So I don’t know what amuses me more….the fact that Marvel Meow is in it’s 12th issue, the fact that they’ve introduced a Loki cat, or the fact that Jeff the Landshark is basically crossing over to EVERYTHING now, including this series.
In all honesty, I can see how the inclusion of something like Cat Loki was necessary. Marvel Meow is really a one note gag and you can only stretch this out so far. Having Cat loki there gives us a visible protagonist, especially in issue 8, where he’s causing some mischief with Jeff and Pizza Dog. (Great idea to slip him in there too!)
I’m really enjoying these infinity comics. It’s nice lighthearted schtick in the “Funny animal style. But I can’t help but noticing, there’s a tiny ulterior motive. They are using them to insert a lot of the new and shall we say, less popular characters that Marvel has been pumping out lately. It probably wouldn’t be so noticeable if they were using more Spider-Man and Cap and Black Widow, ect like they were when the series first began. A better mix please!
Also caught up with Daredevil. We’re in full ninja mode now. That should annoy me, but it turns out that Chip Zdarsky really seems to know what he’s doing here, and it’s really captured my interest. Watching Stick, Elektra and DD build the Fist – a rival organization to the Hand has been absolutely fascinating. Watching DD pushed further to the wrong side of the law has been far more compelling than I had imagined it would be.
The interesting thing as well is – remember who’s currently leading the Hand? That’s right. Daredevil’s new mission will put him on a direct collision course with the Punisher.
I dropped the Punisher book a while back because I think the utter vandalization that Jason Aaron is doing to Frank’s origin is utterly despicable, and that he just doesn’t get – OR EVEN LIKE the character. Nice to have the Punisher showing up over here. A conflict between matt and Frank is ALWAYS good stuff.
That’s it for this week – all that’s left is to wait excitedly for The Flash to come back! We’re down to less than a month and Feb 8th can’t come soon enough.
I think it has more to do with these being infinity comics rather than off the shelf books from Comic Are Go. But still, I love Alligator Loki and It’s Jeff! And I hadn’t even realized they had come back so I’m WAY behind. That’s a real mistake because I even missed the CROSSOVER! Go find these and read them now. Seriously.
While You’re at it, pick up Joe Fixit. I was assuming this was goign to just be a reprint, but not so! It’s a throwback to Peter David’s run and features Joe vs. The Kingpin while Spidey just kind of looks on. It’s the best thing to come out this week, possibly all month! I know, there’s another issue of Star Trek out, but really, this one almost feels like a filler issue. What a waste of Q. As for Spider-Man, well, I’m still waiting for it to give me a reason to keep reading beyond sheer momentum.
I discovered Felicia Day a little bit later than everybody else. I’m sure I was aware of her by reputation, and I’ll admit I found her absolutely delightful on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival it was probably around that time that a copy of her autobiography dropped in my lap, and in the middle of that it felt like it was time to finally get around to watching her signature series, The Guild.
The Guild is OK. It’s not my world, but it’s interesting enough and she describes it well enough that you’re drawn in. The fact that you can burn through this entire series in a weekend is also pretty nice. The bite-size nature of the episodes helps.
I’ve noticed the inclusion of guild stories in a couple of free comic book day offerings over the years, but they were never enough to really make me sick out the full stories, until I happened across a complete three issue run during one of the comicpalooza events. At $.50 a book, it seemed like a good time to try them.
I’m shocked at how much I really enjoyed this. A lot of theories don’t need a prequel, and a deed… For The Guild it’s still pretty optional. That’s actually part of the beauty of producing this as a comic series. It’s a nice add-on, which doesn’t take anything away from the series if you don’t read it, but if you want to know just a little bit more, its there.
The other thing is really nice about it is the similarly short nature. Easily digestible chunks of story, which, altogether build into a fun narrative about how Day’s character Codex first got into MMO‘s, and how she met all the various characters that would, by the end of the story, form her guild. When we first open the streaming series, Codex is getting over a bad break up, and in the comics we can kind of see what led to that. It’s all good stuff, and the characters voices all seem true. They’re each recognizable and very individual. This isn’t surprising, considering Day was directly involved in writing the comic.
Sometimes these comics adaptions are a waste of time. Sometimes they’re actually better than the source material. Sometimes they’re just meaningless side quests… It’s really hard to tell, and tricky to get right. But The Guild does. It absolutely gets it right and contributes a story worth reading, especially if you’re already a fan of the series.
It’s mostly comics this week, but I wanted to mention a couple of TV picks first as well!
After a highly accessible episode of Star Trek : Prodigy last week, we’re going into full on continuity mode. In fact, it’s really the one we’ve been waiting for… Where Dall meets the real Captain Janeway… And of course messes it all up. The scallywag from the doomed star base they visited a couple episodes ago is still slandering them in an attempt to make himself look good, the crew of the Protostar he’s having a hard time connecting with Starfleet. It’s only made harder by the fact that they are ship has a weapon inside it just waiting to infect any other ship or Starfleet entity they come in to contact with. As much as I enjoy the standalone episodes, I have to admit, the payoff we’re getting here has been really good. This episode feels a little bit more Star Wars than Star Trek though, taking place at a remote outpost that feels like a frozen Mos Eisley. Still, they make it work, and leave us on a cliffhanger that just has me squirming in my seat waiting for more.
Stargirl too. Stargirl has at this point, gone full on soap opera continuity. Basically, the show is going to be in accessible to anyone newly discovering it, but then again, I supposed they can afford to be, considering they’re not getting a fourth season.
That’s what makes it so unusual to me that DC would pick this time to launch a new Stargirl miniseries. Stargirl : The Lost Children teams her up with Red Arrow, in a relationship that feels very much like her friendship with Yolanda on the Stargirl TV show. Together they’re out to investigate the disappearance of all of the kids sidekicks from the DCU. Not the current ones, but rather the classic ones… Truth be told I don’t recognize a lot of these guys. Airwave, definitely. But a lot of these are more obscure ones that I’ve only ever heard whispered of long ago in legends. Still, the amount of goodwill that the television series has built with me, it’s got me jumping into this to see where they go. Legacy characters have always been a thing for me, and mixing it with a hero that I’ve recently come to know and love is a great way of doing this.
Really, it feels like it’s teen sidekicks all around. this month.
I somehow missed issue eight of Worlds Finest, so I grabbed that and issue nine together. We still have that kind of kryptonian refugee from another world or dimension and their integrating him into the teen titans. I have to admit, I’ve never been a fan of the Titans, so this is a bit of a low point for me… On the other hand, it’s just nice to spend time here in a DC universe that I know and recognize, as opposed to what the DCU has become in the last five or six years. That’s probably worlds finest greatest strength. Pure superhero stories in a setting in style and at legacy readers. It’s why I’m still gonna be reading this thing even when they’re featuring characters like the Titans that I just don’t care about.
Speaking of characters I don’t care about, you can pretty much skip She-Hulk this month. It’s featuring a side quest… Setting up supporting characters or villains or something along those lines… But Jen really doesn’t show up, and this issue isn’t actually about her. I have to be honest. I didn’t buy this one. I was going to, but it’s just not worth it to me this month.
On the other hand, Nightwing just continues to be stellar. I was an issue behind on that one as well, so it’s a back to back read. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Issue 97 is kind of some loose ends with a good straightforward adventure, and one of the great bits of banter that I’ve really been enjoying between dick and Barbara regarding this month’s villainous psycho whos carving out vital organs from his victims.
You may or may not know that I am a fan of bat mite. I mean, The characters in general always appeal to me. Spider ham is another one on that list (no curiously enough, Mr. missile pic isn’t. I always found him frustrating and annoying rather than fun) well it seems like Batman’s not the only one out there in the DC universe who can attract a fifth dimensional imp… And issue 98 introduces us to Nite-Mite.
It’s not all over the top goofiness, but just enough of it, and Nite-Mite is illustrated with just enough cartoonish joy to make him fun but not to push him over the top into irritating. It’s well balanced and well handled, and I love it. I don’t want to see it every issue, but this was a wonderful surprise, and one of the reasons why I still feel like Nightwing has got his groove back. We’re back to the heights of the Chuck Dixon run back in the 90s. It’s just that good. Honestly, they should just bite the bullet and rebrand this as Nightwing and Batgirl… Because it’s just the perfect team the way it’s being written right now.
I Hate Fairyland is back and I have mixed feelings about it. See, the thing is I really enjoyed I Hate Fairyland during its original run. There’s something about that juxtaposition of the hyper violent angry a little girl hacking and slashing her way through a fairy tale universe. It was great fun. But if you want a return to I Hate Fairyland it has to get us back to basics. It has to reestablish the character… And as such we we see what happened to poor Gert after she returned to the real world. It’s not just that she can’t adjust, I don’t think she ever was meant for this world in the first place. She’s a drunken slacker loser. That kind of breaks my heart. Somebody once said that if you really love the characters and survivors of a horror movie, the last thing you want is for a sequel to come out… Because much worse is coming their way if they have to return. I almost feel like That applies to I Hate Fairyland. I liked seeing the psycho little girl, but it feels different watching that grown-up version of her stumble through adult life. Maybe it’ll be better once we get into the thick of the series. I hope so, because this first issue re-introduction was just a downer.
New Star Trek this month too. I guess Star Trek Resurgence is based on a game? I know nothing about this. But it’s taking place in the TNG movie time period, and that’s a definite plus for me. It’s life on a starship outside of the Enterprise… And that’s actually also something I enjoy. An unknown unique ship, a peek into the workings of a crew that we don’t normally see, I’ve always dug that. It’s nicely illustrated and it’s actually got me feeling a lot more goodwill to it than I did with the new Star Trek ongoing featuring Sisko and Paris and Scotty and what not. I almost feel like this may be the Star Trek series to follow… Will definitely find out. But I’m glad that IDW comics are leaning into the license. I’m especially glad that we’re getting stuff outside of the Bad Robot “prime” timeline, the Abrams “Kelvin” timeline, and instead getting back in that separate original Paramount universe. More of that please
I’m still behind on Iron Man and ghost rider I think. By the time I can get into that part of the stack, they’ll probably be a new Spider-Man out too… All stuff I can talk about next week. But before I go I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the Gambit miniseries that’s already in its fifth issue. How did I not know about this? I suppose probably because most of the X books are dreck, and a shadow of their former glory. But this is good. This is really fun. The premise is that after a recent encounter with the villians Nanny and Orphan Maker, storm was de-aged back to childhood. That messes with both her power… and her memory. Remy rescues her from the Shadow King and they head off on their own adventures. See the thing is, the storm was a thief when she was a kid, back in Cairo. It’s something that she has in common with Gambit, making him an ideal mentor for her. Marvel is describing this as an untold chapter in Gambits life, which means I have NO idea when this is set and that’s cool with me. Because what we get is a really rollicking adventure with gambit and little storm… And the chemistry between the two is just amazing. I’m a little late to this game, so I’m hoping to get this collected in trade, but either way, it’s definitely worth your time and attention. Go check this out.
There’s times when I think I’m really enjoying Sventoonie even better than Svengoolie. There’s something to be said for blowing through some of these old Public Domain movies and encapsulating them into a half hour show with host bits rather than trying to present the whole thing and watch the same old movies again and again (it’s one of the things that really burned me out with online Horror Hosts like you see on the Monster Channel). Indeed, it worked way better for Bucket of Blood and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The quick summary and visit on those was everything I needed to feel satisfied, almost like watching the movie without actually watching a movie (I have similar feelings about movie trailer compilations). It’s even better though last week, because the subject was Night Tide… A killer mermaid movie that I’ve never seen. And yet, I still feel like I’ve pretty much seen the whole thing. The show makes good use of jaws parodies and general schtick , and it’s just in enormously fun to watch. On the other hand, you have nights like this week where they screen clips of Brother from Another Planet. It’s another one I’ve never seen, and now I feel like I must go seek it out. I absolutely have to know what this is about! Again, the real beauty of these kind of shows. I’m gonna actually be pretty sad when I finish up this quickie season.
