Comic Book Review: Dark Days: The Forge and Dark Days: The Casting

Details: Published in 2017 by DC Comics. Official sites: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/dark-matter-2017/dark-days-the-casting-1 http://www.dccomics.com/comics/dark-matter-2017/dark-days-the-forge-1

DC Comics is gearing up for their next big event and these two issues act as a preview to what’s ahead. I wasn’t really sure what this was going to be about, but after reading these two books I am hyped and definitely going to read what comes next.

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Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Details: Released in 2017. Over two hours long. Stars Tom HollandMichael KeatonRobert Downey Jr.

Spider-Man returns and we finally get a look at the kind of Spider-Man movie the Marvel movie machine would make. Before getting into specifics, I’m going to say that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a good movie that takes a very slightly different take on the character as compared to the prior Spider-Man movies.

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Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange (2015) Issues 1 through 20

Details: Published by Marvel Comics. Mostly written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Chris Bachalo.

I’ve never been a big fan of Doctor Strange. I’ve enjoyed watching him interact with other characters in the Marvel Universe, like when he was in the Illuminati or when he was god Doom’s sheriff. That changed with this series. They invoked one of my comic book weaknesses; they got Bachalo to do art.

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TV Show Review: Legion, Season 1

Details: Released in 2017. Aired on FX. Eight episodes this season at around forty minutes per episode. Stars Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza.

As always, no spoilers in this review except a few sentences on the premise.

This show is exactly what I needed. After the disappointment of Iron Fist, I needed some superhero goodness. This show isn’t only a comic book show, this show plays homage to a lot of imagery from film history and provides cinematography that comes close to the Avant Garde films of old but stays coherent enough to tell a thrilling, fun, trippy-as-hell story.

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Movie Review: Logan

Details: Released in 2017. About two hours and twenty minutes long. Stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen. Directed by James Mangold. Rated R.

No spoilers in this review and for any of my reviews unless specifically stated otherwise. I usually have a small tagline or summary blurb that doesn’t really go into anything beyond the act one of the movie, but that’s it.

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TV Show Review: Legion, Season One Episode One, “Chapter 1”

Details: Each episode is about an hour long. Planned to be an eight episode series for this season. Airs on FX.

If you’ve studied film history, you’d be well aware that there was a precise point in time when the works of Sigmund Freud not only invaded popular culture, but into the movies. Instead of explaining every little detail in order to convey motivations to the audience, movies started making assumptions about characters’ mental states and the audience started understanding those assumptions. Similar to books and perhaps to a greater extent, movies and television shows allow the understanding of a state of mind and the psychology of a character. This first episode of Legion is a good example of that.

Legion is a new, eight episode television series that is airing on Fox. It’s based upon an X-Men comic book character named Legion who is one of the most powerful beings on the planet with powers that pretty much allow him to do anything. The only downside is that Legion is crazy; Legion has multiple personality disorder and not only can he not control these other personalities, in the comic book, each personality controls a different power. When one of these personalities surfaces, it’s a guessing game as to whether it’s good, benign, or evil. It’s anyone’s guess how this character will be approached by the television series, but the first episode seems to embrace that craziness.

I really enjoyed this first episode and love that it’s an eight episode miniseries versus something lower budget and twenty something episodes long. I enjoy this trend in programming. Since Netflix and the prevalence of binge watching an entire television series, there has been a perceived evolution towards shorter length television seasons with higher length individual episodes and much better quality per episode. I think this is directly because of the increasing popularity of streaming services. TV shows traditionally made money based on how many people watched them and their associated advertisements. Accordingly, it used to make sense to have lots of little episodes to fill time slots that made purchasing and pricing air time easier and for programming to be more digestible to viewers. Since the advent of paid subscriptions for content, there’s no more need to appease advertisers as much. People can watch shows whenever or wherever they want through the internet. The goal has changed to simply provide better content in order to make the subscription service appealing as a whole versus trying to get eyeballs on a certain show at a certain time. That means making better programming, which seems to mean more high budget miniseries and less fluff shows.

