Published: June 24th, 2014 Written by: Geoff Johns Art by: Dale Eaglesham
DC Comics, 128 Pages
After watching the first season of Stargirl on HBO Max, I figured that I’d give some of her more notable comics a read. Being that I really like Justice Society stuff and hadn’t read any in quite awhile, I figured I’d start with this.
The story starts with old Justice Society members trying to recruit new heroes, most of whom are descendants of previous members and have inherited their powers.
Because of that, Vandal Savage is using a team of Nazi supervillains to kill superheroes and their families in an effort to snuff out these bloodlines. However, he doesn’t see the bigger picture, which reveals itself by the end of this short story arc.
I’m a fan of Geoff Johns and dig so much of his DC Comics work. His Green Lantern run brought me back to comics on the DC side after a hiatus of about a decade, back in the mid-’00s.
Keeping with Johns’ style, this was a hell of a lot of fun to read and he once again showed that he’s really good at balancing a large ensemble of characters and letting them all develop and grow, despite having limited time to focus on each one.
This was an energetic and cool comic.
Frankly, I liked it enough to buy the next three volumes to read in the very near future.
Release Date: April 15th, 2002 (Netherlands – Fantastic Film Festival) Directed by: Chuck Russell Written by: Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, David Hayter, Jonathan Hales Music by: John Debney Cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Steven Brand, Kelly Hu, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov, Peter Facinelli, Michael Clarke Duncan, Tyler Mane (uncredited)
“Let me tell you, after a hard day of looting and pillaging, there is no greater city than Gomorrah… except maybe Sodom.” – Arpid
This was the first ’90s Mummy-related movie that I didn’t see in theaters and that’s mainly because it just didn’t interest me, even though I love The Rock and I love sword and sorcery flicks.
I was just turned off from how bad the Scorpion King character was presented at the end of The Mummy Returns and the trailers for this looked terrible.
Visually, I thought that this looked more like a TV production that had more in common with The Beastmaster TV show than something epic and cool like 1982’s Conan the Barbarian or the original and awesome Beastmaster movie.
I wasn’t wrong, as the finished product does feel like a television level production and that’s just one problem with it.
Beyond that, the story is cookie cutter shit. You never care about any of the characters or their situations in the film and that’s kind of an amazing feat, as Dawyne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the most charismatic people on the entire f’n planet. But somehow, this made him come off as boring and uninteresting.
I also never liked Steven Brand as the villain, as he just didn’t look like a guy that could remotely be a threat to The Rock. In the movie, his character is smaller and he’s just a dude that’s really good with swords.
I truly wish that this would’ve been The Rock’s Conan and that we’d get sword and sorcery movies with him in it every few years. However, this is a dud in every way.
But hey, at least it was better than that third Mummy movie.
Published: July 25th, 2012 Written by: Robert Rodi Art by: Stephen Segovia
Marvel Comics, 114 Pages
I missed this back when it came out but I looked forward to reading it, as I loved the original Thor and Eternals mega-event from the ’70s and because this came out on the heels of a great Thor run by J. Michael Straczynski (reviewed here).
However, I was pretty underwhelmed by this and even though it featured a pretty cool battle or two, the story had really disjointed pacing.
Sometimes this dragged and then sometimes it felt rushed.
It’s not a bad story and I did enjoy it for the most part but it also seems pretty forgettable and lacks the impact that previous Thor/Eternals stories have had.
This also features Ka-Zar, which was cool, as I enjoy that character, but it just seemed like a glorified cameo the writer wanted to work in.
The art in this is really good and it represents a time when Marvel was still giving work to the best artists out there. Tonally, it felt like everything else that branched out of the Straczynski run.
All in all, if you’re actually an Eternals fan, this isn’t a bad read and considering there isn’t a lot of Eternals material, compared to other Marvel heroes and teams, I guess you take what you can. Although, the important Eternals don’t even show up until the end.
Also known as: Masked Rider: The Next (alternative English title) Release Date: October 27th, 2007 Directed by: Ryuta Tasaki Written by: Toshiki Inoue Based on:Kamen Rider and Kamen Rider V3 by Shotaro Ishinomori Music by: Goro Yasukawa Cast: Masaya Kikawada, Hassei Takano, Kazuki Kato, Miku Ishida, Erika Mori, Tomorowo Taguchi, Goro Naya
Toei, 93 Minutes
As I stated in my review of the previous Kamen Rider film, I remembered liking this one a bit better. Well, seeing it for the first time in a long while, that’s still true.