Stargirl remains solid. Actually, you kind of expect them to be better than solid, you’d expect them to be really good considering we’re entering the end of the series. But this week really felt more like part two, a good follow up from last week and the attack on the elder icicles. Seth Greens Thunderbolt continues to be the high point of the series for me. I feel like they’ve gotten into the right groove with him now. They don’t overuse him… That character could get annoying really fast if overexposed. On the other hand they don’t underuse him either… The way they did all of last season. He is a genuinely good character, and watching him and the two boys kind of do their own mini Scooby gang thing… The young All-Stars instead of the JSA, it’s really been fun. For me that’s the perfect B storyline. A group of young burgeoning superheroes to balance out the teenage jSA that really keeps the show together. Like I said, solid. I will admit though, we got some killing at the end that really took me by surprise. It shouldn’t, considering that since this is the end of the series, anything goes. But still, I was a little shocked and sad. You never know when they’re going to kill off the character that you like.
Speaking of solid, the only comic book worth mentioning this week really was Amazing Spider-Man #13 which resolved the current goblin story nicely while setting up more stuff happening down the line. They are still maintaining that interesting feel with all of the supporting characters, and that’s really the thing that’s been keeping me coming back to this book during this run.
Solid is also the word to describe Nailed It. I know I’m using that description a lot, but average television is still better than bad TV, so I’ll take it. I only have a minor quibble with this particular season. As much as I like the fact that they’re going Halloween this time around, I wish they pick different subjects. Look, I’m familiar with the Witcher, and I’ve heard of the umbrella academy. I don’t watch either of them. Yes, I Realize it’s basically cross series promotion on the same network, but only having a passing familiarity with these series makes me wish they had picked something with a wider familiarity. Do Dracula and Frankenstein instead of just hitting your other network shows. With that said, there’s not a whole lot to complain about. Really if that’s my biggest beef, then I’d say the show is still doing pretty good. Honestly, I wish they’d have longer seasons and more of them. This one’s been a perennial favorite in our home since the kids discovered it and it’s really the only context I enjoy Nicole Byer in!
Speaking of my kids, I recently noticed something strange. My younger daughter is obsessively watching the 100. My older daughter just finished seven seeds and is considering going back to the hunger games. My wife is watching a series called the society. Basically they’re all watching TV shows set in fairly post-apocalyptic settings where the kids are left on their own to try and build some sort of a society. They’re all nihilistic and depressing. I on the other hand and obsessively watching Star Trek Prodigy. It’s also about a bunch of kids left to their own devices, but in the best traditions of Star Trek, it’s hopeful and optimistic!
The Trek Culture channel over on YouTube made an interesting observation this week. They pointed out that this weeks episode actually acts as a great jumping on point… A good introduction to anybody who has been watching the series. You’re absolutely right about this. Aside from the opening where Jayne was still trying to get information about the lost Protostar from a semi catatonic diviner, the story is actually. A nice straightforward adventure for the crew of the Protostar. It begins with some narration from Dahl, explaining that the Protostar has a weapon hidden on it, one that is designed to infect Starfleet if they ever come in contact with them, or even open up a hail. Until they can figure out how to get rid of it – a task that is driving Jayne come mad – they’re going to continue to try and Explore space, and help people. To that end, they’re answering a distress call (And doing it in uniforms by the way. As much as I’m not a big fan of these uniforms, I’m so glad to see they they are staying in them most of the time now. Uniforms are a PART of the Star Trek aesthetic, even if this current production team seems to hate them.).
What they discover is an unknown planet populated by people with very familiar names like Keurk and Suoo-looh, wearing a stitched together facsimiles of original series uniforms. Turns out, the shuttlecraft Galileo somehow got lost and crashed here with a supporting character from a single episode of the original series, Ensign Garrovick, from the episode “Obsession.” Garrovick accidentally First Contacts them… mostly to warn them away from the forest where fuel is leaking from the shuttlecraft . It’s a fun episode, and good storytelling. There’s a lot of ‘member berries in this one though, and I know that’s something I’ve complained about in the past. The thing is, it works here. This is a story that is built around all those callbacks. It’s designed around the exploration of a society that came into contact with Starfleet, but nobody knew. 100 years later, these characters are the stuff of legend, passed down through oral tradition… Well, oral tradition with a theater kid twist. It makes these callbacks feel organic. We have a crashed shuttlecraft, images of the bridge, and all these characters being able to imitate the motions and the controls of the Enterprise. At no point do I feel like it’s just ‘member berries for the sake of “hey remember this?? You love this!“ It’s not patronizing, like watching Mariner on Lower Decks suddenly whip out a batlith to cut someone’s arm with just because it’s random and funny and “remember Klingons? You love Klingons!“ This works. It just feels right, Especially considering it doesn’t happen every week.
I was crushed to learn that the Big Bad B Movie show with Leopold and Lenora has met its end. Change of management means no third season, but you can still catch Lenora on her YouTube show up on the found footage fest channel. Check out Lenora’s Midnight Rental and see what you think.
We’ll be back with more television and comics next week! (Probably).
A new Star Trek book hit the shelves! The line is just being referred to as “Star Trek”. Not “Star Trek : This new series”, or “Star Trek :That new ship name” and I’m of two minds about that. Usually a title that’s just ‘ol Star Trek refers to TOS or ’09. You know, Kirk and company. This on the other hand is an ensemble book. It’s a team made up of characters from various series and incarnations, including Captian Sisko, Commander Data, Dr. Crusher, Lt. Tom Paris and Mr. Scott. I can see why it might defy catagorization, yet, I almost feel like I’d like some specific identifier for this series.
Sisko is back from the Prophets, and off on a new mission. He’s assembeled a special team aboard an experimental starship and off we go in search of dead gods.
Stargirl is totally gearing up for a spin off. I swear it is. This weeks episode of infinity Inc. part two, resolves the whole story about Jade searching for her brother obsidian. I’m not sure if I’m completely on board with the look they’ve given him sit in here, it’s really just black and smoky… And they’re really leaning in to the idea that he is shadow and that she is light. I literally said to myself “they’re really trying to go for their own version of Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger aren’t they?“. Still, there’s worse directions they could go. The other thing that really amuses me is how the episode kept the shade and stripes he trapped in the Shadowlands for most of the hour. The thing about the Shadowlands… You know how the CW kinda has this thing where you’re constantly seeing “attractive people standing in dark hallways talking about their feelings“? Well that’s basically what the Shadowlands is. It’s the ultimate dark hallway for people to sit and talk about their feelings as their deepest fears and regrets are probed. It amuses me to see The CW double down on this… They’ve practically gone meta with It.
But all around, it was a nice little side quest. This two episode story doesn’t really feed into the whole rest of the seasons whodunnit theme, but rather, as I said, seems to be setting up a spin off series. As Jenny and Todd leaves The asylum – the helix house, Mr. Bones ponder as whether or not he should put together a team of his own, just like Stargirl has. Jade and Obsidian on the other hand, are heading out to find the son of the Sandman. He’s having dreams that for tell the future, and may need help. It’s a heck of a loose end that they’re just dangling there. Series biz. Watch and see if they don’t throw together an infinity Inc. series to be announced next summer or fall (especially since Stargirl has now been cancelled), once the CW And Warner Bros. have shaken out their transition. It may not be on the CW, but I bet it’ll still show up SOMEWHERE (And feature bits of the Stargirl crew too).
I was delighted to see that Star Trek Prodigy was back. I knew it was coming out sometime in late fall or winter, but never had any real indication of when. I’m grateful that there’s actually Star Trek out there that I can watch, and this continues to be the best of all the modern Star Trek series. We see the kids pulling up the Protostar to the nearest star base… Basically a relay station on the edge of the known galaxy. I’m actually kind of delighted to see that the uniforms look pretty correct. They’ve added black to the shoulders, but otherwise it’s the future uniform from all good things, including thesame. com badge. I always liked this look, and the black gives it a bit more of a transitionary look… Like they’re eventually going to be a solid color rather than the TNG style they are evoking. And also confirms that strange and ugly pajama like uniforms the kids are wearing were specific to the protostar. How do we know? Because we get flashbacks to the Protostar’s launch and Janeway sending off Captain Chakotay. It’s good stuff, and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed these characters as much as I do in this show. it’s not just nostalgia, Chakotay is given an actual role here, and Janeway just feels right in both her admiral role and in the mentor role that we get on the ship.
It’s also great to see the crew back. We get a little bit more information on their races. Even with Dall, we get clues to his identity… Some thing that’s been a minor subplot throughout the whole thing. Of course, it can’t go smoothly… Drednok, the robot bad guy from last season has been hiding his consciousness in the ships computer, and is now ready to emerge. He downloads himself into the star base and wreaks some havoc there, giving us a nice little adventure on the front end. In the b story on the other hand, we have Admiral Janeway on an expedition to figure out what happened to the protostar and find Kote. Well, she doesn’t find him… But she does find The Diviner (our head bad guy) floating in suspended animation. We’ll see what kind of answer if she gets from him in the next episode!
You know, with all of the talk about the television that I watched… There is a show I have neglected to talk about. It’s because I generally catch it late, and because it’s obviously just a bit of a Temporary fill in for Halloween. You may have noticed occasionally that I happen to be an old fan of horror hosts. In Cleveland we had big chuck and little John, but back in the 60s 70s and 80s almost every market had something. Elvira was probably the most well-known, managing to go national for a bit, and in Chicago, there was Svengoolie. Recently our cable package shuffled again, and I discovered that added METV to the lineup. I have been overjoyed to be able to watch Sven again, even thoguh I don’t usually talk abotu it in the blog since it’s mostly a movie show (Though from time to time, I do review the movies he screens!). This year, during spooky season, they’ve expanded his presence, giving him extra blocks of shows like the twilight zone to host, and tagging on a special exploring the hosts history. But the other thing that they’ve done, is added An after show… Sven Tooney. Like the old-fashioned local UHF stations, METV also has kids programming in the morning. It’s a block of cartoons, Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, that sort of thing. It’s hosted by Bill Leff and Toony. Toony is a puppet of a red tuna… And every now and then he’ll pop over to Sven’s show, to harass Svengoolie’s rubber chicken Kerwin. Well apparently last year, when I couldn’t watch the show, they spun Tooney off into his own spoof of Svengoolie show. Sventoonie! Apparently he’s returned this year, with his own parody of Sven’s show where he, his DJ blobby (A blob fish with an electric charge like an eel), and Trevor, a dead video store clerk, do some comedy bits and talk about old public domain movies. They cut the film up so that they can fast forward and summarize it, while still throwing in their own bits. I actually almost enjoy this more than Svengoolie! The thing is, with a horror host, in that two hour block, you get about 15 minutes of the host. The rest is the movie and commercials. That’s still fairly true here, but it’s a half hour show, so 50% or better is dedicated to the hosts and quite frankly that’s what we’re here to watch! It’s a great little thing to sit down and watch at lunchtime on Sundays, and a really nice companion to Sven’s show. Looks like it’s only going to be the six episodes this year, and that’s fine. It would probably grow old fast if it were overexposed all year, but I’ve really been having fun with this, and it’s been the highlight of my week this October.
With that said, Happy Halloween to everyone, and will be back next week, hopefully with some more thoughts on Netflix CGI he-man and the masters of the universe!
“And now, it’s time for you to die!“ I heard the high-pitched voice exclaim from behind me. I creamed my head a little bit and noticed the katana blade at my neck! Two teenage Demon slayer girls had come to take down venom.
