Monday, 10 December 2018

SHAZAM?

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Editor's Note:
Hey there readers, my Star Trek piece will require a bit more work.  In the meantime, find out how SHAZAM #1 became a gripe, instead of a pick.

Spotlight Pick  Gripe:
Last week DC fans were able to pick up the first issue of SHAZAM! to be published in twenty years. The title is, undoubtedly, being revived now in order to energize a fanbase for the April 5, 2019 movie release.


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I REALLY wanted to like this #1, I did.  I grew up with the character, and was anxious to read his comic book again.  Boy, did I waste $4.99.

OK, I had resigned myself to the fact that they could no longer call the character Captain Marvel, even though he was using the name long before Marvel Comics' Carol Danvers ever met the Kree.  Still, I'd begrudgingly accepted the fact going in.

The name was the least of this book's problems.  My main gripe is the fact that there was no action in the story.  Yes, there was a run-of-the-mill hold up, but with 6 Marvels/SHAZAMS to answer the call, there was no fight or tension to speak of.  If I'm going to pay $5 for a comic book, I want to see some high-powered action damn it!
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Monday, 3 December 2018

A Fond Farewell to Old Man Logan

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Editor's Note:

This week I only have a Spotlight Pick for my readers, but it's a must read for anyone who's a fan of the X-Men.  Coming soon though, I'll be sharing my thoughts on fan produced Star Trek movies in and episodes.  Stay tuned compatriots. ☺


Spotlight Pick:

In the fall of 2014, as the result of an alien virus, Wolverine lost his healing factor and was supposedly killed.


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Rather than leaving their X-Titles Logan-less, Marvel Comics brought Old Man Logan, from a parallel universe, into the main 616 universe to keep fans from going into Adamantium withdrawal.  While he never donned the blue and yellow tights, he delivered the same razor-sharp style of action and gruff attitude we were accustomed to.

Now that they're bringing the primary Wolverine back, Old Man Logan is getting a 12 issue send off.  I just read #1, and without giving anything away, which isn't in the promotional material, Logan knows he's dying, and he's determined to take down one last villain.

The first issue, released on November 28th, 2018, is a bit spendy at $4.99, but if you can swing it it's worth the read.  Future issues will drop to $3.99.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Picking Nits With The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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Spotlight Pick:



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On November 12, 2018 the comic book world lost its, arguably, greatest creator, Stan Lee, at the age of 95.   If you're reading this blog, it's a pretty safe bet that you know who Lee was and you're familiar with his work.  Yet for those of you who live under a rock, Stan Lee was a prolific writer and creator at Marvel Comics.

In 1939,  Lee, age 19, was hired by Timely Comics, which would eventually become Marvel Comics.  After two decades of working on romance comics and western comics, he was given a crack at the superhero genre.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Stan Lee went on to create some of comic books', and pop culture's, greatest icons including; Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Ant-Man, the original X-Men, and hundreds of others.

He will be missed by true believers everywhere.

Picking Nits With The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina:



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October 26, 2018 Netflix dropped the first 10 episode season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Because one of her parents was a witch and one was a mortal, Sabrina belongs to both worlds the same way Aquaman,  Namor, and Starlord do.  Walking the line between the two realms allows her to use her magical  super powers to help her mortal friends.

I knew going in that this show would be a darker version of the character Sabrina The Teenage Witch the same way that The CW's Riverdale in her darker version of Archie and Jughead.  I was prepared for an action oriented drama about good verses evil.  What I was not prepared for was the focus on devil worship.

While I am a Christian, I am not what you would you call a "bible thumper".  I can enjoy a Spawn or Hellboy comic book same as the next guy.  I can enjoy magic based shows such as Midnight Texas and Charmed as well.  However, those show don't feature heroic characters spouting, "Hail Satan," and referring to Christ as, "the false God," in almost every episode, in a bizarre attempt to hit viewers over the head with the satanic angle.

I could almost write it off as part of a fictional world if they had not gone out of their way to use the term Wicca.  By using the term, the show associates their characters with a real religion.  After college  I dabbled with the Wiccan religion for two years, and it has nothing to do with devil worship.  Real life witchcraft is about harnessing the power of mother earth and using it in a positive way.  To equate Wicca with devil worship reinforces the negative misconceptions which already exist in the world.

If your not like me, and a focus on devil worship does not bother you, you will enjoy 10 episodes of a magic based super hero show along the lines of Charmed and Legacies.  As for me, it makes me feel just uncomfortable enough to make me avoid season 2 unless they do a crossover with Riverdale. 





