New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 2/28/18

Spawn #283 (Image)

Another month another excellent Spawn cover and beautiful interior art. In this issue, Al and Cyan are returning from Japan, where things didn’t go so well, as far as protecting Cyan was concerned. We also get to see some new powers that Cyan can use. Is it just me or does a spin off book or series starring Cyan seem to be making more and more sense now?

To protect Cyan from the evil that wants her, Spawn comes up with a new idea, one that requires him to kidnap a rapper, who seems to be part of that evil, and then get publicly linked to him via pictures and every social media known to man. I’m not sure what the overall plan is but color me intrigued!!! Also, the return of an all new Violator is coming next issue, so this promises to be an interesting direction. Spawn is by far my favorite book right now. The quality of art, occult horror story, and reality (the way dialogue is spoken) based dialogue make it such an interesting book to follow. I’d encourage anyone who likes adult based comics to get on board!!!

X-O Manowar #12 (Valiant)

X-O Manowar recently has been… “Damn look at the awesome cover art!!!” Then open the book and … “Oh… well this is somewhat regular.” Issue #12 is no different there. I’m really underwhelmed by the inside art and layouts. We start out with a naked Aric by a pond who is set upon by some stragglers. There’s a fight, he takes their clothes. Then he sets out to confront the council who deposed him. Meanwhile, there are panels of the bounty hunter group discussing what to do with the X-O Manowar armor, followed by one of them wanting to try it on, which is yet again another retread of what happens when someone not suited for the armor tries it on. When Aric confronts the council, Bruto gets the drop on him after the bounty hunters show up. All but one on the council is struck down and then Aric welcomes the armor back to him as a second skin. There are no panels to show the armor escaping the containment field it was in, or flying to the council room, or even a hint of how it got there.

The best way for me to describe this issue is “janky.” I get the feeling that the bounty hunters will be disposed of in the next two issues which really makes that bounty hunter origin issue a complete waste of time. This second volume started out really well but has since dropped off with the current story. Like I said in an earlier posting, Valiant is spinning wheels in prep for the Harbinger War 2 event and as such the monthly’s are suffering for it.

Saga #49 (Image)

I can’t review this yet because I’m not caught up with my past reading but issue #49 of this excellent series came out today and this series is a no-brainer to pick up because it so damn good!!!

Streamline (Stream of Thought) 2/27/18

Steamline Update

I haven’t done a Streamline in awhile… So here goes… I haven’t had much to say on the general front. The world is a fucking mad house and society is going to hell. That pretty much sums up the partisan BS happening in the outside world. Lunatics I tell you!!! More and more every news report is greeted with me giving myself the facepalm or beating my head on a desk. No nuance to any story now… either you go with the created narrative based on surface findings or you are wrong. It’s so shallow, wrong, and just insane.

The Comic Book Nudging…

Right now for me, Image comics is just nudging out Valiant Comics as my favorite reading. This is based on how excellent and adult comics like Spawn, Sam & Twitch, and Saga are. The reason I like Valiant Comics so much is that they are more “adult” than Marvel or DC. Turns out, Image is full on adult and doesn’t apologize for it any way, shape, or form. I like that. Let’s not pretend that comics are mainly for kids anymore. There are more adults reading comics than kids these days and Image is cornering the market on adult themed titles. I’d love to see Valiant Comics move even more toward adult themes but with their recent full on acquisition by DMG, I have a feeling they may be pushed more toward the tights action because that is DMG’s main interest, superheroes in tights movies.

Also… Valiant has been stuck in “setup” mode lately. They keep putting out comics that set up things but take the whole entire issue to do so. Bloodshot stopped the action and took a whole issue to set up Rampage. X-O stopped the action and took a whole issue to set up a bounty hunter group. Ninjak (in Ninja-K) has been going down the list of lettered Ninja, to give a back story to each which feels like almost every issue becomes a set up for the mystery. Back stories are great and all… but a good backstory should be peppered into a narrative without calling full stop to it. So it just feels off kilter right now. I’m hoping things do pick up. We’ll see…

Sidenote: The next Bloodshot Salvation has no art in it, save the last page. It’s all word balloons on black panels. To say I’m already peeved off thinking about this is an understatement because if the book literally doesn’t have art in it, why are they still going to charge me $3.99 for it???

