Don't forget to check out the classic Fred The Clown strips at the bottom of the page. Updated every Tuesday to Friday.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Enter Coachmatt!

Work has been eating me alive so I apologize once again for the lengthy amount of time it took to make another update. Thank goodness for friends and so now this site will get to have new contents again. We may not have the exact same taste for stuff but his choices are ones that I highly respect and we do kind of influence each other with our recommendations.

Okay I need to cut this short now and let him take over, Newsarama regulars know him as the poster Coachmatt and here's his first attempt at a review of The Thing series a few years back by Marvel.

The Thing

by Matthew Cradic or as you may know me, the poster formerly know as coachmatt05

It was the second Sunday in February back in 2006. I had been sitting in the car with my brother for half an hour, despite the snowfall accumulating on the ground, waiting to be the first one in the shop. My LCS was having its annual 75% off sale right before they took inventory. The less stuff in the store, the less stuff they'd have to pay taxes on. As usual, I came prepared to blow a large sum of money on comics. Seriously, at that kind of a discount you'd be a fool to not take advantage. The doors open and I attack the trade paperback racks like a man possessed. I claimed three volumes of Thor Visionaries: Walt Simonson for $5 a piece within the first two minutes. After that I moved to finish off my collection of Sandman trades. Little did I know that on that day I'd find a book that would become very important to me.

As I jetted around the shop I started to amass an ungodly stack of books. My brother happened across something that he decided he wanted. It was The Thing issue 1. I turned my nose up at it suspecting it to be one of the many subpar miniseries that Marvel puts out around the time a movie comes out. I questioned him on it, tried to get him to find something else, but that was what he wanted. After thinking about it again, I was glad that he was interested in a book that didn't have Wolverine in it. On the rack happened to be the second and third issues of this book. They were newer releases, but I was able to talk the owner into letting us have them at the same discount as all the back issues and trades. There was another book called Jonah Hex there that my brother wanted at the time. I simply laughed and told him that it was a western comic put out by DC. I mean, it couldn't have been good, right? You guys will hear lots more about ol' Jonah later. Anyways, looking back, I find it ironic that the cheapest books I bought turned out to be some of my all time favorites.

After leaving the comic shop I sped home with a back seat full of trades, back issues, and ginger ale. It took my brother and myself all of five minutes to unload all the items from our shopping spree and set them on the shelves in my room. I read some of this, skimmed some of that. Not really focusing on any one thing. I believe that I had just finished reading some horrific Spidey issue from the Other when my brother came into my room and told me that The Thing was actually pretty good and that I should give it a try. In an attempt to get the bitter taste of bad Spidey out of my mouth, I open up a fresh two liter of ginger ale and begin to read The Thing issue 1. I was hooked by the tenth page. Dan Slott was a genius! He captured everything that I had always loved about The Thing: the dialogue, the tough guy image, the heart of gold that Ben has. In a time that Marvel was starting to shift their focus, The Thing was the last shining jewel at the House of Ideas. In this work, Dan was able to capture more of what Marvel is about than any book I have read since.

For me, reading this work was a breath of fresh air from the cross over events that tend to leave the reader exhausted and burned out. The first arc was a three issue story about Ben and a party of celebrities getting kidnapped and taken to Murder Island by Arcade, who happened to be employed by a character parodying Paris Hilton. We have Constrictor, Iron Man, Nighthawk, and the Thing on this giant island filled with deadly traps trying to help the clumsy upper class escape with their lives. We get humor at a regular pace, but it never seemed to over power the title. We'd get a good fight every so often, look at the Hulk robots for example. Puny Bannerbot bites Ben's ankles while been swings and destroys a robotic copy of just about every form the Hulk has ever taken. Good, light hearted fun. Not only that, but we get to see the human side of Ben when he realizes that his actress girlfriend was dating him for his money, not for love. Obviously the reader could tell this from the halfway point of the story, but the way that Slott wrote Ben handling won my heart over.

Issue 4 introduced Lockjaw to the cast when he left the Inhumans to come be with Ben. I guess Lockjaw knew that Blackbolt was a Skrull well before Bendis decided to make him one. See that Bendis? Dan Slott was one step ahead of you the whole time you evil, maniacal fiend! Where was I? OH!

