations in Gotham City by fire. Enfer also seeks to show The Joker that they could become allies, but the problem is that The Joker is locked up in Arkham Asylum. Enfer blows up the Asylum allowing all the super-powered villians to escape, including The Joker, and Gotham City police now have their hands full. To show his desire Enfer sets certain parts of Gotham City ablaze and when viewed from the sky the fires spell out "HA HA."

In the meantime The Joker is making his escape and trying to avoid the GCPD by escaping through the sewers and tunnels underground. A series of tunnels brings The Joker to a cave full of bats, the bats then lead him to what is a construction site that is obviously becoming the underground lair of Batman, the Bat-Cave. Instead of finding out who is behind the cowl thus destroying his raison d'etre, The Joker kidnaps Alfred, the trusty butler, and steals a costume and the Bat-Mobile, yes THE BAT-MOBILE. He then terrorizes Gotham City posing as Batman.

So with trying to stop an Arsonist, capturing escaped criminals, rescuing Alfred, Batman also has to fight for his reputation, in "Batman: Inferno." Treat yourself to a great audio book and pick up this one.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:55 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Green Lantern: Hero's Quest (Justice League of America) by Dennis O'Neil

GraphicAudio book coverGreen Lantern: Hero's Quest (Justice League of America)
by Dennis O'Neil
Muliticast Performance
Produced by GraphicAudio
approx 6 hours

When you are looking for an audio book and you want something entertaining and worth the time spent listening, you should stop and consider anything produced by GraphicAudio. These guys have set the standard for full production audio books. With superb sound effects, music and acting their promise of "A movie in your mind" is really an understatement. GraphicAudio has a way of recreating the entire universe to blast out of whatever soundsy stem you use to play the audio book.

Even more on that is that when you are looking for super realism that exists in comic books, the GraphicAudio productions of the Justice League universe from DC comics is about the only way to listen to an audio representation of a novel based on super heroes. In this audio book the listener is taken to the beginning and end of the universe with the Green Lantern guiding the way and the production by GraphicAudio makes you feel as though you are hitching a ride with the Green Lantern all the way.

This book is based on Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. Many old school DC comics fans may know the Green Lantern as Hal Jordan, but at some time in the DC continuum, a new Lantern came about in the form of Kyle Rayner. This novel is that story.

From the beginning we learn how struggling artist Kyle Rayner is given the Green Lantern ring and forced to become the latest incarnation of the Green Lantern. But what does he do with the powers? The ring didn't come with an instruction manual, so not only what Kyle does with the ring have to be learned but also the how.

At this same time the Justice League, consisting of the favorite heroes from DC comics; Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, The Atom, Jonn Jonnz, Plasticman, et. al, become aware of this new Green Lantern. The Justice Leage is concerned as to how Kyle will turn out, will he use the powers for good or evil. After observing him beat down a fighter jet with a dragon created from the ring and then rescuing a man and a little girl from a plane crash using a pair of pliers and a catcher's mitt created from the same ring, they decide to ask him to join on the side of good and join the Justice League.

Kyle, being the geeky kid who never really succeeded at anything isn't sure if he can handle the responsibility and asks for 24 hours to think about the invitation. After discovering that he may be able to handle the responsibility, Kyle returns to the Watchtower, a satellite orbiting Earth that serves as home to the Justice League, the moment he arrives on the station it disappears.

The next day Kyle is summoned by Batman. You NEVER turn down a summons from Batman. Batman is out to discover whether Kyle is responsible for the disappearance. But it is soon discovered that the Oan that gave Kyle the ring, Ganthat, knows why the space station disappeared. Kyle then must travel to the planet of Oa to find the Justice Leaguers. Along this journey Kyle discovers the origin of the Green Lantern corps and the possible destruction of the universe and must battle alone to stop the destruction.

At this point in the book you may not notice but there's some lessons in philosophy, physic and humanity that may make you stop to ponder the meaning of life. This also what makes Kyle Rayner realize that, while he may not have asked for the power, he was born to wield it.

So sit back and enjoy a fun comic audio book with "Green Lantern; Hero's Quest" produced by GraphicAudio.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:26 PM Comments: 0

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Fantastic Four Radio Series

The Fantastic Four Radio Series
Originally broadcast in 1975
13 Episodes.