Olivia Munn kinda has to Marry into Pop Culture

Most of us in Pop Culture Fandom know Olivia Munn from G4 Attack of the Show! and as such, she’s the hot uber geek girl of pop culture fandom. For awhile there, Fandom was having flashbacks to Middle and High school as the uber geek hot girl was dating the uber jock (Aaron Rodgers). That ended and he’s now with Danica Patrick who is also in sports (racing). Now Fandom waits in quiet anticipation of who Olivia Munn shows up with next. Granted, fandom shouldn’t have this sort of peeping Tom fascination with her love life but she is really the Queen of Pop Culture Fandom. I mean… Queen of England or Queen of Pop Culture Fandom… Who is more important? I’m just going to answer that for you: The Queen of Pop Culture Fandom is much more important and that is a crown/title that Olivia Munn wears by default. So if she dates or gets married outside of it… That would register as a great disturbance in the force.

Why do people on Facebook ask for Prayers?

I keep seeing people on Facebook who ask for prayers… but they don’t give any context. It really seems to be a cry for attention. How do you ask someone to pray for you when you don’t provide any context on what to pray for? Honestly… When I see these posts, I just think: NO!!! You have not provided the info needed to attempt a prayer and prayers equal time so they are valuable. I’m certainly not going to reply to your post with a comment and ask “Just what am I praying about?” Because for one, that just provides the attention for the seeker, and for two… I just don’t care. Maybe if you provided that missing context I would care, but because you don’t, and because you just think you are entitled to prayers… I don’t.

Twitter Fail

People love to Retweet a Tweet they disagree with and add a snarky commentary onto it to signal their disapproval and superiority. This however spreads the original reach of the Tweet that contained the information that was originally disagreed with. The BEST way to silence those who are tweeting idiocy is to ignore them. That’s it… Simply let their tweets die in the void that is Twitter. Or let their own echo chamber pass them around between one another. They already agree with the idiocy so who cares?

There was a hashtag last week that was trending (# killNRA) and it was sending people on the right into an uproar. “How can Twitter allow this to Trend???!!!???” Well… If you clicked on the hashtag, then clicked on the “latest” Tweets, and then read through them… You would have seen that the majority were people on the right using the hashtag to register their anger that it was trending, thereby making it trend.

Twitter as a platform for social media is really dumb. There are no meaningful convos there and the hashtag system is a horrible barometer for measuring anything. Really… unless you have a customer service issue or you want to LIVE tweet a show… It’s better to avoid Twitter.

My Favorite Joker List

1) Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Heath Ledger made Joker his character. In one of the last roles Ledger would ever play before his death, Joker will be the character and the role for which he defined. He’s an anarchist yet sensible. He’s scary yet humorous. The way he intones and speaks as Joker will never ever be something that another actor will master. Heath Ledger is Joker.

2) Jack Nicholson (Batman)
Jack Nicholson made Joker a serious gangster with an infatuation for not just power but art and love or lust. Specifically his love… er… lust, for Vicki Vale. His Joker wasn’t as much for anarchy as Ledger’s, but more planned with a side of jokes in the mix. “Wait ’til they get a load of me.” And with that line Nicholson would hold the top spot until Ledger dethroned him.

3) Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
Jared Leto’s Joker may just be the closest to Joker in the comics by mentality if not looks. He a high functioning psychopath with a love for Harley Quinn. He also seems like the type that flip a switch between methodical and crazy. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Leto as Joker in movies to come.

4) Cesar Romero (Batman TV Show)
He had the look of Joker if not the demeanor. Of course the Batman TV show was all camp so of the villains, Joker was the most tamed down of the bunch. And don’t forget how Cesar Romero refused to cut his mustache so you can see it through the white paint on his face.

Honorable Mention: Mark Hamill as Joker in the cartoon series and the Arkham video games. 
While not a Live action Joker, many will say that Mark Hamill’s treatment of the Joker is the best there has ever been across all media. And he does it with just his voice so while this list is mainly for the Live action films, he deserves a spot even so.

Thor Ragnarok (Review)

What the hell did I just watch???

I understand that they said 80% of the movie was improv and it shows. Believe me it really shows. The acting is awful. The dialogue is cringe inducing. The CGI is terrible. SIDENOTE: YOU PEOPLE WHO SAID THAT THIS CRAPPY CGI WAS BETTER THAN THE CGI IN JUSTICE LEAGUE ARE BLIND. This movie was green screen hell. Virtually every location just looked fake. Everything about this movie was juvenile and hokey!!! Definitely the WORST Marvel movie.