Really, this is kind of more of the same but it picks up the story where Kamen Rider: The First left off.
That film was a reboot (or retelling) of the original Kamen Rider TV series. This film was a sequel to that but also a reboot of the second TV series, Kamen Rider V3.
Like V3, this introduces the third Kamen Rider hero and also has him work alongside the previous two. However, there are some very stark creative differences between the original story and this version of it.
The main thing that these films do is that they increase the violence exponentially to appeal to a more adult audience. This one goes even further than its predecessor, which seemed like it was more a test run to see what they could get away with in what’s predominantly been a kid friendly franchise.
I loved the villains in this, specifically Scissors Jaguar. Man, what a sadistic asshole that guy was but for fans of this type of stuff, he was fun as hell to watch.
The special effects and fight choreography in this are pretty much the same as the previous movie but I found myself enjoying the action more.
I got halfway through the ’90s Indiana Jones novels and decided to take a break. All of those were written by the same author, however, the final six are split between two authors. So I’m not sure if I’m just going to plow through all six or if I’ll take another break between the next author switch.
This one was… weird.
It doesn’t seem like the author really understands who Indiana Jones is. He’s an archeologist and explorer that more often than not finds himself in perilous situations with villains and evil armies usually hunting the same thing for nefarious reasons. He doesn’t ask the Nazis to show up but he’ll fight them long enough to get the MacGuffin away from their evil clutches.
In this book, Indy is written more like he’s James Bond. He is essentially recruited by world leaders to take down an evil international terrorist group called E.V.I.L. What?!
These villains have these airships that are pissing off the governments of the world. This also delves into discussion about aliens and ancient UFOs. Nothing really comes of that but sure, okay.
Keep in mind that the world governments all apparently know of Dr. Jones and that this story takes place before the plots of the movies.
Overall, this is just a strange fucking book that doesn’t even seem to care that much about the source material while overloading the reader with a bloated, convoluted mess that’s, at times, hard to follow.
Up to this point, this is the worst book of the lot. If the next one isn’t a massive improvement, I may take an even longer break from this series.
Original Run: May 18th, 2020 – current Created by: Geoff Johns Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:Courtney Whitmore by Geoff Johns, Lee Moder Music by: Pinar Toprak Cast: Brec Bassinger, Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Cameron Gellman, Trae Romano, Jake Austin Walker, Meg DeLacy, Neil Jackson, Christopher James Baker, Amy Smart, Luke Wilson, Hunter Sansone, Nick Tarabay
Berlanti Productions, Mad Ghost Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television Studios, DC Universe, The CW, 26 Episodes (so far), 42-53 Minutes (per episode)
So this show starts off fantastically! The opening sequence is pretty damn incredible and really fucking cool! Branching off of that, this has some cool villains it throws at you from the get go and you’re immediately invested in the story.
Beyond that, the show is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, not really sure what it even is and not really able to find its footing before the end of the thirteen episode first season.
For the positives, I really like Luke Wilson in this and Amy Smart is pretty good too but she also doesn’t get to do much in the first season, which I hope changes somewhat going into seasons two and three. And while season two has already aired, it’s not on HBO Max yet, so I haven’t seen it.
The other adult actors are all pretty good in this too, even if they have to often times embrace the cheese in the way these Greg Berlanti DC Comics shows embrace the cheese.
I thought some of the villains were actually exceptional and legitimately awesome. I especially loved Dragon King, who looked like Cobra Commander if he were leading Hydra instead of Cobra. His costume was outstanding and he was intimidating, specifically in the scene where he has to knock his asshole daughter back down to Earth.
I also love the S.T.R.I.P.E. suit, which is basically a badass mecha that Luke Wilson pilots in battle. It resembles a patriotic Iron Giant.
Beyond all that comes the problems with the show.
The teen characters are all pretty annoying at times and Stargirl comes across as a reckless idiot until she learns some hard lessons. They all just seem one-dimensional and basic and that’s not necessarily a problem with the actors, as much as it’s a problem with the writing, directing and overall production.
Each teen is simply a trope or caricature. Now I hope that they get to build off of these basic templates but none of them get the time they need to really develop, except for Stargirl and to a certain extent, the villain teen Shiv.
The girl who plays Doctor Mid-Nite II is there to be the obvious “heart and soul” of the team, as she lacks powers and is just kind of stuck in the middle of all this. The problem is that she never really connects with the audience and she’s written to be annoying as hell, which wasn’t what they intended. I don’t blame the actress, I blame the lame material. In fact, she is somewhat charismatic and you kind of want her to develop into something but every time you start to dig her, she does something irritating.
