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Archive for November, 2006

European Dollar surges against the Japanese Yen

Posted by Adrian on November 29, 2006

The Euro has been an exceptionally solid currency to hedge on. Especially against the JPY. Bank of Japan has, and it seems like a trend lead by the Federal Reserve in the US, to keep rates unchanged, or keep them on hold. The Yen has been declining against most currencies which has been a constant decline in the last 8mths. So it seems like a downward trend for the Yen. The Euro on the other hand has been increasing rapidly against the Yen, with the possibility that the European Central Bank will increase interest rates will give added strength to the Euro.  Go long on the Euro against the JPY – Take Profit range at 153.60Yen and 153.70Yen.

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X-Men illustrator dies

Posted by Adrian on November 29, 2006

“Cockrum received no movie royalties, said family friend Clifford Meth, who organized efforts to help Cockrum and his family during his protracted medical care.”

“Dave saw the movie and he cried — not because he was bitter,” Meth said. “He cried because his characters were on screen and they were living.”

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Inflation concerns in the US, despite Housing Slowdown

Posted by Adrian on November 29, 2006

Amidst of a dramatic slow down in the housing sector in the US. There has been mixed signals on the American economy, namely the possible cut in US interest rates coming into 2007. The American consumer is a resilient one. The credit boom is still in full swing, and fuel, food and energy costs are still relativity high. Which has put pressure on core inflation. There has been a pause by the Federal Reserve with interest rates, believing that the slow down in the housing sector and lower oil costs, pressures on the inflation has eased. We will have to wait and see how dramatic the housing slow down will be, and to what effect it will have on consumer spending. My opinion is the consumer will shift away from housing debt, and move into other debt areas. Namely credit card. It will be interesting to see how the markets handle this. Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke comments on concerns that inflation may still be a problem, go here for news report

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Comic reviews Nov 2006 Punisher War Journal – Civil War #1 (Marvel)

Posted by Adrian on November 28, 2006

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PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #1 – CIVIL WAR

With the Marvel Universe Civil war in full swing, no other character has such a presence as Frank Castle, aka the Punisher. The lone vigilante that spends copious amounts of time and bullets killing the criminal underworld. Whether overseas, or in NYC. The Punisher by far is the most violent of the Marvel characters and the least restrained as far as character representation by various writers. I imagine Max (Marvel adult series?) comic line in some ways was created to handle a more explicit Punisher series. Which in turn was given to one of the most talented writers in comics today, Garth Ennis. His series is ultra violent with a mix of sex and mayhem which is the standard lore of the Max Punisher series. Astoundingly well written and a captivating series. So I was curious if a general Marvel Punisher Comic can have as much impact as the Max Punisher series by Ennis.

I have always been confused with the Marvel rating series. The generic comic code was replaced with a slightly ambiguous, and somewhat pointless rating system. I think it starts from T+ (for teens and up), A (adult, mature?) then you have Parental Advisory and finally the “explicit” Max series – which pretty much caters for Ennis’s Punisher series. The Punisher War Journal: Civil war #1 falls into the T+ rating. Essentially no matter how explicit the comic is anyone from any age can buy a Marvel comic, the rating system isn’t enforced. At times I wonder why they rate at all, and I worry how that could effect the quality of the story.

So, does a T+ rating effect the quality of the Punisher story? The answer is no. Does this Punisher match up with the current Max Punisher series? The answer is yes.

Matt Fraction is the writer and he does a very good job. Using the Punisher’s dry wit, sarcasm, even general cynicism for the Marvel Universe it’s super-heros and their Civil war – the Punisher is the perfect grey zone between these two sides. But unavoidably, and not intentionally The Punisher is caught up in the Civil War. The Punisher is now pursued by the government enforcers, S.H.I.E.L.D. A clever and nice touch is having The Punisher pursuer be a devout Muslim working for the US government (S.H.I.E.L.D) in tracking down the Punisher. Nothing better in mixing up and creating contradictions and paradox’s in a story; no matter how subtle , especially with a straight down the middle character like the Punisher. The art is amazing, drawn up by Ariel Olivettia. Very exaggerated in character form, reminds me of Bill Sienkiewicz and his early art with Daredevil, but more rendered and cleaner. Aesthetically flawless to look at, beautiful colours and subtle tones. Some what surreal and dreamlike.

So far so good for Punisher War Journal: Civil War. It is violent, it is everything you would expect and more. It’s crafted very well. This is going to be good.

Go get it.

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Comic reviews Nov 2006 – Civil War #1 (Marvel)

Posted by Adrian on November 26, 2006

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I wasn’t going to pick this comic up. There was a lot of hype around this series, and admitly I have lost interest in some of Marvels more popular characters and titles. But I was bored, so I checked it out.

The event that sparked the Civil War is a group of c-list ‘good’ super-heros, that have created a reality television show that hunts down c-list ‘bad’ super-heros. It’s a good concept, using the popularity of reality television. Which walks the fine line of acceptable or responsible media representation. Suffice to say, the c-list super-heros track down a group of c-list super felons at their house. The good guys attack, with film crew and all. Things go south very quickly, when one bad guy super person tries to escape and get’s attacked by the good superhero, which spills out into the street. Turns out the felon is Nitro. He has the ability to blow himself up, because under attack he denotes himself obliterating the whole neighborhood. Which ends up killing hundreds of innocents, including the c-list good guys and their film crew. A Possible suicide bombing connotation there, although Nitro apparently survived.

This is the catalyst that sets a whole string of events in motion. The American government wants to now register and track mutant/super power humans. Give badges and uniforms to the ‘good guys’, and train them as an extension of the police. Thus removing their anonymity and being autonomous as super-heros. The writer Mark Millar has fused a lot of contemporary issues to the basic story line. The decision by the government to make accountable and register ALL super beings has polarized the super hero community. One side agrees with registration/ re-training and accountability. The other doesn’t. Hence the split, hence the Civil War.

At this point Iron Man the billionaire industrialist superhero appears to be the governments guy in bringing in the dissident super-heros. Which leaves the ‘leader’ of the dissident super-heros as Captain America. Which is a flip in the character dynamics. Possibly a thought out one. But in reality, the rogue billionaire Iron Man would be the dissident, and Captain America would be the governments enforcer of American policy. Then again Iron Man may have alterial motives. It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be. Whether or not it’s a deliberate play on contradictions.

Millar has a rapid style of writing. It’s consistent and too the point. Which is good with this kind of story. We know most of the characters, we know the styles and personalities. It’s how they will cope with good guy fighting good guy scenario. The art is very good, drawn up by Steve Mcniven. Nice detailed, clear and well constructive panels. With Millar’s writing and Mcniven art the action is well represented.

So, this is a good comic. It’s not a sophisticated comic, but I don’t think Millar’s writes in a sophisticated style. It’s straight to the point.

It’s worth checking out.

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