I have to say, it was actually the highlight of the Jeff Harper show on Sunday. This one’s not really a cosplay show, but I thought I’d throw on venom anyhow. He’s easy to see through and move around in as I go through long boxes in the large flea market going on at the Westlake double tree. Despite not being a costume show, I usually like to wear something anyhow, because parents bring their kids… And this time around, they were a bunch of middle school age teenagers running around, trying to get the most out of their anime costumes, and it gives the young people something to see. I’ve gotta say, the Harper show is pretty chill about it as well, there are times when it feels like vendors don’t want the cosplayers around, but these guys were all chipper greeting me with a “hey Eddie!“ And I never felt unwanted. Of course, I’m also there’s a shop. That’s really what the Harper shows are all about, and this one in particular you can usually find weird offbeat stuff, like the skyscrapers of Oz manga I scored, or the Star Trek manga that I didn’t even know existed! I found another book that plays with next generation concepts in the style of famous writers who never got to do Star Trek… People like and Rice or Stephen King. All of it proves to be an interesting read… And I finally capped it off buying a stack of buckaroo banzai. I’m still trying and failing to understand and appreciate the appeal of the character in the series. It just doesn’t vibe with me, but maybe the comics will help.
Seriously, I must be out of my mind to try and pack three conventions and one weekend. It’s not the same as hanging out at wasteland or concoction for three days… Different venues, different costumes, different style of conventions, it’s exhausting. But the Harper show is a nice way to ease my way out of the weekend, and I came home with a bunch of really interesting stuff. The Sunday show is literally 10 minutes away from my church, which makes it an easy hop over to the hotel, and definitely worth the extra hour or two spent digging.
Did I really miss a whole month of comics? Because it sure seems like it… I had a lot of two issue runs waiting for me when I finally headed to the comic shop to catch up. That’s gonna happen again in the near future I suspect, I tend to get really busy around Halloween and just forget about everything else. Still, I had a pretty free weekend and it seemed like the right time to catch up on television and comic books.
Along with some of my other usual suspects, I actually decided to take a chance on Ms. Marvel and venom. It’s such a weird team up that I kind of had to take a peek. I think about Miss Marvel is it really all depends on who’s writing her. Some people write her as a wide eyed teenager, some people write her as a full grown adult, some people only want to write her as a crusading social justice warrior. You gotta get the right balance with her or else she becomes insufferable. Venom too, he’s not an easy character to write… But he learned some self well to one shot like this, and the book ends up being very solid and entertaining.
Also solid and entertaining our old standards like Iron Man and Elvira. These are good books that are pretty much delivering exactly what I want. Nothing earth shaking, nothing it’s gonna change the world, but engaging and entertaining stories that keep me coming back every month. I do still feel Like I missed something in Iron Man, the way they’re kind of shifting backwards to tell the story from the past to the present is a little confusing, but it’s been good reliable fun with Tony and Roady. Elvira too, a lot of fun as this month she is in nightmare in street, although we get a really strange cameo from the time displacement authority from Loki…. They are just pushing the boundaries of copyright as far as they can aren’t they?
So remember when I was talking about worlds finest last time and mentioning that it felt like they had wrapped their story up in five issues, and suddenly had to put together a filler issue…like a weird epilogue? But that was perhaps why Robin got lost in time? Well, I still stand by that opinion. This story feels very much like a standalone filling issue. It’s Robin trying to make do stuck in the time period that he’s in, but it’s not like we’ve got any real epic quest for survival on his end or a long arduous search for him on the part of our heroes. Robin basically leave them a note etched in stone, and they were able to travel back in time to the correct moment and bring him back.
It’s so anticlimactic that I almost wish they hadn’t bothered at all. Then again, as part of a greater hole, it’s still retains the fun familiar feel that I’ve been getting from worlds finest, and it Times up all the loose ends so that I can now move on to the next story arc.
It’s a Multiverse story, we’ve got basically a Superman like figure on a dying planet sent to our dimension. Superman‘s trying to take care of him, and Batman suspicious. All of this is pretty standard operating procedure.
The thing that I really enjoy about this one though, is it gives us another one of those rare glimpses of just how much fun Robin can be when he’s in the right hands. Indeed Robbins always been fun when paired up with Superman. The fact that he’s kind of Batman‘s light side… Designed a balancing out means that he matches really well with Superman, and I remember very fondly some early Tim Drake adventures with him, as well as really enjoying seeing him team up with Nightwing. These guys aren’t quite as cynical as Bruce and are able to enjoy Superman‘s company in a way that Bruce never could.
Daredevils doing some interesting stuff too. I feel like this title is very slowly ramping up to its story arc, and that’s nice. Issue two still gives us some good daredevil action in New York, and has been butting heads a little bit with the newly elected mayor Luke Cage. It’s good stuff, and really my only complaint is I do still miss the secret identity. I always liked the juxtaposition of Matt Murdock; lawyer, versus daredevil; vigilante. Still, they’re keeping up the intrigue and the almost detective bit, and it works. And then….there’s that moment, when it REALLY works.
I’ve talked a little about what’s going on over in the Punisher. It’s actually right up there with Iron man and Elvira….solid storytelling (Though it still feels more like a gimmicky mini-series rather than a return to any kind of status quo). DD and Frank have always had a complicated relationship with each other. Some writers like to portray them as two sides of the same coin…I’m not sure that I entirely agree with that though. They really have diffrent aims. Daredevil is out for justice, while The Punisher is out for revenge. THAT’S what really disturbs Matt about him. Not the killing in of itself, but the darker motives.
And that’s why you can see sheer terror on his face when he’s informed that Frank is now in charge of the Hand. I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t and I love that they can still get me once in a while. It’s just a great moment.
Much to my surprise, I’m still sticking with Nightwing.
This has been a really pleasant run, reminding me a lot about all the things I really enjoy with this character. The main thing that has reall appealed to me in this particular run has been the way they are reestablishing the relationship between Dick and Babs. I mentioned noting this in both previous issues of nightwing as well as it also showing up in Batgirls.
We get a potentially heavy moment regarding that relationship kind of subverted in this issue, but it provides me a lot of anticipation for what may be coming up in both titles.
Or is it? Because I saw this ad in the back of the book and it really REALLY bothers me….
Maybe we’ll talk about why next week.
I finally did it! I finally got around to catching up on Stargirl! I’m not sure why I dropped off exactly… I know that Maddie wasn’t really interested in watching it much anymore, but honestly, I thought I Was way further behind than this. There were only four episodes left in the Summer School season, and maybe it’s just because we’re at the climax, but wow, did they deliver.
So, where were we? Eclipse it was free, he’d blasted shiv into oblivion, and was now in the process of haunting each of the JSA members. That’s not too big of a problem, because they’re each dealing with her own baggage. Yolanda still has guilt over killing Brainwave Jr, Beth is watching her parents marriage fall apart, and her only solace is the slight contact she’s managed to get with the original Doctor Midnight. Hourman’s hourglass is broken, and for some reason he’s developing a bond with Solomon Grundy… All of this is fertile ground for Eclipso to work in. Nevertheless, they manage to come together to try and defeat a clip so… And the process, Stargirl is blasted away. It’s pretty shocking, considering how close to the end of the series we are… But we discover that what’s happened is she’s been banished to a shadow realm. a sort of purgatory where Eclipso can toy with her and others, to feed off their negative emotions. It turns out, Shiv is also there… As well as Dr. Midnight. With the help of the shade end guidance from Dr. Midnights goggles, Courtney’s parents managed to rescue them, and heading for the final showdown.
It’s really good, really well done. The characters are rich and complex, and current politics, while sneaking in around the edges, are kept to a minimum… Kind of feels like the good old days.
With that finished, it’s time to move from the summer school season into the Frenemies season. I don’t know if this will be a full 22 episode run or another 13… I have to admit, doing the 13 episode runs has really worked for stalker all. It’s giving them just enough time to do what they need without bogging everything down with filler.
If I have any real complaint about the Frenemies season… It’s that they’re building it as a murder mystery, but the title doesn’t feel congruent with it. Frenemies is a very high school kind of term, well this is leaning heavily into the sort of Agatha Christie murder mystery milieu. On the other hand, it makes sense because the beast storyline is an exploration of whether or not villains can really change… Whether they can truly reform and become allies. This is a very superman take. I pointed this out both and superman and early Supergirl… That part of what they want to do is take the bad guys, find them and fix them… Maybe turn them into friends instead of enemies. Courtney’s cut very much from that same sort of mold… Really trying to embrace shiv and incorporate her into the justice society. Of course sports master and his wife have also moved in right next-door to her, complicating things more than a little bit. Artemis also wants a spot on the GSA… And let’s just say, her mother is quite insistent. Hon
She Hulk on the other hand is a whole different story.
I gotta tell you, it almost feels like a chore watching the show now. Like, I don’t want to give up considering how far into the season we are, and I’ve managed to stick it out this far… But the show is just such a disappointment. This week sees Jen at a wedding, and it really reinforces the whole victim complex that she constantly revels in. Everybody’s mean to her, nobody’s nice except for her… Course the fact that she gets raging drunk and then gets into a fight with a super villain… Well that’s not her fault. Titania hit her first right? Of course back in the B storyline, the assistant and the lawyer from last week are taking over her current case… A “mister immortal“ who can’t die… So he gets married to unsuspecting people, then once he’s gotten what he wants financially or if it just starts to go to Dale, he dies, which terminates the marriage contract, and then comes back to life. It’s one of these stories that you could almost watch them going down a checklist. Seriously, it’s custom made… A “men are bad“ story with room to display a conveniently diverse group of ex-wives… And one ex-husband. Everyone’s different ethnicity, and everyone has a different beef… And it’s just so intentionally politically correct that it knocks you right out of the story. If it had been a group of white haired ladies in their late 50s and 60s, it would actually ring more true and feed into the stereotype they’re going for. I’d also be more convinced if they looked similar. Same race, same general figure. And you can’t make them all black… Because that would just mean Mr. Immortal is a racist. But seriously, most guys have a type… Just look at Hugh Hefner.(sorry, but he’s on my mind because of the trashy podcast Holly and Bridget from the girls next-door are doing). That sort of guy who can get just about anybody he wants is going to go for the same type repeatedly. Doesn’t have to be blonde and busty like Hefner, but skinny, fat, African-American, Latino, men… This is not a natural pattern, and again, it’s smacks of a diversity checklist Rather than organic chemistry, and it’s so jarring that it yanks me right out of the story.
Not there’s really much story here to begin with. She hulk shows up at a wedding, gets to complain about how they don’t want her to be Seahawk at the wedding and take attention away from the bride… She feels like everybody’s being mean to her, Gets into a fight,and then goes home. Seriously, I had a bridesmaid like this. We kicked her out of the wedding party. It is true, that most of the people in this episode are portrayed as jerks and pretty bad folks… The problem is, so is Jen. I don’t like Jen… But I’m supposed to be following her and rooting for her. And that’s kind of the root problem with she hulk in general. She’s just written as such a jerk, and that’s not the Seahawk that I know. It’s a shame too, because I like she hulk. The CGI model looks just fine to me, and I can’t wait to see her team up with the fantastic four. But man, this version is just a drag.
It’s no wonder the show is hemorrhaging viewers, and even though I’m sticking with it for the sheer masochistic duty of it, it’s not one I could recommend. Ugh. Just give me more Stargirl instead.
It’s been a busy few weeks, so I’ve fallen behind on stuff like comics and television, but I finally made it back out to the shop to pick up my pull list, and a couple of things off the shelf. Nevertheless, my stack was significantly smaller than I would’ve expected.