Okay I have been listening to the Graphic Audio productions of DC comics' Justice League novels. I was never really a fan of DC comics but these audio book productions are out of this world and I fell in love with the unique story telling combined with the production work. Being a fan of Marvel comics I wanted to look and see if there were any Marvel audio book productions that could equal these DC stories done by Graphic Audio. My first place to look the internets (sic ... inside joke).
I have come to find that the Internet contains the sum total of human knowledge, organized like the bottom of a teenager's closet, and with that knowledge I ran into some information that I couldn't believe; in 1975 Marvel comics had a weekly radio show featuring the Fantastic 4.

Now in discovering this I had to find the audio and one of the places that had mp3 files of the the actual radio broadcasts was the Internet Archive site the problem with this was that this site only had 10 episodes and there were 13. I finally tracked all 13 episodes downloaded them on my iPod and had myself a Retro-Blast.

I've said before that Americans need more radio theatre and in doing my research it seems as though the 80s was the last radio theatre we had here in the U.S. of A. But maybe I can find ways to get that going again. Any investors out there? I think the comics world would be the perfect place to start.

Okay let's talk about this radio series. In listening to the series there are two great treats/surprises. These surprises are 2 of the voices in the series. First is none other than Smilin' Stan Lee as the host / narrator of the program. It is so great to hear Stan telling these stories, his voice really pushes the excitement along with the sound effects and dialogue. The other surprise is a very young Bill Murray as the Human Torch, Johnny Storm. Yes the same Bill Murray from Saturday Night Live (the talented years), Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters and Rushmore. Before SNL Murray was performing with the National Lampoon Radio so the voice talent was already known. There is one scene in which the the Fantastic 4 are returning from an adventure on the moon and what seems like some ad-libbing by Human Torch and The Thing, some very funny things are said, but you have to listen close because it is in the background.

The rest of the cast consists of:
Bob Maxwell....Mr.. Fantastic
Cynthia Adler...The Invisible Woman
Jim Pappas...The Thing
Jerry Terheyden...Doctor Doom

Many of the heroes and villains met in this series are:
Nick Fury, Ant-Man, Namor, The Hulk, The Puppet Master, The Watcher, Skrulls & the Super Skrull, The Moleman, the Hatemonger, The Red Ghost, and the Miracle man.

Here's the link once again for the internet archive site with the episodes:

Do yourself a favor and download these fun stories...most are based on actual Fantastic Four comic issues from the Silver age of comics.

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posted by Gil T. @ 11:26 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Flash: Stop Motion (Justice League of America) by Mark Schultz

The Flash: Stop Motion (Justice League of America)
by Mark Schultz
Multicast performance
Produced by Graphic Audio
Approx 6 hours.

I have become hooked, if not addicted, to the audio books by Graphic Audio. Their production is full of mind-ripping sound effects, mood driving background music and a cast that captures the voices of the super heroes perfectly.

In this edition DC comics hero The Flash (the Wally West version) gets his solo appearance. While this is a Justice League of America comic, and appearances are made from Batman, Plasticman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern, this story revolves around The Flash and his home turf of Keystone City. In fact in the final outcome it is only The Flash that can bag the bad guy.

Strange anomolies appear in different locations on Earth and within the Solar System that occur at the same times that some mysterious murders are occurring in Keystone City. These murders all occur at the exact same times as each other and the victims end up with a hollowed out skull and a brain that seems to have been burned out from the inside. With the time factor it seems that only a speedster type meta-human is capable of such horror. While The Flash is not really a suspect he is looked at as to having a connection somehow.

Investigation shows that a doctor has created a being from a speedster type meta-human gene and has unleashed something that will destroy the Earth and possibly the universe, as well as all quantum versions of Earth and the Universe in the space time continuum. Wally West, a.k.a. the Flash uses every sort of trick his accelerated state of being can come up with but not until he meets with a quantum being does he learn he is more than just fast.

For those Flash comic fans out there Wally is the nephew of Barry Allen the previous incarnation of the Flash and that family tie creates more than just an inherited speed skill.

With some great writing teamed up with great production this is one audio book that will keep you on the edge of your seat while listening. Like the old monster trucks commercials say, "We'll sell you the whole seat but you'll only need the edge."

One thing that stands out in this production is the sound affects used when The Flash enters his high speed state. You will just have to listen to get the full gist of the sound but it's as though all sounds are frozen but still happening. Great touch to the production.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:01 PM Comments: 0

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Justice League of America: Wonder Woman: Mythos

Justice League of America: Wonder Woman: Mythos
by Carol Lay
Published by GraphicAudio (2009)
Multi-cast production
Approximate Running Time: 5 hours

Once again GraphicAudio delivers on it's promise of "A Movie in your Mind," this time focusing on the DC Comics Heroine, Wonder Woman. With realistic sound effects and excellent voice casting GraphicAudio puts together great production that keeps me not on the edge of my seat but also not wanting to stop listening. The mood music is placed into the production and fits so perfectly, it seems as though it were written by the author of the book.

