Saturday, August 29, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 7 and 8

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 5...


A5-7: Lineage (written by Drew Goddard, airdate 11/12/03)

A very cool episode. Loved the ninja-cyborgs and all that they entailed, especially the one posing as Wes' father. How cool was that? You could totally see Wes revert to insecurities when his "father" arrived. Loved the interplay with the others - especially who Roger reacted to both Angel and Spike (great programming). The fact that Spike fought Wes' dad in 1963 was a very cool thing. Love getting more and more rich facts on my favorite vamp with a soul. I liked the interplay between Spike and Eve - he knows she is up to something. I felt bad for Wes at the end - first not having a chance to tell Fred how he truly feels and then to have his real father criticize him when he calls to check in. So sad. All in all, loved this one.

A5-8: Destiny (written by Fury and DeKnight, airdate 11/19/03)

When we get flashbacks of Angelus and William to parallel today's events, you know it is a good episode. Man, Angelus was a bastard to him back in 1880, wasn't he? Screwing him over by screwing with Dru (literally). Nasty. It only makes sense then as why Spike wants to better Angel, to be the one the prophecy foretold about. Loved that Spike became all corporeal again and his first thoughts are to shag with Harmony. Poor girl - she gives in despite her mind telling her it is a bad idea. Loved the whole race to Death Valley as well as the fight to end all fights between Angel and Spike. And Spike is the victor!!! Awesome. To the victor goes...the Mountain Dew? Ooops. Nice twist there. Even more of twist, Eve returns to an apartment, undresses and climbs in bed with...Lindsey?!? Holy cow - didn't see that one coming! Again, awesome episode. Two in a row. I have a feeling this season is kick starting into high gear now. Good deal!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Comics of the Week (8/26/09)

Batman: the Brave and the Bold - I'm not a big fan of the Great Ten so this issue was just so-so for me. The story was fine for this type of book and the art was certainly clean and sharp. But, not a high point.

Blackest Night: Titans #1 (of 3) - yowza! If any group in the DCU has suffered their share of deaths, it's the Titans. Which means this event mini is ripe for some great character interplay. Love the returns of the original Hawk, Terra and Lilith. That's just the tip of the iceburg, I am sure. But, the most creep - Donna's baby boy is back to haunt her. That rips right to the heart of any parent. Things are about to get really really ugly - I'm loving it!

the Flash: Rebirth #4 - we finally find up what's up with Barry and who is behind his problems. It isn't pretty. And no member of the Flash family is safe. Once more, Johns and Van Sciver deliver the goods to make this return of the first Silver Age hero a true epic event. I hope they continue to be the creative team on the relauched title too.

Green Lantern #45 - how can you have a GL issue without many GLs in it? Easy! The events of Blackest Night continue to swell as the Sinestro Corps, the Star Sapphires and Agent Orange all realize the BLs are after them too. I think something about circumstances leading to strange bedfellows might be coming into play very quickly.

Justice Society of America #30 - this issue was slightly better than last issue, but I'm still not fully on board with what Willingham is doing here. The cast was used a bit better than last time, but it seems like we're getting set up once more with an old vs. new dynamic. Yawn. Been there done that have the t-shirt.

Teen Titans #74 - we finally learn this issue who the latest deceased Titan is. Somehow, though, with Blackest Night ramping up, I don't think this one will stay dead for long. The Ravager back-up was more of the same. I'm starting to get a slight bit bored with it. I want to see this pick up faster.

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 5 and 6

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 5...


A5-5: Life of the Party (written by Ben Edlund, airdate 10/29/03)

Halloween episodes are so much fun, especially when Loren is in charge of planning the W&H company party. Lots of great stuff in the episode. I love how Loren gets along so well with Harmony. I enjoy Eve being all mysterious and fun. And, of course, I love the side effects of Loren's subconscious projections due to his depriving himself of sleep. Like the "blood" demon noticing Gunn's change "mmmm, pee pee" - I had to giggle. And Alexis getting to do comedy again with he and Amy playing drunk. Nice. I even liked Spike being all "positive". All in all, a fun one-off episode.

A5-6: the Cautionary Tale of Numbero Uno (written by Jeffrey Bell, airdate 11/5/03)

Okay, I'm not a big fan of luchadores so this episode seemed a little screwy to me. I did like the tying in of the Mexican Day of the Dead. I love the humor Spike brought - going on the mission and getting the frontseat by calling "shotgun" (and Wes thinking that was weapons check - LOL). I also like the idea that maybe Spike and not Angel was the one being spoken of in the Shansu Prophecies. So, a little off beat with some good moments - but certainly not stellar. I'm hoping for more hits and less misses this season.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 3 and 4

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 5...


A5-3: Unleashed (written by Fain and Craft, airdate 10/15/03)

Werewolves? Yawn. I didn't find the story of Nina very interesting until she was kidnapped. The idea of the restaurant patrons paying top dollar to eat a delicacy, alive - now that was just twisted enough to be cool. But, beyond that it was a lot of been-there-seen-that type of stuff. I disliked the doctor so I am glad he got what was coming to him. I did like the interactions of Fred with Spike and her promising to find a way to restore him. At least she can be objective about him.

A5-4: Hell Bound (written by Steven S. DeKnight, airdate 10/22/03)

Okay, instant wiggins! I jumped when we saw the basement dude cutting his own fingers. This whole episode had a nice creepy feel to it - this show has been missing a lot of that this season. Again, focus on Spike and Fred's quest to help him gets big props from me. I also loved the talk Angel and Spike finally had (about both being convinced they are both going to Hell someday) - and I had to laugh when Angel admitted he always liked Spike's poems. Bwahahaha. I liked the blonde medium - even for a one-shot character she was very interesting (more so than wolf-Nina last episode). The Reaper was sufficiently creepy. I wonder if we'll see him back out of confinement someday. Loved how Spike sacrificed his own well-being for Fred. Oh, and is just me or does Amy Acker make the word "corporeal" sound really sexy?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 1 and 2

Beginning my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 5...


