New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pérez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.

Movie Review:
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
By Matt Singer


Once Upon a Time in Mexico, I’m sad to report, has to be one of the most disappointing films of 2003. By no means is it amongst the worst of the year, but few films have had such effective, exciting marketing, with such a talented cast and a director working in his element, and such a mediocre final product. I was so excited to see Once Upon a Time that I went back and watched El Mariachi and Desperado to be entirely familiar with the characters. After enjoying both immensely, it feels like these characters were let down almost as much as I was.

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The El Mariachi character is a fallen man that reminds me a lot of Marvel Comics’ Punisher; he’s a former mariachi who accidentally became embroiled with some gangsters and ended up losing his ability to play guitar but gaining a guitar case full of weapons and a near super-heroic ability to use them. The start of the third movie finds him living a quiet life in a quiet Mexican town (though he has inexplicably regained his musical talents). He is recruited by mysterious CIA Agent Sands, played with a quirky flair by Hollywood’s newest megastar, Johnny Depp. Here he takes the Sands character and really infuses him - through costumes, hair, character tics (which, according to an interview in Entertainment Weekly, were all inventions of Depp) - gives him a depth that might otherwise have been missing.

Sands wants The Mariachi to stop an assassination attempt on the Mexican President by men hired by drug lord Barillo (Willem Dafoe). Meanwhile, all these factions and several others including a retired FBI agent, and some police start gunning for one another. Quickly the double- and triple-crosses start flying with such frequency that it soon becomes clear that it doesn’t matter who is doing what to whom, and to some degree this is a big exciting action movies and who cares about the plot twists. But there are so many characters and plot threads and people craving revenge on other people that the film becomes completely unfocused; Banderas (who doesn’t look like he’s aged a day in the 8 years since the last picture) seems like a mopey outsider in his own movie, and the second-billed Salma Hayek appears in about three scenes. One could make a convincing argument that its really Sands, not the Mariachi, that is the main character, since he incites the action, goes through the most changes in the film and draws most of our emotions.

The flip side to this problem is that, much to my surprise, the action in Once Upon a Time falls completely short of expectations. Aside from a strong, tongue-in-cheek motorcycle and car chase, the gun battles are rote and choppy and never as exciting as any in Desperado. Though there are some really memorable images in the film (most involving Banderas) few of the sequences really break any ground or even match the feats of Rodriguez’s previous films. Desperadofelt like the best John Woo movie he’d never made; Once Upon a Time in Mexico feels like the crummy movies John Woo’s been forced to make since coming to the United States.

Rodriguez is also the talented creator of the Spy Kids series, which I saw and enjoyed the first two films of, and he is famous for his one man band filmmaking style. On Once Upon a Time in Mexico he wrote, directed, scored, edited, and shot the film; the last being particularly impressive because Rodriguez shot the movie on high-end digital cameras and proven that, for the most part, they can keep up with standard 35mm film. But if Once Upon a Time in Mexico is remembered favorably, it will only be for technical accomplishments and perhaps for another fine Depp performance in a career of them. In any other way it is a disappointment; as an action movie, as a Robert Rodriguez picture, as a finale to the otherwise outstanding El Mariachi trilogy.


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Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.

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