In Wonder Woman: Mythos the story relies heavily on the origin of Wonder Woman and the legends of Greek Gods. Themyscira, the home and origin of Wonder Woman (Paradise Island for the old school comic fans), is an island of women, the Amazons to be exact. Diana, Wonder Woman, was created from the soil of Themyscira because the women of the island could not reproduce and Queen Hippolyta wanted a daughter. Hippolyta was instructed to mold some clay from the shores of Paradise Island into the form of a baby girl. Six members of the Greek Pantheon then bonded the soul to the clay, giving it life. Each of the six also granted Diana a gift: Demeter, great strength; Athena, wisdom and courage; Artemis, a hunter's heart and a communion with animals; Aprhodite, beauty and a loving heart; Hesita, sisterhood with fire; Hermes, speed and the power of flight. Wonder Woman was raised on the island and later became the liaison for Themyscira to "Man's World." This is when she became a superhero and joined the Justice League.

The Justice League of America consists of all the Superheroes of DC comics, the main heroes are; Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and The Martian Manhunter. They have their base of operations in an orbiting satellite called the Watchtower. At the beginning of this book Martian Manhunter and The Atom are bringing down the Watchtower's systems for upgrades and repairs, leaving the JLA out of communication with each other. Each hero heads back to his hometown during this downtime.

Wonder Woman is going to Themyscira after hearing that a man has dissappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, which is in the vicinity of the island. A man on Themiscyra would be dangerous to him and to the Amazons on the island. After arriving on the island Diana is taken to the Oracle who warns Diana of the island of opposites and that Themiscyra will be attacked. Knowing that this may be linked to the missing man Wonder Woman searches for the man, only to find the man's new bride searching where the man was last scene.

The man and his wife were spending their honeymoon in the Bermuda Triangle where he was mysteriously drawn. The man finds an glowing orb and then leaves his wife to head for an island. His wife heads back to her boat only to discover that the island is no where to be seen. When Wonder Woman arrives she assists the woman in the search. After some mysterious water spouts appear threatening the dive boat Wonder Woman is transported to another dimension where this island of men are governed by some paintings in "God Cave." The paintings show the men rising up and taking arms upon the arrival of the man and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman learns the God Aries is behind the power and must use all her powers to keep the men from attacking Themiscyra and then the rest of the world.

Wonder Woman: Mythos is an exciting adventure featuring Wonder Woman, with appearances from Batman, Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern that will keep you listening to the last sound.

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posted by Gil T. @ 12:13 PM Comments: 0

Monday, January 05, 2009

Justice League of America: Exterminators by Christopher Golden

Justice League of America: Exterminators
Christopher Golden
Multicast production
Graphic Audio
Approx. 5 hours
Audiobook published 2008

I was going through my stack of books and audiobooks to review and saw that I had another audiobook from Graphic Audio. I soon became excited because, well, when Graphic Audio promises "A movie in your mind," not only do they deliver, they deliver with a punch. Another Graphic Audio production and, to add icing on the cake, another production of a Justice League of America audiobook. With great production and the exciting events that follow Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, The Green Lantern et. al. I got myself ready for the ride of a lifetime.

I would like to first emphasize how wonderful Graphic Audio's productions are when converting a novel to audiobook. The music, sound effects and voicework really place you into the action and keep you glued to the audiobook. There were times where I would intentionally drive slower when listening in the car or find more housework to do so I could wait that much longer before I had to shut off the audiobook. It reminds me of the old radio serials where your imagination worked to push the story along. However comparing this audiobook with a radio program is like comparing (to stay in the comic book genre) the '60s Batman television series to the 2008 theatrical release The Dark Knight. The cast of voices all perform their roles as superheroes while the narrator pushes the non-dialogue sections of the book creating a constant flow of storytelling mixed with superb sound effects and music.

The story in this novilization based on DC Comics Justice League of America heroes begins when a surprisingly large number of people are popping up with super powers. These ""meta-humans"" come to be under close scrutiny of the Justice League because they can either use these powers for good or bad. While some come out to help the world's known superheroes some seek to use their powers for ill will and creates a new problem for the heroes to combat.