A5-1: Conviction (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 10/1/03)

The gang has to adjust to their new working digs at Wolfram & Hart as well as the staff, and some have bigger problems to deal with than others. Angel plans to do things his way. Agent Howser and the Special Ops. team had to learn this lesson the hard way. Meanwhile, Gunn gains some skills to support the team - in a rather painful method (but damn, he does look good in a suit). Two staff members that stand out - Eve (and her oh so connectedness to the Senior Partners - I smell trouble) and Harmony (our favorite vamp-girl-Friday is back as Angel's administrative assistant - she should bring some much needed humor to the group). Gone from the credits are Charisma (boooo!!!!) and Vincent (YEAH!!!! No more Connor on a regular basis!), and in is James (YES!!!!!) The latter makes a great series debut, in a total state of confusion.

A5-2: Just Rewards (written by Fury and Edlund, airdate 10/8/03)

Nice start with the flashback to Buffy's series finale (only 19 days ago? Hmmm... and she's already off to Europe). Then the other shoe drops - yes, Spike is back but he's doing the whole annoying spirit thing. Good for him, not good for Angel. Lots of tension and lots of humor comes out of all this. Nice to see these two characters really get into it. That's a good sign of the season to come. I found Magnus Hansely to be an interesting opponent, even if he was taken out in the end (rather nicely by the old double-double-cross bit). Somehow, a necromancer being killed might not be too much of an impedient (one can hope). I like how the others reacted to Spike's return too (Harmony especially) and he should present some interesting dynamics with the likes of Wes and Fred too.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 4 episodes 20, 21 and 22

Concluding my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-20: Sacrifice (written by Ben Edlund, airdate 4/23/03)

Angel beats Connor before the group escapes. Did I just cheer about that? Yup. Jasmine continues her overconfidence. Did like how she could speak through her "drones" as well. One mind, one body. Still, the evil one plays it safe by moving Cordy somewhere else, just in case. Loved the monster in the sewer and Wes' discussion with it. So, Jasmine has all of California under her will - I guess that doesn't include Sunnydale. It is really hard to justify these mega-events without it impacting the other show in the universe. Kind of a cop out. Then again, Buffy and the trainees have little time for TV but still.

A4-21: Peace Out (written by David Fury, airdate 4/30/03)

Loved Angel in CGI-Land. Nice effects. Liked his fight with the keeper of the word. Interesting that the blood ritual worked and Connor still stuck with Jasmine no matter what her true appearance was. Just goes to show how messed up that kid is. Still, he does care enough to find Cordelia and make sure she is okay. Love how Angel returned just in time to mess up the conference - before Jasmine could go global and take control. Time for the rats to scamper from the sinking ship as chaos returns to LA. Good speech about free will. "Our fate has to be our own or we're nothing." Very true. Of course, we have to have a fight with thrown cars and such - and in the end, it turns out Connor puts an end to Jasmine's destruction (no - grrrr! Should have been Angel.) All seems well in the end back at the hotel, but then who comes a knockin'? Lilah?!?

A4-22: Home (written by Tim Minear, airdate 5/7/03)

I liked this episode best out of the last five or six. Lilah is back from Hell with an offer (seems even in death she can't get out of work) - the gang has prevented peace on Earth so they get offered the LA branch of Wolfram and Hart. What? Nice how none of them said they would go for the tour (except Gunn) and yet they all end up curious and waiting when the limo arrives. Naturally there is temptations for all, and some are much quicker to accept them than others. Still, Angel is the boss and he decides what they do. He takes the offer in exchange for trying to make his off-the-deep-end son's life better. None of the others remember who Connor is in the end, and Angel finds that the boy is living his life out with a family. Connor seems happy. Heck, if that's the last we see of him, I'm happy too! Oh, and we do get some mention of the events in Sunnydale - and this shows where Angel got the amulet and the information on the First that he gives to Buffy in her finale. Nice tie-in there.

All in all, a rollercoaster of a season - uneven in some parts for me.

Time to start the final season of Angel this week. With the gang operating with all the W&H resources behind them, it should prove to be interesting indeed.

DVD review - Angel season 4 episodes 16, 17, 18 and 19

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-16: Players (written by Bell, Fain and Craft, airdate 3/26/03)

Three writers? Never a great sign. This episode was all right. Cordy of course announced to the gang that she expecting and they immediately jump to demon-birth. Not like she hasn't been down that road before. She says to Angel right under his nose that she's the big-bad, thinking she's coy. But it isn't that which tips them off. Falling right into a little trap they set with Loren as the bait, looks like the gig is up. Oh, Magic 8 ball - nice touch. Meanwhile, Gwen returns and needs Gunn's help on a mission. He shows his cool under pressure style and brains, and almost gets set up for the fall. He helps her go after her real prize and is rewarded in a special way when Gwen's electro-powers are neutralized. I guess we had to have a finishing arc for this third tier character.

