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Saturday
Oct142017

The New Mutants Demon Bear Comic Review

The new trailer for Fox’s “New Mutants” movie has just dropped and they seem to be adapting the “DEMON BEAR” story line from the comics(issues 18 - 20(or 21-ish)).  So I figured now was the time to look at and review that story.  Before that I need to briefly discuss who the New Mutants are and how they came about.  In past interviews former X-Men writer Chris Claremont realized that the x-men where no longer young students.  The originals had grown up and moved on with their lives and the new batch were all adults(or at least legal).  So he created new group all consisting of teenage mutants still unable to properly control their powers.  They all appeared as a team in “Marvel Graphic Novel Vol. 1 #4”.  The first iteration of the team and comic ran for 100 issues before becoming the first version of “X-Force”(but that’s a story for another day).

 

The initial team consisted of:  

Samuel Guthrie(Cannonball)16 yrs old.  A boy from Kentucky who has the power to fly via a blasting field which also makes him invulernable.  

Xi’an Coy Manh(Karma)19 yrs old.  A young woman from Vietnam who is able to possess peoples bodies mentally.

Danielle Moonstar(Mirage)? years old.  A Native American girl that can create empathic illusions.

Roberto Da Costa(Sunspot)14 yrs old.  A boy from Brazil that can store solar power inside himself and gains superhuman strength(sorta like Superman).

Rahne Sinclair(Wolfsbane)13 yrs old.  A Scottish girl that can turn into a were-wolf form.

 

As time went on more characters joined in.  Here are the more permanent ones”

Douglas Ramsey(Cypher).  A computer expert and master linguist.  He can understand any human, technological, or alien language.

Illyana Rasputin(Magic).  Sister of Piotor(Peter) Rasputin (Colossus)of the X-Men.  She has a very convoluted backstory.  She’s the team’s resident teleporter and is a mystic as well.

Amara Juliana Olivians Aquilla(Magma). A girl with a VERY complicated backstory.  The roman empire and amazons are part of it(maybe)she can control lava.

Warlock. An alien made of techno-organic material and comes from a race called the Technarchy.

 

Now on with the STORY!

 

At the conclusion of a previous story where the New Mutants fight their opposite number the “Hellions”.  Dani(who’s not in a very uh conventional outfit) out of nowhere see’s several images of a demonic bear.  The bear says that it’ll soon kill her just as it killed her parents.  Whaaaaaaaaaaa?

 

Issue 18 begins with the school being attacked by some unknown force and Prof Xavier getting killed.  This turns out to be a nightmare Rachel Summers is having.  Oh Rachel is Scott Summers and Jean Grey’s grown up daughter from a dystopian future(kinda odd since Jean was “Dead” at the time)who time traveled to the past to stop an assassination that would lead to the “Days of Future Past” timeline.  Oh yeah. she’s also Franklin Richards future lover…because comic books.

 

After she finds out that the professor isn’t there she runs away.  Next we get to see the kids training in the Danger Room.  Also we get the introduction of a future fan favorite character.  We also learn a bit of Dani’s relationship backstory with the Demon Bear.  She decides to face her fears and battles the bear.  It doesn’t end well.

 

Issue 19 begins with Dani in surgery.  With the entire group hold up in the hospital they compare notes and realize the bear is going to come back and their going to have to make their last stand in order to protect Dani, themselves and all of the people at the hospital.  There is another quick aside in space with a cameo of characters that play pivotal roles in both the X-Men and Avengers team.  Right after this a cop almost accidentally almost shoots one of the kids and then proceeds to start macking on one of the nurses.  Question?: Is one of the orderlies just Alfred Hitchcock doing a walk on roughly 4 years after he died?!

 

It’s at this point where this becomes a horror story.  The bear start striking out and everyone.  During the fight something odd is going on with Rahne and Illyana.  The issue ends with the demon bear taking the kids to it’s own realm.  The Badlands.