Unfortunately The Thing came out amidst big cross over events from both companies and saw the end of its run with issue 8. In it Dan gave us a fitting send off by having Ben's Bar Mitzvah, and a poker game. I won't tell who won, but I absolutely loved it, just as you should if you have a heart. Speaking of heart, that was one thing that you can feel while reading it; Dan poured his heart into it. Without a doubt, I would have to say this is my favorite series Marvel has put out this decade. We had beautiful art by Andrea Di Vito for the first 5 issues, and then Kieron Dwyer for the last 3. Andrea's was the best by far, but Kieron was able to come in and do a great job as well in keeping with the tone.

At a time that I find myself absolutely despising Marvel, I can always pick this up and read it and remember how the company used to be. If you can find a copy of the trade, The Thing: Idol of Millions, I would highly suggest it. Its out of print, but with Amazon and ebay, you can pick it up on the cheap.

I know that this is kind of an unorthodox review, but in case you didn't know I'm kind of an unorthodox guy. I sat down and tried to write this several different ways, but this seemed to have the best flow for me. Granted, its very much flawed, but as I go on and continue doing reviews for my friend's blog, my writing will improve. This has taken me a forever to get one up that I wasn't totally disgusted with, so I hope that you at least found some entertainment value from having read this.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Doom 2099 2nd arc (issues 5 – 10)

Written by: John Francis Moore
Pencils by: Pat Broderick
Inks by: Various

The load of doing an introductory story already done in the first arc and with most things established already, this particular story arc is admittedly better, more exciting and kudos to series writer John Francis Moore, even more interesting and quite gripping in my humble opinion. In here we are introduced to a few more future recurring and somewhat can be described as supporting characters, all the while even developing more the previous ones. It was handled in a way though with such an organic manner, further establishing and fleshing out more the world of Doom 2099. This time showing more of its cyberspace world and a somewhat formidable villain destined to fall to showcase Doom’s skills, character and cunningness. A slight twist of fate and serendipity added to provoke a sense of adventure and make our protagonist not too seemingly invincible. Doom may be honorable and driven (or at least he is convinced of himself) of good intention, but he is not a good guy and pretty much selfish and full of himself. Those said descriptions is really what makes this series interesting, whenever I had been lulled into being comfortably reading this as just another superhero comic, he makes such annoyingly selfish actions/decisions that grounds you from totally admiring him. This is no sci-fi version of The Godfather as there are no full blown romanticizing of his exploits. Admittedly, stories of men in power are really quite alluring or at least men radical enough to force their own way into society and show how far it could work (a thought that brings to light how thin a line can be between being a hero and a villain is sometimes).

Personally I found this story quite sexy, with a big thanks to a certain computer program gone sentient turning into a somewhat demigoddess of this reality’s cyberspace. I’d tell you more but I honestly don’t want to spoil anything as one of the big assets of this arc is being captivated while stuff are introduced and seeing them unfold and run. All I can say is that by the end of this story, Doom has grown more powerful through smart and devious dealings giving him even more awesome amount of resources, in the “real world” that is. He has tasted godhood in cyberspace and obviously he will go back there sometime in the near future to even at least try and reclaim what he has once tasted and had. You know he has too as it is typical of him and is his very nature.

This story is near perfect (though not groundbreaking nor profound) in its execution. It is a great genre entertainment that only had trouble in the flow of continuity thanks to the fill in issue by legendary cartoonist Ernie Colon in issue 9. I don’t know if they were having scheduling problems at the time or that they just really wanted to have him work on an issue, but it was obvious that even though Ernie had knowledge of where the plot is going and did competently set a bridge to fill the gap between the issues he has slipped in, the issue after him has not been done and so he has no idea how to perfectly fit it. Same with regular writer J. F. Moore, he probably had an idea on where Ernie Colon was ending his story and what took place in it but he has not seen how it was executed and the details that were presented, it really made for a clunky transition to the audience. I honestly don’t think it is that aggravating unless one is totally anal retentive of course. It’s just that I found it a pity to have such a blemish in such a decent story that was flowing so smoothly for quite a while since its beginning. I can only hazard that it probably wasn’t that big of a deal at the time as this was done in the early ‘90s, way before trades of story arcs were even a consideration, at least for most regular series. I would assume then that the transition would have not been so jarring with a month wait in-between each issue.