A4-17: Inside Out (written by Steven S. DeKnight, airdate 4/2/03)

The gang tells cornered Cordy how they figured it all out, but that doesn't keep her long. Man, Connor is such a tool and so easily manipulated. I so hate his character. The fact that Cordy can just bat her eyes and have him go get a virgin sacrifice is laughable. Meanwhile, Angel goes to get some answers from Skip - and finds them. Boy, does he find them! Turns out all they knew was a lie - the ascension, the visions, the coming of them together - all planned. Okay, this is a lot to swallow, even for us viewers. All of it was a set up? I feel cheap. At least we got a cool bit with Wes, and his oh-so-perfect targetting skills, blowing out Skip's brains. Yeah, Wesley!!! Meanwhile, Connor "sees" Darla who tries to convince him not to go down this evil path - but the punk doesn't buy it. This gives Cordy time to kill the girl. He annoints her pregnant belly with the blood and viola! Not even Angel arriving in time can stop the coming of...a grown woman?!? (Gina Torres) Why must the Firefly gang all be used as villains? Is that the price of your show getting canned?

A4-18: Shiny Happy People (written by Craft and Fain, airdate 4/9/03)

Angel and Connor are both acting loopy after meeting the woman (later named Jasmine because she keeps noticing the flowers' smell - I wonder if that'll be a clue to her downfall? Hmmmm...). Cordy isn't dead - more a coma like state. I guess that's a good way to keep Charisma on the show while she goes through her real-life pregnancy. (see, I hate when shows have to take turns like this to cover for the actors - I want the old Cordy back!!) Meanwhile, everyone who meets Jasmine instantly finds her benevolent. Okay, not everyone. There was that crazy guy. Speaking of crazy, Fred gets obcessed with trying to clean the bloodstain out of Jasmine's blouse after her injury at the bowling alley (how cool was the vamps bowling with their victims' heads?). But Fred scrubs until she bleeds, mixing her blood with Jasmine's - and that allows her to see the truth - that Jasmine is not what she seems! Can I say "eeeeeeew!"? She takes off and realizes she's on her own on this one.

A4-19: The Magic Bullet (written by Jeffrey Bell, airdate 4/16/03)

Fred tries to get help from a conspiracy theorist bookstore owner, but he's under the thrall too. Jasmine's power is spreading across LA every day - in person, over the airwaves, etc. And she can see through her followers anywhere she wants, putting Fred on the constant run as she tries to figure out what to do next. Open mic night was kind of funny. Fred's taking refuge with the little demon who is into "finger food" had some comedic moments too. But it gives Fred an idea - the blood. She knows why she can see the truth and lets herself get captured. Then in a desperate attempt, she shoots Jasmine and lets the bullet pass through her and into Angel. Blood to blood. Angel was blind but now can see. It ain't pretty. The two then concoct a plan to get the others back on their side. First they cure Loren, then Gunn and Wes. When they try to restore Connor, he seems immune - probably due to his being Jasmine's "father". He blows the whistle on them. Did I mention how much I hate this kid? Did I? Ugh.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 21 and 22

Concluding my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....


B7-21: End of Days (written by Douglas Petrie and Jane Espenson, airdate 5/13/03)

Buffy gains the ultimate weapon and learns its origins from one of the Guardians who forged it (no, not little blue men - more like a very old, old woman). Faith has doubts about herself after leading the girls into a trap and needing Buffy to save them all from a horde of ubervamps. She and Buffy talk about the burden they bear as Slayers, having to be alone and handle it all by themselves. This gives Buffy an idea! Andrew and Anya bond a bit over a hospital raiding trip (complete with wheelchair fighting - oh, those crazy sidekicks). Xander agrees to Buffy's plan to take Dawn away, only to get tasered by the niblet when she wakes up (and she takes them back to Sunnydale). Buffy has round 4 with Caleb, with a little help from Angel - but ultimately its her fight so he basks in the entertainment. After, he rewards her with that kiss. Spike sees - uh oh....

B7-22: Chosen (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 5/20/03)

Caleb comes back for one more round, but Buffy cuts it short (in more ways than one). Of course, she and Angel talk about Spike (complete with alpha male jealousy). He agrees to be the second front if need be (after all, this isn't his show) but leaves her with an amulet. Of course, it is meant for Spike - and after he and Buffy talk, all the feelings are on the table - sort of. Loved when Dawn kicks Buffy in the shins and calls big sis a "dumbass" for trying to keep her out of the final fight. Everyone wants a piece of this final episode. Loved the AD&D interlude the night before the battle, with Andrew as DM and Giles, Xander and Amber playing. Best line from Giles - "now I'm a dwarf with the mystical strength of a doilee".

Sunnydale High is the site of the final battle, and what a battle it is! After the original four have a moment (a nice moment), it is off to their positions. Willow's spell on the scythe grants every girl (in the world? - okay that was cheesey - ra ra girl power, Joss) the Slayer power, Buffy, Faith and the Potentials kick some butt. A few escape to the upstairs - giving us some b-level characters mortal wounds (alas, poor Anya...). Of course, Spike has to make the ultimate sacrifice with the amulet - bringing about the destruction of the Hellmouth and allowing Buffy time to escape with the others. They clearly got a good effects budget on this one - with the hordes of ubervamps and the implosion of Sunnydale. Nice. We end with a sigh of relief, of sorts. What's next? No mall left. Second best line from Giles - "I hear there is another Hellmouth in Cleveland". Nice. Let's all relocate.

Time soon for season 8 - aka, the Dark Horse comics. Yeah!

Comics of the Week (8/19/09)

Blackest Night: Superman #1 (of 3) - Robinson and Barrows knock this one out of the park, tying the world of the Superman cast into the big event of the year. Pure enjoyment through and through. Enough said!

the Brave and the Bold #26 - I didn't have high hopes of this one because it features the Spectre with Xombi (another of the Milestone crew). Then I opened it up and confirmed my initial thoughts. Ugh. The art did not appeal to me at all and that just made a mediocre story even less interesting. I actually didn't even finish it - something rare for me and a comic. Yuck. Can we get back to exciting team-ups, please?

