Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Recommendations: What to Watch and Read

Trying to find things to watch or read this summer? Well here is a list of some 5 shows or movies on DVD or Blu-ray and comics in trade paperback to read that I recommend getting for the summer:

DVDs/Blu-ray:

  1. Avatar: The Last Airbender Seasons 1-3 – Even though this is a show produced by Nickelodeon by watching a few episodes of this cartoon/anime, it's hard to classify it as one of the two, you would not be able to tell. It is a story about a world that is split into four nations: the Water Tribe, the Air Nomads, the Fire Nation, and the Earth Kingdom. In each nation there are some people called 'Benders' that are able to manipulate the element corresponding to their nation (Waterbending, Airbending, Firebending, and Earthbending). While most 'Benders' can only use one element there is a one person born every generation, called the Avatar, that can bend all of these elements. The story revolves around the latest Avatar a twelve year old named Aang who is the last remaining Airbender, won't spoil why that is, in his quest to stop the Fire Nation who now control most of the world and are trying to control the parts that they don't. This series is split into three seasons, all out on DVD. The show is masterfully done with its epic story, some of the best fighting choreography, and all out stunning animation that you will be hooked on the show.

  2. Chuck Season 1 – Maybe one of the most underrated show that was close to cancellation after its second season this year, but luckily it will come back for a third season. This is a great comedy/action show that center's around an everyman-type character named Chuck, obviously, whose life changes after his ex-friend turned nemesis, or so he thinks, sends him a program that basically installs a computer in his brain with a bunch of government secrets. The CIA and NSA find out Chuck has all of their information and each sends their best agent to protect him, one of which is named Sarah who may be the hottest woman on TV ;). Even though I might not have done the show justice with my brief synopsis of the show it is still a very entertaining show that has some great comedy and action.

  3. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete (Blu-ray) – If you're as big of a Final Fantasy as I am this Blu-ray is a must have. Even though the movie came out on DVD a few years back this new release on Blu-ray actually has 30 minutes of more footage inserted into the film. And all of the CGI work on this movie is just breathtaking. Even if you're not a Final Fantasy fan I can guarantee that this will probably be one of the best looking movies you will have in your collection. All of the CGI work on this movie will make you jealous at how beautiful everything looks.

  4. PSYCH Season 1-3 – Now officially the third season won't be released on DVD until next until next week this is still a great comedy show about a guy who uses his heighten observational skills to make people believe he is a psychic. Even though this is a crime show it is not to be taken as one as the mysteries only help to lead the main characters through some great comedy and should not be taken seriously. And if you're a fan of a lot of 80s and early 90s movies and TV shows this is one show that has a bunch of references to those movies and TV shows which works great with the comedy.

  5. The Spectacular Spider-Man Season 1 – If you are looking for the best comic book cartoon there is, next to Batman: The Animated Series, then look no further than The Spectacular Spider-Man. This is the show that any fan of Spider-Man, young or old, will enjoy. The creators behind this show nailed every aspect that made Spider-Man one of the most popular comic book characters. This show is just pure fun. The first season just came out on DVD which contains all thirteen episodes and is only $20. I definitely recommend buying or renting this show as I sure even the mild Spider-Man fan will enjoy.
Trade Paperbacks/Comics:
  1. Astonishing X-Me Vol. 2 – For all of its delays Joss Whedon and John Cassaday run on Astonishing X-Men was maybe one of the best X-Men runs in the past decade. This hardcover collects the last two story arcs of their run and for all of the problems with the current X-Men this, along with the first two story arcs, is definitely a must for any X-Men fan. And if you are looking to get into comics and/or the X-Men this is a collection that can get you into these characters without having to buy much more than this and the previous volume/softcovers of Whedon and Cassaday's run.

  2. Batman: Hush – Now I put this trade on the list for new comic book readers than the older ones. Say what you will about Jeph Loeb's current work but there was a time when he was a competent writer and his Batman: Hush storyline is a very good read and a great jumping on point for new readers. Even though the current direction of Batman has someone else under the cowl, Dick Grayson, Loeb's Batman: Hush is a good way to get into comics. And even for Batman fans this is a good storyline that while having its weak moments was an overall well told and entertaining story.

  3. Immortal Iron Fist Omnibus – This omnibus collects all of Fraction and Brubaker's run on this title that was vastly underrated when first released. Fraction and Brubaker do a great job reinventing Iron Fist to be a much more appealing and powerful character than he was before. Through their run they tell a great narrative and if you are a fan of old school martial art movie fan and a shonen manga fan this is a great series to get you into comics.

  4. Stephen King's Marvel comic novels (Dark Towers and The Stand) – While it has been about 6 or 7 years since I read Stephen King's Dark Towers and The Stand book this reminded me of everything that was great about that novel. Even though these collections do not hit every plot point from the book, which would be impossible to do in a comic, it is still able to capture the setting and tone of the novel perfectly. Dark Towers has some great artwork by Jae Lee this is definitely a couple trades/hardcovers that will look great in your collection.

  5. X-Men/Spider-Man – This mini-series is one of my favorite mini-series that came out last year. If you are a Spider-Man or X-Men fan this is a great mini that spans the different eras of both franchises from the beginning to the pre-Dark Reign stuff. This is a series that definitely provides the necessary nostalgia and reminds you why you love these character. If nothing else this is a mini-series that is beautifully drawn by Mario Alberti whose art style is a bit reminiscent of how Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko use to draw the characters.
  6. edit - Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader - I decided to add this trade on the list after considering how great the story is and it is a story that all readers can enjoy. It is a story that explore all of the Dark Knights history and how much the character has meant to the lives of so many people he has met. It truly is one of the best Batman stories that can be enjoyed by all especially with some great artwork from Andy Kubert.
This is just some of the things to get this summer and if there is anything on the list that you felt was left of the list let me know.

4 comments:

Andrenn said...

Nice reccomendations. I would love to pick up X-men/Spider-man if not for a few other books, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader and Magneto Testament. I think I might actually give this top priority now though with your recommendation since it does sound really great. The art especially looks amazing.

I want to start picking up the Stand HC's but I've been rather lazy about that. I also have 2 HC's of Dark Tower to pick up that I got behind on. Loved the first mini.

I didn't really think Batman: Hush was all that great. Heart of Hush was much better in my opinion. All the original Hush story had going for it was the art and I like Lee's work on All Star Batman much more.

Also not a big fan of Astonishing X-men myself. Thought it was just all right.

still really great recommendations, thanks for this.

Doug said...

I must be doing something right since I've watched 4 outta five of those.

Kevin said...

@Doug: You my friend are a smart man. Now just go out and watch the one you have yet to watch ;)

Kevin said...

@Andrenn: Thanks! Whatever Happened to the Cape Crusader and Magneto Testament were both great books and I should have put the former on the list. But for Magneto Testament I thought, while I really enjoyed it, wasn't for everyone which is what I tried to do with my picks for trades.

And The Stand was good and was a story that got betteer at the with the latter issues.

Also I still haven't read Heart of Hush yet but I put Batman: Hush on the list since it is extremely new reader friendly and a good way to get into comics just like Astonishing X-Men.