Tagged: sex

Michael Davis: A Burning Love Story

In the years I’ve been writing these rants I don’t think I’ve ever written about love.

I’ve written about sex many times but not love. I’ve always wanted to write about love but somehow never got around to it. Funny-perhaps I thought love and sex was the same thing.

Is that why I have not written about love? Have I, all these years simply assumed that love and sex were one?

Gethefuckoutofhere!

Anybody that assumes sex is love I’m willing to bet has an appointment every week that begins with being asked about their relationship with their mother or father and ends with being told their hour is up.

You may love sex but sex is not love. Trust me on this; I’m a doctor.

I’ve been in love. I suck at it. I’ve had sex. I’m pretty good at that.

How good? I’ve heard, ‘you’re my daddy’ so often someone reported me to social services who showed up at my door and asked where all my children were.

Pine Valley, in case anyone’s wondering.

I think my problem is I’m way too much of a realist. I can’t pretend something could be just because I want it to be. Then again maybe I’m too much of a romantic, I’ve often pretended something that isn’t could be.

Or maybe I’m just a motherfucking idiot clearly the above statement is a blatant contradiction and sadly its also true. I wish I would just pick a side.

Why don’t I have a weekly appointment that begins with being asked about my mother? Because someone talking about my mother is grounds for me putting my foot up that someone’s ass. Paying someone who’s going to end up with my foot in their ass seems mighty ‘crazy white people shit’ to me.

Translation: Black men don’t go to shrinks.

Damn I’m a mess.

But-if I know I’m a mess am I really a mess?  If you are aware you are crazy or you really? If I’m aware that I can’t love someone from a distance why do I think I can make a long distance relationship work? How can I be black and love the music of Florence Henderson.

Yeah.

I freely admit I love the music of Mrs. Brady and don’t give a shit who knows it.  The great thing about loving her music is I don’t have to think rather or not her music is going to fuck a bunch of guys and them blame me.

Yeah- that happened to me once, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It’s times like that when you turn to the things you love that cannot hurt you, things that cannot break your heart.

Like the music of Florence Henderson or comic books. Those things can never hurt you.

Right?

Wrong.

A funny thing happened to me the other day-my heart was broken. Broken by those I consider my extended family, fellow comic book fans.

The racism brandished on-line by some in comic fandom from the second a Black actor was cast, as Johnny Storm was agonizing for me.

It’s agonizing for all Black fandom and I dare say most comic fans of any color.

Yeah-I continue to be stupid and think people in comics, fan and professional are above this type of hatred.

I believe in my heart that the vast majority in our shared community is not what I’ve read on-line or saw in news reports.

I refuse to believe anything else.

REVIEW: Don Jon

Don JonOther than reading content here at ComicMix, we can stipulate that the Internet is for porn. There’s even a song confirming that fact. It’s easy access for free has transformed already sexist ideals of what sex is all about. An entire generation is being raised in the belief that women will drop their tops for beads, will perform sexual acts in the hopes of winning a Dare Dorm competition and professionals will do just about any act, in any position, for your, ahem, entertainment.

As a result, there are men out there who go to clubs, get laid and surprisingly remain unsatisfied. Multi-hyphenate Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been giving this kind of male some thought, dating back to 2008, and turned it into an interesting meditation on the matter in the entertaining Don Jon. Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and stars in this snapshot of the East Coast male. His Jon is a man of principals who includes taking pride in his home, his body, and in his immortal soul as witnessed by his weekly visits to the confessional. Still, he enjoys frequent one-night stands and when the women prove to be real and not the willing fantasy images on his laptop he returns there, frequently, to satisfy his needs. It’s an addiction to which he is totally blind.

He’s seemingly content with his minimum wage job in the service industry, a devoted son to his parents (Glenne Headley, Tony Danza), and lacks ambition. That begins to change when he spots the hot Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who was raised on the romcoms of the last two decades and whose expectations of the perfect mate are equally unrealistic. But they have chemistry and he before she has sex with Jon, she begins to reshape him. First, she convinces him to go to community college and then forces him to give up porn, which he tries to do but resorts to watching on his phone, even in class, which catches the amused eye of Esther (Julianne Moore). She playfully gives him a DVD of erotica which he rejects out of hand, not understanding the difference or her interest in him.

