New Comics: Steve Rogers

At the conclusion of the recent Pleasant Hill event we learned that there was room in the Marvel Universe for three Captain Americas. The most recently anointed Cap, Sam Wilson (formerly known as The Falcon), still carries the shield (and the wings) and has been doing his damnedest to uphold the legacy. The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes, who had taken on the role subsequent to the first Civil War, is leading the new Thunderbolts. And Steve Rogers, youthful vigor restored by a sentient Cosmic Cube, has a new shield with a classic design, and a share of the responsibility that comes along with wielding it.

We’ve also learned that there’s room on the comic book shelf for multiple Captain America books. Week 34 of All New All Different Marvel debuts Captain America: Steve Rogers, in which Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz tackle everything from the Pleasant Hill fallout to the underground swell of Red Skull’s Hydra resurgence. With this first issue, Spencer, who has also been writing the hell out of Captain America: Sam Wilson, may be establishing himself as the Captain America scribe for the 21st century. Sam isn’t the only one living up to a legacy.

An opening action sequence involving a suicide bomber on a train channels classic Joe Simon and Stan Lee bravado, while the goofball villainy of Baron Zemo’s latest recruits is a tip of the cap to Jack Kirby’s later work on Cap’s solo book. The social commentary of Mark Gruenwald and Steve Englehart resonates in Red Skull’s all-too-real rendition of Take Back America, and the final few pages offer up a jaw-dropping plot twist a la Ed Brubaker. No, I’m not spoiling it for you. I do as I’m told.

Continue reading New Comics: Steve Rogers

DC Universe: Rebirth #1

IMG_0732IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

It’s all Alan Moore’s fault.

There have been three major events in the world of comics:

1. Action Comics #1 (1938): Superman is introduced to the world [The Golden Age begins]

2. Showcase #1 (1956): The first appearance of The Flash [The Silver Age begins]

3. The Dark Knight Returns #1 / Watchmen #1 (1986): The deconstruction of the superhero and the introduction of reality into the four-colored world [The Bronze Age begins]

In 1986, the one-two punch of Dark Knight and Watchmen knocked us all out. True works of art that redefined what comic books could do and should do. But something went wrong. These two testaments became the gospel that the industry followed religiously. Left unchecked for decades, the world of comics became shrouded in darkness and despair. Heroes that once inspired hope became tainted by “our” world and no one seemed to know how to stop it. Continue reading DC Universe: Rebirth #1

Tunes of the Month – May

These last few months have been spent reminiscing over fifteen years of list-making, CD-stomping, and favorite music lobbying, while revisiting lots of Idle Time-approved bands in the process. As luck would have it, some of those artists have made recent returns to the studio, and our early working lists of favorite recordings has us partying like it’s 2004. May’s Tunes of the Month is a rousing Welcome Back, featuring new songs by veteran bands, some of whom have been riding the wave from cassette mixtaping to CD playlist-burning through online Mixcloud streaming. The more things change, and all that…

Speaking of Mixcloud, bookmark Idle Time’s new page, future home of all of these playlists, from the five-track Tunes of the Month mini-jams to the LP-length Playlist By Committee compilations.

The Thermals – “Hey You”

OB-GD17-001.pdfThe new Thermals’ LP, We Disappear, is their best since ’06’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine and one of my favorite releases in the young year. This single, taken from the album, is major standout, and it even got a sweet 7″ release for Record Store Day (the B-side is killer too). And, by the way, kee-rist. Y’all are one of the best punk bands of our generation. Put out some more seven-inches fer crying out loud. Continue reading Tunes of the Month – May

You Win or You Die: Season 6, Episode 5 Scoring Update

Last week I rather overzealously predicted five killings in this week’s episode. While my prediction was certainly way off, the emotional weight of losing the two characters that we did certainly felt like five.

While the death of Hodor was soul-crushing to say the least, it didn’t have much of an impact on the overall scoring. It was Hodor’s first appearance since we began so MMDG only lost out on one point. The real shakeup came courtesy of the Night’s King himself. Tyranofloresrex’s team got right back in the action with that huge kill of the Three-Eyed Raven. With the Night’s King getting the Kill Point and stealing all of the Raven’s Appearance Points, we are now starting to feel the brutal weight of important characters being killed off by other important characters.

It’s also likely we could have seen the last of a few characters for a while. Dany’s touching demand of Jorah to find a cure for himself could mean he might be out for the season, while Dolorous Edd holds down the Night’s Watch so the rest of the Wall party can go build themselves an army.

Standings Week 5

It’s MeanOldPig’s second death in three weeks, and while his gallows artwork was a fitting tribute to Ser Alliser, his Three-Eyed Raven has now officially set the bar for what we should be expecting after these deaths. MMDG’s “Hold the Door” tat just pours salt in the Hodor-sized wound in our collective heart.

Full scoring update is below. Continue reading You Win or You Die: Season 6, Episode 5 Scoring Update

Dine with Tyrion: Herb-Roasted Chicken

Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we. When Tyrion is journeying back down from the Wall, he runs into Catelyn at an inn at the Crossroads, while she is secretly traveling back to Winterfell from King’s Landing.

Lannister glanced at the nearest tables. “My men will have whatever you’re serving these people. Double portions, we’ve had a long hard ride. I’ll take roast fowl – chicken, duck, pigeon, it makes no matter. And send a flagon of your best wine…”
This week Tyrion recommends a roasted chicken. Pair with a flagon of your favorite Chianti.