With all that said I will have to give credit to the writer for being able to produce a very entertaining story despite its limitations and a great flowing story blemished only by circumstances and the standard practice of its time. The work still holds up pretty well, again in my opinion and found it honestly inspired, especially in comparison to most of the stuff put out by its publisher at the time noting more importantly all the flagship properties. Again I say, this series needs to be released in trades in today’s market so that new set of audience can enjoy for what is in my eye a delightful and intriguing work unpretentious of what it really is.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Honey Flash!

Not really much of an update here. I will just share this Japanese music video I found fansubbed by Sailor Spork. It's the music video by Koda Kumi for the soundtrack of the Cutie Honey Live Action Movie. I've always maintained that the Cutie Honey OP song is one of the most catchiest tunes ever and this modernization cover is no exception. You wont believe how many months I was humming this song over and over.


video

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Good Girl Art!

It's been a while since I attempted doing one again. Since I've been slacking in updating this place, I guess I could share simultaneously here alongside with Deviant Art anyways. Yes you can find the same artworks here and there somewhat. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Deviant Art!

It would seem I had slacked off in posting new entries in this blog. I love this blog and this has not been the first time where I kind of neglected this place so I wont make excuses. One of the reasons for the sporadic entries here besides work is I'm currently spending more time in my Deviant Art page which I just started by the way.

Make no mistake though, there are still tons of stuff I'd like to put here and I already have a checklist for them. In the meantime though head over to my Deviant Art page to see more stuff like the one below. More updates to come to this blog soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Excited for Kiva!

This new year, basing it from all the promo materials I've seen so far to rumors floating around about the new Kamen Rider series, I'm really excited and have my hopes up for Kamen Rider Kiva. Much appreciation to TV Nihon for providing us subtitles for this promo video. Check the clip and see if it looks promising to you as it does to me.


Online Videos by Veoh.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Personally for me this is one of the most wonderful times of the year even if it truly has been heavily commercialized. Every Christmas season I feel like a child again and even if not true, I feel that at least for one day everything is all right in the world. I just like the atmosphere.

To all my friends and readers here I greet you a happy holiday no matter what your cultural background is, I just hope you enjoy it.

I was planning on making a theme for the entries this year highlighting Christmas stories that I liked from different media, whether they be animation, comics, movies or storybooks. I even asked a few friends to contribute with their own selections. Alas time did not permit it as I became too busy this December to properly organize it. I feel tired but still comfortably happy regardless simply because of the season and I wish the same to all of you, after all 'tis the season to be jolly.

I'll just save doing reviews for A Very Charlie Brown Christmas and the likes next year and instead just give you two easy listenings for this one.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ghost Rider 2099 the first 5 issues

Writer: Len Kaminsky
Artists: Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross and others

I remember fondly when this used to be my favorite 2099 title from Marvel. That didn't last and I'm reminded now after reading it again for this review. I don't think I can ever motivate myself to review the entire run of this series following it per story arc like I promised to do with Doom 2099. It isn't just that compelling anymore.

Looking back, it wasn't the gimmick cover of the first issue that convinced me to buy this comic like so many else did back when I was a teenager. It was the original art team. Back then my favorite artists in comics were Joe Quesada and Chris Bachalo. Later on through the years, I realized that it was actually more the tandem of Bachalo and Mark Buckingham that I liked. Both are very talented and good artists in their own right, but working together the art they produced were an amalgam of great artistry only possible when the strength of both artists are combined.