I’d actually forgotten about the Human Target. It’s been a while since the last issue came out… And seeing this on the shelf made me wonder if I had just missed a few months and the series had wrapped up without me? No. It’s still solicits issue seven at the back, so apparently the title was just paused or late. I’ve got a bone to pick though, with calling this tales of the human target. This is not a human target book. This is a justice league international book. That’s a problem. Not just the branding, but dropping a JLI book into this run, because the thing about justice league international was the book was funny. It was at just the right time, right in the middle of the comics boom, and shortly before the implosion… At a perfect time for an experiment. A perfect time for a silly book that could play with superhero tropes and give us something a little more lighthearted. It worked in that context for a while, but as the market shrink, we would see the pendulum swing back towards adventure and playing it straight with Gran morrison’s JLA.
Human target is not a funny series. And when you drop a group like the JLI into a slightly nihilistic deconstruction, it’s just awful. Justice league international when written as a satire is goofy and silly and fun. But when written as a straight up deconstruction, it makes the heroes look sad and incompetent. It’s just not a fun book.
What’s even more frustrating, is that I was warned. I’ve been enjoying human target, with a quibble here or there, a few decisions I wasn’t big on, but for the most part Tom King has just slightly touched these characters bringing them into visit as side characters in the background.They told me Tom King was up to no good, and I should’ve listened. Because this book right here is no good. I don’t know if it was planned as a bunch of back up stories or a companion piece, maybe something to throw in the back of the tree paper back… Dropping it right here in the middle when you’re already late feels like a misstep. It stops everything dead cold, and quite frankly turns me off enough that I’m not so sure I’m interested in continuing the series. Maybe I’ll just take a peek when it’s over.
Ghost Rider on the other hand continues to be good. It’s an interesting supernatural adventure… And one that’s very much in ghost riders wheelhouse. Out in the wastes we called the devils backbone, there is an annual motorcycle race… At the end of the race, you meet the devil. When you meet him, you can ask a question or a boon or something… And it’s just a cool concept well done. We need more of that. It’s interesting, because you look at some of the faces here, Dr. doom, wolverine, a lot of familiar marvel characters and it makes sense to put them in this context, that’s sort of desperation. It’s almost reminiscent of the secret six story arc about the various villains chasing after what basically amounted to a get out of jail free card, only for hell. I like this. It’s one of the better runs of Ghost Rider I’ve ever seen, and I hope they keep the creep and the quality up.
Over at Iron Man I am again a little confused, because it felt like I missed an issue. No, this is actually going back in time a bit. Before the previous issue where Tony’s captured and fighting for his life, we’ve got a rewind to remind ourselves of his relationship with war machine. That’s gonna be important, because war machine someone coming after him, complete with that black stealth suit that we see painted onto the cover. It’s a set up and a pause and again, I have to note that these sort of stories really do killed him I meant about the title, but at least in this case, it’s done well and stays engaging. Unlike that pause in human target, this issue does a good job of setting up where we’re going next.
And then there’s Batgirls. This title is also in the middle of what feels like a bridge story. We’re kind of done with the last arc, and setting up the next one, which gives us a nice excuse to hang out with the Batgirls for shenanigans. And shenanigans it is. Look, one of things I’m really enjoying here is the character development. You know, I dipped in and out of Cassie‘s Batgirl series back in the day. I was particularly interested in the brief “will they or one day“ with Superboy, and shocked by the whole “getting fired“ storyline. There was good stuff here and there on the cruise ship, things that helped us get to know Cassie, but the entire point of her character is that she doesn’t have any character. She’s basically a blank slate, and it’s harder to develop that and draw it out when you’ve just got her paired up with a mentor like Barbara. Pairing her up with Stephanie, I feel like we see so much more character development here in these nine issues than I’ve seen in the past 10 years with the various appearances in and out of her own series.
There’s also some interesting character development going on over in Spider-Man. We’re starting to see some carryover from the past series, particularly in how they’re handling Norman Osborne. It’s interesting, I’ll definitely give you that. There’s so much here that I like, and yet I’m still not sure if it’s enough to balance out the frustration over what I don’t know. This is one of those titles where I find myself more often than not dipping in and out of i’m not consistent with my reading on this one, simply because without enough information, I just don’t feel committed. The JR JR art isn’t helping me any either, but I’ve looked past that before and the colorists really does help prop him up.
Nevertheless, the writer definately has a handle on Peter’s voice. Spidey is always at his best when the writer gets him and his humor, and I think my single favorite moment in this issue is when the Vulture complains about Spidey telling someone he’s a murderer –
“But aren’t you trying to murder me right now?”
Then there’s She Hulk. Not necessarily a comic, but certainly a comic property. The first episode was OK. I think OK is really the operative word, otherwise some things that I didn’t care for. In particular, don’t let your kids watch the after credit sequence. Dropping that F bomb was a little bit shocking and didn’t make any of us particularly happy. The series has of course gotten the majority of his coverage over Jennifer‘s rant about how she does being angry better than Bruce… I don’t need to cover that here, except to say it was a dumb thing to insert. It’s not compelling, if anything it’s a self-inflicted wound. I can blow it off though, because this Jennifer Walters… She’s not a good person. She’s narcissistic self involved and aspires to victimhood. “She Hulk? That name better not stick. I can’t even exist without being a derivative of the Hulk?“ Well no. You can’t. Because that’s exactly what you are… A derivative of the Hulk. That’s what the character always was! It’s stuff like this it just turns me right off and sours the stuff that actually manages to be funny. I think Mecharandom42 on Youtube put it best – “Stop lecturing me about how bad you have it.” I agree. You office and home are WAY nicer than anything I’ve ever had. It’s just…..*sigh*.
And the funny parts? You’ve already seen all of episode one in commercials basically. It’s not untill we get into part two that we really start to get in to the story, but even then, the pity party continues. Jen is hired by a firm developing a new superhuman division. However, they want her because she’s She-hulk. She walks through the halls, bitter and angry; “I’lll never know if they hired me for my skill or just because I’m She-Hulk!”. No, you do know. You ABSOLUTELY were hired because you’re She-Hulk. And it’s gotten you a massive corner office and high salary. Here I’m just hoping that this is a character arc and that she’s a better person on the other end of this, because right now- she LOOKS like She-Hulk, but the character is still utterly unrecognizable. The Jen Walters I know, doesn’t resent being She-Hulk. Big and green actually gives her confidence and makes her feel beautiful and empowered, not….whatever this is.
Disney/Marvel? In the words of Sam Wilson – “Do better”.
Let’s face it, it’s just all about Worlds Finest. And I don’t even have a whole lot to say about it. On issue five they still haven’t jumped the shark, it’s still great fun and good adventure. In fact, we pretty well finish up the storyline, with Superman employing some clever tactics, and some good back up by the Doom Patrol. It’s just good. It’s all good.
Well, maybe Robin doesn’t think it’s that good, last issue Supergirl accidentally dropped him in the time vortex, but that’s just collateral damage right?
Nope because even as we finish up the story and close up this chapter, the title for the next issue is all about rescuing Robin all Search for Spock style. It’s weird. It almost feels like an epilogue… albeit at an extended one. Like the story didn’t quite have enough to stretch it out to six issues, so we’re going to tack on this weird little side quest at the end… But I can’t say I mind. I’m really enjoying riding along with all these characters, so give me another issue with us. And then give me 100 more.
It’s not just the characters, it’s the respect that they’re shown. No attempt to deconstruct or moralize, and quite frankly, I’m really enjoying the style of costume as well. Superman needs the red shorts… But they’ve done some really fun stuff with Robin and Supergirl as well. And Batman? Whatever’s drawing this is heavily influenced by Batman 1989. My compliments. You’re doing it right.
I was feeling so optimistic that I actually picked up a copy of dark crisis young justice two.
That was a mistake.
As respectful and straightforward as worlds finest is? Young Justice is the exact opposite. A cynical deconstruction that pokes fun at the original series as hateful and misogynistic and homophobic and whatever other istaphobic adjectives you wanna throw in. Basically, if you like the old one, you’re stupid and probably some sort of a bigot as well, because young justice wasn’t the best ever, our new young social justice… That’s the best ever!l
Here’s the thing, the audience that you’re writing this for? They’re not the ones buying this book. They’re not the ones who have nostalgia from Young Justice… At least not the comic book. Maybe the cartoon. But all this is really doing is driving away the nostalgia baited audience that you presumably marketed this for… And I’m just very disappointed. I’m sure there’s a market for this, I’m sure there’s somebody out there who wants preachy social justice comics, but this ain’t it… And sales numbers are showing it, especially when you compare the sales numbers of these last two books, as well as the last young justice miniseries with the 90s run. Just saying.
I had some criticism of Nightwing last time out, and I still stand by them, but I also stand by the statement I made then that this really does remind me of that first late 90s run of Nightwing. I’m getting real early run Chuck Dixon vibes here… and the books being handled very well. It’s still a continuation of the same story, Nightwings taking down the corrupt police force in the haven, with the aid and research of Barbara Gordon. You know what? That’s half the appeal of this book. Just spending a little bit more time watching Babs and Dick hang out and schmooze. Serious biz, I could go for just a whole book of this. Like lessen her role In Batgirls to strictly mentor and guy in the chair… A.k.a. Oracle, and then change this book to Batgirl and Nightwing, and make it all about Dick and Babs. I would eat that up with a spoon. Seriously, Nightwing and Batgirls is really the best that any of the Batman titles have been for me in a good decade or so.
I thought I’d dip my toe back in over at She-Hulk. I have to admit that this issue is a better intro than the last one I grabbed. We start off with a brawl…but it’s a weird fight. The bad guy is a hulking super strong dude with the mind of a child, and he mistook She-Hulk’s friend Jack of Hearts for a bad guy from a fairy tale…..it was all a misunderstanding that Jen and Jack go chat about at a nearby restaurant.
I have to say – having read a couple of these issues and seeing the commercials for the upcoming TV show – I think I’ve got the feel of this series. It’s not for me. Good to know. Also good to know that I can skip an issue and so little will happen that I can feel like I haven’t missed a thing. Yeah. Not for me.
What HAS been for me though is New Fantastic Four. It’s still as off the hook as the first issue and I’m just really enjoying this neo classic team up again. We throw Human torch into the mix and now we’ve got a party.
Seriously, this is what I’m reading these books for – it’s a get together with old friends. It’s putting the band back together. It’s just a bunch of old chums hanging out together in the Marvel Universe.One of the things that really strikes me about this series is despite the demonic supernatural nature of this current villians, this take on Ghost Rider is so vastly diffrent from what they’re doing over in his main title. It’s actually a really fun thing to have these two diffrent takes – one horror edged fantasy in the main book, as opposed to a more superhero take over here. It’s really smart.
The other thing I’m enjoying on this book is just how authentic every one is. The author has REALLY captured the voices of each character and what makes them so distinct form each other. The cynicism of this era’s Hulk isn’t easy to get right – he can easily become a downer if you don’t get that balance right – and Spidey? He’s as fun and effervescent as ever!
I’m not sure what brought me back to Iron Man. I mean, I was pretty stoked with last months, but come on. Monkeys. I’d buy a comic featuring Putin if he were fighting monkeys.
This is a very straightforward adventure. It actually reminds me of a conversation between two comic writers, a man and a woman. The man asked her if she’d ever had one of those fantasies about getting on a plane and hijackers taking over. She was appalled, and pointed out that all she wants to do when she gets on a plane is grab a drink. Get to her seat. maybe take a nap. The man explained, that’s not the point. The point is the plane gets taken over and YOU are the one to save it! That story resonated with me – it’s a fundamental boy’s adventure fantasy (maybe substitute a plane with the mall….or the local burger joint). Well Iron Man is going back to basics and putting out this exact scenario right at the beginning of the book this month.
The bad guy jumps and Tony pursues….and they find themselves in a wilderness stalking each other. Really digging this. A lot more fun than I expected and they’ve managed to build up enough curiosity on my part that I think I just might be back next month!
What took them three months to release Suicide Squad Blaze part 3? I mean, Rogues as well, but I jumped off that train with part two anyhow. 3 months for these black label titles???? *ugh* This isn’t Image comics you know guys! And everyone keeps trying to tell me the comics industry isn’t broken.