Justice League of America #36 - Len Wein continues his Royal Flush Gang arc with a nice retelling of the origin of Amos Fortune and the crew. The art by Tom Derenick was enjoyable too. For a fill-in arc, this one has been a lot of fun.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 18, 19 and 20

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....


B7-18: Dirty Girls (written by Drew Goddard, airdate 4/15/03)

Nathan Fillion!!!! Okay, now the fun really starts. Nice of Joss to get him here playing Caleb, with a folks southern type accent to go with his evil-holy man guise. Nice. Funny about Xander's dream - being the only male stuck in a house full of potential...slayers. Potential slayers. Sheesh. Good to see Faith and Spike tussle, then later talk. They have interesting character dynamic together. Couldn't help but laugh at Andrew's recap of Faith's history, including the battle with Spock. Wait...not a Vulcan? Bwahahaha. Xander gives yet another awesome speech to the girls, inspiring them and showing what Buffy really means to them. That, my friends, is his power. Kudos. Oh, evil vineyard - (Spike: "like Falcon Crest" - bwahahaha) - yeah, the place the gang gets smashed and not in a good way. It was a trap and Buffy fell right into it. Besides the couple potentials that get killed, Xander loses an eye! OUCH!

B7-19: Empty Places (written by Drew Z. Greenberg, airdate 4/29/03)

People leaving town - empy homes. Xander missing a left eye - empty socket. Anya and Andrew doing a poor job inspiring the girls - empty words. Buffy gets jumped by Caleb at the school - empty Sunnydale High. That covers it. Oh, Spike and Andrew on the bike and the discussion of the merits of a bloomin' onion - very surreal. In the end, everyone turns on Buffy - thinking her leadership skills aren't panning out and are leaving them all worse for the wear. Sure, we expect this from Giles and Faith, but coming from her closest of friends (Willow, Xander and Dawn) - yikes! And everyone putting their faith in Faith - hmmmm, this might not bode very well.

B7-20: Touched (written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner, airdate 5/6/03)

The camera work clearly shows the disarray the team has fallen to with Buffy gone - it jumps as the debate does. Poor Willow - delegated to be the one to tell Spike that Buffy is gone. Cowards making her do it. Good for Spike calling them all traitors because that's what they were - betraying their friend and protector. He finds her (gotta love his sense of smell) and motivates her with a speech. She isn't ready yet but she doesn't want him to leave. The others have some coupling time too: Willow and Kennedy, Faith and Wood (dang, he moves fast!) and Xander and Anya (awwww, they couldn't keep away - not even the ice cream deterred it). Finally, Buffy versus Caleb round 3 - and she manages to work out a plan to keep him at bay and find out what he's hiding. Meanwhile, Faith leads the girls into a fight with the Bringers that turns out to be a trap. 8...7...6...5... The countdown to the finale is quickly approaching!

Two more to go - tonight!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 4 episodes 12, 13, 14 and 15

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-12: Cavalry (written by Bell, DeKnight and Smith, airdate 2/12/03)

The opening with Wo-Pang mirrors when Wes first visited him. Having Lilah show up and work, sort of, with the crew made for some interesting tension. It also allowed for Angelus to spill her secrets with Wes. We learn that the Beast is only a lackey to a bigger boss - but, whoa, the boss is Cordy?!? Wild. Loved Loren's calling Lilah "succubitch". So fitting. Black magic goes awry - or did it? After all if Cordy was behind it and she wanted Angelus free...? Hmmmm.

A4-13: Salvage (written by David Fury, airdate 3/5/03)

Wes has to take care of Lilah's body which Angelus conveniently finishes off after Cordy stabbed her. Nice closure of sorts with him talking "with" the corpse. Nice to see Connor sick of magic and wanting to just off his father. Wes knows they need help, and who better than the available Slayer Faith. Nice. Is she still fit for the job? "Like riding a biker." Nice. But she clearly isn't ready to handle the Beast, who pummels her extremely. Luckily Angelus plays by his own rules, offs the big stony demon and, unexpectedly, restores the blotted out Sun. Ooops. Oh yeah, and Cordy is now pregnant with Connor's kid. Can you say magical forces at work? Yup.

A4-14: Release (written by DeKnight, Craft and Fain, airdate 3/12/03)

Cordy gets inside Angelus' head with an ominous voice. Wes shows Faith that sometimes you have to push yourself to do what must be done in order to defeat the evil. She seems reluctant to learn. They finally track Angelus down for round 2, which is a pretty knock down, drag out fight. Angelus gets the upper hand and plans to turn her. Uh oh...

A4-15: Orpheus (written by Mere Smith, airdate 3/19/03)

The joke is on Angelus. Faith tainted her blood with a drug, enough to slow him down and for the gang to recapture him. While she and he are stuck in some weird flashbacks, Fred calls for some help to restore the soul - the one person who did it the first time - Willow. Nice scenes with her and Wes discussing the dark, and her and Cordy - more a battle of the magiks of sorts. In the end, though, it is Connor that messes up Cordy's concentration - getting the soul out of the jar and into the ether. Then, before Connor can stake Angelus - Willow gets the soul back in the body while Faith kicks his butt to keep him from doing the deed. All in all, a solid episode and arc. Willow takes Faith back to Sunnydale.

(Yeah, now I can go and finish off Buffy season 7!!!!)

