I've been working like a dog, on both real work and the novel, so that leaves me less and less time to grace you with my presence. But now, here I am, and I bring you my product reviews o' the week. In no particular order:
WHAT YOU SHOULD SEE AT THE MOVIES
Serenity. "Take me out / To the black / Tell 'em I ain't comin' back / Burn the land / Boil the sea /You can't take the sky from me." A phenomenal film that is so far into its science fiction roots that you can't really tell what genre it's supposed to be. It's equal parts straight drama, space voyage, western, and love story, with a delicious ensemble cast. I guarantee you most people won't "get" it, but that's all right: we're not "most people," are we? If you haven't seen the TV series whence it came, Firefly, fear not: the story is so engaging, the characters so appealing, you won't feel you've missed a thing. The film is just that shiny. (That's future-speak for "cool.") Although I wished a few characters had gotten more screen time (who wouldn't want to see more of the luscious Morena Baccarin as futuristic wh--Companion, Inara Serra?), filmmaker Joss Whedon explains more than enough of the series' mysteries in a satisfying fashion than I could've hoped for, and gives plenty of suggestions as to the rest. (If you haven't found Book's backstory by now, gose, you're just not looking hard enough.) This film isn't just the best sci-fi excursion of the year; it's the best gorram sci-fi story of the decade, if not longer. So saddle up to the local B.O., padnuh, or Hulk will smash.
And no, I'm not just spreading the love because I've met the entire crew of the Serenity--yup, I've met Nathan, Gina, Adam, Jewel, Morena, Ron, Sean, Summer, Alan, and Joss. Remind me to tell you where.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BUY ON DVD
Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season. A smart, savvy detective show with a season-long arc a la Buffy, the show stars spunky blonde ingenue Kristen Bell as the titular heroine, determined to solve a web of mysteries centered around the death of her best friend, Lily Kane, that reaches into the lives of just about everyone she knows--from her detective father and absentee mother, to her ex-boyfriend, Lily's brother, to Lily's ex-boyfriend and his movie star family, to Lily's family, all the bases are covered. Each episode also covers a smart (did I say that already?) mystery in the space of one hour. Creator Rob Thomas nearly one-ups Joss for one-hour dramas here, but yes, I do like spooky stuff muy better. Give it time. Anyway, the six-disc set from Warner has some sparse extras, but the content is terrific, and hasn't disappointed yet...even though I'm just one disc into the six (and I only watched half-a-season when the show aired...nevermind, I plan to make up for that mistake this weekend!). Yours for a paltry $38 at the local Best Buy, if you've got your Rewards card. (Oh, Best Buy, where are my kickbacks?)
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE READING
Infinite Crisis #1 (DC Comics). Try and imagine a world where superheroes are nearly as reviled as the villains they fight; a world where the world's greatest heroes, the paragons of virtue and all that is right, are at each other's throats over the methods they employ to flush out the criminal element. Who can save superhumanity from itself? Who can restore order and bring the Earth, nay, the very cosmos back to some semblance of balance? This is the predicament posed by writer Geoff Johns and artists Phil Jiminez and Andy Lanning, and it's nothing short of stunning; the true successor to the biggest, baddest hunk of comic book melodrama ever told, Crisis on Infinite Earths, from 1985. In more ways than one.
See, this is why I'm using more than one paragraph: it's really that good. Batman has been spying on superhumanity ever since he found out that his fellow Justice Leaguers, when they wiped the memories of the Secret Society of Super-Villains many years ago, also wiped his mind. See, folks: Batman is paranoid for a reason. And Superman, well, he's been mind-controlled by someone the JLA trusted. When Wonder Woman saved humanity from a rampaging Superman, that's when the crap really began to fly: she killed the culprit, and now the whole world knows, and hence, fears the heroes aren't as goody-goody as they seemed. On top of the drama between the three key players, of course, the super-villains have banded together to ensure no further memory-wiping occurs; magic runs out of control as the spirit of God's wrath, the Spectre, tears across the cosmos; and, of course, there's a big space war happening that's destabilized the very center of the known universe.
I wish I could spoil the finale to #1, but I can't: it's, again, just that good. I nearly cried. I definitely shook with excitement. Word to those considering picking this book up: it's the return of the greatest hero of all time. More than that, it also shows why DC is the best there is at telling stories involving multiple timelines and realities. (Sorry, Marvel!) Yes, that's right: it's more than a name-only sequel to that original Crisis. The only thing to get me even close to this giddy this week was the lead-in book, Villains United #6. So yeah, this one's got it all: a great, universe-spanning story, plenty of action, and yes, lush art. And that last page...!
That's it; I daren't say more. Trust me on this, guys and dolls: if you're to be counted among the cool, don't miss this junk.