WIZARD – MAY 2007

The comic book industry has their glossy, all
encompassing magazine and it is this one. They tend to have their
formula and stick to it, but sometimes they’ll surprise you.

This issue’s strong points:

  • Absolutely outstanding 18-page look at Cap, his legacy, the creative teams who got him there, and where he’s heading. If this was a pamphlet, and they charged the same price as this issue, you’d be well-advised to cough up the dough. Great memories with this one…
  • Loved the breakdown on the best moments of 52…because it saves me from trying to keep up with this sprawling mess of a series on my own. Glad it put Lex Luthor back in the forefront of DC villainy, tho.
  • A rundown on the goofiest trick arrows in Green Arrow history complete with he actual panels…priceless.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Yawwn. Oh, I’m sorry I’m still trying finish the cover story Q&A with James Franco…..zzzzzz
  • Maybe it’s not their fault, exactly, but I’m burned out by Grindhouse coverage.
  • The Cap stuff is faaantastic, and is supported by pretty good supplementary material. this one’s a keeper.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

2. WEEKLY #930

Sure, their film reviews are hated by geeks. Yes, they
follow trends incessantly. And yes, music coverage is generally an
afterthought. But it’s surely the most fun weekly read out there, and
they have television on lock. Plus, they’ll surprise with every now and
then with a great piece on overlooked entertainment industry plebs like
personal assistants and bodyguards. When it’s on, it’s an incredible
value. When it’s not…wait a week.

This issue’s strong points:

  • Perhaps the least fawning and obnoxious American Idol coverage from this mag yet. Despite the bubbly cover, there’s plenty of acknowledgment of the slightly declining ratings and the stifling blandness of the contestants. I kind of wish there was a sidebar of the rabid online anti-Idol elements that like to muck with the voting, but this is an improvement for sure.
  • Hot Fuzz article with Pegg and Frost. Yay. Too bad it’s buried between other pieces getting way more attention on the cover and table of contents. Still, baby steps…
  • They wasted no time in a post-mortem on the box office of Grindhouse, which is really all I want to hear about the film at this point.
  • After the uber-pompus Lost article wherein the cast and producers basically faulted the fans for not being strong enough, this issue’s follow-up article where the same showrunners admit to catering to fans in recent episodes is good to see. I don’t necessarily want pandering entertainment by committee, but this show was clearly adrift and needed a course correction. I have no interest in returning to it, alas, as I get just as much enjoyment from MSNBC’s Thursday-writeup of each episode as I did from watching any actual eps from the past season and a half or so.

This issue’s weak points:

  • It’s almost unfair to ding them for this because he’s certainly relevant and one of the few people still selling albums like it was 2001, but Tim McGraw ain’t what I wanna read about, folks.
  • Rather than bothering to review any of the 27,000 dull flicks released this weekend, the reviews section might’ve been better served with looking into why each was dumped right about now.
  • Still, a pretty nice issue, and the streak of decent-to-goodness continues.

Overall: 7.0 out of 10


They went ahead and dropped the "Movieline" from the
masthead, and so now they can truly own up to being the celebrity rag
they’ve been wanting to be for sometime.
As sad as that may be, there’s still a place for picture-heavy mags like this that indulge Hollywood’s superficial side, plus they still sneak in interesting cover interviews now and then.

This issue’s strong points:

  • Aside from the cover story, it’s almost pointless to review the content of this mag in terms of article worth. Instead, does it do the job as a visual compendium of Hollywood glitz and glamour both past and present? This time…yes. The layouts of the cast of Scrubs all spiffed up and Anna Faris were quite well-done. Nothing wrong with appreciating photography too, damnit.
  • Strictly as an architecture buff, I liked the article on fancy hotel design.
  • Very enjoyable Chloe Sevigny interview along with some damn nice pictures. I guess she fits into the "oddly attractive, if at all" category for a lot of folks, but I’ve always liked her onscreen presence and physical one. And relaxed, informal Q&A pieces lik this make her a lot more interesting than standard write-ups.
  • Maria Menuous coverage is never bad.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Most everything else. I know there’s an enduring appeal to pictures of famous people at parties, but 2-3 pages of thumbnails should be the max. Just too much filler here.
  • All
    in all, it’s a decent issue, I suppose. A lot of people hate this mag on principle alone given what it used to be, but there’s still some value to be found here.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10

4. STONE #1028

This is one of the flagship music/movies/culture rags out there. Despite some rather depressing lows hit in recent years, RS has begun to pick up steam again thanks to a concerted effort to chronicle every single mistake the Bush administration makes in detail in its political coverage led by reporter Matt Taibbi. In the midst of that, they’ve also improved their pop articles and spiffed up the layout a bit. The fact that they’re not monthly allows them to get stuff into print faster than other music/movie mags too.

This issue’s strong points:

  • A good loophole to my "I no wanna hear no more about Grindhouse" stipulation. Just cover the two hottest babes and get them together for an informal chat that goes beyond the film. Kind of weird hearing Rose McGowan say how she doesn’t watch horror because it’s dissolved into female torture porn, and then praise something Eli Roth did a couple of paragraphs down. Also, Robert Rodriguez is her "very good friend"….riiiiiiiiiiiight.
  • You’d never know it from the cover (and I understand why they do this), but this issue is choc full of political/cultural articles. Two lengthy, very meaty pieces on Sy Hersh and neo-pentecostal Jesus retreats for teens, respectively, make this baby a real good read. On the latter, I had kinda hoped they tied in the glossed-up hardcore Christian training grounds with the recent story about how many government officials that Pat Robertson’s university has turned out, but it was already a whopper of a story that dwarfed the cover in terms of size (and importance).
  • Oh yeah, and Iggy Pop: The Rolling Stone Interview. Good stuff.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Reviews are just overly kind crap. Only way to put it.
  • Very good ish, overall.

Overall: 8.0 out of 10


Ah, the magazine for conspicuous consumption. Complex makes no bones about being a glorified buyer’s guide. But if you’re young, male, and a fetishist of sneakers, watches, tech, clothes, or what have you, many points of interest can be found within, and that’s only half the mag. The other half is typical "young men’s interest" material that’s hipper and more street-oriented than the soft cheesecake stuff on stands these days.

This issue’s strong points:

  • The consumer/shopping guide half isn’t worth rating. Either you like that stuff, or you don’t. As for the content, they actually found interesting stuff about James Franco for the content cover story. Miracle of miracles.
  • Lots of short, but good pieces on everybody from stalwart comics writer Brian K. Vaughn to Kevin Dillon.
  • Kanye West’s fashion breakdown is worth many chuckles (intentional and unintentional). That needs to be a regular feature.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Juuuust as much short, but dull pieces on the likes of Milo Ventimiglia and Mike Shinoda. I shouldn’t be flipping past 1-pagers.
  • This is a mag where you kinda gotta work for the good stuff if you aren’t a young, ADD-afflicted superconsumer. But I’ll take that bullet and you guys can flip to find the nuggets of worth at the newsstand.

Overall: 6.0 out of 10