 

Issue 20 begins in the “BADLANDS” when the bear transforms a couple of his prisoners bodies and souls.  It’s a pretty excited fight.  The fight climaxes with a surprise appearance(and twist) and the realization that even if you win the battle there can still be lifelong scars. 

 

I enjoyed this story but I did have some problems with it.  First the pro’s.  No decompressed storytelling.  To stretching the story so it would fit a trade paperback(then again that was really a thing back then).  The story was well paced and the main cast personalities came across well.  This was writer Chris Claremont still at his writing peak.  Visually Bill Signkiewicz are matched the tone of the story.  It’s tough to describe is art style but the best way that I could is there’s a emotional painterly dreamlike feel to it.  He did the pencils and inks but Glynis Wein did the coloring and together there was a chaotic and fevered feeling I got from the artwork that just worked considering the story that was being told.

 

As far as negatives go:  The coloring on the native americans was uncomfortable.  Also the term “Red Indians” in the comic.  My biggest problem however would be with Danielle Moonstar.  The Demon Bear Saga seemed it was going to be about Dani overcoming her fear and of what the bear represents and guilt over her parents death.  Over the course of the story she would get closer with the rest of the team and then they would all conquer the beast.  That kind of happens but not really.  After issue 18 she doesn’t really come back until the very end of issue 20.  Chris Claremont missed a huge opportunity to give her more depth.  Over the years her character has evolved but more of the groundwork could’ve happened decades sooner.

 

Other than that I don’t have any problems with the story.  It was a story that focused on another culture’s folklore.  On a side note I wonder if anyone will tackle Detroit’s folklore of the “Nain Rouge”(Red Dwarf).  Eh, probably not.   

 

I do wonder just how much the “NEW MUTANTS” film will adapt?  It’ll probably be more like how Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Civil War and X-Men: Days of Future Past” adapted only vague aspects of the source material.  It looks like what it will keep is it will be in a hospital(looks like a mental institution in this case)The kids will be there and maybe a paranormal spirt that once or twice looks like a bear.

 

Well if you found this review interesting and want to read more about the New Mutants then check out the trade paperbacks of their stories available at comic book and book stores.  Also you can order them online on sites like Amazon.  If you don’t want to read a physical copy but are still interested then you can by e-copies of the issues and trade at comixology.com.  That way you can read it on any platform(tablet, laptop, cellphone, table top computer).

 

That’s it for now, see you next review! 

Thursday
Oct122017

The Flash Ep 1 Review

The episode begins with Iris monologuing.  This is a CW thing now.  This has always been part of the Flash but I’ve really started notice nearly every CW show I watch has monologuing now at the start and at times the end of each episode.  Anyway it’s been 6 months since Barry went to Speed Force prison and Iris has been leading team Flash since.  Caitlyn’s left the team as well and the team are now perfectly mediocre.  They only catch 1 out of 3 meta’s.  It was nice to see peek-a-boo again.  I wonder if this is going to be a thing where each episode(or most)has the team going up against a previous villain.  After getting their heads handed to them by a flying samurai(who has a secret, duh, duh, DUNH!)they realized that’s they’re outclassed and need to bring Barry back…somehow. 

 

I wished that this part of the story was stretched out  an episode or two.  Imagine seeing “Team Flash” stretched thin and just barely defeats the villain in the premiere and then either bring Barry back at the end of the episode or during episode two.  This would help in building the anticipation of his return.  

 

Well Barry comes back and is acting…different.  I really liked this.  In the comics when a speedster (I’m looking at you Wally and Linda) has been in the “Speed Force” for a long time there isn’t any noticeable change to them mentally.  Going to the equivalent of heaven for a time should have some effect on you. 

 

There were some  dramatic moments in this episode.  Ex. Iris dealing with everything.  Barry’s return.  Caitlyn dealing with her own demons.  It does look like though this season will be more balance and with have more fun than last year based on what I’ve read in online and in magazines.