Monday, 29 October 2018

Women Can Be Doctors Too

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Spotlight Pick:


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Since I last updated this blog, Netflix dropped the third thirteen episode season of its inaugural Marvel Comics series, Daredevil.  Picking up shortly after the end of the first season of Defenders, season 3, based loosely on the graphic novel "Daredevil: Born Again," tells the story of Matt Murdoch trying to recoup from his injuries and put his life back together.

While I'm a little disappointed that Matt utilizes his black costume from season one, rather than his red costume from season two, I'm enjoying the show.  The highlight of the season is seeing Vincent D'Onofrio reprise his role as the villainous Wilson Fisk AKA Kingpin.

On a related note, although the second season of Iron Fist was far better than the first season, Netflix decided to cancel the season after season two.



Women Can Be Doctors Too:


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Since 1963, the Doctor has traveled through time and space rescuing people from the forces of evil.  Being a Time Lord is dangerous work, which has resulted in the Doctor's death more than once.  Fortunately, every time the Doctor dies he regenerates into an all new person. The 13th incarnation (not counting John Hurt as the War Doctor) of the doctor happens to be a women played by Jodie Whittaker.

There was speculation for almost a year about how audiences would receive the a female Doctor.  So far fans have welcomed the lady doctor with open arms.  While I'm sure that the liberal attitudes towards sexualilty in England helped, I don't think it was the only factor.  Over the last two decades audiences have been softened up to the idea of gender transformation.

In 2004, the Sci-Fi Channel aired a revamped version of Battlestar Galactica.  In that show the characters Starbuck and Boomer were changed from men into women without loosing their heroic toughness.  It took some getting used to, but after the first season viewers accepted the cigar chomping fighter pilots as favorite characters in their own right.

Outside the sci-fi realm, the CBS show Elementary reimagined the characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as modern day characters in New York.  The show cast Lucy Liu to play Dr. Watson was an Asian women.  While this was an obvious departure from the classic Doyle character, it worked. The character was still a smart courageous side-kick for Sherlock Holmes.

Over in the world of comics, Thor's hammer was wielded by a women for over a year.  After the initial grumbling died down, the comic sold as well as it always had.

After watching four episodes of Doctor Who, I feel safe in saying Jodie Whittaker has captured the spirit of the doctor.  We are still transported through time and space and treated to exciting adventures fraught with danger.  The Doctor still uses her wits and courage to save the day.

Perhaps viewers have embraced the idea that one's character isn't solely defined by their gender.  If so, there may be hope for society to apply this noble truth to life outside of fiction.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Monday, 8 October 2018

Bad Guys Can Be Cool Too

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Spotlight Pick:

Photo Courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program.
This week we see the return of CW's DC superhero shows line-up, also known as the FLARROW_VERSE (Flash + Arrow). The shows will occupy Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday on CW's prime time schedule.

The Flash and Black Lightning will kick things off on the 9th.  I know, I know, there's debate about whether Black Lightning is part of the FLARROW_VERSE, or not, but he's a DC superhero, so I count him as part of it.

Because the IHeartRadio Music Festival runs on the 7th & 8th, the rest of the line-up will premier on the 14th, 15th, & 22nd.

Tuesday, October 9th
8:00-9:00pm The Flash 
9:00-10:00pm Black Lightning

Sunday, October 14th
8:00-9:00pm Supergirl

Monday, October 15th
8:00-9:00pm Arrow 

Monday, October 22nd
9:00-10:00pm DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 















Bad Guys Can Be Cool Too:

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On October 5th the movie Venom hit theaters, and I was there for the very first showing.  If you are reading this blog you probably already know who the character is.  On the off chance you don't know the character, Venom has been an anti-spiderman in the comics since 1987.

I enjoyed the movie, but as I sat there I couldn't help thinking it was odd that the bad guy had his own movie without his traditional superhero being involved.  Yet, I realized he's not alone.

Last year we saw the movie Suicide Squad about a group of comic book villains working for the government as heroes.  Next year the Joker and Black Adam (SHAZAM's arch enemy) will each have their own stand alone movies as well.

There seems to be a trend in Hollywood of making movies out of comic book bad guys.  I was forced to wonder why.  I mean, don't we usually root against the bad guy?

I thought back to when I was little and playing with Star Wars action figures.  We all wanted to be Boba Fett because he looked cool.  The bad guy, with his jet pack and wrist rockets, was the coolest action figure in our collection.  Bad guys look cool.

