Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Comics of the Week (9/23/09)

Blackest Night: Superman #2 (of 3) - this one was a fast read but there was a lot of action and a lot of big, beautiful art. Smallville has turned into a battleground as Superman and Superboy take on the resurrect Kal-L and his surprise ally (no, not resurrected Lois, but she's there too). Supergirl meanwhile has her own personal issues to deal with. A solid issue - again, I am very impressed with these tie-in minis to the main mini. Lots of good stuff - the way a huge event should be done.

Justice League of America #37 - the final part of Len Wein's tale of the League versus the Royal Flush Gang. Again, some good stuff - lots of action, lots of classic splitting of the team into pairs and solid art. So glad Len got to do this one, allowing Robinson and Bagley to get lined up as the new creative team next issue.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Comics of the Week (9/16/09)

Blackest Night #3 (of 8) - It is time for Flash, Green Lantern and a few other friends to face the Undead League. I pity them. Once again, Johns and Reis do an outstanding job as this story continues to unfold. Great character moments that draw from the rich history of the League and their relationships. And, they did something amazing - they made me care a bit about the new Firestorm. Nice job. If you're not reading this one - you're missing out! Get ready to get those trades!

the Brave and the Bold #27 - the cover announces the team-up of Batman with Dial H For Hero and we learn on page 1 that means Robby Reed. But, wait - isn't Robby all grown up? What's going on? When does this take place? Who is behind the mask? Very confusing. Worse yet, the story paints Robby Reed in an unflattering light. Sad. I expected better and was very much disappointed. This might have flown in the animated B&B book, but in the mainstream title I just can't accept the flaws.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #8 - the Omega Men get ready to take on Starro, with some interesting results. Also, Bedard and Clarke mine in the rich history of the L.E.G.I.O.N. too. Unlike the previous comic, this one embraces the rich past and builds on it - it does not ignore it. I like that.

Showcase Presents: Warlord vol. 1 - I have to plug this. Mike Grell's groundbreaking adventure book for DC gets the SP treatment - giving us 29 issues from 1975 to 1979. Sweet! And Grell's art looks fantastic in the black/white format. This was one I was looking forward to, and I am glad he was willing to negotiate the royalties deal. I hope we see a second on that continues the title.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 21 and 22

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


A5-21: Power Play (written by David Fury, airdate 5/12/04)

I was never thrilled with the Nina character, so her final appearances in this episode didn't mean much to me. Interesting play of what Angel does to enter the Circle of the Black Thorn - I like the deception, the confusion and the plan to put in one last strike. He knows they can't win the war - not really - but Angel plans to give them a helluva battle. Good to see Drogan brought back in, even if it is for some final moments before the series ended. Loved he and Illyria playing video games (and that Spike would suggest "Crash Bandicoot" for them). Good scene with the guys - when Angel reveals his plan and gets the buy-in. All do in their own way. But have they fooled Hamilton and the powers? Hmmm.... A solid set up for a series finale. One last fight.

A5-22: Not Fade Away (written by Whedon and Bell, airdate 5/19/04)

Some great stuff here - Angel willing to sign away his chance for humanity, Harmony feeling left out and wanting to help (only to end up a betrayer - which Angel planned all along!), Lindsey signing on for the fight - much to Eve's dismay - and then after helping he gets his just desserts - from Loren no less(!) (was this part of Angel's plan all along? Hard to say. Loved Loren's making this his own final curtain call as this business of fighting never suited him.). One of the best lines comes from Vail - "I crap better magic than this". That wicked one does Wes in, and we get a tear-jerker moment with Illyria and Wes before he shuffles off (with her as "Fred"). Connor back - and for once I was okay with his appearances - and he helps Angel with Hamilton. Another cool part - Angel goes for blood from Hamilton, to get a true taste of that power to use for his fight. This is enough to bring the whole law firm down.

As for the ending, well, it seems like more a season finale rather than a series one. So sad to see us not getting to see how the remainder of the gang will keep up the fight against the army of demons after them. We know they'll fight on until they can no longer. It leaves this up to the viewers' imagination.

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 19 and 20

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


A5-19: Time Bomb (written by Ben Edlund, airdate 4/28/04)

Despite Illyria saving Gunn from the W&H hell (nice thinking on how to get beyond that necklace bit), Angel still doesn't trust her. He wants her gone - dead. But she's suffering from something - time jumps - and that sort of puts a weird spin to this whole episode. Folks are dead - no, they're not. Confusing conversations and what not. But in the end, she is relieved of her incredible power and Angel realizes some good advice: serve no master by your ambition. Um, Angel - haven't we been driving this message home to you for a number of episodes? Since Cordelia gave you her final parting gift? Come on, a little slow on the uptake much?

