Published: September 20th, 2017 Written by: Ann Nocenti, Mike Baron, Gerry Conway, Gregory Wright Art by: John Romita Jr., Mark Bagley, Cam Kennedy, Rick Leonardi
Marvel Comics, 482 Pages
This covers a big chunk of the Ann Nocenti run, which ends about midway through the Daredevil – Epic Collection volume after this one.
I liked this about the same as I did the previous one, which kicked off the Nocenti era.
This collection of stories is a departure from what’s typical for the Daredevil character but I like that a lot, as it makes this era stand out with the character facing off against fantastical threats and also generally being outside of Hell’s Kitchen and New York City.
The big arc at the end of this stretch brings back Blackheart, in his second story, as well as his father, the more famous and more dangerous, Mephisto. I like the whole Daredevil vs. Mephisto thing, as it is just a cool test for the hero and there’s obvious similarities.
Overall, this was a great read and it reminds me of why I fell in love with this comic, in this era.
Original Run: March 3rd, 2021 Directed by: Jared Hess, Tyler Measom Music by: Joel Goodman Cast: various
BBC Studios, Netflix, 3 Episodes, 45-58 Minutes (per episode)
Now that I’ve seen several of these Netflix true crime offerings, I’ve kind of figured out their groove really well. However, this one was pretty damn entertaining and the story went in really interesting directions when you start to learn about the criminal that murdered fellow Mormons with package bombs.
This is a story about a heinous, evil crime but it is also about a guy that was a master forger and this goes into detail about how he created many of his forgeries. I found that part of the documentary extremely cool and captivating.
The whole story and how this all happened is very layered and you never really know where the story is going and where the next curveball is being thrown.
As these things go, this is primarily comprised of old news clips and talking head interviews featuring many of the key people in the story. Most of these people were interesting and entertaining enough to keep you glued to the television.
Additionally, this is directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, Gentlemen Broncos, etc.) and he provided the documentary with some really entertaining and amusing dramatization work.
I don’t want to spoil too many of the details but if you’re going to watch something true crime related on Netflix, you can’t go wrong with this one.
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.
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.
Original Run: December 14th, 2018 Created by: Ross M. Dinerstein, Clay Tweel Directed by: Clay Tweel Based on:The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice In a Small Town by John Grisham Cast: John Grisham, various
This was another release in a long list of Netflix true crime documentary miniseries. As I’m trying to work my ways through these, out of the ones I hadn’t yet seen, the premise for this one interested me, especially since it dealt with the possibility of false confessions, which has been a key portion of other similar documentaries I’ve seen.
This deals with a small Oklahoma town called Ada, and two murder cases that happened just two years apart in the early ’80s. The fact that two brutal murders happened in such a small town, so close together, isn’t even the most shocking thing. The story of these two cases and their similarities captivated crime author John Grisham so much, that all of this became the subject of his only nonfiction book.
I thought that this had the same issue as a lot of the other Netflix true crime releases with more than a handful of episodes and that was pacing and a fixation on certain details that are overall moot. I guess that these are made to lay out as much of the evidence as possible but at the same time, Netflix true crime productions have omitted things in the past and they don’t need to dwell on certain things just to milk the story in an effort to increase viewing hours. Well, maybe they do, as investors are fickle hoes.
Like many of the other Netflix true crime sagas, this also doesn’t give you a satisfying ending, as these cases are still a clusterfuck, the justice system is in the way of itself and the people who are most likely wrongfully imprisoned are still imprisoned without much hope that this will change.
Still, these things are usually damn compelling and this is no different. I like hearing from the people involved, directly, and getting their two cents without some third party just interpreting their words and potentially adding their spin or agenda to it.
Release Date: July 7th, 1988 (New York City premiere) Directed by: Charles Crichton Written by: John Cleese, Charles Crichton Music by: John Du Prez Cast: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Cynthia Cleese, Stephen Fry
Star Partners Limited Partnership, Prominent Features, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 108 Minutes
“You pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, English, giant, twerp, scumbag, fuck-face, dickhead, asshole.” – Otto, “How very interesting. You’re a true vulgarian, aren’t you?” – Archie, “You are the vulgarian, you fuck.” – Otto
I remember adults talking about how much they loved this movie when I was nine years-old. I also vaguely remember seeing the John Cleese getting caught naked gag whether from trailers or just seeing it pop up on HBO while flipping the channels.
That’s really all I knew about the movie, though, but people still talk about it fondly, so I figured that I should finally check it out. Plus, I like Cleese, as well as Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin and Kevin Kline. Cynthia Cleese and Stephen Fry also pop up in this.