Now see the story in this arc was decently good and probably bordering on great at the start. The more it moved and was fleshed out, the more it's mediocrity was revealed. The premise was simple in that this new Ghost Rider is in no way related to the older iterations, more far removed from how the Danny Ketch version was from the Johnny Blaze one even. This newer version is technology based compared to the old mystical version. This is not a Spirit of Vengeance incarnate but a man turned robot by sentient computer programs in a quest for personal vengeance and trying to be a symbol of destruction for the current social inequality prevalent at the 2099 universe timeline. Basically it's just a new take on the property meshed with all the other established premises of the other 2099 titles of evil corporations running society, the cyberspace (internet) as some sort of a separate new world interlinked with the real world and the borrowed societal hierarchy from Magnus: Robot Fighter.

Now mind you, I really personally find this comic a blast to read. The somewhat mediocre story is negligible to complain about when the way it is presented blows your socks off with it's killer gritty art. Well at least for this story arc, and you can see it dwindling down until the fifth issue. As the original art team starts to depart from the series one by one, so did my interest. The first 3 issues were the most awesome simply for the fact that those were the ones done by the Chris Bachalo and Mark Bucking ham tandem. The 4th issue pencilled by Peter Gross was still satisfying because Buckingham still embellished it and the art still resonates enough familiarity with the first three. I was thankful enough that Buckingham almost did the majority of art in issue 5 which at least ensured the flow of the artwork until the closure of this initial storyline. No offense to Kyle Hotz who had since took over starting at issue 6, I know he is a talented guy and all but it was Bachalo and Buckingham that made this comic for me. Without them, it's just wasn't the same ever again.

I have to admit though, the tease at the end of this story is quite intriguing. The hinted conspiracy from the sentient programs' (AKA The Ghostworks) conversation that served as an epilogue, displayed that the events that had happened and triggered the origin of the main protagonist Zero Cochrane's transformation into Ghost Rider was not out of serendipity nor the noble pure intentions that they claimed to have. Still, as I've said too many times already, I can't muster enough of the enthusiasm without the original art team. Have I beaten that point to death already?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Monster Art!

3 pieces of monsters I drew while bored. Well actually the orange tentacle guy was an entry for an online design your own kaiju contest years ago for a tokusatsu site. It won me a 2nd place prize! The others were done out of boredom, I'm planning on doing more of this in the future. I like designing monsters it seems.

I would have posted this suckers back in October for my supposedly 2nd year of horror theme posting in anticipation of Halloween, but alas my old computer crashed and I only managed to buy one late November.

Click the images for a bigger view of the pic. Enjoy!



Friday, December 07, 2007

Doom 2099 the first 4 issues

Written by: John Francis Moore
Penciled by: Pat Broderick


I was honestly planning on reviewing the entire series in one big swoop, but then decided otherwise. I felt that it wasn't fair to all the contributors and creators of the entire run of this great series. Instead in the near future, expect more reviews for individual story arcs of this title. This effort is an attempt to raise awareness for this forgotten and under appreciated title and hopefully if possible, convince Marvel to release trade collections for this particular title.

When the concept of the 2099 line of comics was first announced, I was just about to become a teenager and I thought that this was a bad idea that would eventually flop. The fact that most cover prices of comics back then still enabled me to have a bit more elbow room with my impulse purchase, my curiosity still got the better of me and I still ended up trying some of the titles in it. Three titles particularly managed to impressed me big time (Spiderman 2099, Doom 2099 and Ghost Rider 2099) and one got my cursory attention (Punisher 2099).

Now to be more specific. The story of Doom 2099 was one great big elaborate tale who I'm guessing was not really much planned out entirely as with most cases of ongoing comic titles at the time. However each particular storyline was compelling enough to suck you in while the inherent uniqueness of the premise for its time piques the interest.

The comics was a series on the exploits of a villain, not an anti hero but an actual villain. A well rounded villain with logical motivation but a villain nonetheless and quite unapologetic at it. A story of a man whose resolve that his way is the only way, egocentric, ambitious, manipulative, power hungry and driven. It makes no bones in showing the ugly side of idealism granted set off in a backdrop of a futuristic sci-fi setting. Those along with the passion displayed and global political intrigue albeit a fictional one at that is what catches the audience.