 

Some things I found interesting is how Barry snapped out of it pretty quickly.  Just in time for the climax.  Killer Frost channeling Bill Bixby from the old Hulk show.  The fact that a villain was used that Geoff Johns didn’t have any hand in creating(The Samurai).  Apparently this seasons villain “The Thinker” catchphrase is going to be “I’m thinking”(over under 2 episodes before that becomes cringe worthy). The flying scene during the climax…wow just wow.  That CGI really stood out in a bad way.  This is why most cgi shots are either at night or with low light levels.  I don’t know if that one of the most hammy and crappy thing I’ve seen this year or one of the coolest!  

 

This was a good way to start the season.  The balance of drama and comedy worked well.  I enjoyed the call backs in this episode.  The main villain of this season “THE THINKER” is interesting.  In past seasons each villain had a feeling of menace to them and I don’t feel that coming from the thinker though.  Part of the reason may have to be because his look reminds me of “Davros”(creator of the Daleks) from Doctor Who.  From what the show runners have said he doesn’t want to kill the Flash.  He needs him in order for his plan to succeed.  Now that is fascinating.  Good action, chemistry among the cast and another more obscure villain that is going to be put on the major stage?  I’m liking the potential of this season.  One final thing based on the episode 2 preview I like the fact that there going to pull more from the Silver and Bronze age and not just aspects from Geoff Johns run on “The Flash”.

Thursday
Oct122017

Supergirl Ep 1 “GIRL OF STEEL” Review:

The plot of the season premiere is Kara/Supergirl learning to love again…that and secret organization “steels” some random aluminum(see what I did there?) for some nefarious reason.  The episode opens with Kara clad in white in a dream along with Mon-el in a field.  Kara is still suffering from losing him (in the last seasons finale)and because of that she’s been holding in her emotions and cutting everyone off from her which is affecting all of her personal relationships as well as her work as Supergirl.  While on stakeout a group of criminals get away with an odd payload and Kara blames herself even though she saved a family.  Also Cat-Co is facing adversity from an sexist developer.  Could both of these subplots be related?  

 

This was a pretty good episode.  It dealt with Kara’s grief and being able to move on and letting her friends in, as well as furthering Alex and Maggie’s relationship.  I did find it funny while separated and searching for a cloaked ship they took that time to go over their relationship issues.  I understand the point of the conversation but couldn’t that happen a little while later after the city stops getting bombed?!  I’m liking Lena (Luthor) and Kara’s relationship so far.  I do wonder at what point will she become a villain(last season doesn’t count!  She was forced by Rhea.).  It would be nice and refreshing to have someone from the house of El staying on friendly terms with a Luthor.  Calista Flockhart’s/Cat Grant get’s a brief 11 second cameo too.  I gotta admit since last season I’m starting to warm up to her character.  A young woman and her daughter is introduced this episode and I just assumed they were just a plot device to snap Kara back.  NOPE!  During the ruckus of the climax of the episode the mom does something surprising.  The actress Odette Annable is playing Samantha Arias who is going to be the “DC New 52” Supergirl villain “Reign”.  Krypton isn’t done with you yet KARA!  If looks like it will be a slow build before they actually fight.  That makes sense seeing as though Samantha is confused on what’s happening to her now.

 

Everyone in the main cast got enough time to shine in this episode.  It helped introduce 2 new villains and it was nice to see Kara and Lena team up attack a problem that Supergirl wouldn’t be able to defeat on her own.  It had good action which made me think: since there was this much cgi and sfx  will the next episode be leaner in that respect(well considering the preview of ep 2 has someone using your fears against you probably yes)  

 

As far as negatives, there was the Alex and Maggie heart to heart during the stakeout(admittedly it was funny just the fact that it was happening right then and there).  I also question about Kara accepting her grief and being able to move on all in one episode.  I didn’t want to see it stretch out too long but one episode did seem a bit abrupt.  The group of villains this episode didn’t have any personality and were basically nameless & faceless.  I know there was a “big bad” leading them but it would’ve been nice if they had some defining character traits. 

 

A good start for the new season.

