The Ultimates² is an incredible book. From writing, to art, ink, and colors, every single aspect of the book is working to tell an inventive, surprising, and gratifying superhero story. To really delve into what makes this new incarnation of Ultimates so great some words should be said about the several previous series with the same title. The original Ultimates was a fresh, edgy, and highly successful spin on a classic Avengers story. Its sequel was also quite good, and while the third series was a dud, the name Ultimates still carries weight. It implies a certain amount of shiny newness, a rejiggering of the status quo. While the original comic helped shift the Ultimate Marvel landscape into dark and gritty territory, this new book seems to be attempting something similar with the cosmic side of Marvel. While such an idea will likely turn some readers off, to those who are excited by the idea it feels like a return to the glory days of cosmic Marvel, when Annihilus invaded the Negative Zone, the Guardians of the Galaxy were just a plucky reboot, and Quasar still appeared in comic books.
Champions is one of the most exciting new books to come out of the current crop of Marvel NOW! releases. Writer Mark Waid assembles a team featuring many of the most promising young new heroes in comics. Ms. Marvel, Nova, Spider-Man, Cyclops, Vision, and Hulk in their original incarnations would be exactly the sort of temporary superhero team that would last a year and fizzle out. Luckily for readers, Marvel, and Waid, have put serious effort into developing these new young heroes, finally giving them a team of their own. Miles Morales has become a worthy successor to Peter Parker. Nova, in much the same way, functions as a softer version of Richard Ryder. Ms. Marvel, hot off a top spot in Civil War II and featured in far too many team-ups lately, actually feels like a crucial member of the Champions team. Hulk, in this case the “Totally Awesome” Amadeus Cho, is quite different from the original, serving as both brains and brawn. Lastly is Viv Vision, an excellent character whose presence also manages to save the amazing Vision family from total comic book extinction, is a welcome addition, acting as the team’s Jarvis and Kitty Pride combined. Each of these heroes brings something new to the table, each one representing a new direction for Marvel, while also being reminders of heroes past. Champions is a book filled with legacy, a reaction to the superhero teams of old. It aims to be to the youth of today what X-Men was to the youth of the 80’s.
The triangle is a mystical shape. It lies between the circle, representing woman, and the square, representing man. It is the shape of mages, wizards, and cults. It can be found hiding in the periphery of U.S. dollars, where it surrounds the Eye of the Beholder, containing its scopeless view. For ages man has used the triangle to advance science, from the theorem of Pythagoras to the inventions of Hipparchus, whose Trigonometry persists today as an essential mathematical study, triangles are a shape consistently at the forefront of discovery.
The triangle is also the strongest geometric shape. Stacked together, it forms diamonds. It is the shape of suspension bridges; the shape of towers, pyramids, and ziggurats. The triangle is also holy, it represents a coalition of benevolence, the father, the son, and the holy ghost.
A trinity though, is a triangle composed of people.
DC recognizes the timeless power of this shape, and wisely recognizes the timelessness of their three most prominent heroes. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are comics, their iconography synonymous with the artform, but they are more than symbols. Continue reading The Best of DC Rebirth #1: Trinity→
Chicago is the next city up for grabs in our 2016 Tune Tournament. Unlike the previous two cities, Chicago features one underdog and one veteran going head-to-head in a match to decide who moves on to the Final Four.
Edamame defeated Whitney in another upset, whose golden days have run out. Meanwhile, windy city post-rock veterans, Tortoise, have also managed to topple hip-hop up-and-comer Joey Purp in the Sweet Sixteen. Both groups have something to prove, but only one can be victorious.
The fourth round of the 2016 Tune Tournament moves on to London, where two underdogs have risen up to defeat their more established opponents.
The History of Apple Pie have been quiet for over two years. Are they on hiatus? Are they working on new material? No one really knows, but we do know that they’ve conquered every challenger they’ve faced thus far. Their next opponent has considerable momentum though, as Kero Kero Bonito bested James Blake in yet another stunning upset in the Sweet Sixteen. Both of these bands are on the rise, but one must fall.