Did I forget the story? The director and lack of writers sure did. Thor’s sister comes back to take over Asgard but…… Who cares??? This movie takes place on a world that is a nexus to trash. Jeff Goldblum is the grand master here and he skitters and stutters about enjoying his fighting matches that put Thor up against the Hulk. A rolicking, bad acting, and over the top time happens here. Thor has to get back to Asgard to fight his sister but don’t worry… seriously… He’ll take care of her in the last 20 minutes or so. She’s really not the point here. She’s a window dressing baddie. Nothing more. For that matter, none of the characters are more than shallow skit level characterizations. You know how Guardians of the Galaxy uses humor perfectly? Thor Ragnarok doesn’t. At all.

I see how people online either love this movie or hate it… no inbetween. I can see that. I fall on the “hate it” side and well… I’m right. My blog my rules. You people that liked this over something like Justice League (since that was what the comparison was that month), should not be trusted with movie reviews, opinions, or sharp objects of any kind, because you people are nuts.

Broken Angels by Richard K Morgan

Broken Angels is the sequel to the now classic cyberpunk book called Altered Carbon (Book Review HERE ) & (Netflix Review HERE) by Richard K. Morgan. While Altered Carbon was more gritty noir cyberpunk, Broken Angels falls more into the military Sci-fi genre. The story takes place 30 years after Altered Carbon and Takeshi Kovacs is now re-sleeved in a black man and fighting a civil war on a far off planet. When the opportunity presents itself, a man named Jan Schneider proposes breaking an Archeologue out of an internment camp and finding a gate made by the Martians, that will open up in space over a derelict Martian starship. They figure they can get a corporate sponsor, broker a deal for the starship and then be needlecast (transferred) off the war torn planet and be resleeved elsewhere.

Most of the book is about getting through this gate and then on to this Martian spaceship. The cast of characters (See how I would CAST a Broken Angels Netflix show HERE) work very well together, from their bickering, to their getting to know one another. The book keeps you glued to the events taking place because much like a book from Jack McDevitt (second to none with Space Archeology Fiction – See the Priscilla Hutchins series) you want to know more about this alien species that was so far advanced and yet is now gone. Then toward the end… something misfires.

An event happens on the alien ship and the chapter ends. Then we get our cast of characters back on the beach outside of the gate, captured by Takeshi’s old military crew. The book then becomes a revenge tale in the last 90 pages or so, of Takeshi vs Carrera. There’s no real explanation of the event or the ghosts on the ship and by the time you get more toward the end, you realize that you are not going to get any more answers. The McGuffin of the book is completely ignored for this “versus battle” and a character that is talked about but never introduced until the very end. It’s very disjointed. This was actually the first time where I was glued to the book until the very end where it became a slog because I knew that the “good part” had already passed by.

I know the Netflix show changed a few things from Altered Carbon and I hope that if they do film Broken Angels, then they concentrate on the alien ship and make it about that and not this Takeshi vs Carrera side tangent. If they do that, then they will really make up for where the book went off the rails. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book, but in the end I feel like the story got away from the author and that derailed what was really becoming a page turner of a narrative.

Next up is the end of the trilogy with Woken Furies and I’m hoping that takes me back to a more cyberpunk feel, which I think is where Takeshi Kovacs really belongs.

My Favorite Catwoman List

1) Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Without a doubt Anne Hathaway is my favorite Catwoman. She had the suit (practical glasses for thieving that became ears), she had the character down to be most like the comics, and she could kick ass. She also had that sexual tension with Christian Bale’s Batman that seemed to work better than ever before in Live action on screen between the characters.

2) Eartha Kitt (Batman TV Show)
Who can forget Eartha Kitt’s portrayal of Catwoman from the TV show? The sultry voice, the sexy purr, the way she rolled those “R’s”…

3) Julie Newmar (Batman TV Show)
Julie Newmar defined the character of Catwoman from being the first to play the character in the Batman TV show for 2 seasons. Next to Anne Hathaway, they share the title for looking the best in the black cat suit.

4) Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns)
Michelle Pfeiffer updated the character in Batman Returns and made her overly sexual in her tight and shiny vinyl black suit that she stitched together with claws that cut for blood. I think the big drawback was actually the suit though because all of her hair was hidden inside.

5) Lee Meriwether (Batman Movie 1966)
For the movie version of the Batman TV show, Lee Meriwether slipped into the black suit and took a turn as the cat. She held her own but routinely is overshadowed by both Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. Some people didn’t even know that it was her and not Newmar that played the movie role even.

6) Halle Berry (Catwoman)
Halle Berry should have never been Catwoman and this movie should have never been made. Many people consider this movie to be one of the worst movies of all time. Had Berry been give a good script with some sort of characterization and decent action scenes then she might be higher on the list. As it stands, it would take a lot to truly unseat her from bottom place as Catwoman.

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 2/21/18

Ninjak vs The Valiant Universe #2 (Valiant)

Continuing on from last months issue #1, Ninjak has been blackmailed into stealing an item from MI6 and Neville has requested that LiveWire activate Unity (for which Ninjak is apart of) to hunt him down. Neville still doesn’t know that Ninjak is doing all of this because his ex-wife and child have been kidnapped. The only thing stopping Ninjak from telling him, when he was escaping MI6, was the nanites that Roku had injected into Ninjak, which she was listening in on. Cut to now and Bloodshot is the first person Ninjak goes up against. Points deducted from Bloodshot for trying to sneak up on a Ninja and getting caught in a reflection. He does get a piece of him and from that Bloodshot can verify that Ninjak has nanites in his blood, which he shouldn’t have. Meanwhile. Ninjak goes up against X-O Manowar, barely getting away, only for The Eternal Warrior to find him and try to talk him down from what he is doing. It is Bloodshot though, scoring those deducted points back, who has the final action of the issue by firing on Ninjak, which leads us into a cliff hanger for the next issue. Was Ninjak shot? Knocked out? How did the nanites relaying info to Roku go down? Was it some sort of EMP that Bloodshot fired?

This series is of course the adaption to the coming web short that will supposedly be released in April (crossing my fingers). It’s a good intro to the characters of the Valiant Universe and issue 2 here has one of my favorite covers of the year already. So pick this up because this is some good stuff!!!

The Amazing Spider-man #796 (Marvel)

I haven’t read this one yet but it is selling like hot cakes due to bad speculation. So much so that shady local comic shops (LCS’s) are jacking up the price from day 1 on loyal customers. I know, this doesn’t hurt me because I’m all digital, but it is another reason I’m happy to be done with buying physical copies. The reason I’m highlighting this issue is because this is yet another awesome cover this year. With this cover, the Ninjak cover above, and a coming X-O cover (I’ll be posting that when it hits stands), I’m loving the cover art that is being put out there this year. This is an Alex Ross cover, so you know it is awesome just based on his name alone. Just look at it… Simply marvelous!!!

My Favorite & Least Favorite Batman Movie Bat Suit List

My Favorite Batman Movie Bat suits:

1) Michael Keaton (Batman)
His head may not turn and the Bat symbol may have extra points (fixed in Batman Returns, though the suit looks more like armor in that one), but this is still my favorite Batman movie suit. the way the cape flows forward and extends from the cowl is a big part of the reason why I like this version.

2) Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises)
More tactical than what the normal Batsuit would be in the comics, it is by far the most practical looking suit for real use. Lighter than most suits and Batman can finally turn his head. Slap the yellow and black symbol on the chest and this suit might even tie Keaton’s on my list. As it stands, it comes in at the number 2 spot just missing the top position.

3) Ben Affleck (Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice)
This suit may be the most comic-like, especially if you hold it up to the costume in the graphic novel, “The Dark Knight Returns.” The gray suit is a nice change of pace from the all black suits that we have been used to for so long. Also, the bat ears being shorter work really well with this suit in the way that Affleck bulked up his body for the role. For some reason, I just don’t think the taller ears would have worked here.

4) Adam West (Batman 1966)
It’s classic comedy and we all remember watching this version of the campy Batman at some time when we were growing up. You have to admit, this suit at least beats my “Worst Batman Suits” below.

The Worst Batman Movie Bat suits:

1) George Clooney (Batman & Robin)
Any suit Clooney wears in this abomination of a Bat movie (it made Batman ’66 look like an Oscar contender) is THE Worst. As a matter of fact, the entire cast makes the list for ugly Bat suits here.

2) Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
This was the Bat suit that defined the Bat Nipple. Not only that but the overly sharp and defined gauntlet “blades” with the super pointy and long ears make him almost look like Porcupine man. It also doesn’t help that the suit muscles are smooth and shiny like some muscle man tournament. While not as bad as Clooney’s suit, where Schumacker doubled down on bad taste, this one was the beginning of that slide into Bat hell.

What If Michael Keaton came back to play Batman in a Movie for The Dark Knight Returns

 Michael Keaton is the right age for The Dark Knight Returns to be made and this could even be done alongside the current slate of DC Universe movies. After all, The Dark Knight Returns is a separate universe in the graphic novel. Here to, Warner Bros. could capitalize on bringing back the Batman that everyone remembers for kicking off comic movies. Hell, I’d even be for Tim Burton coming back to put his spin on it just to keep it as a cap to his version’s trilogy. Would it not be cool to see Keaton suited up one more time as Batman? Or that stylized and cool Batmobile once more in action?

Granted, it would take some writing to be done because, Joker died at the end of the first Batman movie and Jack Nicholson is for the most part retired (unless something spectacular comes along), but it could still work. It wouldn’t be just like the graphic novel but I’m pretty sure a cult of Joker and the Superman fight could all be done. Also, if done right, this could even kick off a Batman Beyond movie franchise where Keaton could reprise the roll of Bruce Wayne but not have to suit up.

Warner Bros. should be on the phone with Keaton, Burton, Pfeiffer, and whoever else needed to make this happen. Especially since the current DC Universe seems to be being picked apart by the critics at large (unfairly I would say but the fact is it is happening). The Dark Knight Returns as a movie and done in this way could be huge though!!!

 

Movie Reviews from the Stream 2/20/18

Alien Arrival (Netflix)

This one is a low budget sci-fi flick where a man who infiltrates an experimental ship crashes on a moon and then must survive. The alien, becomes himself when the moon, or creatures there, or some top secret experiment keeps bringing him back to life over and over. I’m a little unsure of just how or what was bringing him back to life. I know he gets “snatched” (a la Body Snatcher Aliens) but I’m not clear on if that is all part of the secret experiment or not??? It’s a decent movie to fire up if you like the single survivor and sidekick AI dynamic that seems to work so well ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey. The acting is pretty good for being low budget and I never got bored with what was taking place on screen.

Sidenote: It was filmed in Australia and I never knew that they had so many flies!!! In many of the outdoor scenes the actors were surrounded by flies.

Expelled from Paradise (Netflix)

This is another excellent anime that’s on Netflix right now. The premise is that a hacker (Frontier Setter) is breaking into the satellite paradise called DEVA and offering humans the chance to explore the stars. 99% of all humans are now digitized in DEVA while the rest live in the wastelands of Earth. Angela Balzac is a security agent on DEVA and is sent down to Earth on a body grown from her original genetic material. There she hooks up with Dingo, an Earth liaison, who will assist her in tracking down the hacker. Things are more than they seem though and when Angela is faced with the truth, will she finish off Frontier Setter or go against all that she has ever known and take on DEVA?

The animation is phenomenal and the colors pop off the screen. The final mech battle is how I see my first anime experience with Robotech, in my head. Granted, if you go back to Robotech now, those fights with that animation doesn’t hold up well, this is how I still remember it going down though!!! If you like anime, like mech fighting, and like cyberpunk style hacking and maybe even a little Mad Max… Then Expelled from Paradise is for you!!!

30 Years to Life (Amazon Prime)

This one is a low budget speculative sci-fi flick from 1998. Instead of sending people to prisons, society has come up with a way to age people the number of years that they would serve. When a 15 year old kid is framed for a murder, he is aged 30 years and then must find a way to prove his innocence. Would that be more of a deterrent than spending years in a prison? Maybe, maybe not… The movie speculates it would be and the thought of being prematurely aged is a frightening thing to think about. It’s an intriguing premise to say the least.

The acting is serviceable, the effects are on a shoestring budget, and the music is all old school synth. Should you take the time to check it out? I guess that really depends on how interesting you find the premise. It’s a B movie in pretty much every way, with an interesting premise. But if that doesn’t do it for you… You should probably move along.