Wednesday
Oct112017

RIVERDALE S1 REVIEW ALSO IS IT A GOOD ADAPTATION? In progress

Archie comics has been trying to make a live action tv and movie series since the 1950’s and yeah it hasn’t worked out well(example the 1950 unsold pilot, “Archie Back to Riverdale”(or “To Riverdale and Back Again” tv movie(it was setup as a backdoor pilot for a tv series that never happened)) until 2015.  When I heard that a new Archie series was being made and it was going to be live action I was excited.  In 2015 the Archie comic series was relaunched and was updated for contemporary times while having the characters still keep their personality traits.  If the tv series does that then I’ll be on board no problem.  Well, they sort of did that…kinda.  Before it aired tv reviewers described the show as a cross between “Gossip Girl” and “Twin Peaks”.  The pilot pretty much matched that but for the rest of the season it became it’s own animal.  

 

After watching the pilot I had some concerns.  

 

1.  Everything was filmed so dark. 

2.  Events seemed to be happening too quickly.  

3.  The characters seem to lack the defining characteristics from the comics.  The actors did a good job but it just felt as if they were playing a different character.

4.  A ponderous and pretentious monologue framing the episode.  Which unfortunately stays for the rest of the season.

 

There was however a massive improvement from the pilot to episode 2.  There’s good back and forth balance when it comes to the kids and adults.  Even though there were only 13 episodes nearly every character get’s some time to shine.  The balance between humor, drama and horror was solid.

 

“Riverdale” is a dark deconstruction of the “ARCHIE COMICS” mythos(?).  The series begins with the death of Jason Bloom and the season ends with a possible death of another major character.  

 

PRO:

 

The first episode was dark both visually and in tone.  It had a bit of a pretentious opening and ending monologue monotoned endlessly by Jughead.  As well forced self referential phrases.   The improvement from Ep 1 to 2 was immense.  Visually it was more colorful and in tone.  There was a good balance of light and dark moments.  The teenage actors were impressive.  Along with the writing they were able to show the depth of the characters.  This is a bit amazing considering there are near 20 characters and only 13 episodes to get the point across.  

 

The main storyline was solving Jason Bloom’s death and while that linked the entire season there were enough other story threads that helped give last season depth.  The short season reminded me a bit of the first 13-15 episodes of season one of the FLASH(initially it only was supposed to have 13 eps but because of it’s popularity the CW gave it a full season order).  Both were packed with tons of crazy (at times crackpot)ideas and because of the limited time you never got bored.  Because of the acting, directing and writing it all just worked somehow.  

 

Oh, don’t believe me?  Here are a few plot points in season one: The Ms. Grundy Mystery. Bonkers Betty. Ricky Maple. The Lodges. The Coopers and their history with mental illness.    The Blossoms and their link to the Coopers.  Allusions to Cheryl and Jason’s disturbing relationship.  How can Jason get shot point blank in the head but somehow die a week later seemingly floating in the creek all that time?  What the Mayor is up to.   

Why does Mr Weatherbee seem to be more at home on Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad than in the Archie Universe?

 

CON:

 

Some of the cast didn’t get their time to shine and because of that just came off as one note.  The most obvious examples are Reggie(who’s actor is being recast)who personality is just jerk.  Dilton who’s a whack job survivalist boy scout and Kevin who’s personality is just to be flamboyantly gay.  So disappointing.  Of the main trio Betty is the best character because she get’s involved with just about every major storyline and has her own issues to deal with.  Archie slowly begins to resemble how he is in the comics but he still has a ways to go(that is if the show runners are even interested in doing that).  Veronica is conflicted.  The actress plays the character well and there are layers but it doesn’t feel like Veronica.  In the comics Veronica can be conniving, spoiled but has a good heart and is proactive in what she wants.  She became more of this later in the season but I just felt that Betty resembled that last bit more than she did.