Continue reading Dine with Tyrion: Herb-Roasted Chicken

Fifteen Years of Idle Time: The Bonfire

Last month, on a characteristically can’t-make-up-its-mind Saturday, with spring sunshine jockeying with wind and fog, we assembled on Ocean Beach to celebrate fifteen years of Idle Time nonsense. The original three hadn’t been in the same place since a fantasy baseball draft in 2014, and our core four likely hadn’t been together since those traumatizing rock ‘n roll roulette sessions in the back room of Ink way back in 2012.

LDG: "This is what you look like. Crazy people."
LDG: “This is what you look like. Beach surgeons in an outdoor operating room. Or crazy people.”

This was also the first ever in-person assemblage of both the O.G. Idle Timers and the next-generation of enthusiastic souls, plus friends and wayward, woebegone blog contributors. It’s never easy to get perfect attendance (heretofore impossible, really), and the Doodle calendaring went on for weeks. But, for this particular get-together, having us all together was essential. We were finally going to do it. After three failed attempts dating back to 2009, Idle Time’s Ultimate Mixtape was so close to realization. And we were going to stay on that goddam beach until we had ranked the whole fucking thing.

Continue reading Fifteen Years of Idle Time: The Bonfire

New Comics: Civil War II

Marvel’s big summer event, teased two weekends ago for Free Comic Book Day and hinted at in various prologue-style tie-ins these last few weeks, finally gets it’s official beginning.

Okay, so it’s technically issue “#0” of Civil War II, but this clearly is where things get started. Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel, the team behind the outstanding event mini-series House of M and the far less memorable Siegereturn with a sequel, of sorts, to Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s seminal Civil War. Just in time to cash in on all the attention garnered by the new Captain America movie, naturally. We know how Marvel operates.

We also know that it’s a rare feat to come up with some truly original storylines in the capes-n-tights universes, so maybe we can forgive this creative team for, once again, rehashing old plot devices and trigger points. Or another way to look at it, I suppose, is that it’s Week 33 of All New All Different Marvel, which seems far too soon to give up on being either new or different. Whatever the case, here we go again. A tragic explosion and massive loss of life (see the aforementioned Civil War and Siege) results in a major moral quandary and divisive dilemma for the superpowered set.

What is different, and in keeping with a major development in this Marvel relaunch, is the role of the Inhuman population and that mysterious floating cloud of Terrigen mist. Deadly to mutants, but capable of unlocking latent alien powers in a certain percentage of humanity, the mist, and the awesome potential that it represents, is at the center of both the inciting event and the story as a whole.

Continue reading New Comics: Civil War II

You Win or You Die: Season 6, Episode 4 Scoring Update

Last Sunday was Bay to Breakers in SF, the only Sunday of the year you’ll likely see more rampant nudity than on Game of Thrones. After stumbling and bumbling our way home from the drunken masses, we were able to settle in and view episode 4.

While there were no important killings this week, we did get to see some new faces this season that helped bolster a few teams’ scores. The first appearances of Littlefinger and Sansa brought the Masters of Cwnage up to 9 points, tying for second place with Limb-itless. Jorah’s scaly secret is out of the bag now, at least for Daario, so that adds some additional intrigue to LDG’s team. However, it’s LDG’s last draft pick, Ramsay, who makes one of the biggest power plays in the episode that could bring this series to a boil. His letter to Jon Snow was ruthless, and having Sansa read the final bit aloud makes the battle for Winterfell seem all that much closer.

Standings Week 4

While the Mountain failed to show up to do any skull bashing, picking up an entire Dothraki army, I feel, was a fair compromise for rengstorff’s team.

It was a fairly calm episode overall so I’m assuming at least five people will die next Sunday.

Full scoring update is below. Continue reading You Win or You Die: Season 6, Episode 4 Scoring Update

The Immortal Iron Review: A Moon Shaped Pool

moonshapedpool.jpg
A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead is a band obsessed with reinvention. There are few groups in the history of recorded music that have released back-to-back albums as different as OK Computer and Kid A, and often drastic changes in sound are a result of desperation rather than inspiration. A Moon Shaped Pool luckily stands in a place similar to In Rainbows, a cumulative review of the sounds various band members have come to master in their years off. Jonny Greenwood has spent the better part of the new millennium composing film scores. He brings his accomplished string arrangements to the forefront of album opener “Burn the Witch,” and few songs go by without a touch of emotion courtesy of the newly prominent string department. Likewise the band’s rhythm section, all too often overlooked when discussing the high levels of musicianship present in Radiohead, lays down simplistic beats whose complexity lies in their ability to work alongside Greenwood’s thick strings and Thom Yorke’s vocals that hang over the album.  Continue reading The Immortal Iron Review: A Moon Shaped Pool

Dine with Tyrion: Garlic & Butter Crab

A new episode is upon us. Although we aren’t sure who will die tonight (no one from team Limb-itless, that’s for sure), we can be sure Tyrion will have drink in hand. “That’s what I do. I drink and know things.”

Brought to you by Tyrion himself, or at least what I think he would say, is a new segment: Dine with Tyrion. Each week he will bring you a new culinary pairing from his adventures. This week his recommendation comes from his visit to the wall.

Mormont picked up a crab claw and cracked it in his fist. Old as he was, the Lord Commander still had the strength of a bear. “You’re a cunning man, Tyrion. We have need of men of your sort on the Wall.”
Tyrion grinned. “Then I shall scour the Seven Kingdoms for dwarfs and ship them to you, Lord Mormont.” As they laughed, he sucked the meat from a crab leg and reached for another. The crabs had arrived from Eastwatch only this morning, packed in a barrel of snow, and they were succulent.

Continue reading Dine with Tyrion: Garlic & Butter Crab

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