Bit by bit, we see the stresses on Jon and Barbara’s relationship which oddly shatters at Home Depot when she refuses to let him buy Swiffer refills because men don’t do that. As they drift apart, Esther, who has been recently widowed and has a more solid grip on the world, turns out to be the one who shows Jon there are ways to be satisfied with a friend/partner/lover. Their age difference barely comes up and there’s a sweetness to their story.

Gordon-Levitt plays everything on an even keel, never overly exaggerating the actions or characters, infusing each act with its own look, feel, and sound, subtly guiding the audience through Jon’s final maturation into adulthood. The performances are uniformly strong from Johansson’s gum chewing Jersey girl to Danza’s short-tempered dad.

The film, out on a combo pack (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) now from 20th Century Home Entertainment, looks great in high definition. There’s a satisfactory assortment of special features including the Making of Don Jon, where Gordon-Levitt nicely credits his varied collaborators; Don Jon’s Origin, a look at the writing process across the years; Joe’s Hats, writer, director, star; Objectified, a look at gender roles; Themes & Variations, a nice look at each act’s unique feel. Finally, there are four HitRECord Shorts, where Gordon-Levitt invited people to submit their creations on the same theme which occurred during the making of the film.

Mike Gold: Top Comics Pulls of 2013

Gold Art 131225You can tell when the year is coming to an end when media outlets start offering their various and sundry “best of” lists. We here at ComicMix are no exception, so for the third consecutive year, here’s mine.

I’ve changed from “Top 9” to my top comics pulls. This is because we no longer live in a world where any one character occupies only one title – yeah, I’m talking to you, Wolverine – and sometimes I want to note a series of character-related titles. Of the five I’m listing for 2013, three cover multiple titles. This doesn’t mean I won’t change back next year. Consistency is the hobgoblin on a small cerebral cortex.

I operate under the following self-imposed rules: I’m only listing series that either were ongoing or ran six or more issues. I’m not listing graphic novels or reprints as both compete under different criteria. I should do this as a separate piece, but I seem to have forgotten where I’ve put my memory pills. And, as always, I’m not covering Internet-only projects as I’d be yanking the rug out from under my pal Glenn Hauman, as you’ll see once again this March.

So, without further ado, my top comics pulls of the year.

Sex: Writer – Joe Casey, Artist – Piotr Kowalski, Publisher – Image Comics. I like Sex. I know lots of people who like Sex. Sex is good. Sex is great. O.K., I’m done now. This is a somewhat futuristic story about a rich semi-has-been living in Saturn City, and it’s another architecturally-driven series (hello, Mister X!). The protagonist is driven by his past who’s trying to get his act together and deal with a society that is quite unlike anything we’ve seen on this Earth. His antagonist is an ancient mobster with an unending sex life, one that gets our hero in trouble. Sitting squarely in the middle is the madam of a sex club that would have put the real Hellfire Club to shame. It’s a great journey, with the creators letting out the plot on a need-to-know basis. Ambitious stuff that actually pays off.

Hawkeye: Writer – Matt Fraction, Artists – David Aja and Annie Wu, Publisher – Marvel Comics. Our returning champion, this is about as far from a Marvel superhero title as one gets. It’s all about Clint Barton when he’s not working as an Avenger. It turns out his life is as screwed up as anybody’s in the Marvel Universe, but he’s not quite mature or grounded enough to pull his ashes out of the fire. He’s also got something of an estranged relationship with the female Hawkeye, a former Young Avenger. There’s plenty of action here, but this series is all about the characters and the issue of what, when he’s not on duty, is “normal” for a superhero.