DVD review - Angel season 4 episodes 9, 10 and 11

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-9: Long Day's Journey (written by Mere Smith, airdate 1/22/03)

Thought the idea of the totems was interesting and could have easily been spread out into a couple episodes. It quickly goes from four let to just one - Manjet (Manny). Love that a being of higher power reads in the john and wants lap-dances. Then again, he was the aspect of the common man. Electro-girl Gwen is back, just in time to add some needed jealousy for Cordy. Fair is fair. Oh, and nasty plan - blot out the Sun. That'll put some crimp into things. Funny how the folks in Sunnydale didn't even notice this. Oh yeah, they've been busy - convenient. Even a single passing reference would have been nice. Oh well.

A4-10: Awakening (written by Fury and DeKnight, airdate 1/29/03)

Wes' plan is the only option - take out Angel's soul to free Angelus and get the info they need on the Beast which he would know. Someone should have told that to Angel's subconscious though. Instead, we get a Raiders of the Lost Ark homage complete with "why'd it have to be wood?", booby trapped rooms, a defeat of the Beast with a mystic sword, closure between Angel and Connor, and pure happiness for Cordy and Angel. I should have seen it coming. Too good to be true and too easy of a wrap up. Thanks for faking me out, writers. Dang.

A4-11: Soulless (written by Fain and Craft, airdate 2/5/03)

So, Angelus is back but even in a cage he is dangerous. He plays head games with everyone, causing the group to have division in the ranks - all part of his plan. Cordy uses him to get the info on the Svears but even that turns out to be too little too late. Oh, and I knew her taunting in the end was going to come back to haunt her - even before the safe was reopened. Soul, soul, who's got the soul? I'm putting my money on Connor.

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 16 and 17

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....


B7-16: Storyteller (written by Jane Espenson, airdate 2/25/03)

Loved the cheesy opening ala Masterpiece Theatre. Loved more Anya's comment that Jonathan should just do what everyone else does to relieve the tension. The "big board" returns with an overview for the documentary. Liked how Andrew knows how to charm Dawn, Anya and Xander a little bit. Getting the last two to talk about their feelings was a nice focus - they needed some closure. It is okay that they still love each other without being together. Meanwhile, the Seal is causing chaos at the school and the gang turns to Andrew to get the lowdown. Again, his stories aren't always full of the truth - but they learn enough to find out the language on the knife and how to close it forever. Nice twist of Buffy telling Andrew a story to get him to admit his murderous deed, to feel remorse, and to close the seal.

B7-17: Lies My Parents Told Me (written by Drew Goddard, airdate 3/25/03)

Enjoyed the 1977 flashback with more of Slayer Nikki Wood. We get to see old-school Spike who loves to taunt his prey before killing them. Her words to young Robin are echoed later "the Mission is what matters". Enjoyed the flashbacks with William/Spike a lot - as we get more details regarding his more "human" side. It all fits. I felt for him after he tried to help his mother only to have her throw it all back in his face with cruelty (though it was the demon talking). Good seeing Dru once more in a period scene too. I'm disappointed in Giles in that he worked with Robin Wood to try to get Spike out of the picture. That was wrong and it has likely cost him his relationship with Buffy (for now at least). Meanwhile, Spike takes a beating until he overcomes his personal grief that allowed the song trigger to work. In the end, Spike shows again that his soul has changed him - allowing Robin a free pass this time. It doesn't look like it is over yet, but Buffy makes it clear to Robin that she needs Spike and she is on Spike's side for this. Principal better watch his back.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 12, 13, 14 and 15

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....

I've decided to continue to plow through directly before getting back to Angel season 4. This show is picking up the pace nicely and I am very close to the final episode. So, moving on...


B7-12: Potential (written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner, airdate 1/21/03)

Dawn is feeling a bit left out, with all the potentials training. Of course, she would want to believe that Willow's spell singled her out as the next one in Sunnydale. Xander shows how much he believes in her when talking to Willow and Anya about it. Good to see Amanda again - as she and Dawn face the vamp in school. Love how they did parallels to Buffy's training with the potentials and the fight in the school. But Dawn is smart and realizes who the spell really meant to illuminate - Amanda. In the end, a very touching talk between Xander and Dawn. He gets what she's feeling. He gets it about being normal in the group of powerful individuals. But he reminds her too, like "the older brother" he is, that she is in fact extraordinary. She has her place, as does he. And it's okay not to be chosen - that doesn't mean they can't make a difference. A nice message.

B7-13: The Killer In Me (written by Drew Z. Greenberg, airdate 2/4/03)

So, Kennedy fakes being sick to get out of the spiritual retreat so she can mack on Willow. Interesting. And even more so - much hate for Amy and her "penance malediction" spell - to take advantage of Willow's confused emotions and turn her into the twisted Warren. Kennedy shows great strength in helping Willow get through it and to resolve her feelings for Tara. Meanwhile, Buffy helps Spike resolve the issues with his chip - and we get some closure on the Initiative and what happened to their base after the fight with Adam back in season 4. Finally, the funny - Willow/Xander/Anya/Jonathan suspect Giles might in fact be the First in disguise. Nice use of them here too. Man, the cast is getting big.

B7-14: First Date (written by Jane Espenson, airdate 2/11/03)

Giles is right - it is time to get serious. While Xander's date ends up in total disaster (he has such crappy luck with women), Buffy does gain much insight into Principal Wood - finding out the truth about his past, why he's such a good vampire hunter and why he positioned himself for the job at the re-opened Sunnydale High. Of course, adding to the drama/tension is the fact that Spike killed Wood's mother - the Slayer from NYC in the 70's - well, why not? Makes for some interesting subplots as we roll into the final acts. Oh, and we see the return of Giles' crappy drawing skills. Lots of funny out of how they scared Chow-Ann - even more funny that his Catonese is so bad that he can't understand that his constant offering of milk products is bad for this lactose intolerant potential.