The boy who plays Hourman II is also someone you kind of want to cheer for but then he acts like a total ass at the wrong moments.
Now maybe this is the writers trying to express these newfound heroes lack of experience in life and crimefighting but it’s just bad and there is a lot of awkwardness that doesn’t jive right.
Also, this takes place in Nebraska. The high school of this small town is incredibly diverse for a state that has 87 percent white people. Granted, I don’t care that much, as this is the norm in entertainment, but it’s just blatantly obvious Hollywood bullshit.
Additionally, Stargirl has never been a fighter but by the end of just thirteen episodes, she’s kicking the shit out of ninjas that have probably trained their whole lives. Also, Wildcat is basically a ninja but all she does is get angry and hit a punching bag. You never see her actually spar with opponents or have Catwoman-like reflexes and agility. It’s this type of shit that really turns me off about modern “nerd” entertainment. Where’s the struggle? The hero’s real journey?
At least this show allows its female hero to fail, pick herself up and learn from those mistakes, though. So that’s at least a step forward when compared to the brainless storytelling of modern Hollywood.
In the end, I mostly liked this. I want the show to be good. I feel like it’ll probably lean to much into its negatives, though, as just about everything else does these days.
If my opinion drastically changes one way or another after seeing season two, I’ll update this review and the score.
Release Date:Part I: March 14th, 1981; Part II: July 11th, 1981; Part III: March 13th, 1982 Directed by: Yoshiyuki Tomino Written by: Yoshiyuki Tomino Based on:Mobile Suit Gundam by Yoshiyuki Tomino Music by: Joe Hisaishi, Takeo Watanabe, Yushi Matsuyama Cast: Toru Furuya, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Toshio Furukawa, Kiyonobu Suzuki
“A mobile suit’s abilities don’t decide a battle’s outcome. I’ll teach you that!” – Char Aznable
Yes, I have watched anime my entire life. Yes, I have loved Robotech and other mecha-centric anime since I was about six years-old. No, I have never watched anything from the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise until now.
While I know that’s basically a crime in nerdom, it’s not that I didn’t want to watch Gundam, it’s just that there is so much of it that I found it overwhelming and didn’t know where to even start. But luckily, one of my hardcore Gundam homies said he’d walk me through it. Also, since a literal fuck ton of Gundam is now on Netflix, I figured there was no better time than the present to finally jump into this massive I.P.
So I started with the original theatrical trilogy of Gundam movies, which aren’t technically the first things released. Well, I guess they sort of are but let me explain.
The film trilogy was created using footage from the original anime series. Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino wanted to streamline it down, omit some of the stuff that didn’t matter as much and then re-edit everything into a three-part epic, telling the main story with the most important parts.
I think that Tomino succeeded, even though I can’t compare it to the original series, as I haven’t seen that yet. But I don’t know if I would consider the television series and all 43 episodes to be a masterpiece and pretty damn close to perfection. I consider this trilogy of films to be exactly that, though.
The lore to this series is so well defined and the introduction to the movies fill you in on it pretty quickly. Beyond the general framework and concept, though, the story and characters all evolve in really unique ways.
While war is the thing that hangs over everyone’s head, this greatly explores the characters’ places within that, as well as their relationships with one another. In many instances, this stuff gets pretty deep and it reminds me of the character development and exploration of relationships in Robotech but this surprisingly does it better and the pain of the characters cuts deeper. It’s a hard thing to quantify or explain, really, but you find yourself caring about these people, even the ones you wouldn’t expect at all, on a pretty profound level for an animated series/movie.
The relationships and the challenges that come with them is actually the main thing that makes me want to watch all of the 43 episodes that were whittled down into these three pictures.
As far as the fun stuff goes, which is the general action, the mecha suits and the big battles, this does all that exceptionally well. This has fast-paced, exciting action and it’s different than the other sci-fi anime properties before it. It just shifts into high gear in a way that anime hadn’t before this.
If you’re like I was, and love this sort of stuff but haven’t seen this yet, you really need to.
Published: March 27th, 2013 Written by: Brannon Braga, Terry Matalas Art by: Joe Corroney Based on:Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry
IDW Publishing, 105 Pages
This comic has been in my queue for awhile and that’s mainly due to me not being wowed by IDW Star Trek comics and because I’ve honestly lost interest in this franchise that I once loved because ever since the start of those J. J. Abrams films, over a decade ago now, shit’s just been going downhill.