 

Of all the characters the one that was done the most disservice was “Jughead”.  He didn’t resemble his character in the comics at all.  Heck he didn’t eat a hamburger until the end of the series.  I’m not saying that he should be the slovingly hungry goofball he was for decades in the comic just why not have him be more like he has been depicted in recent years in the comics(Jughead, Life with Archie and the 2015 Archie series).  In the series he felt like he was always sulking, self serious and pretentious.  Yes I know people are going to say that’s how teenagers are but there’s more to Jughead.  He is easy going but snarky at the same time.  He’s highly intelligent but doesn’t flash it around.  He’s also incredibly loyal to his friends.  Anyway I don’t blame the actor(Cole Sprouse) I’m sure this is how the show runners wanted him to play the character.

 

With that all being said this is a really good series.  The acting, writing and directing is consistently good.  The series has a really good soundtrack and the cinematography was on point throughout the entire season.  Well not counting episode 1.  The cast has a great chemistry between them and the actors that play the teenagers play them well.  Which makes sense considering when they hired on they were either 19 or 20 years old.  But looking at their IMDB page for most of them this is their first major working role.

 

Okay so it’s a really good show but how is it as an adaptation of the ARCHIE Comic book characters?

 

Terrible.

 

The CW wanted to make their next teen soap opera and it is just using the Archie franchise to do it.  It just seemed they missed the boat on what has made the series last for over 75 years.  The show does drop tidbits in but damn it doesn’t feel right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct102017

Supergirl S4 EP 1 "Girl of Steel"

Supergirl Ep 1 “GIRL OF STEEL” Review:

 

The plot of the season premiere is Kara/Supergirl learning to love again…that and secret organization “steels” some random aluminum(see what I did there?) for some nefarious reason.  The episode opens with Kara clad in white in a dream along with Mon-el in a field.  Kara is still suffering from the losing him and because of that she’s been holding in her emotions and cutting everyone off to her which is affecting all of her personal relationships as well as her work as Supergirl.  While on stakeout a group of criminals get away with an odd payload and Kara blames herself even though she saved a family.  Also Cat-Co is facing adversity from an sexist developer.  Could both of these subplots be related?  

 

This was a pretty good episode.  It dealt with Kara’s grief and being able to move on and letting her friends in, as well as furthering Alex and Maggie relationship.  I did find it funny while separated and searching for a cloaked ship they took that time to go over their relationship issues.  I understand the point of the conversation but couldn’t that happen a little while later after the city stops getting bombed?!  I’m liking Lena (Luthor) and Kara’s relationship so far.  I do wonder at what point will she become a villain(last season doesn’t count!  She was forced by Rhea.).  It would be nice and refreshing to have someone from the house of El stayed on friendly terms with a Luthor.  Calista Flockhart/Cat Grant get’s a brief 11 second cameo too.  I gotta admit since last season I’m starting to warm up to her character.  A young woman and her daughter is introduced this episode and I just assumed they were just a plot device to snap Kara back.  NOPE!  During the ruckus of the climax of the episode the mom does something surprising.  The actress Odette Annable is playing Samantha Arias who is going to be the “DC New 52” Supergirl villain “Reign”.  Krypton isn’t done with you yet KARA!  If looks like it will be a slow build before they actually fight.  Make sense seeing as though Samantha is confused on what’s happening to her now.

 

Everyone in the main cast got enough time to shine.  It helped introduce 2 new villains and it was nice to see Kara and Lena team up attack problem that Supergirl wouldn’t be able to defeat on her own.  It had good action which made me think: since there was this much cgi and sfx  will the next episode be leaner in that respect(considering the preview of ep 2 has someone using your fears against you probably yes)  

 

As far as negatives, there was the Alex and Maggie heart to heart during the ruckus(admittedly it was funny just that fact that it was happening right then and there).  I also question about Kara accepting her grief and being able to move on all in one episode.  I didn’t want to see it stretch out too long but one episode did seem a bit abrupt.  The group of villains this episode didn’t have any personality and were basically faceless.  I know there was a “big bad” leading them but it would’ve been nice if they had some defining character traits. 

 

A good start for the new season.