Legion certainly seems to be one of these higher quality miniseries. The quality and likely higher budget of this first episode reminds me of something I’d see on Netflix or HBO, and that’s a good thing. There are a lot of special effects used and the story, the shots used and the editing are much more thoughtful than Arrow or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I don’t want to get too much into the story for fear of spoilers, but the main character is crazy and the story is trippy. It’s different from any other show I can think of right now, which is nice. That this story is connected to the X-Men is largely tangential in this first episode, but there are clear indicators they are related. It’s unclear as of yet whether this show shares the same universe as the cinematic X-Men or Marvel universe.

The acting was great. The only face I could recognize was Aubrey Plaza. She was good.

Overall, a good first episode that has hooked me for the rest of the season. I hope to see more shows like this.

Score: 7.5/10

Comic Book Review: We3

Details: Purchased the trade paperback which collected all three issues. Listed price is $12.99. Released in 2005. Official site is http://www.vertigocomics.com/graphic-novels/we3

I originally read this book a few years ago and forgot about it. More recently, as I was looking for a gift for an artist friend of mine who loves animals, I decided to pick this book up for her and to also give it a quick read through again. Thus, this review.

This is a really great book. It won a bunch of accolades that first year it came out. It won the Eisner Awards for best art and letterer. It is a New York Times best seller, which isn’t very common for comic books. Most importantly, it was written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely, two of the most well-known and respected creators in comic books who have a whole collection of top-selling books under their belts.

The premise is this: A dog, a cat, and a rabbit are cybernetically enhanced by the U.S. military into killing machines. When they are ordered to be terminated, the three escape and try to make their way “home.”

It’s like the movie Homeward Bound, but a little more science fiction-y and R rated. I think a large reason why it sold so well and was so well received was that at its core, it’s a story about animals. I think I wouldn’t be alone to say that while it isn’t primarily an animal rights story, the story does a great job getting the reader to feel for these animals.

The art is amazing. Frank Quitely almost always amazes and some of the panels and fold out art in this book are stunning. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of another book that has art this good. Some of the violence is pretty graphic though, so keep that in mind if you intend on letting younger reader read this book.

In conclusion, this is a great book that anyone who likes comic books should give a read. I purchased the trade paperback which collects all three issues into one book. I think this is only way that this book should be purchased. The trade paperback came with some sketches and comments from the author, which I generally enjoy.

Score: 8/10

Comic Book Review: All Star Batman (2016) #1

Oh, thank heavens. Scott Snyder is writing Batman again. After his run on Batman ended I was left adrift on what American comic books could fill the void left by one of the greatest, if not the greatest run on a Batman comic book that there has ever been. Snyder and Capullo’s run on Batman was so good, it literally made me lose interest in almost every other book on the shelf because they simply could not match the quality Snyder and Capullo were putting out.

And while Snyder has returned to write a character he has proven to hold a deep understanding of, Capullo has unfortunately not returned with him. I suppose I will just have to accept John Romita Jr.– one of the most respected and desired comic book artists out there– as a consolation prize. Suffice it to say the art is good.

This first books jumps right into the action. Batman is taking Two-Face somewhere that might potentially rid Harvey Dent of his dangerous alter ego. Unfortunately, Two-Face has put out the word that whoever stops Batman will be paid an enormous reward, prompting both villains and civilians to try and kill Batman as he tries to get Two-Face to his destination. It’s been fun so far, but Snyder hints at some reveals that will affect the history of Batman and his relationship with Alfred.

Personally, I am excited to see Snyder take on the character of Two-Face. Besides Joker, Two-Face is arguably Batman’s most dangerous villain and I am eager to see Snyder’s insight into the Batman universe applied to this character.

In addition to the Two-Face story, there is also a side story involving Batman’s new ally, Duke. He is undoubtedly not Robin, and the story goes into figuring out what kind of hero he will be. It was a surprisingly compelling side story and I’m eager to see more of Duke and Zsasz.

Score: 7.1/10 A fun, action packed start to a promising Batman story.