Archie: Various writers and artists, Publisher – Archie Comics. While Marvel and DC are boring us to tears with endless reboots and mindless universe-changing highly contrived “events,” Archie Comics has been quietly taking their well-known characters on an evolutionary trip that, I think, would frighten the company’s founders. Archie Andrews is less interested in Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge and has been spending a lot of time with Valerie Smith of Josie and the Pussycats. That’s a very big deal; for the better part of 75 years the Archie-Betty-Veronica triangle has been as sacrosanct as the Clark Kent-Lois Lane-Superman triangle. Jughead left home for about a year’s worth of issues. The cast continues to expand… and they continue to launch new titles, including Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s Afterlife With Archie, which may very well be the only storyline involving zombies that I enjoy any more.

Sex Criminals: Writer – Matt Fraction, Artist – Chip Zdarsky, Publisher – Image Comics. Well, lookie here. Another Image Comic with the word SEX in the title. And, damn, another good one too. This one is actually sexier than Sex, probably a bit funnier, and exceptionally compelling. Great character work, science fictiony in the classic sense, and pretty much capeless. Plus, it’s got the best recap page ever.

The Shadow: Various writers and artists, Publisher – Dynamite Comics. When I learned how much this license was going for, I figured whomever got it would have to publish multiple titles each month in order to pay the freight. I was right, but I didn’t predict most of them would be really damn good. My favorite of the bunch is Shadow Year One, by Matt Wagner and Wilfredo Torres. There is also Chris Roberson and Andrea Mutti’s The Shadow, offering traditional 1930s-era stories, and The Shadow Now by David Liss and Colton Worley and set in contemporary times.  These books do not contradict each other. There’s also a mini-series or two that usually involves other pulp heroes, legendary and original, which dominate Dynamite’s expanding line.

Batman Li’l Gotham: Story and art – Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, Publisher – DC Comics. I’ve waxed on and on about how much I like DC’s original online comics, and most of them are quickly reprinted in traditional comic book format. Batman Li’l Gotham is my favorite of the bunch. Unlike what one might expect from the name of the book and from the artist approach, my friends at Aw Yeah! Comics have no fear of competition here. The characters are… little… and the approach is kid-friendly, but the stories are clever, entertaining and involving, and the stories aren’t padded out like most superhero books these days. The whole BatCast is featured, as are plenty of other DC Universe characters. All are unburdened by whichever version of the Official Continuity that DC may or may not be following these days.

There are plenty of other titles I would recommend, but these are the ones I pick as the ones you should check out tomorrow. Of course, your mileage may vary but, damn, finding good new stuff is why we’re comics fans in the first place.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The Tweeks!

FRIDAY MORNING: Martha Thomases

 

Weekend Window Closing Wrap-Up: December 14, 2012

poster

Closing windows on our desktops so you can you open them on yours. Here we go…

 

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

 

Emily S. Whitten: Think of the Children

whittenart 110513When it comes to reading, what is “age appropriate”? I’ve been thinking about this lately, especially after that school in New Mexico pulled Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere from its reading list and library after a mother complained about a certain passage in it.

Yes, when taken out of context, I can see how the passage might alarm a parent on first glance. It’s about sex, and it contains cursing.

However, as pointed out on the Tor blog, in context the passage is more than the smutty little interlude the complaining mother presumably thought it to be. It’s an “intimate” moment between a couple who probably wouldn’t be behaving that way if they knew there was someone sitting next to them, intended to show how literally invisible the book’s main character, Richard Mayhew, has become to those in Gaiman’s “London Above.” This scene also furthers the relationship between two characters, Richard and one of his guides in “London Below,” Anaesthesia. In the context of the book, it makes sense and it adds to the development of the story.

It’s all about context, something that seems to be ignored by those complaining about this book or demanding it be banned. Have these people even read the books in question all the way through? Maybe, but somehow I doubt it.

Now I’m not saying parents shouldn’t have a care for the media their children are consuming. I do. But, 1) parents should read the entire book before requesting it be banned; 2) parents shouldn’t use their own value system to affect what an entire school’s worth of children have access to; and 3) parents should trust a little more in the nature of print media and of children.