B7-15: Get It Done (written by Douglas Petrie, airdate 2/18/03)

Nice to see Spike and Anya out socializing, even if her libido is out of control and the demons still want her dead. Andrew's "big board" is funny. Having Wood assess the operations and allowing him the chance to get more time to talk to Spike worked out well. At least he has something to offer too - his mother's old bag of stuff that includes the shadow casters. Those come in handy too when the First finds a way to cause one of the potentials to kill herself - leading to Buffy's toughest speech ever. The entire sequence involving Buffy going to the three while the demon hits town worked well too. We got to see the return of Spike to his old fighting form, much to Wood's dismay. We got to see Willow push her magic skills and dance close that line again. And we got Buffy to reject the power offering and instead get information - that they are all in for a serious war as the First has a huge army ready to cross-over at any moment. Yikes!

See why I can't wait to get through the final seven episodes? It's building nicely to a huge showdown. It's gonna be good.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Comics of the Week (8/12/09)

Adventure Comics #1 (504) - Superboy is back as this classic title returns (with old numbering continuing lightly on the cover too - nice touch). I'm actually looking forward more to the second feature with the LSH, which got a short shrift this time out. With Geoff Johns helming them both, though, I am sure they'll be enjoyable reads month after month.

Blackest Night #2 (of 8) - this mini continues to hit on all cylinders. Though it is still Hal and Barry's show, we get to see some great stuff with Mera and Tempest as their past loves rise. Oh, and deep doo-doo coming when the black rings claim one of the most powerful mystic forces in the DCU. Yipes. Good good stuff. Everyone should be reading this.

Blackest Night: Batman #1 (of 3) - I like the idea of mini spin-offs focusing on other corners of the DCU, in this case Gotham City and its residence. Great use of Deadman and the horror Dick and Tim are about to face is going to be very emotional. Solid tie-in, nicely done.

Booster Gold #23 - wasn't so jazzed about the photo cover, but loved the inside tale. Booster faces another classic New Teen Titans foe - and it isn't going to be pretty. Time-travel stories are so much fun. Wasn't so hot on the Blue Beetle back-up this time, but the ending of this issue's story hints at things tying back into the main feature. That could be good.

REBELS #7 - more alien worlds, more huge battles and more cosmic casualties. Bedard and Clarke are really wrecking havoc across the DCU cosmos, aren't they? Always good to shake up the interplanetary status quo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 9, 10 and 11

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....


B7-9: Never Leave Me (written by Drew Goddard, airdate 11/26/02)
B7-10: Bring On the Night (written by Noxon and Petrie, airdate 12/17/02)
B7-11: Showtime (written by David Fury, airdate 1/7/03)

It is with this trio of episodes that the first half of the final season ends. They also really set the tone of what is to come - the final acts in an all-out war with the First.

First we get the Summers' house turning into a place of prisoners - Spike kept so he doesn't kill anyone and Andrew kept to pretty much do the same. Loved Xander and Anya doing good-cop/bad-cop to get Andrew to talk. But it is the First that really is in control here, and they get Spike riled up enough to break free, attack Andrew and then, eventually, come for Spike. Where Andrew failed to open the seal with Jonathan's blood, they'll do it with Spikes. Nasty. Oh, and the Watchers Council goes boom.

Then Giles shows up with three girls in tow. These are potential Slayers, with more on the way. Giles also has a few notes he stole from the Council - but is it enough. Well, not likely - for the First have raised an ubervamp, an ancient evil who is more than a match for Buffy. She gets her butt kicked by it big time after it snacks on Annabelle, one of the potentials who runs off out of fear. Buffy knows she is up against the wall and needs help. She needs Spike, but she knows the only way to get to him is to get past the ubervamp. That's a tall order.

The girls get a lot more air time in this episode - as Kennedy keeps Willow up talking while the others disturb Xander and Andrew's sleep. Anya offers sex to a demon to gain access to an oracle - but when that fails leave it to Giles to offer violence instead. They do gain access only to find out that the reason the First is taking the opportunity now is because the Slayer is not as she should be (the spell used to bring her back in Season 6 has caused an opening that the First is more than willing to take advantage of). Meanwhile, the wolf in the fold is revealed to be "Eve" (the original betrayer, ironically). The girls feel unsure, unconfident. Buffy needs them to be strong and sets up a battle arena with the ubervamp. She shows the girls that they can do anything if they just believe - and she emphasizes it by slicing off the uber's head, dusting it. Nice. Final step - saving Spike now that his ugly captor is gone.

The final acts should be very interesting indeed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 4 episode 7 and 8

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-7: Apocalpse, Now-ish (written by Steven S. DeKnight, airdate 11/17/02)

The Beast comes to LA, rising up from the very spot Connor was born. And just before its arrival, all hell breaks loose. Rats in the plumbing, suicide-bomber sparrows, cats lying down with dogs - the phones are ringing off the hook. Loren begs Angel to get Cordelia back, but he won't - that is until Connor comes around and begs for him to talk to her. Even then, Angel needs to go and pool resources with the enemy - and Lilah manages to provide a whole lot of info in a very random way. Gunn puts the puzzle together so they can find out what the Beast is doing and where he's doing it. Then, it is time for a big throw down between the guys and the Beast, who makes major mincemeat out of them. Not even Wes and his endless barrage of guns are enough. This is one serious threat. It brings down fire from the sky, making everyone think the end is near. Cordy foolishly offers to give Connor a real experience - and Angel gets an eyeful by spying on them from a nearby rooftop. Uh oh...