That being said, this wasn’t bad but it wasn’t all that memorable or worthwhile either. It takes place in an alternate timeline, as everything Star Trek seems to do now, and despite trying its damnedest to be an over-the-top science fiction epic, it just falls flat.
Hive is about The Borg of all races needing help defeating an enemy even they can’t beat. In fact, they “fear” of their extinction and plea to the Federation to help them destroy an alien race from a different dimension. To me, the swerve and the trap were as clear as day from the get go.
Still, this was entertaining enough and it’s only 105 pages, which flew by like a breeze. I just never felt all that invested in it because it’s essentially an “Elseworlds tale” and the outcome doesn’t really matter or effect the franchise as a whole. And again, nothing in that franchise matters any more, as it’s all just bad fan fiction disguised as canon.
Also known as: The Mummy 3 (informal title), Untitled Rick O’Connell Adventure, The Mummy 3: Curse of the Dragon (working titles) Release Date: July 24th, 2008 (Moscow premiere) Directed by: Rob Cohen Written by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar Based on: characters by Stephen Sommers, Lloyd Fonvielle, Kevin Jarre Music by: Randy Edleman Cast: Brendan Fraser, John Hannah, Jet Li, Maria Bello, Russell Wong, Liam Cunningham, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Michelle Yeoh
The Sommers Company, Relativity Media, Universal Pictures, 112 Minutes
“I hate mummies! They never play fair!” – John Carnahan
Fuck me. This was damn near unwatchable and getting through it was a hell of a challenge. But I wanted to complete the trilogy for the sake of reviewing them all.
This was so bad and weird that Rachel Weisz passed on it after reading the script and not wanting to play mother to a twenty-two year-old son. I guess Brendan Fraser came back after they threw like fourteen million dollars at him.
The only other returning cast member from previous films was John Hannah.
Somehow, Rick O’Connell has a kid that’s in his twenties, even though Rick looks the same as he did in the previous two movies. If you remember, the son was like seven years-old in the previous film and he wasn’t even born yet in the one before that. But whatever.
This time Evie is played by Maria Bello. Generally, I like Maria Bello but man was she poorly cast for this role. She doesn’t look like Evie, doesn’t act like her and it just breaks the movie. It’s a situation where the film would’ve been better off having the character omitted, whether that came from being an offscreen death or divorce.
In this story, the heroes go to China and we get a new mummy played by Jet Li. I hope Li got a fat paycheck too because this utilized him poorly.
Additionally, the special effects seem like they’re worse than they were in the previous movies.
Man, this just shouldn’t have been made. It’s absolute shit and I probably would’ve hated it more had I seen it in the theater back in 2008.
At least now, I can say that I’ve seen it, reviewed it and can go on to forget it.
Published: January 13th, 2016 Written by: Ann Nocenti, Mike Baron, Fabian Nicieza Art by: John Romita Jr., Ron Lim, Steve Ditko, Whilce Portacio
Marvel Comics, 465 Pages
The first issue of Daredevil that I ever picked up came from his stretch, collected here. This also covers about the first half of Ann Nocenti’s incredible Daredevil run. A run that sold me on the hero and made his comics ones that I would pickup monthly for years.
Other than the Typhoid Mary-centered issues, this is the first time that I’ve really reread Nocenti’s Daredevil material since the late ’80s/early ’90s.
Overall, this era is fucking great and if I’m being honest, I actually like it on the same level, if not more, than the Frank Miller era before it. While this can read lighter than Miller’s run, it still gets really damn dark and stays true to the core of what Daredevil became because of Miller.
What makes this even better and also keeps the tone right is the art by John Romita Jr. Even though I didn’t know it in 1989, when I first got hooked, Nocenti and Romita Jr. were one of the best creative duos of the time and certainly a better combination of writer and artist than Marvel has put together in modern times.
In my opinion, this is still Romita Jr.’s best work and the legacy he should hang his hat on. And yes, I say that knowing that he still works, today.
As far as the stories go, this starts with the debut of Typhoid Mary, which I’ve reviewed on its own (see here), but it also goes into some follow up stories with her character. This also happens during the major Inferno crossover event and sees Daredevil tie-up with demons and even Mephisto. In fact, the Mephisto-centric issue is one of the greatest Christmas comics ever produced.
This is just great. It’s one of the best stretches of my favorite comic book series. Revisiting it now didn’t leave me disappointed.
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