In regards to point three – there’s something about things that must be read that makes them different and more wonderful than any form of visual media: the reader’s imagination must be used. No matter how much the author spells out the scene, the reader must still imagine, even if not consciously, the exact way a character looks, or the smells being described, or the tone of voice being used, or the look of the scary old house on the hill, or what–have–you. Each page is another adventure for the imagination, and this element of intellectual involvement naturally and deeply engages the reader in the action. It personalizes the experience for the reader. This leads to a deeper connection with the characters and the themes at work, and with what is really important in the story.

If I was reading Neverwhere straight through, and came to the offending paragraph noted above, I would not be so concerned with what the couple was doing and the fact that the word “fuck” is used than I would be with poor Richard and his situation – his extreme loneliness, his outsider status, and the question of what is going to happen to him next. I know this because I have read Neverwhere, and, while I barely remembered the questionable passage until it became a news story, I distinctly remember Richard walking the streets of London Above and having a series of encounters like that one. I remember feeling sympathy for him, and concern, and, in terms of the two people on the bench, anger and disgust that they and the others in London Above could be so self-involved as not to see this character I’d begun to care about. That was the importance of that paragraph; not titillation or a scheme to corrupt today’s youth.

It is in the nature of print media that, if you engage with it the way the writer intends, i.e. read through the scenes in the context in which they were written, you will get something else entirely out of them than if you were to read just one paragraph, or even a few pages. In most cases, what you will get is something deeper than incidental curses used for emphasis, or a description of a slightly vulgar display used to highlight another’s loneliness. You may get an understanding of the feelings the character is dealing with – his desperation or his confusion. You may get a window into his soul and a deeper connection with the story. That is a valuable thing to experience, because in understanding others or sympathizing with them, you grow as a person.

Now, if a parent reads the whole of a book and determines that it is not something they want their children to read because it is badly written or repugnant overall, then, okay, it is their choice whether they want to shield their child from that story. Although I do not think that choice should be allowed to affect others by removing a book from a school library.

This brings me to my second point – that with most books, parents should trust a little more in the nature and intelligence their of children. Children won’t generally want to read what they’re not ready for, which is why “age appropriate” varies from child to child.

I have been a voracious reader all of my life. I read many things at ages where they would probably have been considered “inappropriate” by somebody, somewhere.

For years, I never picked up a book without finishing it. But when I was in the sixth grade I began reading The Grapes of Wrath. It was so. Darned. Depressing. Despite my innate feeling that it was somehow wrong to not finish a book once begun, I couldn’t bear to keep reading it because I wasn’t ready for it yet. I remember being actually angry at it for being something I loved, a book, and yet being full of dust and death and depression. I literally chucked it under my bed, something I would never do to a book – books are sacred! I left it there.

Two years later we were assigned The Grapes of Wrath in school. I started it again. This time I kept reading, and I wanted to. The story was still full of dust and death and depression, but now I got it. I got why it was important to read about these characters, and I cared for them because I had the capacity and maturity to care for them. I was ready.

As another example, my favorite book as a fifth grader was Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Did I understand, at that age, all of the nuances of Twain’s humor and satire? Undoubtedly not. I did, however, get enough of Hank’s humorous narration of the Arthurian court to enjoy it. I very likely learned more about humor and satire by reading it. Because I both enjoyed it and sensed that I didn’t get all of it the first time, I re-read it several times over the years, gaining more understanding of the text and of the nature of satirical humor with each reading.

That book also got me interested in the world of King Arthur, which led to my reading classics such as Le Morte d’Arthur at an age where I probably would not have otherwise. It led to my picking up Mary Stewart’s The Wicked Day on one of the pilgrimages I made with my mother each year to the storeroom where she counted up the school’s books. (My mother, being an English teacher, would go before school started each year to count up the books she wanted to teach and determine whether she needed to order more. I would go along and was allowed to wander around and borrow any books I wanted. It was a wonderful thing for a reading child.) Now that book certainly had some things in it that shocked me – there was incest and intrigue and there were family members lying to each other and literally fighting to the death. But those story elements didn’t harm me. They just expanded my worldview, as did so many other stories.