It’s strange too . the title actually got a lot worse in the intrum. I know I keep harping on the Amanda Waller as a villain thing, but they REALLY turned her into a terrible person here – off the charts. The story goes esoteric off the charts and gives the strangest Vertigo title a run for it’s money. It’s one of those things – you can go too freaky, too weird, and too edgy. Blaze revs up and goes right off that cliff.
It’s a beautiful fall though. The art is absolutely gorgeous and inspired. Standing alone it’s some wonderful rendering. But for this thing to fall apart here is a big disappointment to me – especially with me digging the first couple issues.
I’d actually completely forgotten that Batman ’89 was still going. I probably should have just waited for the whole thing to wrap up and grab a trade. I still might, now that it’s all over. a trade would look really nice next to my copy of the actual film adaption (By Jerry Ordway – my favorite Superman artist no less!)
It’s genuinely an interesting take on this universe. I’m not sure I would have been happy with it if this had been the actual third film, but then again – I wonder how much like this a film would have been. I don’t feel as much Burton influence as I think we would have seen had he made it. I also remember not being real thrilled with the racebending on Robin when it was rumored back then, but then again, I was similarly disappointed with the recasting of Two-Face when we ultimately got Batman Forever (which I DO really like). Because this exists as an exercise in theory, I think it becomes far more palatable and it’s been an interesting enough read – with the occasional moments of brilliance.
I also checked in with Daredevil. You may recall me pointing out that Devil’s Reign didn’t quite reestablish the status quo that I really wanted, rather redirecting DD into a whole new globetrotting direction – but before we do, it’s time for one last night out on the town in the big apple, busting heads with Spidey. It’s genuinely good. It’s everything I want this title to be. We’ll see where issue two goes, but this one bit of storytelling sure did make a good deposit of goodwill in the bank.
Over at the Punisher though – my patience is just about wearing out. They are doubling down on this garbage about Frank being a trouble kid and trying to retcon a foreshadowing of the Punisher into his ten year old self and ….UGH! Just read my last review. It’s all there.
There’s some cool stuff here once we get past that bit. It’s particuarly interesting to see Lady Bullseye and her companion show up to do battle with Frank…and we may just be seeing the real turning point here where he turns on the Hand. It sure feels like it, but I’m honestly not sure where this is going. For now I’m still on the ride and just enjoying the pretty pictures.
By the way, is anyone else reading Flashpoint Beyond? I grabbed issue three on impulse and then had to go back and read the rest of it. Perhaps it’s got to do with me recently reading through that amazing Flashpoint special ediditon trade, but I really enjoy this. I find most Batman comics from the last decade or so to just be impenetrable, but this actually works for me. It’s a cool continuation in that universe and actually does these characters some justice. Seriously, give this title a chance and see if you don’t dig it.
Speaking if digging stuff…I finally figured out why this current run of Ghost Rider has got me so hooked.
Quite frankly, it’s Hellblazer. This title is absolutely a new version of Hellblazer – but with more motorcycles and chains. (and not THAT many more chains – John got into some WIERD stuff)
It really occurred to me when I was watching the cop who’s pursuing him do magic. Her partner isn’t into it, so it feels cheeky and alien to him, but it’s that sort of mystical edged horror that we’re really seeing here in Ghost Rider. It gives it a freshness of dark delights that just has me totally hooked. It even spills over onto the other characters in the series. This issue it’s Ghost Rider vs the Circus of Crime. Now these guys are fine – but on the goofy side. very 70’s marvel….
This issue is the Circus of Crime like you’ve NEVER seen them before… and they are TERRIFYING.
Batgirls continues to be delightful. Normally I’d be annoyed that Babs is coming in and taking center stage, taking the focus off of Cass and Steph, but man. She’s just so CUTE with Dick. Like, I barely remember what the actuall misson was. I was just there to watch her and Nightwing flirt.
They don’t skimp on the action, never fear. There’s plenty of jumping and punching and foiled evil, but the way these characters are written is just SO compelling and I haven’t ben THIS into Dick and Babs since the ORIGINAL Birds of Prey when it was running simultaneously with the original run of Nightwing. This stuff is ABSOLUTELY back on form. I can’t believe this is one of my favorite comics going right now but is totally is.
The other title I’ve found myself looking forward too every month is the current relaunch of Archer and Armstrong. The books was always a little cracked, but it’s just complete Lunacy these days and enormous fun. Imagine opening the book to see something like this….
Like I said….just really fun. And that’s a lot of what I’m looking for these days. I know we’re only on issue three of this run so far, but it feels like I’ve gotten way more than three issues of reading out of them. I’ll leave you with this image and check back next time!
Superman and Lois is back, and there’s something to be said for a series like this… Where every single episode feels like the penultimate episode. As bizarro world attempts to merge with earth, Superman is down for the count and powerless. It’s up to all of our second string heroes, including Jordan as well as stealing his daughter to protect Smallville. In the meantime, The evil doppelgängers are back, looking for their counterparts and looking to take out Clark while he’s still vulnerable. All of this goes on, Lana finds herself coping not only was just learning the job of being the newly elected mayor, but also dealing with an extinction level superhero crisis and trying to pull the town together in the midst of it.
The Orville has done an excellent job of really being Star Trek… Copying the aesthetic and the trajectory… And for the first time I wonder and worry if they’ve also swallowed the poison pill of modern Star Trek. The Orville hasn’t been without its social justice and political points… Although it’s generally been fairly evenhanded with them. But with this episode, featuring the election of the Krill… The bad guys, basically religious Klingons, I wonder if they’re getting a little heavy handed with their political commentary. We have an election that changed suddenly… mysteriously… almost overnight! And yet we have the leader who wins being very much A nationalist and an ideologue… All the things they said President Trump was. Of course one could also apply that to current President Biden, who governs every bit as an extremist as they all said Trump would be. The fact that there is suggestions of a stolen election… Or a challenge to it… Like I said. It’s heavy-handed and I’m feeling a little attacked. I actually chatted with us a little bit with one of my friends who does not share my political leanings. He’s not necessarily my opposite or even in the middle, but more of a cynic… and unlike other people who I hear frequently say “I hate all politicians“ and claim to be independent… He actually is. From his viewing, he saw a bit of skewering of both sides… And I’m content to leave it at that. I know my bias. Still, it’s clumsy and really not what I want to watch The Orville for. It’s a shame too, because the episode is gorgeous. The Krill homeworld is shocking how detailed and well realized it is. It’s just gorgeous and a monstrous bit of science-fiction design. Is everything you want from a future alien city.
I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no interest in DC‘s Dark Crisis or any of the repackaged 5G that they’re trying to roll out here. They’ve largely made the DCU so unrecognizable to me that it’s off-putting and, the stories just aren’t that interesting.
Now, of course these bad cops take it a step further, hassling kids playing basketball in broad daylight at noon on a Sunday or something…, But I still feel a suggestion that all police activity is harassment, all cops are bad, and that if they just left it all alone, everything will be all right… After all it’s probably the cops causing all the trouble anyhow! It’s a drag too, because I was really liking this book… Until I got smacked in the face with a large baseball bat labeled “the message“.
I know I keep saying this, but it’s a ridiculously self-aware book. The best part of it being, Jack Torrance keep speaking in Jack Nicholson quotes. There’s a lot of Batman quotes here, along with the occasional “You can’t handle the truth!“ At one point he confronts Elvira with a “did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?“ To which she responds “you wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!“ It’s all insanely glorious. There’s a couple of pokes at Kubrick‘s directing style as well, the use of banner slides to tell you which day it is… That sort of thing, and even an acknowledgment of the recent Dr. Sleep film. But the part that’s truly horrifying is when you see what’s written on Jack’s typewriter instead of “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy“. It’s genuinely good stuff, and we can see by the end of this book, that is leading her into her next film… Alien. Once again, I can’t wait.
The thing that is so charming here is that it’s really the best possible venue for the character. Elvira has always been fundamentally a horror host, so dropping her into these movies… It’s really just an extended version of the things that a lot of posts like Zacharly would do, green screening themselves into the movie. Elvira is taking this to a whole new extreme, but it fits. It gives her a chance to be a character, while still retaining her identity as a host.
If you’re a fan of the current ninja Punisher run, You may want to check out Punisher war journal. It’s a nice self-contained story, but it’s a side quest. Definitely something that they’re doing in another book so that they don’t interrupt the flow of the main story going on in the main book. Or journal still evokes a desire for gunplay, and I have to admit, while this is a Punisher story… It’s a Punisher story largely without firearms. There’s a few, but I have to admit I miss them. Then again, props on them for at least giving us a scene or two of ninjas with guns. I understand cinematicly why you never see them using firearms in the movies, but realistically, just like any good spy I would assume a ninja would use any weapon at his disposal… That includes firearms. I think at the end of the day, this is still gonna go down as just one of those “weird“ periods in the Punisher’s history, much like the mobbed up ponytail storyline, or the Demon Hunter one… Marvel’s just not sure what to do with him right now because he’s a little too politically incorrect, but at the same time a little bit too popular to just rest the character. I’d still prefer all of this is the side quest, and alternate universe whatever sort of thing, but I’m still enjoying the ride a lot more than I expected to, so I’m sticking with this.
I know, I know, I should have known better than to pick up this month’s Spider-Gwen, but man, I REALLY want to like this book. I want to like the concept and the quirkyness and I just DON’T. This arc is just full of low effort copy and paste versions of an already derivative character ….AND it’s going on at the same time they’re doing THE EXACT SAME THING with Miles Morales over in What if! Gahhh! (and now I’m going to have to build that Iron Gwen armor for Maddie aren’t I?)
On the other hand, I have to say, I noticed something this month in a lot of the flagship titles. They were fun. Good old fashioned adventure.
Cap is a relaunch, but this run of FF and Iron Man have been going for a bit now so that’s one of the real tests. Can you just drop in to see whats going on, and have some fun in a single issue? You sure can. I can see we’re in the middle of a bigger story in FF, but never felt to lost. Yeah, I can see that there’s some interesting relationship stuff going on with Tony and Patsy in Iron Man, and I can roll with it since it doesn’t take away from main feature – Tony in the suit vs a Gorilla. (It’s the Silver Age at DC all over again!)
Over in Cap, it gets a little introspective- trying to set the tone of the series, but it’s all supporting a good old fashioned bad guy beatdown. Bucky/winter Soldier is back at Caps side for some reason, but okay. Cool. You can see they are setting up for something bigger – I don’t know If i’m up for that much bigger ride yet, but this first issue was great.
And hey…I’m behind on Batgirls aren’t I? It’s weird…I don’t know how I missed issue six, but considering it wraps up that first run, I had to grab it before i started up on number six.
This series has been a been a fun ride, built mainly on the strength of our two young Batgirls. Watching Cass and Steph fight together is always a fun time- there’s a choreography to them, both in action and personality that’s really worked well over these first six issues and now I really want a trade paperback collection.
My only objection is the whole ex-boyfriend drama between babs and the villian. Not even the drama itself as much as how dumb it’s portrayed. Panels like this and the whole “W were never official!” thing….it’s just jr high cringeworthy. This isn’t Friends. You aren’t Ross and Rachel. This is…. *sigh*. It’s a misstep. That’s all. It’s also a perfect example of how Barbara’s best contribution to this dynamic is as mentor and manager, rather than participating directly in adventures.
Still, with that one done, it’s time to move on to issue seven and….wow. Just wow. As much as I was into the style that Jorge Corona was bringing to the series, wow o wow, huge props to Robbie Rodriguez for seriously stepping up the art game on this book. While Corona leaned into the heart and sometimes goofy nature of the ladies, Rodriguez gives the Batgirls a more flowy look that is highly evocative of early Jae Lee and creates a drama that just flies.
