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a little bit of BK in VA

Posts made in November 3rd, 2009

DARK REIGN: THE LIST—PUNISHER

The Dark Reign one-shots are proving to be much better than expected.  The Daredevil book introduced the new writer and the new story arc, recapped what had come before in a non-cumbersome way, and easily invited new readers to start reading the regular series.  Now, Rick Remender and Tan Eng Huat have done with The Punisher what should have been done a long time ago.
If you don’t want me to ruin the punch-line of the one-shot for you, just know that I recommend the book without reservation.  Plus, it’s got John Romita, Jr., on the pencils doing some unusually gritty work.  I haven’t seen him do work like this since his Wolverine: Enemy of the State books with Mark Millar.  I’m sure some of the credit goes to the inking of Klaus Janson, who may be the best at what he does.

Okay, stop reading now if you don’t want the spoilers.  (Of course, with all the promos Marvel has been doing, I’m not sure I’m spoiling anything.)

Now that that is out of the way . . . Punisher has never been a favorite of mine.  He looks cool, but even the most acclaimed story runs (by Ennis, e.g.) have never really interested me all that much.  He’s kind of like an over-the-top violent Batman.  But when I heard that in this book they’d not only kill Frank Castle, but zombify him, I had to check in.
The Remender Punisher title has been a good read overall, although I could do without the skateboard/hacker “Henry,” who is Amadeus Cho to Punisher’s Hulk.  Still, I understand how hard it must be to write for a character with such grim singlemindedness.  The storyline of late has focused on Punisher’s attempts to assassinate Norman Osborn.  This, of course, got Frank on Norman’s “list.”  And in this issue, with the help of Daken (Wolverine Jr.), Osborn succeeds.  All is going according to plan: Daken hacks Punisher into bits and the body parts fall to the rain-soaked NYC streets.  But instead of H.A.M.M.E.R. recovering the Punisher pieces . . . Well, I’ll leave some surprises to the book.  Suffice to say that the perfect Halloween tie-in launch begins with this one-shot, introducing the next Punisher story arc (beginning with Punisher #11): FrankenCastle.
Awesome.

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MC ESOTERIC-Saving Seamus Ryan

How often have you listened to a rap album back to front, without having your mind wander or your finger hit skip? For me, it doesn’t happen often. But it did when I listened to the latest joint from MC Esoteric, “Saving Seamus Ryan.”
Esoteric (a.k.a. Seamus the God Awful) is beset known as the partner of DJ 7L, who were big on the Boston underground scene in the late 1990s/early 2000s. He broke solo in 2007 with “Egoclapper,” and now he’s what seems to be his biography.
The album tells a story about a youth (Esoteric), trying to record an album and live his life. Along the way, he faces familiar and unfamiliar obstacles: He tries not to go the crime way for funding, gets robbed, argues with Harrison Ford . . . Sure, this has been done by a few rappers before, but rarely with such humor and heart. Even the bits–usually annoying filler–are good. However, there are a lot of them, which makes repeat listens a little less interesting (particularly because you can’t skip them—they’re tucked at the end of the tracks).

But this is a minor complaint. In the lyrical tradition of Masta Ace (who appears on the album) and the musical tradition of MF DOOM (complete with a whole song built around the theme to the 1967 animated Spider-Man show), Eso’s album is a masterpiece. He even gives shout-outs to Gary Numan, which his long-time fans will appreciate. Is it nerd rap? A little. But it’s got an edge, too, and Eso’s flow is far beyond most of the white-boy nerd rappers out there. He’s reaching places they don’t even aspire to, in terms of creativity of both delivery and rhyme scheme, not to mention vocabulary and breadth of scope.
So, this may come off as an autobiography, but it’s got something to resonate for every 1990s b-boy. This is an extraordinary record—one of the best of the year.

Selling Spidey-MC Esoteric

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