The ability that books have to expand a person’s worldview and understanding of people and places otherwise not within their immediate experience is one of the most valuable things books have to offer. Books reflect the patterns of thinking of their authors, or they reflect the writers’ views on history, or on family situations, or on any other topics you can think of. They are windows into the minds of others and into other worlds as seen through the authors’ eyes. Each of us has to grow up and live in a world filled with a mishmash of people who are not like us, but the more encounters we’ve had with people (even if they are book characters) who are not like us, or perspectives that are not like ours, the better able we may be to understand the other people we encounter in life, and to find our own places in the world. I’m not a parent, but I was a child; and I can’t even enumerate all the ways books helped me with this, and continue to help me.

So what is “age appropriate”? I don’t know, and more to the point, I don’t care. What I do care about is that children be allowed access to the books for which they are ready. I really do believe that allowing such freedom will make each child’s life, and our whole world, better.

So when you “think of the children,” think about the value they gain from reading something new and different and, yes, occasionally a little adult or shocking. Think of how much being able to see different perspectives and understand other people will help them in this world. Think about being an advocate for literature, instead of against it.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold

 

Pulp Fiction Reviews and Sweet Money Won

New Pulp Author Ron Fortier returns with another Pulp Fiction Review. This time out Ron takes a look at Sweet Money Won by Mycroft Magnusson.

SWEET MONEY WON
By Mycroft Magnusson
ISBN -13:978-1481952811
401 pages

Here’s a trick question for you.  Can any well written book ever be too long for its own good?  I would have thought that impossible until reading “Sweet Money Won.”  Which is going to make this review a delicate balancing act as I want all of you to understand how much I truly liked this book; in many, many ways.  Save one.  So allow me to applaud what is a truly superbly well crafted crime comedy reminiscent of Elmore Leonard’s best efforts.

Rick and Liam are two small time conmen living in the seedy Koreatown section of Los Angeles.  They survive hand to mouth on their meager rewards for the small cons they perpetuate, mostly on middle-class tourist visiting L.A. for the first time.  Magnusson deftly defines both their personalities so that they immediately appealed to this reader.  Liam, the smarter of the two, is the philosophical gambling addict who loves the Boston Patriots whereas Rick is the more reckless, by-the-seat-of-his-pants character who has a  problem with pornography and sex, the latter being what gets them both into a world of hurt.

When Rick takes their entire money reserve to rescue a Russian porn-princess named Svetlana, whom he’s met on-line, from her muscle-bound pimps, he puts them both in harms way.  Liam had placed a bet on a Patriot’s game, the cash being his debt should the Pats lose.  Of course the Pats lose and the Korean strong-arm bookies are none too pleased when Liam doesn’t have the money to cover his bet.  Now he and Rick have just twenty-four hours to come up with twenty thousand dollars.  It is at this point when  Svetlana agrees to help the boys by having sex with and then blackmailing a rich, up and coming congressman.

Reading “Sweet Money Won” is a truly engrossing, fun literary escapade that plays fast and loose with gunfire pacing.  Again, Magnusson’s prose is both insightful and inventive when it needs to be.  His writing is what is excellent and why I’m recommending you pick up a copy of this top-notch crime novel.

But Magnusson has to learn when scenes are extraneous and should be cut.  Any scene that does not serve the plot should be excised and there are several of these that frustrated me.  Rick’s Mexican weekend and Liam’s sports ticket scam are both unnecessary. A good editor could have trimmed this book by a hundred pages and helped shape it into an even better story.  I hope that’s a lesson he learns soon.  Rick and Liam and awesome characters and I’d love to see them in action again.