These ""meta-humans"" cropping up all share common background, the United Kingdom. This leads the older members of the Justice League to think that due to their handling of a previous situation in the U.K., the Justice League themselves are responsible for the creation of these "meta-humans".

To make matters worse the "meta-humans" begin evolving into creatures that resemble armored salamanders and begin burrowing into the Earth. The burrowers then begin cropping up in major cities around the world destroying everything in sight. With millions of lives at stake the Justice League goes into action fighting these seemingly indestructible creatures while at the same time finding the reason they have come into being.

While the action takes place in the story a series of flashback segments takes the listener back ten years to when an alien force invades Earth and is destroyed by newly formed Justice League and the Royal Air Force over the skies of the U.K. Leading to the outcome that the aliens have returned in the form of a parasite to destroy the planet.

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman become so overcome by these burrowers they have to call in the Justice League reserves, so no matter who your favorite DC Comics hero is, they'll probably make an appearance in this exciting tale; Justice League of America: Exterminators.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:05 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Batman - The Stone King by Alan Grant

Batman - The Stone King
Justice League of America
By Alan Grant
Audiobook produced by Graphic Audio
Multicast Production
Approx. 6 Hours

I'm a huge comic book fan and only recently took to reading novelizations of comics and have found it a pretty good experience. Now, how do you put a comic book turned novel into an audiobook? Well let me tell you, get Graphic Audio to do the production. Reading a comic book you get to look at all the cool graphics and while reading the text your eyes are treated to some visual storytelling. When a comic is then turned into a novel you lose the visual stimulation, and the author has to completely tell the story with words. Alan Grant wrote Batman - The Stone King novel and told a great story. Now that Graphic Audio has produced the book into a "Movie for Your Mind," comic book lovers can hear the novel and fully experience the action. Not a single detail is missed.

The use of a multicast is pretty much needed and is extremely well done in this audiobook. The voices of all the superheroes (Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, The Green Lantern and of course Batman) are very well cast and sound exactly like you would expect and want them to sound like. The sound effects and music create a great atmosphere for great listening. When Graphic Audio says they produce a "Movie for your Mind," they aren't kidding. In one scene in the book Wonder Woman is attacked by zombies arising from a nearby cemetery and the sounds of the bones crushing and zombies digging themselves out of the grave are so realistic that you would swear the special effects person actually made the undead rise from the grave and fight each other just so the sounds could be recorded. Unreal realism in the sounds.

The story behind Batman - The Stone King is this; a dam near Gotham City is about to burst and Batman has determined the dam cannot be saved but the citizens of Gotham city must be protected. Batman calls for the help from Justice League members to create a "safe dam break." After the turmoil and all the Justice League members are getting their breath and looking over the destruction created by the rushing waters The Green Lantern notices a strange object. Uncovered by the erosion of the sudden rushing waters is a pyramid, not unlike those in Egypt. Soon an archaology team takes over and the Justice League go their separate ways.

The pyramid is found to be aligned with all the other sacred sites around the globe (the Pyramids in Giza, Stonehenge, Easter Island, et. al.) and the home of The Stone King. The Stone King is awakened and come Halloween night will destroy the world and rule over the remnants of humanity. When the Justice League tries to battle the Stone King, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and The Green Lantern are trapped within stone and it is up to Batman to save them and the Earth.

The story is one of constant excitement and with the extra oomph of Graphic Audio's sound effects, music and great voice casting the excitement is even higher. And as is true with all good comic books there is some great comic relief moments so you can ease up the tension, such as when The Flash goes to save Batman after the Dark Knight is thrown by the Stone King, he puts himself into position to ease the impact of Batman. After Batman lands on him The Flash says, I will never do that again. Now in the audiobook the acting is so great that you feel the impact and the wry humor intended by this statement.

Get ready for some great entertainment and some great comic to novel action in Batman - The Stone King. I will warn you, if you listen to this audiobook in a public place or where people can see you make sure you explain why you are white knuckled or cheering on an unseen hero. Graphic Audio really puts you into the middle of the action.

Listen to the audio review below:

Click here to get the MP3 podcast file from

Or click on the graphic below for other sci-fi audiobook reviews...some by me..some not.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:48 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours" by Jim Butcher (Published 2006 by Pocket Star)

Yes this is a BOOK review and not a COMIC BOOK review. I have usually stayed away from novelizations of comic books. I'm not really sure why but I think it's probably because I'm a HUGE fan of comic books especially Spider-Man comics. How does that keep me away from the novels? Well, because mainly I believe strongly that the best part of the story-telling in comic books is the artwork along with the written lines of dialogue. Sure the occasional "Thwipp", "Snikt" and "Whack" make for good otomotopeiaic words and look cool when printed in the cool font on the page, but comic books actually have great dialogue and big words. As a side note I knew an English Professor that would "force" his students to read comic books because of the structure and word use.