The premise of the first and introductory arc is simply that, an introduction. It shows how a time displaced Doom arriving at his current setting with a slight amnesia preventing him from remembering how and why he got there. Seeing his future country in a sense of disarray and poverty he decided to make his primary mission taking the leadership back from those currently in power. Along the process seeds of doubt of whether he was the real Dr. Victor Von Doom are presented, but ultimately that did not deter him. Showing the resolve, cunning and arrogance of the actual 20th century villain, he successfully managed to accomplish his initial goals. Doom was once again ruler of Latveria, however plenty of mysteries are still left unsolved and treachery foreboding from all directions. It was a very simple but satisfying conclusion and set up for all the remaining stories to come.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Azrael Ash

Written by: Dennis O' Neil
Art by: Joe Quesada and Jimy Palmiotti

I' going to take step back in giving attention to the obscure and generally ignored works for this entry, in place I'm going to focus for now a forgotten one instead. This prestige format one-shot comics is basically a relic of the '90s. A non-consequential, irrelevant, crossover story simply done for the money and perhaps as a bit of fan service for the die hards. The character Azrael is not used by DC, it's parent company anymore and Ash and it's publisher ceased when creator Joe Quesada became the EIC for Marvel Comics.

This comic is quite especial for fans like me in that this one shot reunited the original team and creators of the character Azrael pairing him with Joe Quesada's other most famous creation, Ash. Back in high school as a teen, when I was just dreaming of becoming an artist and starting to hone my skills, Joe Q was one of my heroes. The guy whose works I look up to for inspiration. Times have changed and so has my sensibilities, still whenever I see his art, it reminds me of my younger days and simpler times. I have always considered his style as one of the best fit for the action genre, including superheroes and especially the street level ones.

I have also always wanted him back then to have a decent run on Batman, a dream tandem of my favorite character back in high school along with my favorite artist. It never happened because he really didn't wanted to. The closest it ever was, outside of the occasional covers he did for the character that was of note was this one-shot comic (and Batman was just a cameo here) and the original Sword of Azrael mini series.

Like I've said, time has moved on and things have changed. The audience climate and perception has totally changed, the character Azrael who once was heavily tied to the Batman mythos has been almost totally forgotten and many relics from the time period is looked at with disdain by many. I call shenanigans though, I had a blast back then and that's all I care about. This comic was basically an end of an era for me as I've never looked back with fonder memories to superhero comics after this one. My sensibilities and priorities have changed, for better or for worse.

In the grand scheme of things, this comic is irrelevant. I love it though as a personal reminder for the stuff I liked as a kid. Besides, as a throwaway entertainment, this one is pretty good in my humble opinion.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Added a new feature

I just added a new feature to this blog found at the very bottom of this page. Go ahead and take a look see. This has been done in order to promote scrolling down and for people to see the older posts and at the process encouraging them to read those too. Plus it also promotes the work of one of my favorite artists that is Roger Langridge. I plan to do a Talent Spotlight entry on him too in the future.

As always, I bid you to enjoy! Party Hat

Monday, September 03, 2007

Up From The Depths!

An online friend of mine, Matthew Cradic just gave me a link to one of the most awesome video I've seen in YouTube. I honestly felt compelled to post this and share it with all of you.

Major kudos to Shyaporn Theerakulstit for having mad skills with Final Cut Pro and creating this video.

This video is so cool! Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.




Godzilla! Truly the king of kaiju.

On a side note. If everything goes to plan. Expect a guest contributor to give you some really cool reviews of some really cool stuff in the near future.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Art School Confidential

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Screenplay: Daniel Clowes

Cast:
Max Minghella ... Jerome
Sophia Myles ... Audrey
John Malkovich ... Professor Sandiford
Jim Broadbent ... Jimmy
Matt Keeslar ... Jonah
Ethan Suplee ... Vince
Joel Moore ... Bardo (as Joel David Moore)
Nick Swardson ... Matthew
Anjelica Huston ... Art History Teacher
Adam Scott ... Marvin Bushmiller


Synopsis:
Jerome Platz, a talented but impressionable young artist just got a big break by
being accepted in the prestigious art school the Strathmore Institute. As somewhat of an outcast and a helpless romantic, he found in that school the girl of his dreams and started to desperately impress her with his self perceived talent. The only other thing he focused on was his ambition to be the greatest painter. However, the hypocrisy and pretentiousness of the cutthroat world of art school is something he hadn't prepared for. Add to that the lingering presence of a serial killer publicly dubbed as the Strathmore Strangler, and the antagonistic tension between the local police and his college community, Jerome must now face the fact that he is just one of the many stereotypes with a hollow pipe dream of becoming a famous artist.