A5-20: The Girl In Question (written by DeKnight and Goddard, airdate 5/5/04)

This one really plays out like an oddball comedy - with Spike and Angel in the roles of the buddies in Rome. It works, in part, due to the flashbacks (good to see Dru and Darla again, one final time) and the full on farce of the Italians. Love how the Rome W&H branch looks exactly like the LA offices. Very fun and funny - and the guys learn the valuable lesson from, of all people, Andrew: maybe its time to grow up and change. Meanwhile, Illyria incurs the ire of Wesley when she poses as Fred to fool the Burkles. Not a smart move, blue haired one.

Two down...two to go. I'm expecting some fireworks as right now it is like we've been treading water too long.

Comics of the Week (9/10/09)

Adventure Comics #2 (505) - um, where's the "adventure"? Most of this issue was talk talk talk. Superboy and Wonder Girl talk for the first time since his return. Garth Ranzz talks to his brother Mekt. Um, Geoff - could we get a little bit more action in this title, please?

Blackest Night: Batman #2 (of 3) - the undead bat-foes raise some hell and the Bat-team has to try to put them down, with "try" being the key word. This issue goes to show just how much they're out of their league on this threat. I liked it a lot. Had a lot of that "night of the living dead" feel to it. Oh, and it had tons of action.

Booster Gold #24 - nice to see Booster using his head as he once more has to correct an errant time-stream. Jurgens really draws the classic New Teen Titans well. A consistenly enjoyable read for me.

Secret Six #13 - also another consistently solid read. Gail continues to show the complex personalities behind these villains. I liked it a lot. Even the gallows humor delivered so well by Ragdoll works every time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 17 and 18

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


A5-17: Underneath (written by Craft and Fain, airdate 4/14/04)

Love how Spike shows up for the meeting with a briefcase and beer. Now that's how to handle a transition to corporate life. And, dang, Adam Baldwin makes his "Buffyverse" debut as Marcus Hamilton, a bad-to-the-bone new liason to the Senior Partners. Nice. Joss sure likes to recast from his pool of favorites from other shows, doesn't he? Oh, and finally Harmony gets into the show's credits. Nice too. I actually find her character enjoyable so seeing her have a bigger part in the last six episodes is good. Loved the version of Hell - a holding pergatory if you will - that Lindsey is put into and how the guys have to mount a rescue. Hey, Spike watches Knight Rider - too funny. But, man, is this a deadly place with bullets a flying. Nice move on Gunn's part to sacrifice himself to stay behind - he is really feeling he deserves the punishment for his part in Fred's death. Speaking of, loved Illyria's reference to the one world where there is nothing but shrimp (a reference to something Anya brought up many times over on Buffy). A good episode.

A5-18: Origin (written by Drew Goddard, airdate 4/21/04)

Ugh...Connor is back. I so never liked Connor before (grown up Connor, the baby was acceptable). Naturally the writers felt they had to tie-up this loose end before the show's finale. Still, blah. And all this talk about Angel getting back to the mission and what do we do? We get a personal thing. Yawn. Not even seeing old Sahjhan helped here. Vail is sort of interesting in a creepy way. Oh, and Wes makes a fateful decision that only ends up causing him more grief and confusion. Two saving graces: Spike testing Illyria (or was she testing him?) and Hamilton's brief talk with Gunn (where Gunn shows he's not about to make the same mistake twice).

Four left...still waiting to be really blown away...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 15 and 16

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


A5-15: A Hole In the World (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 2/24/04)

Again, Joss takes the reins to spin this show into its final major arc - with some serious repercussions. It can't get any more serious than his terminating the most new relationship of Wesley and Fred but using the one thing that can permanently break them apart - death. Alexis and Amy did an outstanding job on their scenes together as Fred succumbs to the infection that will bring upon Illyria. And though the guys put up a strong front at her bedside, they all know how serious this thing is. And it hits them all in many ways. Gunn faces himself in the White Room, a foreshadow to how he'll have to come to terms with what his actions have done that lead to Fred's death. Loren shows his dark side when he threatens Eve. Angel and Spike bury their petty arguments to work together in England. And Knox is revealed to be a true snake. In the argument of cavemen vs. astronauts, it looks like the cavemen (the old ones) win this round.

A5-16: Shells (written by Steven DeKnight, airdate 3/3/04)

Wes faces Illyria and realizes that all hope and love in his world is gone. He again begins that slide down the dark road, at a faster rate. Last episode, he shot to injure a law firm guy for not helping on Fred's problem. This episode, he stabs Gunn - a payback for the knife in the back Gunn accidentally put to the group, and then Wes shoots Knox dead. Just as Fred is nothing but a shell for Illyria, Wes is becoming the shell of the former man he was. Harmony steps up - as this group needs a female to help hold them together (first with Cordy gone and now Fred). She is eager to torture Knox for Gunn and later is the only one who will still face Gunn. I wasn't so hot on the ending where Illyria, after realizing her world and army are gone, turns to Wes to understand this new world - and that Wes would even entertain helping her. I know he has lost Fred and she looks like Fred, but surely even he can't be so blinded by his grief to think this is a good idea, can he?

Counting down to the final six episodes of the series...

Monday, September 7, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 13 and 14

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


A5-12: Why We Fight (written by Goddard and DeKnight, airdate 2/11/04)

I always enjoy flashbacks - especially when they involve both Angel and Spike. This time, back to the big one - WWII. The Demon Research Initiative (early roots of the Initiative) enlist Angel to retrieve a Nazi sub, only to find Spike and two other vamps also involved. Of course, the mission nearly goes south and Angel has to make a fateful decision, one that comes back to haunt him sixty years later. Lawson continues the lesson Angel has been getting lately - the difference between orders and purpose. Kind of a shame though that Lawson didn't get to meet modern day Spike though. Ah well.

A5-13: Smile Time (written by Whedon and Edlund, airdate 2/18/04)

I'll give this one some props for a couple reasons. First, Joss found a way to work Muppets into the show (being his father was a writer for the Muppets and all). Second, how perfect was puppet-Angel? Yeah, that perfect. And the fight with Spike - priceless! Too funny. I could have done without werewolf-Nina again. I found her boring before and boring still. I just couldn't see Angel turning to her after his loss of Cordelia just weeks before. It didn't ring true to me at all. Oh, and how much in it has Gunn gotten by going for the full-upgrade in exchange for favors. This won't turn out well at all.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 11 and 12

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


A5-11: Damage (written by DeKnight and Goddard, airdate 1/28/04)

This episode had some dark imagery with Dana, the awaken and crazed victim of torture. Turns out she was a potential that got activated by Willow's spell in the Buffy finale. That doesn't bode well for Angel and Spike, especially the later who suffers greatly at her hands (no pun intended) but comes to realize a bit about himself, the nature of evil, and his victims of the past. Hilarious is the return of Andrew as the "expert" sent by Giles to help the W&H gang. Love how Andrew puts Wes in his place and how he is uncontrollably happy to see Spike alive. In the end, thoug, it is Andrew that gets to deliver the crushing blow to Angel and the gang - they are no longer on the same side as Buffy and the Slayers and they are no longer trusted. Ouch. The truth stings.

A5-12: You're Welcome (written by David Fury, airdate 2/4/04)

This episode is great for a number of reasons. First, the return of Cordelia from her coma (yeah!!!) and her presence, her true character, has been missing from this show since early season 4. Next, Eve gets roughed up a bit by Harmony no less (hey, she's evil - she can get away with it). Once again, Harmony delivers the humor even in a tense situation. Finally, Lindsey's plot is revealed and he gets what is coming to him - but not until we get an awesome fight in the core of W&H. Nice. Of course, the end of the episode is very bittersweet as we learn the true fate of Cordelia - but not before she has done her final deed which is to get Angel back on track to his true mission and true purpose. Finally! Again, this is what the show has been missing as the gang has continually strayed from their path with the temptations of the evil empire law firm. I'm looking forward to how the second half of the season spins out.

Friday, September 4, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 5 episodes 9 and 10

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


A5-9: Harm's Way (written by Fain and Craft, airdate 1/14/04)

I have to admit that I enjoy the Harmony character. She can be funny and sympathetic all at the same time. Nice having an episode focusing on her. It did seem a bit like an office sitcom episode (or something out of "the Twilight Zone" meets "Ally McBeal") but it worked for me.

A5-10: Soul Purpose (written by Brent Fletcher, airdate 1/21/04)

A new writer name in the credits and it wasn't a bad episode. Boreanaz directed this one and that worked well too. Given all the bizarre dreams I've been having this week, I can connect to how they'd stress Angel out. The one where Fred was doing the exam was especially funny. Loved Lindsey's approach to woo Spike - even down to playing the "Doyle" act. He and Eve are a deadly duo and could spell trouble to the gang.

Comics of the Week (9/2/09)

Justice League: Cry For Justice #3 (of 7) - not a bad issue as this mini rolls along. Though, as Elvis sang "a little less conversation, a little more action". The only ones mixing it up were Starman and Congo Bill. Still am enjoing the text pieces that accompany each issue. It's like a DVD commentary.

Solomon Grundy #7 (of 7) - well, this ended with a whimper. Doesn't help that the cover pretty much spoiled the end of the issue (though we probably could have guessed where this was going). Ah well.

Strange Adventures #7 (of 8) - good mix of action and dialogue. Starlin is back to the art too and that makes this enjoyable. Not sure how he is going to wrap it all up in one issue - we'll just see next month.