Not only do the bad guys look cool they can do things that superheros can't do.  Superheros have to stay the "good guys. "  Thus, they cannot kill.  Batman Vs. Superman flopped partly because we didn't want to see Batman shoot and kill bad guys.  That's not Batman.

Yet, we like to go to the movies and root for a protagonist who can f#&k up their antagonists.  We love to see our "hero" completely trash their foes.  Somehow watching our hero commit acts of violence satisfies some primal urge within  ourselves.  In response to this urge, Hollywood has given us Venom, who can do things we'd never accept Spiderman doing.  It is almost like a two hour Purge.

I'm not saying we're all sadistic, but maybe we do like to exercise our dark sides.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Superheroes In Crisis #1

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This is one of those rare occasions when I only have a Spotlight Pick for you.  I could have waited until I had a main piece ready, but I wanted to post this pick while the issue is still on store shelves.

Spotlight Pick:


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The first issue of Superheroes In Crisis hit stores on September 26th.  I'd seen the ads for this four part mini-series for months.  Seeing the word "Crisis," I figured we were in for another Earth shattering epic that would "change the DC Universe forever."  I was wrong.

This is a murder mystery which revolves around a treatment center for superheroes with PTSD.  While the Trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are the primary heroes of the story, the unlikely duo of Booster Gold and an atypically sadistic version of Harley Quinn seem to be near the heart of the mystery somehow.

For $3.99, this first issue isn't action-centric, but lays the groundwork for the rest of the series.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Sometimes Darker Works

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Spotlight Pick:


Photo Courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program.
Thanks to an alien virus robbing him of his healing factor, Wolverine has been dead since 2014.  For four years we've had to get our adamantium action fix from his daughter/clone (X-23), Wolverine's son from an alternate universe (Jimmy Hudson), an elderly version of Wolverine from an alternate timeline (Old Man Logan), and a Hulk/Wolverine hybrid (Weapon H).

Hold on to your hat, now the real deal is back in Return of Wolverine #1 (of 5), or is he?  Without revealing spoilers, we're treated to a comic filled with our favorite X-Man getting killy with a bunch of bad guys.  Fear not, there's a well written story to accompany the action.

Lastly, don't fret if you didn't read any of the summer's four Search For Wolverine titles.  You can pick up this book and not be a bit lost.  It kinda makes me wonder why I bought those issues of "Search."  Grrrrrrrrr.........



Sometimes Darker Works:


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I don't know what took me so long, but I've just begun watching Riverdale on Netflix.  For those of you who don't know, the show uses characters from Archie Comics to tell adult stories.  I think I was resistant for as long as I was, because I didn't like the idea of a screwball comedy comic being retooled into a darker property.

Before I was allowed read superhero based comic books, which my  mother deemed to be too violent, I enjoyed the innocent adventures of Archie, Jughead, and the gang set within the Rockwell-esc town of Riverdale.  I didn't want that image to be tarnished.

I figured the show would be laughed off the air after a few episodes.  On October 10th, Riverdale is due to begin its third season on The CW.  With this in mind, I, begrudgingly, decided to check it out.

The first, thirteen episode, season is one long murder mystery.  I have to say I was surprised at the complexity of the story.  TV is full of, so called, mysteries,  which are completely obvious from the get go.  However, this one has multiple motives and twists.  I am a bit of a mystery buff,  and I found myself challenged by the solution.

In addition to the overall mystery, our heroes and heroines are challenged with their own struggles.  Themes of said struggles included; teen pregnancy, divorce, alcoholism, and student/teacher "relationships."

I know, I know, not long ago I did a whole blog about how I don't like light hearted characters in darker roles.  However, it works here.  Because we already know the characters, the show runners were able to dive right into the story without having to explain who all the characters are.

Riverdale is not alone.  There seems to be a trend in comics, right now, of using traditionally comedic characters in darker stories.  One good example is Scooby Doo: Apocalypse.  In this comic, the world has been mutated by nanites, and Scooby, now a cyborg, and the gang have to come together to find a cure.  While the concept sounds off the wall, the popular title's run earned a 7.5 out of 10 from 175 critical reviews on Comic Book Rounds Up.

Old timers, like me, will always remember Archie and the gang as carefree high school kids drinking milkshakes at Pop's and driving around in their jalopy.  Yet that doesn't mean there's not room for a new generation to reinvent the characters for a new age.    

Sometimes Darker Works

- Spotlight Pick: Photo Courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program . Thanks to an alien virus robbing him of his healing factor,  Wolver...