For the most part, this was amusing and I liked that it was essentially a film-noir structured comedy. Curtis essentially plays a femme fatale without the murder and you never really know which guy she’s screwing over and who she may choose in the end… or no one.
Cleese was as likable and hilarious as always and this really felt like somewhat of spiritual successor to probably his most famous character, Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers. Although, Cleese’s character here is less of a shithead.
Kline is solid as a total bastard and I especially liked his banter and scenes with Michael Palin.
Overall, this is pretty quick paced, whimsical and entertaining. However, it didn’t captivate me on the level that it has seemed to for other people, especially at the time of this picture’s release. Maybe it worked better in 1988 and for an audience that was older than me then.
Honestly, it reminds me a lot of other comedies of the time featuring a small group of people all trying to fuck each other over. It was kind of a normal comedy trope at the time and with that, I can’t really see this as something wholly original or refreshing, even for its era. While it beat Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to the theater by a few months, it pales in comparison to that by a pretty substantial margin.
Release Date: August 3rd, 1932 (New York City premiere) Directed by: Michael Curtiz Written by: Robert Tasker, Earl Baldwin Based on:Terror, 1928 play by Howard W. Comstock, Allen C. Miller Music by: Leo F. Forbstein, Bernard Kaun Cast: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster
First National Pictures, 76 Minutes
“Were the murdered women… attacked?” – Dr. Haines, Academy of Surgical Research
I don’t know if this is the first horror/comedy ever made but it’s gotta be pretty close. However, it also blends together several genres in what’s a really unique experience for a motion picture from 1932.
This is directed by Michael Curtiz, who would go on to direct several film-noir pictures, as well as big budget swashbuckling blockbusters starring the legendary Errol Flynn. Curtiz was a pretty versatile and now celebrated director but this may be his most unusual film.
So the version of this that I watched was actually the one restored by George Lucas’ people, which was also in Technicolor, as opposed to the traditional black and white.
However, I really liked the Technicolor work in this film and it made it feel gritty and real and also somewhat haunting and majestic. The use of green accents enhanced it in a unique way and while I typically prefer to see films, as they were intended, this almost makes a good argument for the use of colorization just by how it was employed here.
I thought that the film was amusing, I liked the comedy and it still works for those few of us that still enjoy pictures from this era.
I also enjoyed the performances by Lionel Atwill, a guy that was featured in a slew of classic Universal Monsters films, as well as Fay Wray, who will always be remembered for her iconic part in the original King Kong.
While this is sort of your typical mad scientist tale, it’s genre bending narrative comes across as fresh and unique when compared to similar movies of the time.
Published: November 17th, 2020 Written by: Geoff Johns Art by: Jason Fabok
DC Comics, 161 Pages
I enjoyed this story and its concept quite a bit. But generally, I’ve been a fan of Geoff Johns’ writing since he took over Green Lantern in the mid-’00s.
This isn’t really a canonical story but then again, nothing that’s modern DC really is to me anymore because they’ve rebooted their universe more times than my Uncle Terry has created children out of wedlock.
The story does directly build off of the events of classic Batman stories The Killing Joke and A Death In the Family. With that, it also utilizes Batgirl and Red Hood in the story, as it brings their issues with the Joker full circle and provides some closure to him crippling Batgirl and “killing” Red Hood when he was Robin.
The reason why the story is called “The Three Jokers” is because there are three Jokers. Each one represents a different version of the character, as he’s been used historically. One is the “criminal” Joker, another is the “comedian” Joker and the last is the “clown” Joker. The story plays off of their differences and the heroes aren’t sure which one is the real Joker or if possibly there’s been more than one all along. However, by the end, we see that there’s a much bigger, more sinister scheme at play and it’s revealed that Batman has always known who the real Joker is, all the way down to his real identity.
The story was very noir-esque, which isn’t uncommon for a Batman story but this one had so many curveballs that it just fits within that genre’s framework quite well.
Admittedly, I got to a point in the story where I started to think that the whole thing was ridiculous. By the end, though, it all came together in a really cool way and it seemed a lot less ridiculous and like something that would fit within the Joker’s larger worldview and his and Batman’s place in it.
I also really, really liked the art. I don’t know much about Jason Fabok but he captivated me, here, and I’ll be on the lookout for some of his other work. Frankly, I’d like to see him and Johns maybe work on a follow up to this and create their own unique continuity within Batman, similar to what Sean Gordon Murphy has been doing the last few years.
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