That all being said, I've just never thought that reading a novel of a comic book hero would have that same oomph. Enter Jim Butcher. I've been reading (and reviewing) Jim Butcher's series of novels, "The Dresden Files," and his adventures of the Wizard Harry Dresden are great books. Harry Dresden is everyman, except he has powers, and instead of going off and getting rich, he chooses to help people with his powers. With great power comes great responsibility.....hmmm....I know that's Spider-Man's credo but that is also what Harry Dresden lives by. So, when I saw that Jim Butcher had authored a Spider-Man novel I thought that it was a sign that I must read it. I'm a Jim Butcher Fan, I'm a Spider-Man fan (btw, I was a Spider-Man fan loooooong before those movies came out) and Jim Butcher knows how to present a hero as a human with a normal life as well as kicking evil villain butt.

I was not let down with this book. The great writing style of Jim Butcher and the life of Peter Parker/Spider-Man turned out to be a very entertaining and exciting read.

In "The Darkest Hours" one of Spider-Man's worst enemies comes back to haunt him, except it's actually that enemy's family that seeks revenge. A few years ago J. Michael Straczynski, the man that brought the epic space opera "Babylon 5", wrote for a stretch of Spider-Man comics and created a villian named Morlun that fed on superhumans that had animal know like SPIDER-Man. Morlun was invincible and nearly killed Spider-Man, but of course Spider-Man came out the victor. Morlun was a what has been deemed an "Ancient." Now three more "Ancients" appear on the scene and seek revenge for Morlun's death.

Spider-Man is warned by Black-Cat, aka Felicia Hardy, which Spider-Man converted her from criminal to "good-guy" and had a love interest in. Black-Cat warns Spidey that the Rhino is rampaging in New York only to get Spidey's attention, so someone can trap the web-slinger. Those someones are the Ancients, and they want to drain Spidey's life force to keep themselves alive and extract revenge.

Spidey seeks out Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, but the good ole Doc can't least not outright...because that would throw off the balance of good and evil. So without helping his major domo slips Spidey some rocks that may or may not help. He also offers the advice that Spidey needs to learn not to work alone.

In order for the Ancients not to harm his wife or millions of other innocents, Spider-Man agrees to meet them with one final battle. Spidey has a few tricks up his red and blue sleeve and with a major battle that can't be missed this book creates all the excitement of any comic book.

Give it a may find it pretty fun. If your first response is that's not my type of book, then you are the first person that should give this book a read. You'll thank me when you do.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:33 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

DVD Review: "Justice League - The New Frontier"

The next installment of the DC universe original animated movies soars onto shelves when Warner Home Video releases- Justice League: The New Frontier on February 26, 2008, and let me be the first to tell you it is pretty darn good. At the end of this review I will tell you how 2 lucky winners will get their very own copy of this DVD.

Normally, I'm a pure Marvel fan, but right now I will confess my secret fan-boy craving for The Flash and sometimes Green Lantern. This DVD had a treat for me with those two characters being featured, so I gave it a chance, and I was not let down.

The story and the artwork on this film are superb. The artwork had that classic 50s feel to it but at the same time meeting with today's High Definition standards. The scenery was complex and beautifully drawn. The same goes for the heroes. Not your primary colors only scheme here, this film really captured the colors of the costumes and even kept them toned down so as not to have that campiness that comic book heroes can have. (Remember the 60s Batman TV series? 'Nuff Said.) It also manages to be dark but not too dark like, say for instance the Spawn animated series. There are moments like when Hal Jordan (soon to be Green Lantern) kills a Korean soldier. The blood does splatter but the moment passes and the scene is not dwelt upon. But I'm starting to give away some of the story so let me give you some more background before the synopsis.

This movie is inspired by the best-selling graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke and produced by the multiple Emmy(r) award winning animation legend, Bruce Timm, The New Frontier is the epic tale of the founding of the Justice League. Superman, Batman, The Flash and Wonder Woman are all here of course, and so are Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter whose incredible origins are told. Strangers at first, these very different heroes must overcome fear and suspicion to forge an alliance against a monster so formidable, even the mighty Superman cannot stop it. If they fail, our entire planet will be "cleansed" of humanity.

The graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke re-envisioned the DC heroes as getting their start in the 50s in the height of "The Communist Scare," "McCarthyism" and the end of the Korean War. This movie, written by Stan Berkowitz captures that idea and really punches home the idea that the heroes have other things to worry about other than just fighting crime. For instance, The Flash wears a RED is for commies. So as you can see suspicion can be a formidable foe especially if one wears a mask.
It is 1953, and the US is coming off yet another war, and the start of the cold war. The Justice Society has been disbanded, with members hunted by the government in an era of McCarthyism. People are suspicious of each other and their motives. Even the super heroes question what is right and wrong.

Despite all the turmoil, heroes like Batman work underground as a mysterious cult envelopes the world and clues about something called, "The Centre" may spell doom for mankind. Along the way, characters such as Hal Jordan, John Jones - the Martian Manhunter, Flash trying to fight off this unknown enemy.
A scientist tries to make contact with what could be life on Mars; instead he beams back John Jones, a real live Martian. The scientist dies of heart failure due to the shock and John Jones takes on his identity and others before settling on that of a detective.

Batman is seen as suspicious by the public and unknowingly frightens children. When this secret is revealed to him, he takes on a young crime-fighting ward known as Robin.

The Green Lantern Corps, who have been fighting "The Centre" across the galaxy, give Hal Jordan a ring so he may help join the fight, thus becoming the Green Lantern.

Many more heroes are revealed throughout the movie including some Golden age heroes. It was actually fun to sit and try to identify the many heroes.
One final note about the film itself...HOLY ENSEMBLE CAST, BATMAN. The actors voicing the heroes are just as great as the heroes themselves. One of my favorite actors Miguel Ferrer is the voice of John Jones (btw, in the comics the name was Jon Jonnz) the Martian Manhunter, David Borreanz (you know, Angel the vampire) is Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, Neal Patrick Harris (yes Doogie Houser, will he ever not be Doogie?) is Barry Allen/The Flash, John Heard is Ace Morgan, Lucy Lawless is Wonder Woman, Kyle MacLachlan is Clark Kent/Superman, Joe Mantegna makes an appearance as a crooner, Kyra Sedgwick is Lois Lane and Brooke Shields is Carol Ferris.

Now let's talk a bit about the DVD extras, there's one really cool feature called "Super Heroes United!" this features a great comprehensive history of the DC comics universe. There's even some mention of Marvel comics and the world's greatest comic hero creator Stan Lee makes his appearance, as well as Fantastic Four creator Marv Wolfman. Oh yeah and all the big names from DC as well. So you can see it's clearly bi-partisan comics in action.
The double disc set has even more extras like; "The Legion of Doom-The Pathology of a Super-Villain," "Comic Book Commentary" pays homage to the fans of the New Frontier books and Justice League Unlimited animated series bonus episodes.

This DVD is a must have for any comics fan...even Marvel fans. I sat with my 7 year old son and watched this movie and we had a blast watching the great heroes in some great action. By the way the Centre is one really cool creature...Superman cannot defeat this massive villain.

Okay now for the part some of you have been mean waiting for. So do you want to win your very own copy? It's easy and maybe fun. I will have 2 winners, so there will be two contests.

Contest 1 is what I like to call "Share the Joy/Link." All you have to do is repost the link to this review in as many places you can think of, blogs, bulletin boards, and MySpace comments, anywhere. Once you have done that email me and let me know you have done so and provide me with the links so that I can verify the posting. The person with the most shared links is the winner of the first contest.

Contest 2 is a random drawing. I will place the names of all the people who comment on this review into a hat and draw out...better yet I'll have my son draw out a name and I will contact you to let you know you won.

So there you have it 2 contests, 2 winners.
Good Luck!!

The drawing will be held on the date the DVD is released February 26, 2008
Winners will be notified no later than February 29th, 2008.

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posted by Gil T. @ 3:00 AM Comments: 3

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Win the New Justice League movie on DVD from me.

The next installment of the dc universe original ANIMATED movies soars onto shelves when warner home video releases- Justice League: The New Frontier –ON february 26, 2008 !

And I will have your chance to win your own copy.

I will be posting the contest on the following sites:

Great for comic book fans of all ages your chance to win a DVD of Justice League: The New Frontier. Details coming soon.

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posted by Gil T. @ 3:20 AM Comments: 0