There’s not tons to say about the story. We’ve kept the same writing team and it’s a part one that sets things up with a good adventure, but like I said before, the real reason we’re here is to watch Cass and Steph hang out. It’s just us spending time with some friends and perhaps remembering the better parts about being that age… you know. if you were also a superhero.
Dick Grayson shows up at the end to help Babs infiltrate the Iceberg Lounge (Cass watches them from a roof top lamenting how much fun it would have been if she and Steph could have dressed up too!) and I really can wait to see more of that.
Good pulls this week. The world needs more fun comics.
Then again, maybe it needs some more disturbing ones too. I finally got through most of my Free Comic Book Day Stack, and the one book that really stood out to me was a creepy little book called “Bunny Mask” It’s hard to describe. Bunny mask is a strange entity looking fore sickness, and doling out justice as she sees fit. It’s exactly the sort of book Vertigo would have published and it deserves to be just as big as an indie as it would have been with Vertigo. It’s disturbing and creepy and absolutely beautiful. This one is really my highest recommend. It’s on issue two this month so you don’t have to worry about being to far behind. This is the perfect time to jump on board.
The Flash kicks things off right this week, jumping right in showing a race between the flash and another speedster dressed like a ninja. It’s a funny coincidence, considering I spent the weekend watching a bunch of ninja movies…
The black suited speedster in question is Dr Mina, a scientist who seems to have developed a machine that can grant a person artificial super speed. Or is it really artificial speed force? Barry’s taking it upon himself to help train her, but things go sideways when he meets her partner… Ebon Thawn, the Reverse Flash. This is the blonde hair blue eyed version of Thawn, and he’s lost his memory. It’s suspicious enough to send Barry running to check on Tom Kavanaugh‘s reverse flash, still stripped of his power, and cooling his heels in iron heights prison. Together they realize that what Mina has created is a machine that Thawn designed 200 years from now in his own quest for super speed… But it’s not creating artificial speed force. It’s tapping in to the negative speed force. Much like an atom can have a negative charge and a positive charge, Barry is the avatar of the speed force and carries the positive charge. What Mina has discovered is the negative charge of the speed force, and a lightning bolt from her hand can cancel out Barry’s powers.
It’s just a great solid superhero adventure. Mina actually stopped just short of kind of becoming a female reverse flash… And indeed, Barry even says “Central City can always use more heroes“. No it can’t! What it needs is more villains! and I’d love to see her go full Reverse Flash here. When you’re at the eighth season like this, it wouldn’t really be just a gender swap replacement of an existing character, but rather a variant that moves right along in the continuity, not taking away from the already established character. let her be a reverse flash for an episode or two, and maybe even climax it with three reverse flashes after Barry. Either way, you can tell that I’m digging on this episode, because of all the speculation…
Moreover we get not one, but three stingers at the end, it seems that there wasn’t really enough time to dedicate to the b storylines, so they’ve got a cliffhanger us at the end here with glimpses of Cecile and her powers going off the scale, A potential resurrection for killer frost, and new devious plans hatching with the reverse flash. It gets me very excited for what the back end of the season has to offer. You also can never go wrong with a cameo from Ray Palmer. Even if it is just Brandon Routh skypeing in, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Everything that Brandon Routh brought to the table with Clark Kent… All the charm and gawkiness without being… Well, stupid… (The way Christopher Reeve played him) it’s all dialed up to 11 when Routh plays the atom, and it just works so well.
But then we get to Ms Marvel. And see, I don’t understand Disney. They bought Marvel… A company mostly built on superhero adventure franchises. Colorful characters in colorful costumes punching people. Then they proceed to make these Disney+ shows with very few costumes, muted colors, and nearly no action, adventure or punching. I understood there wouldn’t be tons of action in the first episode because we’re basically getting an origin, but the second episode seemed even flatter. It’s Kamala’s got a crush, and somebody’s stealing shoes at the mosque. That’s basically what happens. There’s about 10 minutes of a superhero rescue towards the very end and quite the cliffhanger, but the 40 minutes or so that proceeded… It’s all just people talking. You know, I feel like I’ve said this before… Oh wait, I have. I said it for six weeks with Loki.
Part of me wonders if Marvel just hasn’t gotten The formula right… I mean, the Disney+ shows sure seem to be following a specific structure, but it’s not the right one. In a film, the first act is world building. You get 30 or 40 minutes of that before you move into the second act which is conflict, usually resulting in a big problem or falling out that has to be resolved shortly into the third act just before the climax. It’s a reliable structure, and when you deviate from that, you start feeling like the film is dragging. On a traditional 22 episode network television series, you probably get about 20%-25% of each episode divided world building, maybe a little bit more or less depending on the story, as well as character development all throughout, while never neglecting the action and adventure itself. For all of my talk about how the CW shows really do love their scenes of attractive people talking about their feelings in dimly lit hallways… They still understand that balance, And don’t deprive us of the important punching moments.
And yet every week I hear my friends gushing about “Marvel has done it again!“ And have the newest Disney Marvel show is the best thing ever! And I just don’t get it. I almost wonder if they’re reacting more to that shocking cliffhanger that they do seem to like leaving us with rather than the contents of the absolute self. That would make sense to me, but honestly, it’s not enough to run a series on that alone.
Fortunately, they haven’t forgotten about the action when it comes to making Obi-Wan. The imperial forces are bearing down on the underground railroad base, and it’s basically up to Obi-Wan to buy them time to evacuate… and get Princess Leia to safety.
We finally get some of Reva’s backstory… But it’s no exaggeration when I say literally everybody I knew, whether they were Star Wars fans or not, whether they like the show or not, EVERYONE ABSOLUTELY KNEW she was going to end up being one of the kids in the Jedi temple and that somehow she would’ve survived the massacre from Revenge of the Sith. Obi-Wan suggests that the reason she’s doing all this is really to able to get close to Vader to kill him… Which is weird, because she’s been serving Vader for a decade or two now, but it’s only now that Obi-Wan’s dreamy eyes are enough to convincing her to try and kill him? No, I still insist that this character feels very clumsily inserted into the story for purposes of padding out the length to get it to six hours, and to make sure that there’s some sort of diversity first. It’s not even that she’s awful, it’s just that she’s unnecessary. The imperial turncoat that’s been helping Obi-Wan and Leia escape…? The one that will occasionally don her old imperial officer uniform? You could have given Reva’s entire backstory to her and not missed a beat. She could have still headed up to confront Vader this episode and had a far more interesting death. And all the tracking and torture and villainous stuff Reva’s been doing? It’d all be WAY more interesting if that were Vader. I’ve said it before, but it bears reapeating. you have one of the greatest cinematic villians of all time at your disposal. Not just of sci-fi, not just of star wars….ONE OF THE GREATEST VILLIANS IN THE HISTORY OF ALL MOVIES….but you’d rather use Reva.
I can kind of see how Obi-Wan really did start off life as a film script. You can feel the pacing, especially now that we’re fully immersed into the third act, and this thing absolutely would’ve blown our socks off as a three hour film, rather than a six hour miniseries. In fact, I could go for a couple of two-hour Obi-Wan films with these kind of production values. Still, while this probably wasn’t the series best destiny, it’s still been the best of any of the Disney Star Wars that I’ve seen.
With no Superman and Lois this week, we’re rounding things out with the Orville. The thing is, I’ve never been a fan of imaginary stories. I don’t enjoy the stuff like Shore Leave, or the holodeck hijinx of Casino Royale or the Big Goodbye. Still, I’ve gotta admit, Seth MacFarlane is not gonna be able to fully realize his dream of doing a Star Trek series without at least one of these type of stories. He provides us with a sufficient McGuffin, and to his credit, the story actually gives us more of a twilight zone feel to them than a fantasy diversion. It’s an interesting aesthetic, but for me these still always feel like a waste of time.
McFarland also manages to tack on what Harlan Ellison used to refer to as “that dopey utopian bull$#@% that Gene Roddenberry loved” tm. McFarlane puts it in the mouth of the MacGuffin, a highly evolved creature, that’s at least 50,000 years beyond us… more really, since they learned how to manipulate and control their evolution. She suggests that humanity is on the right track, having left behind it’s gods and it’s myths and it’s nations, but when you become as involved as they are, you even move beyond any other identities… Explorer, captain, husband, even man or woman. Now, before people start pointing fingers and triumphantly exclaiming “See! Star Trek was always woke!“ Not only can I just kind of brush it off as one line of dialogue… (And being a student of history, I’ve noticed that every generation seems to think that they’ve evolved past a lot of those traditional concepts and identities… past ideas of God and nation and identity (and then history or reality reassert themselves and we find ourselves drawn back to those traditions). Sure I CAN address that myself, but I don’t actually have to, because in true Star Trek fashion, the show plunges forward to explore the statement further. McFarlane points out that while humans may not be as involved as our McGuffin, we’re old enough that we don’t run experiments on lower life forms the way the McGuffin has just done on us. It’s an interesting statement. It doesn’t necessarily contradict her, but it certainly gives you something to think about… and makes you wonder whether or not the McGuffin’s evolution is truly progressive and positive or not. The crew discusses it over dinner in the mess hall that night at the ship…
McFarland is pushing an atheist view here, that when you die there’s nothing, but that’s something to wrestle with. It’s an idea that we can’t truly wrap our heads around. Even the idea of it just being a formless black void after we die… We still have to be conscious in some way to perceive that… How do you perceive nonexistence? Bortus on the other hand suggests that death is noble. It’s a part of life and it has it hazards on virtue. McFarlane dismisses it as the traditional philosophical idea, but even in the dismissal, we get to listen to the point. Despite all of this, the first officer seems shocked that McFarlane would wish to live forever. He gives a marvelous justification though…
“I want to see what happens.”
I love this. I disagree with the primary tenant that McFarlane really wants to espouse, but he does it smartly – it’s classical liberalism which wants to debate the comcept, talk about it and chew it over and eventually come to a conclusion. It’s a difference between this and any of the modern Star Trek we see on Paramount plus which merely wishes to push it’s message, unquestioned. The Orville maybe stating its own opinion, but more importantly, they want to start the discussion. That’s why a single line can spark so much explanation from me here in this blog. That’s what Star Trek used to do.
Of course, you could justifiably say that I’m over thinking things here. But then again, hasn’t that always been the point of science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular?
See you next week.
Oh wow, Superman and Lois just went full on soap opera this week. I mean it. It’s nothing but drama… With a little bit of superheroics tacked on in the last 12 minutes or so. This may actually be the first bad episode they’ve had… And quite frankly, you can skip it. Anything that was important in this episode will almost certainly be recapped when the shower turns on June 22. I’ve got to admit though, for the series to have gone some 35 episodes or so and only so now hit a bad one, it’s actually pretty good. Supergirl jumped the shark almost immediately in her second season, and this is way better produced than that. It’s not enough to put me off, but yikes. They’re making up for turning the soap opera dial down a little bit the last couple episodes this week.
One thing that I am noticing though and it bears mentioning is the character of Kyle Cushing… Lana‘s husband. Lana and Kyle are currently separated because she discovered he cheated on her years ago while he was still drinking. In general, I don’t side with cheaters. I despise them. And even when I can understand the events that led to it, I am always on the side of the person who got cheated on. That’s mostly true here as well, but what impresses me is the links to which Kyle is going to try and win Lana back, as well as being a good father and try and keep his family together. Early in that first season most of us pegged Kyle as the “grown-up frat boy“ or “craft beer douche bag“, “former high school football hero”. It would’ve been very easy for them to just slip into the abusive husband or bad dad or dumb Republican kind of tropes. Instead, they’ve given him a great deal of nuance. The fact they’re showing him trying so hard and actually being a good father… The fact that they’re treating him as a character instead of a caricature – they absolutely deserve props for that.