Martha Thomases and Omaha The Cat Dancer

Has it really been more than 35 years since the debut of Omaha, the Cat Dancer? That’s why it says in the introduction to Volume 8, the last of the collected series, just published by Amerotica, an imprint of NBM.

Way, way back in those pre-Internet days we found our comics by happenstance. I was lucky enough to live in New York City, and had six or seven different comic book stores within a couple of miles of my apartment. If one store didn’t have a particular title, it was likely another store would. More to the point, it was possible for someone like me, an engaged but not maniacal fan, to find a book that was totally new to me. I hadn’t read any pre-publication hype. I might not have heard of the creative team. But I could stumble upon something, and it could bring me joy.

Such was the case with Omaha, the Cat Dancer. I can no longer remember when I read it first, but I know I was on-board from the beginning. The artwork was so graceful, the characters so credible, that I barely noticed that they were anthropomorphic animals.

Omaha was infamous in its day for its frank sexuality. The characters had sex, often, and not only as a variety of gender combinations, but species combinations as well. Dogs and cats, living together! When a Chicago comic book store, Friendly Frank’s, was busted for selling an issue in 1988, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was formed.

And yet. And yet. It’s hard to imagine a combination of explicit sex and character development that would be less gratuitous. The characters in Omaha have sex because they are complicated, adult characters who do things that complicated adults do. It’s part of their lives, just like sleeping, eating, going to work, taking a walk, or breathing.

There is also a fair amount of political activism in the lives of the characters. As citizens of Mipple City, they get involved in elections and zoning issues. It’s a refreshing flashback to a time when community involvement was something adults took for granted, like sex, meals, walks, etc.

Oh, I had my quibbles. I’ve never entirely bought into the perspective that strippers are agents of revolutionary change. I kept trying to figure out if the species of animal chosen for each character had any kind of racial or ethnic or class distinction. I found it awfully convenient that a lot of characters ended up being related to each other.

But, really, I meant it when I said those were quibbles. Omaha is a wonderful character, and Omaha is a wonderful series.

The new volume is the last, containing the issues that weren’t completed at the time of writer Kate Worley’s death (too soon) from cancer. Her husband, James Vance, completed her work along with Reed Waller, the artist on the series from the get-go. The transition, to me, is seamless.

There won’t be any more. That’s a shame. But we have these eight volumes, and you should get them. Now.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

REVIEW: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

GIJ2_BD_CMBO_OSLV_3D_EXTRASKW_JM_01Back in the 1960s, like most boys, I had at least G.I. Joe action figure. They were cool but maybe not as cool as Captain Action, which followed two years later. Of course, both faded away over time until the Joe concept was revised by Hasbro. Working with Larry Hama and Marvel Comics, the idea was expanded, the figures scaled down and a phenomenon was born.

Given the wild success of the toys, the animated series, and the long-running comic, I remain baffled why it took until 2009 before a live-action film was made. Here were all the kids’ favorite good guys and bad guys brought to life, looking sleek and cool and yes, sexy. The film was a smash success so of course the wait for a sequel began immediately.

gi-joe-retaliation-dwayne-johnson

It wasn’t until early 2011 that work finally began and then we were promised the movie in 20123 and despite a mammoth marketing campaign; it was pulled just weeks before release. G.I. Joe Retaliation bounced around the schedule as there was a little reshooting, some re-editing and then upgrading to 3-D. Finally, four years later, the sequel arrived this spring and is now available on home video from Paramount Home Entertainment.

gi_joe_Jinx

This is one of those critic-proof movies so despite almost universal panning, it racked up huge bucks at the box office making a third film likely. But, given the devastation wrought to the cast this time around, the question becomes who is left to star?

Wisely picking up from where the last one ended, Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) has replaced the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce). Now he embarks on a plan to execute the Joes, frame them for mayhem, and then rescue Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey) so Cobra’s latest plan to rule the world can begin.