A4-8: Habeas Corpses (written by Jeffrey Bell, airdate 1/15/03)

Cordy wakes up and realizes what she has done - giving Connor the old "this can never happen again" talk. Yup, welcome to the 21st Century, kid. Connor goes to Wolfram and Hart to get some answers about himself - but he's been followed. Turns out the Beast wants W&H out of the picture, and it has its own idea regarding whole-sale staff reductions. When Lilah is almost killed, Wes comes to her rescue and manages to get her out alive. But there is a problem. She tells him that Connor is still up in the building, which is in lockdown mode. Angel leads the charge to save his son - but he won't let Cordy go (but he will put Fred in the thick of danger - nice guy there). What's worse than a building full of dead lawyers? How about a building full of zombie lawyers? Yup. Zombies are always fun. Nice of Gunn to put zombie-Gavin out of his misery. Nice to see the White Room one final time - even if the Beast is there already seeking answers from the little girl. She manages to save the gang - only for them to come to realize they're going to have their hands full stopping this menance. But let's make it harder, Angel - let's kick Cordy and Connor out. There's a smart move.

Friday, August 7, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 7 and 8

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....


B7-7: Conversations with Dead People (written by Espenson and Goddard, airdate 11/12/02)
B7-8: Sleeper (written by Espenson and Fury, airdate 11/19/02)

These two episodes are very much a divide and conqueor attempt on the gang. First, the girls (Buffy, Willow and Dawn) are all messed with by dead people they knew (in one way or another). Then Spike is used by a dark force to kill others and set Buffy up in a trap. Oh, and Jonathan and Andrew return to town, only Andrew sees the ghost of Warren and is tricked into sacrificing Jonathan on an ancient seal under the school. Dark evil is a coming.

I'm kind of only lukewarm on these two. Sure it is teasing into the bigger season plot, but I don't like when the gang is picked on one-by-one. They are best when they have their strength together. I guess this big-evil knows that. Its the interplay between the group that I enjoy the most. Seperate them and it flounders, for me. Ah well.

DVD review - Angel season 4 episode 5 and 6

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-5: Sypersymmetry (written by Craft and Fain, airdate 11/03/02)

We learn a lot this episode - getting published makes Fred all hot, Cordy is always stealing the covers, Wes can say no to Lilah's nookie, and Connor likes to catch glimpses at Cordy's cleavage. I enjoyed how Fred's moment to shine turned to disaster - luckily the guys were there to help. Was Lilah behind it? Was the comic book nerd behind it (played by the same actor who plays the older brother on iCarly)? Did you know Gunn was a reader of Daredevil? In the end, the story turns to that of revenge - Fred wants some payback on Professor Siedel who, it turns out, was the one who dumped her off in Pilia. Her turning to Wes when Angel and Gunn wouldn't do it sets up some nice tension. But, in the end, Gunn does what any boyfriend would do - put the blood on his hands so Fred wouldn't have to.

A4-6: Spin the Bottle (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 11/10/02)

Leave it to Joss to give us an interesting narrative framework - Loren telling us the story via a flashback (amazing how he could do that when he was unconscious for most of it). Love when magic goes all wonky - this time showing the group as they were as teenagers. Yeah, we get old Cordy back. We also find out Wes was head-boy at the Watchers' Academy (snicker). Gunn is as badass as we'd expect. Fred is surprisingly an interesting geek - into conspiracy theory and scoring some weed. Loved seeing Angel as a confused Liam too. Of course, Connor gets to show up and cause some chaos. And we get Alexis doing some great physical comedy throughout (you know Joss likes to have him do that stuff). All in all, a fun episode - and in the end Cordy has her memories back - and that isn't necessarily a good thing.

Comics of the Week (8/5/09)

Justice League: Cry For Justice #2 (of 7) - I am very much loving this mini. Part is the art by Mauro Cascioli. The other is James Robinson's writing which he'll be carrying on when he moves over to the Justice League of America monthly soon. I like the character mix, the interplay and even Robinson's little text pieces in the back about why he chose certain characters for the grouping and what he hopes to do with them. Great insight.

Secret Six #12 - love the revelation about Jeannette and what Deadshot does when faced with Wonder Woman. A good issue all around as Gail knows both this team and the Amazing Amazon (which she also writes).

Solomon Grundy #6 (of 7) - the penultimate issue of this mini has a knockdown fight and a return of a lot of the guest stars. This is kind of one of those mindless summer blockbusters - you just go with the flow and enjoy the matchups.

Strange Adventures #6 (of 8) - Starlin lets us into the mind of the Weird and it is exactly what you would expect...weird. I kind of wish this mini had been a bit shorter as it does drag at times. Still, a nice character mix.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 5 and 6

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....


B7-5: Selfless (written by Drew Goddard, airdate 10/22/02)

As Anya goes too far back into the role of vengeance demon, we finally get her origin. Man, she's the oldest character yet (starting in 880 in Sweden). Good to see Olaf again and how he was turned into a troll. Also nice to see the 1905 flashback - was Anya the cause of the Russian Revolution during the same period Angel, Darla, Dru and Spike were there? If so, way cool! Some really tough discussion with Buffy, Willow and Xander - and Xander not willing to accept that Buffy has to do what Buffy has to do. And, we get to hear Emma sing again. Yeah. Loved that. In the end, Anya prepares for the ultimate sacrifice but D'Hoffryn pulls a switcheroo on her. Now she's left to wonder just who she really is. Nice angst there.