One of the criticisms I’ve been hearing about Obi-Wan is how much it’s reminding people of the last Jedi… Specifically comparing sad Luke Skywalker in exile and saying Ewan McGregor is kind of sad Obi-Wan also in exile. I can see where they’re coming from on this, but at the same time I think things like the Last Jedi, and the constant bait and switch tactics we’ve seen ramp up over the last few years, and a lot of the diversity stunt casting rather than organic diversity… I think all of that has made us more sensitive to things we probably would’ve dismissed 10 years ago. I think we really wouldn’t be looking at this quite so critically if it had come out say, right after the Force Awakens. Imagine this and rogue one coming out within a year of each other… and then giving us the second sequel, making us wait three years instead of two. In any event, I think some of those criticisms have been answered here. Because in episode four, Obi Wan is driven, and singularly minded. He is on mission and finally giving us the Jedi action hero that we’ve been waiting to see. It also restores something that’s been missing from the D+ SW shows. For me, growing up, I could never figure out who was the actual hero of Star Wars. Was it the space pirate Han Solo or the cosmic mystic Luke? I think that this balance of those two aspects was really the key to Star Wars success. When the prequels came out, we were really missing this as they overfocused on the Jedi, and they never quite figured out how to strike that balance in the sequels. at first it looked like Finn would become the new streetwise space cowboy, but then Disney couldn’t figured out what to do with him so they shrunk his role and his space on the poster (because China doesn’t like Black people) and basically turned him into little more than a damsel in distress for Rose Tico – really a disservice to both characters.
With the release of the Mandalorian, we finally had our gritty shooty bang bang space western hero back, but now, the Jedi were all but absent. Oh sure, we’d get a guest appearance here or there, but for the most part, they weren’t a big part of that story. Obi-Wan feels like the other side of that coin. Like we’re getting a little bit of each depending on which series you watch. I’d love to see the balance achieved a little bit more, but it seems that we may actually be getting somewhere here. I sure hope so. There’s a lot of people who have lost their love for Star Wars because of how mishandled it’s been, and Obi-Wan should’ve been a good step towards getting them back… If it’s not too far gone already.
Ms. Marvel premiered this week as well, and I’m of two minds about it. They definitely have their target audience… Leaning heavily into the fangirl, convention fiend sort of element. Indeed, the entire episode really centers around Kamala Khan and her friend trying to figure out how they’re going to get to avengers con, in the heart of the city. I recognize a lot of myself in this, especially recognize a lot of my daughter in this. I’m surprised however, at how much I also relate to the parents… And they are of course, cast as the unreasonable bad guys. That I don’t like. But then again, we’re not the target audience. (However, people my age also weren’t the target audience for Stargirl….and I was completely all in on that show pretty much from the word go)
Ms. Marvel is one of those characters that is moderately popular, but that Marvel wants to make way more popular… Much like the way they hype Captain Marvel. And this first episode is very much a Captain Marvel hype machine. I’m not sure how successful that’s gonna be, but then again, I’m not seeing a ton of stuff here that bothers me or that I’d object to in the first place. It’s also very early in the story, and we haven’t gotten much happening yet except introducing our characters and learning the source of Ms. Marvel’s powers.
The Orville seem to be full of homage this week. Every time we turn around, I kind of felt like I was watching something lifted from a bit of one episode of next generation or another. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’re watching the Orville because it’s the best Star Trek out there right now… Which is saying something considering it’s not Star Trek.
The ships get permission to cross through Krill space… Those were the white and scaly bad guys from last year. Crossing through there and gives them access The areas of the galaxy previously unexplored… And everyone’s excited. Everyone but the Krill. When they learn that the Orville will be going through a dark expanse… Let’s just put it this way; they pray the last rights over them before they leave. They have legends about that area… Demons that possess people and hide unimaginable terrors.
That’s quite a set up. And it’s worth noting… They’re gonna pay this thing off in spades.
Just past Krill space, they come across an area that just seems like a void. There are no stars. It’s hard for sensors to penetrate, but undaunted, they had in. Inside this large dark cloud they find a bizarre looking space station. They’re explorers, it’s time to explore. Shuttlecraft is dispatched and the whole thing has a very Star Trek the motion picture feel to it. The tiny ship as it penetrates the black clouds, and then enters the looming space station. Watching the bizarre hatchways open in a sort of star/claw formation… And the essential alieness of it all.
Inside, I actually start to get extremely strong Borg vibes. The best of both worlds, where they’re exploring the ship and trying to figure out what different nodes and lights do in signify. what those notes do, is infect visitors. One of the away team is infected with a virus that completely rewrites his DNA and turns him into… Let’s just call it a monster. It’s very reminiscent of the episode of TNG where Barkley turns into a spider… Only there’s more of them, and as monsters go, they’re pretty horrifying. Perhaps too intense for broadcast television, but then again, the Orville no longer have to worry about that. Being on Hulu allows some fair that’s slightly more R-rated.
It’s interesting, because I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the sort of horror violence that we’ve seen in modern Star Trek… Myself included – though not quite so publicly – and yet here, it doesn’t bother me quite so much. Perhaps it’s because we’re dealing with monsters. There’s always been monsters on Star Trek… As opposed to watching people get their eyes gouged out by other people or watching a bunch of Falcons see a vision so horrible they blast themselves in the head with tasers… here, it’s just not so mean-spirited. Modern Star Trek is Saw, whereas the Orville is still the old-fashioned 80s slasher movie style or a 50s Wolfman flick. monsters, not cruelity. All of our characters get a chance to be heroic, and despite the other horror of the situation, the show and the crew still managed to retain an optimistic outlook. This is great stuff, and I am totally on board for the season. The weekly episodes… Honestly it’s the highlight of my week, much of the way Doctor Who used to be.
Another thing that’s striking me about the Orville is how distinct its ships look. The union ships them selves still have a lot of the Starfleet clean look to them… Definitely that same color scheme, But the design itself… Well, you’ll never mistake it for Star Trek. The same is true with a lot of the computer consoles, though everything else about the show really could be another TNG era spinoff. That of course is what has made this thing so strong. But I do sometimes find myself wishing for prettier ships… Then again, I was never a big fan of the look of the Enterprise D. The Orville is filmed exquisitely, almost to the point where I may actually like it better than the TNG flagship. Isn’t that strange?
The Flash is in a weird place this week. They kind of need half an episode to use as a bridge episode, connecting us to the greater storyline, but they also insist on throwing a big storyline that’s unrelated… And quite honestly, not that compelling. The B storyline involves the temporary editor at the central city citizen… And it’s another example of this show really dying to be and ensemble show, the problem is it’s not. The main character of the show… Well quite frankly his name is in the title. And he’s off on a secret mission… so in the mean time, the show is trying to push the supporting cast. Even worse, it’s the new supporting cast, not the characters that we really got attached to over the years. I understand, with this many episodes you do have to shuffle a little bit, but… they’re not pulling it off. We’ve had a really great run this season, but now, it’s almost like it’s catching up to them. Between this and the cast turnover, I know I keep vacillating back-and-forth, but it’s swung me back towards this should be
Spider-Man number three is just depressing. It’s nice to get a recap of tombstone‘s origins, but man, that beat down Spidey takes… It bothers me kind of the way the beat down in Superman Returns bothers me. It’s just not what I want to see.
I tried to get the Poison Ivy issue this week a chance, but… Just ugh. I don’t recognize these characters anymore. And none of the politically charged pride books, or the new and improved justice league full of anything but what we’d actually like from justice league… Say Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman? (And the real ones I mean, not the great value brand that DC is currently trying to pass off). I mean, seriously, if Grant Morrison could get this right while hopped up on whiskey and amphetamines, chain-smoking a dozen clove cigarettes at once, this can’t be that hard.
At least Archer and Armstrong is still interesting enough. It’s really more of an alternative comic… And I like the direction they’re going this time around. And the current stories are trying to find a way to restore Armstrong’s immortality, and it’s been a lot of fun. Exactly the sort of weird alternative Loopy fun that this title has never gotten enough credit for.
Hopefully we get better next week.
One of the things that always bothers me about serialized shows over episodic are these kind of in-between shows like we had on Superman and Lois this week. It’s not really filler… Well, the subplot about Lana‘s daughter and her music might be, but for the most part, these are all story threads that need to get into the series but can’t necessarily be wrapped up in a solo adventure. There’s not so much a story going on this week as there is connective tissue being developed.
Nevertheless, we’ll see what happens next week.
Not much to speak of and comics last week so I may as well tag it on here. I did pick up Deadpool bad blood… This is sort of Rob Leifield‘s triumphant return to the character he created. Thing is, the Deadpool that Rob Leifield created is not really the Deadpool we know today. There’s significant differences in tone and in general zaniness and all that’s fine. But life is treating him the way he always did. That’s his prerogative, he’s the creator. But what the sense of being, is very much a Rob Liefeld book for Rob Liefeld fans. And boy, is it ever Liefeld. I mean, Liefeld on steroids. It’s a little jarring, almost enough to make me rethink my constant emphatic defense of the man’s style.
Still, I expect that Liefeld fans will really dig this, but I got admit, it’s just not for me. Issue one didn’t do a whole lot for me, and I’m jumping off this title with issue two.
Ghost Rider on the other hand, continues to blow my mind. I’ve dipped my toe in Ghost Rider here and there over the years. He’s a staple of the Marvel universe, but he’s usually treated mostly as a superhero. Perhaps supernatural superhero adventures, or Scooby Doo – kids Halloween party levels of spook. But it’s always comic book spooky. It’s always super hero affair, it’s always comics code levels of terror.
That’s not what we’re getting from this Ghost Rider series.
This Ghost Rider book is straight up horror. Not dark fantasy, not horror edged or supernatural heroics, this thing feels like straight up horror. Not even comic book horror, like Man Thing or Tomb of Dracula… Reading this book gives me very similar vibes that I get from old Garth Ennis Hellblazer back in the day. We’re constantly seeing unspeakable monstrosities slither into existance. The writer knows he can’t pull off a jump scare but he can definitely shock you. He can create imagery that just lingers and disturbs and that’s exactly what he does. There’s a real brilliance to it and I feel like this is what Ghost Rider always should’ve been… What it always wanted to be. This one’s a book you absolutely need to go out and pick up.
Episodes like last week are really the reason I keep defending the Flash even after a lot of my friends have dropped off. We open with the flash running through Central city stopping Miner Street level crime. A robbery here, maybe push your grandmother out of the way of a truck… All before running home for game night. This he is actually the kind of stuff I’d like to see more of. Especially with such an established casting concept.
The rest of the story is a really straightforward standard adventure with a villain looking for eternal life, and draining the energy from the people of the city. We get to watch the flash grow old as he battles this guy, and it’s just a fun story.
While this episode doesn’t really connect to anything else in the series, it’s very much standalone but still doing the sort of farewell Thing as well, bringing back familiar faces. This time around it’s Captain Singh from the earlier episodes. He stepped down two seasons ago or so, it was never a big character… Always more of a background one. That’s what makes it so weird to bring him back like this. He’s got a substantial role in the story, helping Joe settle into retirement, and it’s weird because he probably gets more screen time in this one episode than in any given season.
Still, the standalone for me is good. And it doesn’t feel like filler. It doesn’t give me the same exasperation in the last couple of episodes have. It’s just a reminder of why I genuinely do enjoy the show.
The first episode actually starts off with about a 5 to 7 minute recap of the prequel series. Not only is that smart, it’s actually better than watching those three movies in full. We get all the salient data, we get the best of the performances, and you basically get to know everything we need to know going into this.
It’s interesting, normally I’d roll my eyes at the idea of yet another prequel series, but this is exploring that’s strange imperial. Between revenge of the Sith and a new Hope. It’s not something that’s ever been explored before, and quite frankly, Ewan McGregor is one of the absolute best things about the prequel series.