Four artists from Chicago move on from Round 2 of our Tune Tournament to do battle in the Sweet Sixteen. All four are also included in our Mixcloud Mix just for making it this far. While triumph in the Windy City was a breeze for some, others missed their chance at victory. Here are the results of Round 2.
Edamame trounced Jim O’Rourke by a 4-1 margin, while Whitney was golden against Twin Peaks. Which group will move on in Matchup 1 of the Sweet Sixteen? Meanwhile, Tortoise stomped Andrew Bird, who just didn’t have the legs to beat the veteran Post-Rock outfit. Now they face off against Joey Purp, who narrowly defeated Chance The Rapper in Chicago’s biggest upset of Round 2.
Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Saturday, December 10 at noon.
The four Londonites who survived Round 2 of our Tune Tournament now get the chance to face off. However, just for making it this far, each of these four artists are being rewarded with an appearance on our Sweet Sixteen Mixcloud, a prestigious honor to be sure. But let’s get down to the music shall we?
Kero Kero Bonito continues to upset, beating Jungle, whose luck apparently ran out. But can they graduate to a higher grade against the timely James Blake, who defeated Underworld in a triumph of youth over experience? Meanwhile, La Roux failed to dial in a victory against Factory Floor, who now do battle against the pallbearers of Burial, shoegaze outfit The History of Apple Pie.
Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these matchups close on Thursday, December 8 at noon.
Matchup 1: Kero Kero Bonito – “Graduation” vs. James Blake – “My Willing Heart”
This year’s Tune Tournament hit the higher seeds in London hard. Florence + The Machine, AlunaGeorge, and Hot Chip were all defeated in stunning upsets. Thankfully such twists only help to make the tournament more exciting.
This round sees Kero Kero Bonito, who toppled Florence + The Machine by a 4-1 margin, face off against Jungle, whose luck might just run out against the “Graduation” juggernaut. James Blake and Underworld also go toe-to-toe in a battle of electronic supremacy, while Factory Floor and La Roux do much of the same in their matchup. The most interesting battle however, will be dubstep master Burial, whose new 12″ leaked just a bit too late to be considered for our year-end list, taking on shoegaze revivalists The History of Apple Pie. May the best band win!
Who moves on to the Sweet Sixteen? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Thursday, December 1 at noon.
Matchup 1: Kero Kero Bonito – “Graduation” vs. Jungle – “Lucky I Got What I Want”
The second city to be in the spotlight for this year’s Tune Tournament is London. Famous for being the hometown of countless musical legends, including The Clash, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones. These days London is home to a thriving and diverse music scene, with superstars and popular indie acts both hailing from its many storied neighborhoods.
With its iconic half-dome facade and classical ivory interior, Brixton Academy happens to be one of London’s most essential cultural landmarks, as well as the venue for a massive 70th anniversary birthday celebration for the recently departed legend, David Bowie, who was also born in Brixton. That twofold connection to this year’s Tune Tournament makes it the perfect venue to spotlight in a city absolutely full of incredible places to see live music.
Who moves on to the round of 32? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Thursday, November 24 at noon.
Matchup 1: Florence + The Machine – “Queen of Peace” vs. Kero Kero Bonito – “Graduation”
The Immortal Iron List exists to emphasize those things which stand out among their peers. Those things which are a little different in a huge way. Like the hero The List is named for, it stands as a testament to the immortality of ideas. The List might be ranked, it might not. It might be humorous, or it might not. The only thing The List always is, is Iron, definitive and everlasting.
1. Vektor – Terminal Redux
Vektor not only has achieved the feat of best metal album cover of the year, they have created perhaps the best metal album of the decade with Terminal Redux. The cover does the album justice, suggesting an endless, dangerous space from which a colossal, evil presence emerges. Metal album covers have always tried to achieve a balance of badass and intellectual, or at the very least edgy and weird. Terminal Redux accomplishes everything that a metal album cover should aspire to be, and it helps that the album contained is one of the finest the genre has to offer. In the fine words of hltchk “I want to play the video game of this album cover.”Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Metal Album Covers: 2016→