Cobra Commander_Firefly

Sure enough, most of the Joes are offed in short order with just three survivors: Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Flint (D.J. Cotrona), and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki). MIA and presumed alive is Snake Eyes (Ray Park). They’re on the run and need to regroup to save the world. Meantime, half a world away, Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and Joe turned enemy Firefly (Ray Stevenson) free Cobra Commander with the ninja injured in the process. Alerted to this event, the Blind Master (RZA) dispatches Snake Eyes and his protégé Jinx (Elodie Yung), Shadow’s relative, to retrieve him so he can answer for the death of the Hard Master (don’t go there). One of the freshest and most visually interesting battles occurs on the snowy mountains as a result.

Lady JayeWhile that’s happening, the Prez names Cobra his new security force and Roadblock turns to the first Joe (Bruce Willis) for guidance. All the pieces are then moved around the chessboard for a while until everything climaxes during a global summit held at Fort Sumter. Things blow up real well until the world is saved.

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) do a passable job of keeping things moving even if they don’t always make sense and merely wave at characterization rather than truly explore what a world in which high-tech forces as Cobra exist. They open things up with a plausible breakdown of the Pakistan government and the Joes are sent in to retrieve all of their nuclear warheads lest they fall into unsavory hands. No one pauses to think about this or condemn the US for such an action. There are similar things that zip buy that beg for exploration but then again, this isn’t that kind of a movie.

GR-13182RV2The screenwriters also give use the sketchiest of characterizations and poor Lady Jaye is twice reduced to being a sex object and not once does she complain, instead talks about her daddy issues with Flint who has even less of a character. At least Jaye has the funniest exchange with Willis’s Joe so there’s that.

The movie barely acknowledges the characters from the first except for Duke (Channing Tatum) who is on screen long enough to be remembered and then is mourned.

Director John M. Chu keeps things moving and keeps the movie visually interesting even when the story falls flat. To his credit, at 1:L50, things move along and the action is not overdone compared with the action films that followed this year.

Perhaps the best thing about the film is the transfer to high definition. This is wonderful to watch with flawless colors and resolution. The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack is a perfect complement so those owning this will be quite pleased.

Storm ShadowThe combo set offers you the Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy with all the goodies added to only the Blu-ray disc. In a nice touch, you can pick a G.I. Joe or Cobra theme for the menus. Here you get three deleted scenes with one, set at Arlington Cemetery, truly missed. In the Audio Commentary, Chu and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura provides some nice insights into how the film came together and the choices made. G.I. DeClassified is a complete 1:12 eight-part look at how the film was assembled from concept to special effects. It’s interesting to see Military Advisor and ex-Navy SEAL Harry Humphries turn the cast into military-grade commandoes. The emphasis is on the effects, sets, and action sequences although one does focus on Willis and the classic toy line.

While I wish for a stronger script, it’s pretty much what fans of the toys and cartoons will expect and appreciate.

Mark Ellis Unleashes Sex, Blackmail and Murder

UPDATED!
New Pulp author Mark Ellis has released a sneak peek of his new upcoming book called Rag Baby, now available at Amazon.

SEX, BLACKMAIL AND MURDER IN THE DARK HEART OF THE SUNSHINE STATE!

Bonaparte “Bone” Mizell, formerly of the DEA, has a problem on his hands: Dale Bristline, his 400 lb. client with a beautiful ex-stripper wife needs help dealing with a blackmailer — Brandy’s first husband has returned from the dead and is making outrageous demands…and she mustn’t be told about it.

When drug-dealer turned sex club owner Bristline needs some help dealing with the blackmailer, cash-strapped Bone accepts the case…and he quickly learns that behind the sunshine and laid-back lifestyle is a dangerous jungle, where sex is big business and jealousy can lead to murder. Bone deals with bikers turned bodyguards, scorned strippers and a lovely Latina sheriff, all out to get him – in one way or another.

As a DEA agent, Bone was used to hitting all the wrong places at just the wrong time. Now a cast of bizarre characters and a storm of violence traps him in a mystery that will take all of his resourcefulness to solve – and survive!

Follow Mark Ellis on Facebook.