I am intrigued by the show. McGregor is actually a surprisingly proficient action hero, and I almost wonder if we really needed this story earlier. A lot of the bloom is off the rose is off Star Wars, but fans have been clamoring for this year well over a decade. Ewan McGregor has basically made the role his – more than Alec McGuniess ever did, and it’s nice to see him back in the saddle.
The portrayal of a child Leia is also interesting. I actually see it. they’ve made her up in a way that REALLY evokes Carrie Fisher, and I can totally see this little girl growing up to be her in another ten years. Likewise, the whole Star Wars world feels right. In fact, the only thing that feels out of place is the Inquisitor Reva. That VERY 2022 hairstyle takes me right out and it feels like there’s more attention paid to her story than to Obi-wans’s….of course they DO have six episodes to fill here, and adding more subplot with her may be one of the ways they stretched out that original two hour film idea into a six hour mini-series.
That’s at the core of any problems they are going to have here. I could see the filler stretching out Picard, Wandavision and Loki. Obi Wan is starting out strong, and very watchable – maybe the best of the modern Disney Star Wars. But filler may well kill it. I hope not. This one has enough of my intrest to keep me around for another four weeks.
Worlds finest continues to be my favorite of all the current tiles out there. It’s just good straightforward adventure fare with familiar faces. Superman, Batman and Robin, Supergirl on the flash and Green Lantern… No agendas no personal politics just straightforward storytelling. That’s not to say there’s nothing complex, we’ve got an ark going on here along with various DCU characters coming in and out of the story. It’s just all really good. It’s exactly what I want. I almost feel like back in the days where I was losing interest in Superman and Batman‘s main titles, but couldn’t wait for the Superman Batman issues to come out every month. It was the same way with Spider-Man for a while too. While the main line series was kind of meandering and falling apart, I was very much getting into the late run of ultimate Spider-Man… And even, I guess I’ll admit it, Spider-Man loves Mary Jane.
Speaking of Spider-Man, I really have weird mixed feelings regarding this new run of amazing Spider-Man. If I hadn’t spent the first week of 2022 basically catching up on the last two years of the Spider-Man comics, I swear I just walked into the middle of a storyline or something. We still don’t really know what the status quo is here, and the opening scrawl admits it. It literally says something has happened in spider-Man‘s life, but doesn’t actually tell us what. It’s maddening, especially since I’m really enjoying a lot of what they’re doing here. The whole bit with tombstone is interesting and fun. Spidey himself is being well written and somebody really understands his voice. It’s funny and sad and good adventure all at once… With a story that is fun enough for me to put up with John Romita juniors thin line nightmare style of art. But I’ll tell you what, I really do need to know what the status quo is. I need to understand what’s happening, and it needs to be soon. You got another issue and a half or I’m out. Still, for the moment….I gotta say – this one panel just sums it up.
I’m actually been a big fan of what Dynamite’s been doing over the years. It’s the same model as Dark Horse, lean into licensed properties, but dynamite always seems to pick ones that I’m far more interested in the dark horse ever did. Elvira‘s had a couple of series now, and honestly they’ve been hit or miss, nothing I was really digging, but the new Elvira in horror land has really got my attention. They drop her into an old movie, and she interacts. It’s actually pretty perfect. It’s kind of the thing I really enjoy with horror hosts in the first place! First issue she finds herself in psycho. Psychos got a special place in my heart, especially since I didn’t get around to watching it until I was in my early 40s when they were doing a screening up at the rain palace. I’ve recently screened it for my daughter as well, and this has got it fresh on my mind. It’s well done, poking fun at the tropes, paying respect to the characters, even taking a shot at the remake. I’m really enjoying it, but what’s really interesting for me is the last page.
Elvira escapes the movie alive, and ready for her next adventure. Unfortunately, her next adventure starts in the snow… In a remote mountain resort… With a sinister hotel beckoning in the distance.Yeah, I’m sticking around for a while on this title.
Three issues in and surprisingly enough, I’m still on board with the Punisher. I actually think this would have been a perfect miniseries. Not necessarily the main line title, but a sort of side spin off… It probably would’ve served a character better. Even if it weren’t, advertising it as a mini series kind of assures people that this is just a temporary diversion and things will be returned to the status quo. To his credit, the writer genuinely tried to reassure us of that in the first issue and I respect that. It allows me to settle in and enjoy this interesting exploration of Frank Castle as the leader of the hand. There’s a lot to like here. The concept is strong and smart, and I’m genuinely on board with a lot of what they’re doing.
Or at least, I was until now.
You see that kid on the cover of issue three? The one wearing the captain America mask? That’s Frank. 10 year old Frank Castle is the centerpiece of the story, in response to a question asked to him… “When did you first kill someone?”
This irritates me. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen this sort of deconstruction… This attempt to paint Frank as just an inherent killer. A fundamental bad seed. it pops up from time to time, whether it’s in the punisher showing up in the ‘Nam, or the supernatural run where the angels pick him because he’s just inherently the best murderer out there, or even the attempt at Microsoft deconstructing his personality in the punisher max series.
Wherever it happens, I hate it. It shows a basic misunderstanding of the character and his history.
It’s especially prevalent among writers who have never lived through the 70s. People who never experienced The high crime rates and massive inflation and General loss of hope (but buckle up guys, because we’re there again and in 10 years you’re gonna see a whole new crop of storytelling that represents it). They don’t properly remember Bernie Goetz taking up arms and murdering people in a fit of vigilante rage. They’ve never experienced the sort of stagnation that lead rise to books and films like Deathwish. That’s what the punisher is. He’s a fairly ordinary guy who is finally pushed too far and snapped. He’s a person who is a protector as a cop, deeply religious with training as a priest, loving as a father and a husband… Someone who’s had all that stripped away. Those things didn’t keep the killer in check, those things were who Frank Castle was. The killer is the aberration, not the good man. It always frustrates me when the riders get this wrong. It’s not enough to put me off the title, but man it’s frustrating.
Equally frustrating is the ridiculousness of Harley Quinn. That sloppy artwork just kills me, and this book is simply all over the place. Honestly, I just dropped in to check the series out, but I’m dropping right back out. Harley Quinn‘s always been a little wacky, but she’s also been serious and deadly as well. The Harley that I am reading in this book, quite frankly it’s pinkie pie from my little pony.That’s fine, that’s even fun, but it’s not Harley.
Maybe it’s time for me to just settle back and dig into some back issues instead. Both fanboy expo and Comicpslooza DID happen this weekend after all.
Which is not to say that I’ve dropped that book! Quite frankly, as long as you’re keeping Ambush Bug around, I’m probably gonna be buying this. Who would’ve known that Peacemaker would be such a great foil for Buggy?
The one thing that consistently bothers me Though, is the way these writers insist on writing Amanda Waller as a villain. She’s not. She’s far more complex than that, and it takes some real skill to create a sympathetic character who is immoral and devastatingly pragmatic way Waller is. There’s a real brilliance in what John Ostrander created in her, and I just wish these subsequent writers would respect that more.
We got some new infinity comics over the last two weeks. Both Marvel Meow and Alligator Loki we’re a little meh. I mean, not bad. Just, not as spectacular as their kick offs. We have Alligator Loki playing with butterflies in the swamp. We have avenger cats either choosing their owners or cheering them up or stopping an argument… I couldn’t quite tell. Both are just quick and cute vignettes. Not full stories, but I suppose that’s really what infinity comics are for.
On the other hand, I do expect more from full issues hitting the shelves. I popped my head in to take a look at She Hulk. I knew the series was out, and issue three was on the racks. I kind of wanted to see what sort of tone they’re going for. Whatever is happening in the comics is undoubtably shaped by the tone and style that the television show was going for, so it was a good time to take a look at where we’re going.
I mean it. Nothing happens in this book. It’s exactly like most of the Disney+ shows. A lot of attractive people talking in hallways but never actually doing anything. The entire book is Jen discussing court cases and the aesthetic of Jack of hearts costume while he’s sleeping on her couch.
That’s not to say that there isn’t anything of value here. We get a hilarious call from Ben Grimm who needs a lawyer for a ticket he’s trying to fight. It’s just a one page gag about lockjaw and leash laws, but it’s seriously the best part of the entire book. In fact, I’d actually rather be reading the story. I wanna see The cop trying to give the thing a ticket, and Jenny in court helping him find it, with him in full Rocky thing attire with lockjaw sitting at the end of the table, hunched over, trying to fit in the courtroom.
Sadly, that’s not what we’re getting. Like I said it’s a very talky book and not even a really transitional story. Let me just put it this way. Anyone trying to jump on board with this issue, they’re not coming back for any more of the series. 10 years from now, anyone pulling this issue out of the dollar bins is not going to go back and try and find the rest of this run. Nevertheless, from what I can see, the people who are reading this are jumping in for the long-haul, and perhaps this will fit better in a trade. I don’t know. I’m not going to know either… Because it wasn’t enough to interest me in coming back.
I liked a lot of what I saw here, but at the end of the day, the series closes with some significant changes to the status quo. Luke Cage is the new mayor, daredevil is heading off with Electra to go fight ninjas. What’s interesting, is this is the sort of ending that would be quite satisfying if this were a standalone book. If this were just a novel or something like that. The problem is, it’s also a springboard for where a number of comic book series will go in the months to come. Well I love daredevil, I have to admit the ninja stuff has never been my favorite. I’ve been waiting for him to get out of jail, go back to lawyer by day and street level crime fighter by night. It looks like I’m not getting that anytime soon, but those of you were out there who are really big fans of the Frank Miller era, I think you’ve got a real treat ahead of you.
Nothing much worth reading last week other than ghost rider. I’m really digging the spooky vibe they’re really trying to confuse here… It’s street horror spooky. Gothic spooky, not comic book spooky. Two issues in and I’m digging it.
On the TV front, I gotta say, the flash went full CW this week. Literally the bad guy was defeated by the power of “attractive people, standing in hallways talking about their feelings“. I don’t know. I heard we just got renewed for a full ninth season, except I also heard Grant Gustin isn’t appearing in every episode. Look, this is not an ensemble show. You’ve always had a good string a supporting characters, but this is a show driven by the title character… You know, “THE FLASH”???? If we were going to push it more ensemble, well, this point. That ship has sailed. If this wants to shift into a show with more of a rotating cast of characters, it may be time to scrap the flash, in favor of something like “showcase“ or “ The brave and the bold“. Still, the flash generally makes me happy as long as I keep my thumb on the fast forward button.
Superman and Lois has. But here’s the thing, I like these characters. I care about them, I’m invested in them… So I’m not really upset by it being that way. It’s strong enough to survive an entire episode without Superman. These characters that should actually really kind of annoy me… Especially these two teenage boys… No. They’ve consistently kept me engaged and it genuinely surprises me. Even more surprising is the fact that they’ve got me rooting for Sam Lane. Seriously? General Lane was always a jerk in the comics, and they translated that pretty well in the first season. Yet, I’m kind of digging him… Watching him try and do better. Watching him train Jordan into the superhero that he’s obviously becoming. Indeed, the show hasn’t just gone. Brother, it’s gone full Smallville. Watching Jordan this last few episodes it’s very much a similar feeling to watching Clark find his wedding as his power started to develop in the show. It’s interesting, I watch Lois‘s reaction to Jordan wanting to go out and help people, and I genuinely wonder… Is this way Martha would’ve acted? In a lot of ways, I feel like Jonathan and Martha had an easier time… Clark was a fundamentally good kid who wanted to do right by his parents. Jonathan and Jordan aren’t the same way, and yet they also kind of are. It all makes for really interesting watching… Really interesting comparison and contrast, but absolutely feels like it is the successor to Smallville. And that’s not a bad thing. Smallville was some of the best Superman of its era… Superman and Lois is definitely the best around in our modern period.
I also finally took the time to sit down and watch the Netflix Texas chainsaw massacre. But I think I’ll save that for a little bit later.