Review:
The movie is very loosely based on the comic of the same title. Understandable as the comics was just a 4 page feature in the 7th issue of Eightball (an anthology comic by Daniel Clowes who also was the screenwriter for the movie).
I know most people had been disappointed by this flick and it did actually polarized critics with their reviews. I however fall on the camp that loved this movie. Most criticisms blames it for being based in a comic because said characters are either cliche or stereotypes and are bland because of that. I know comics is still a niche market and for some reason some people still want to separate manga from it, but it really amuses me that today, in the 21st century, there are still people stuck on the notion that all comics are simplistic kiddie fare full of characters with alliterative names. Such argument and platform for criticizing a movie basically has no legs in my opinion. Simply for the fact that first, they really have no idea about the source material and have not personally encountered it, citing it only on hearsay and assumptions based on stigma. Secondly, they obviously were oblivious to the context on how the movie is just loosely based on the concept of a very short comics and that is considerably divergent from the said material, besides taking its title and the core concept that it is a satirical parody of an art school environment. I may sound like I'm just making a straw man argument but I really needed to get that out of my chest.

I do not want to change the opinions of those who have already seen the movie and did not like it. Instead, I will just concentrate on what made it work for me.
Now on to the proper review.

What many people who have seen the movie fail to realize is, I doubt this was made to be a serious statement that reflects the social human condition in attempt to be high art. Cartoonist Daniel Clowes may be known for that in his comics work, but this movie surely is not. Just like the core of the source material (which has been noted by the creator himself was just nothing more than filler material who took a life of its own by becoming a phenomenon to various art schools), the movie was one big satirical parody of the art school community. It is full of exaggerations, cliche and stereotypes for that reason. The narrative is just incidental and a tool to showcase all of them. It should readily have been apparent to the audience once they saw the conclusion, showcasing the hypocrisy and opportunism of the protagonist in the end. It was commentary on a very small circle that exist in society, the artistic field. The creators were making fun of themselves and their peers.

I cannot guarantee that everybody will enjoy this movie. However if you are a professional artist, an art student, film major or anything similar, I'm pretty sure curiosity will take over and you'll end up watching this anyway. I do humbly recommend this film just for the fact that I have personally enjoyed it. This goes without saying that your mileage may vary from my own.



As always, I'm a nice guy enough to actually embed a YouTube trailer of the Art School Confidential movie just so that you could understand and have a better idea of what ever the heck i am talking about. Enjoy!



Thursday, August 30, 2007

Monkey vs. Robot

Created by: James Kochalka
Published by: Top Shelf Productions
One of cartoonist's James Kochalka's earliest and famous works. It kind of became a phenomenon in a niche circle. I would not necessarily classify this as a silent comic as it did feature some words and special effects sound, but it is more of a visual story. The basic premise is simple, a group of monkeys fought a factory of robots for their jungle. I cant really spill much because you need to see it to actually get the story more fully, and it is such a short one even if the book does clock up 160 pages. It's the visual telling and not verbal saying of the story aspect of it that makes it so.

The story is basically an allegory of the "Nature vs. Technology" concept presented through simple yet beautiful and some might say in a crudely elegant art drowned in a sea of whimsy. All in all, this book is a great short read for all ages.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No Henshin!?!