B7-6: Him (written by Drew Z. Greenberg, airdate 11/5/02)

The odd couple is back again - Spike bunking over at Xander's. Sweet. Okay, you know something is definitely wrong when you hear "the Theme from 'A Summers Place'". Loved the return of Buffy's old cheerleading uniform from season 1, but Dawn was so wrong to do what she did. And her going all "skanky" at the Bronze - not cool either. Oh, and Buffy getting all caught up in the spell of R.J. too (or should I say the jacket...). Of course, not even Willow - the team lesbian isn't immune. Loved how each four planned to show their love (okay, not so much Dawn as that wasn't funny - but the other three definitely were). Finally, it is up to the guys to resolve the problem (after Xander tried on the jacket and realized it wouldn't fit). A fun little filler episode.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 4 episode 3 and 4

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-3: The House Always Wins (written by David Furay, airdate 10/20/02)

Loved the opening with Angel watching Connor and Cordy watching Angel watch Connor (oh, and Fred and Gunn watching Angel too). Who watches the watchmen (and watchwomen)? Next up, Vegas, baby! Love location shooting and enjoyed seeing Lorne's show, complete with Lornettes. The story was pretty interesting too - magic markers that steal destinies and basically trade "futures". Nice twist. Good work on Fred's part as well as Gunn's. Of course, they couldn't have done it without a little nudging from Cordy - I have to wonder if her little stunt is what got her bounced back to the mortal realm without any memory. Time will tell.

A4-4: Slouching Toward Bethlehem (written by Jeffry Bell, airdate 10/27/02)

Connor's trick of torching the vamp with the car lighter was kind of cool. Okay, and I totally would get Cordy's reluctance to believe all this craziness was her former life. Even the old Sunnydale yearbook didn't help jog the old noggin. Now, Lilah once again shows us that you just never, ever can trust a lawyer - how she set up Wes, tricked him into thinking he had one up on her, getting the others out of the way and then sending her psychics to pick Lorne's head clean of what he saw when he read Cordy. She's the lowest of the lows. And yet, Wes just can't get enough. In the end, not surprised Cordy would want to stay with Connor as he was the only one who told her the truth right from the get-go. Hopefully she comes around and returns to the fold. I have hopes for that and Wes returning too. The band needs to be back together permanently.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 3 and 4

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 (final season)....


B7-3: Same Time, Same Place (written by Jane Espenson, airdate 10/8/02)

This episodes starts with a nice "what the???" with Willow not able to see Dawn, Xander and Buffy, and vice versa. It played well to Willow's fear of returning and her friends' doubts about her recovery. I figured Spike would be able to see as Anya did - and I thought that was a demon thing. Nope. It was a Willow-thing. Gnarly was one nasty monster - talk about major wiggins. Very creepy, very well-done. Loved the bit with Anya and poseable-Dawn.

B7-4: Help (written by Rebecca Rand Kishner, airdate 10/15/02)

First, nice variation on the vampire hunt - this time hiding out in the coffins in a mortuary. That was just so twisted it was funny. Okay, the parade of guest-stars in this episode was pretty cool. Of course I recognized Sarah Hagan (from Freaks & Geeks - an all-time favorite) and Zachary Bryan (eldest son from Home Improvement). It took me a little longer to place Azura Skye (from another short lived favorite Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane). And, hey, Willow has gone all Google-detective - an idea my buddy Mike just posted about on Facebook last week. And another giggle - Willow slips out that she used to post Doogie Howser, M.D. fan fiction. Somehow that just so fits. I liked the lesson out of this one - sometimes you just can't help. Cassie knew she was going to die and the gang just couldn't prevent it. Sometimes the Scoobies can't stop everything.

DVD review - Angel season 4 episode 1 and 2

Continuing my viewing/reviewing of Angel season 4...


A4-1: Deep Down (written by Steven S. DeKnight, airdate 10/6/02)

Man, three months at the bottom of the ocean will make your mind hallucinate some crazy stuff, eh? Poor Angel. Fred and Gunn have enough trouble keeping the business afloat, keeping an eye on Connor (the lying son-of-two-vamps) and trying to find their missing friends - though funny no one realizes Groo is missing too (though technically he left but only Cordy knew that). Luckily for them all Wes is on the job, right after some more wild nookie with Lilah (he likes the bad girls, doesn't he?). Using slave/prisoner Justine, Wes manages to find and save Angel - even offering his own blood to help revive his old friend. But he won't stay for the thank you. Fred, meanwhile, fakes out Connor and gives him the shock he deserves. Luckily Angel can muster enough strength to give the boy some serious tough-love and then throw him out on his own so he can think about all the bad he did. Oh, yeah, and Cordelia is so bored being a higher being. I miss her.

A4-2: Ground State (written by Mere Smith, airdate 10/13/02)

That 1985 opening - what is this? Emma Frost and the Hellfire Academy? Seriously, Gwen is one cool chick and a great thief. I felt sorry for Angel and company having to go against her on the same heist. Gunn almost paid the ultimate price and Fred totally had a meltdown. Good character stuff. Oh, loved Gunn's "this is so much harder than it looks on Batman". I loved Angel's conversation with Lilah - and how he knows what she and Wes have been doing. Luckily for Gwen that Angel was there to help her when her buyer double-crosses her. She seems like an interesting character that I wouldn't mind seeing back. Definitely some sparks between her and Angel (no pun intended). So, after all that, Angel uses the Axis to find out where Cordelia is and that she is where she belongs. Uh, hello...guys...Cordy needs a little help here. Another solid episode.