KAMEN RIDER: THE FIRST

Directed by Takao Nagaishi
Written by Toshiki Inoue

Cast:
Masaya Kikawada as Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1
Hassei Takano as Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2
Rena Komine as Asuka Midorikawa


From the opening credits:

SHOCKER.
An organization that manipulates society from the underworld.
The soldiers they create [remodeled humans], have superhuman abilities that they use for their dark operations.
They keep their feelings and identities secret no matter what.
Thus they wear a [mask] (kamen) ----------


Synopsis:(Spoiler Section --read at your own risk)
College student Takeshi Hongo is abducted into terrorist organisation SHOCKER (Sacred Hegemony Of Cycle Kindred Evolutional Realm), where he was experimented upon to become a remodeled human agent for said organization. Brainwashed, he became an assassin for the group and successfully carried out his first mission. Later on when he was instructed to assassinate witnesses of his first mission, he found his lost humanity inside him and rebelled against SHOCKER. That was because he discovered the witnesses were the reporter Asuka Midorikawa, whom he has a crush on and interviewed him prior to being abducted and her fiancé Katsuhiko Yano .

The ensuing debacle led to Hongo being labeled as a traitor and ended up with him killing another remodeled human agent to avoid punishment. Yano was presumed to have died in the incident but was actually taken by SHOCKER to be turned into a replacement agent in Hongo's stead. Yano acquired a new identity as Ichimonji Hayato, the second Kamen Rider.

Hayato was willing to kill Hongo as a rival in order to win his fiancé back. That all changed however when SHOCKER decided to make the reporter into a remodeled human agent of theirs too. This forced the two Kamen Riders into a reluctant alliance to save the woman.

Review:
Honestly speaking I am very torn about this movie. I kind of love and hate it in a way. From what I have gathered, the general reaction from fandom seems to be the same way and my feelings about this is not even influenced by that.

This movie is basically a remake of the first series that basically became a huge franchise. Stylistically and visually, I really loved this movie for actually updating the original and for the lack of a better term "making it cooler". One major difference from the original TV series is it's obvious attempt to take itself seriously and totally and consciously avoiding the "campy" aspect of the series. In that regard, it tried to add elements and changes from the original. I wouldn't say they needlessly did those as I was quite fine with many of them but in retrospect they could have executed it in much better ways in my opinion.

The lack of the term "henshin" (literally translates as "transform") being used by the heroes is something I can easily accept for the remake compared to most fans who cry hypocrisy and that the movie was blatantly ashamed of its own genre of being a superhero movie. I have no problems with it in the fact that it fits the context of the movie, because the characters weren't really transforming either, they were just suiting up. The concept here is unlike in the series, even though they have become remodeled humans (basically cyborgs), they just still look like normal humans, just stronger, faster and basically I guess physically better. It's just kind of jarring for a long time fan of the franchise like me to not hear henshin being uttered, when the movie is basically based on the series that made the word famous and actually being used as a sub-genre descriptor in Henshin Heroes (literally meaning transforming heroes) for Tokusatsu (Japanese Sci-fi).

The concept of the remodeled humans needing blood transfusion lest they run the risk of the body rejecting their cybernetic parts and dying was a concept I really liked, however they botched it all up by not tackling and completely ignoring it after being introduced. I was honestly scratching my head why they even bothered with it since they really didn't even used the damn thing.

The plot that lead to the final scene, telling the origin of the two remodeled human agents that fought with the two Kamen Riders was totally hokey and disjointed in timeline. Initially confusing to the audience until they figure out that it is some poorly executed attempt of a Pulp Fiction (the movie) type presentation.

All in all it is a decent action movie with enough visual cues and candy for long time fans like me to geek out and latch on to and even impress first time viewers of the franchise. The only concern will be the retarded structuring of the story and seemingly disdain for the campiness of the original series by the movie, when in itself it just ended being what it didnt want to be, a goofy yet entertaining superhero movie. The Kamen Rider Black TV series still beats it as a more serious and darker interpretation of the series.

I still recommend this to first time viewers, as half of the possible issues I have with this movie is based more on my familiarity with the property. New fans will probably enjoy it better, not as a serious flick but more of popcorn fare type entertainment. I mean the action scenes are still top notch and dynamic. The story about average, the structuring of the narrative is probably only the weakest part of it.

Here's the Japanese theatrical trailer thanks to Tokyo Monsters.com and YouTube to give you guys an inkling of what I'm talking about: