Friday, October 9, 2009

Comics of the Week (10/7/09)

Batman: the Brave and the Bold #9 - it's a team-up between the bat and the cat, men that is. It was a fun story and a chance to see other Gotham villains in this new animated style. The story certainly has to take place prior to the Catman appearance in the cartoon (when Batman and Bathound took out Catman and his jungle cat). Still, a good introduction to the character for kids.

Justice League: Cry For Justice #4 (of 7) - another solid issue from the creative team. Again, I am loving Robinson's text pieces that focus on certain characters and what they mean to him, why he uses them, etc. I like that look into the creative process a lot and it helps me better look at my own writing too. I look forward to Robinson taking over writing on the main JLA book next month.

R.E.B.E.L.S. Annual #1 - multiple creators take this issue to give us a look into the origins and minions of Starro the Conqueror. This series is showing us that everything we knew about Starro before 2009 was just the surface. I was a bit disappointed to see what happened when STC meet Despero - but this series seems to be doing quite a bit of wholesale slaughter in the DC cosmos.

Strange Adventures #8 (of 8) - hmmm, this one hit the end way too abruptly and there seems like a lot more story left to go. Of course Starlin left it with some unresolved plot threads - all the better to get another mini out of the deal. We'll see what happens on that front. In hindsight, I probably could have skipped this one and not have felt like I missed much. Ah well - you buys your ticket and takes your chances.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Comics of the Week (9/30/09)

Blackest Night: Titans #2 (of 3) - once again, another solid entension to the big blockbuster event in the DCU. The creative team of Krul, Benes and Williams should be doing a regular Titans book - they're that good and really get the characters. I think one of the smartest thing DC could do was have these focusing minis for different franchises (Batman, Superman and Titans now - Flash, Wonder Woman and JSA coming in December) while allowing the main mini to tell the core story. Each can be enjoyed on their own but together they make a greater epic piece of fiction.

Green Lantern #46 - as the cover proclaims, the uneasy alliance is formed with Hal, Sinestro and Star Sapphire. They start to learn that the Black Lantern threat really means they'll have to put aside their differences if they hope to survive.

Justice League of America 80-Page Giant #1 - DC returns a classic concept of sorts (okay, it was 70 pages of actual story - 71 with the cover) but still. For $5.99 we got a multipart tale of the JLA thrown back into time in pairs (ala Gardner Fox days) with each sub-chapter written and drawn by different teams. For the most part, the story was pretty standard with some high points and the art was certainly acceptable. With things like this, you sometimes can get some sub-par pieces. All in all, it was enjoyable for a one-shot.

Justice Society of America #31 - again, this creative team is picking up and starting to grow on me. There is a clash between approaches which I think will lead this team into splintering into two factions again. The characters seem a bit more in character now, unlike Willmingham's first issue of this arc. It has earned a temporary stay from the dropping-axe.

Teen Titans #75 - a new creative team has come on and I wasn't impressed. Beast Boy shows up and takes charge - which seemed totally out of left field. And some of his reactions seemed off - he was totally all over the place in his personality. I wasn't impressed. The Ravager back-up also seems to be stuck in the mire - I found myself getting both bored and lost. Maybe this title will be getting the axe soon from my pull-list. There are some Blackest Night crossovers coming so I'll hold off on dropping it through that - just to see if the new creative team can step up their game.

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.

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.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Comics of the Week (7/29/09)

Batman: the Brave and the Bold #7 - a fun issue with the Doom Patrol as guest heroes. With Beast Boy and the villain, it reminded me a lot of a Teen Titans Go! cartoon - which is good. I really enjoy this simple, fun book every month.

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3 (of 3) - this mini concludes with two so-so GL Corps tales (of the origins of Killowog and Arisia) but for me the highlight was the director's cut of Blackest Night #0 which was given out on Free Comic Book Day (and I didn't know about it nor get a copy - booo). At least here I get a pencilled version of the story so that was nice. Would have been better in color but oh well.

Justice League of America #35 - Len Wein is scripting an arc of the group with the Royal Flush Gang as villains. The cover teases "the Return" but who it is was kind of interesting. This hero so doesn't mix with the group as they currently are assembled. Should be a good story arc before the new creative team takes over permanently.

Justice Society of America #29 - I didn't mind the new art team on this book. No, my problem was with Willingham's writing. When characters don't sound and act the way they should, that is a problem. Also, when you bring in a mob of villains it helps out a lot that some of them aren't currently dead or being used in another title in a new costume or have been totally reformed. Way to screw up the research there, Bill. Also not digging the new characters brought in with heavy focus on them. Sounds so "Mary Sue" to me. This is the JSA - the book deserves better.

Teen Titans #73 - well, we learn of at least two characters who aren't in the coffin. The story continues with the new Fearsome Five, the prison break and the others learning how to be a team when their leader is no where to help. The Ravager back-up continues to be interesting.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 7 episodes 1 and 2

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


B7-1 Lessons (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 9/24/02)

Okay, we open with a woman in Istanbul being hunted down and killed by some mystery men. Hmmmmm. What could be more heavier than that? How about Dawn's first day of school at the newly reopened Sunnydale High? Yes, it is back to the beginning of sorts with weirdness in the hallways and basement of the old school atop the Hellmouth. Sometimes you can go home again. While this one was okay, it felt off. Part of it is that the gang isn't all together. Sure, we got Xander (in a suit?) and Buffy - but no Willow in town. And Dawn's new friends don't quite make decent substitutes. Oh, and then there is Spike who seems to be a little crazy. Is he seeing things? It appears so with the array of "big-bads", but is it a side effect of his getting his soul or something more? Hmmm.

B7-2 Beneath You (written by Douglas Petrie, airdate 10/1/02)

Another country (Germany) and another woman hunted and slain. This time, though, Buffy sees it in her dreams (remember when she used to get prophetic dreams? Yup, back to the basics which is good). The drive to school was almost like a little family (Mom-Buffy, Dad-Xander, daughter-Dawn) - how cute. Buffy is to start her new job at the school but instead she goes looking for Spike. No luck. But when Nancy's dog gets snacked on by a giant worm and Xander offers to help her, Spike shows up too. Uh oh. Tension. You know you are in deep when Dawn threatens you, Spike. Turns out the worm is really a worm, of sorts, - Nancy's ex-boyfriend Ronnie whom Anya has done her vengeance mojo on. Man, remind me not to tick Anya off. Liked how all that played out - especially when Nancy realized there was a round-robin of bed-hopping there, and then the big fight in the bar. In the end, Spike drops back into his crazy mode and spouts off "Angel should have warned me". Buffy puts it all together and realizes that Spike now has a soul, and that he did it for her. Wow. Pressure much. I'm hoping for a saner Spike to return - the crazy one seems a little whimpy to me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 episode 20, 21 and 22

Concluding my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3...

*** SPOILERS ***

A20: A New World (written by Jefrey Bell, airdate 5/6/02)
A21: Benediction (written by Tim Minear, airdate 5/13/02)
A22: Tomorrow (written by David Greenwalt, airdate 5/20/02)

These final three episodes really are the arc that deals with the return of Connor and how the ramifications effect Angel and the team. We've already had the alienation of Wesley due to the perceived betrayal that lead to Holtz taking the baby. Now, Connor is back - a grown teenager - and hell-bent on taking revenge on a man he was raised to hate. The fact that the boy fights as well and so similarly as his biological father drives home the point of how much the two are alike despite the fact that they've been apart so long (okay, three weeks from Angel's view, sixteen years from Connor's).

Great stuff between Lilah and Wesley as she tries to woo him over to Wolfram and Hart. W&H meanwhile isn't satisfied with things and makes an attempt of their own to get the returned young man. All that stuff worked for me.

What didn't work was a lot of episode 20 with Connor and the drug dealer and the junkie. I just felt a lot bored with some of that one. Maybe it was, in part, the quick-fix of returning the boy to the fold all grown up. Kind of reminded me of what old sitcoms used to do with quick aging of younger siblings between seasons from infants to adorable kids. Sure, this show had the built in "time passes differently in some hell-dimensions", as evidenced from the episode "Anne" back on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Still, it just kind of mared a good bit of episode 20 for me.

That is, until Holtz is revealed to be back too. He brings about a totally different thing. His complex view at justice and vengeance is played out so well in episode 21. And we get Justine back to play a part in it, with all her mix of emotions for Holtz that were left behind when he split with the child to his sudden return, etc. What he has her do in the end - all in the name of using "love" to hurt Angel is just so amazingly twisted. Loved it.

Of course, episode 22 is all about the fall-out. Groo decides it is finally time to get out of the way as he realizes how much Cordy cares for Angel. What a noble guy. Loren, too, feels the need to move on - most likely in part due to Connor's extreme reaction to his being a demon. He cared for that infant so much and clearly was so hurt by it. I am certain he'll be back - love the character too much for him to be gone. Wesley, meanwhile, is tired of Lilah's head-games as she is really starting to get to him - but is sex with her really the answer? It just goes to show how far Wes is falling, how dark his character is turning based on his actions. This is nice to see though as it is an aspect of the character we haven't had yet. Look forward to more of that.

And, lastly, the love between Angel and Cordelia. It has been building progressively over the seasons - unspoken but there. They've known each other the longest and thus the connection. But, those final scenes - after Connor bests Angel in a fight and prepares his revenge with the help of Justine, and with Cordelia not making it to their get-together in time because of the return of Skip and his telling her that it is time for her to move on to the next level. Powerful stuff here. As she rises to the heavens, Angel is sinking to the depths of the ocean in a most horrid deathtrap for an immortal. Very striking visuals, played so well against one another. What a cliffhanger for season 3. I am so glad I don't have to wait the months the viewers did to continue the story. That would have been so painful.

All in all, an outstanding season. The cast has gelled quite nicely and the storylines have been hitting on all cylinders.

Comics of the Week (7/22/09)

This week's books all brought to me by the writing talent of Geoff Johns...

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (of 5) - this big event finally ends with this issue, with always gorgeous George Perez artwork. That means lots of details and lots of huge group scenes. This issue clearly sets the ground work for the upcoming Adventure Comics book which Johns is writing and the LSH will have a feature. The ending with the "final" fate for Superboy-Prime was a little weird but okay - leaves it open for the future I guess.

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1 and #2 (of 3) - the first issue came out last week but I didn't snag it. Glad I got these two. If you are a Green Lantern fan, you need to pick these up. It is giving some nice short tales of key players in the Blackest Night big event. Issue 1 has the origin of St. Walker, a focus on Mongul and the introduction of the Indigo Tribe. Issue 2 gives the origin of Bleez, a Red Lantern, as well as a look at Carol Ferris (of the Star Sapphires). The covers of all three issues are interlocking. Nice.

Green Lantern #44 - this issue picks up directly from last week's Blackest Night #1 with Hal and Barry having to face the newly Black-Lanterned J'Onn J'Onzz. Some great characterization on all three of these key Silver Age characters. I really enjoy how Johns is able to take his time and explore the depth of this epic event, not rushing through it like Final Crisis seemed to do.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 6 episode 20, 21 and 22

Concluding my viewing and reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A6-20: Villains (written by Marti Noxon, airdate 5/14/02)
A6-21: Two To Go (written by Douglas Petrie, airdate 5/21/02)
A6-22: Grave (written by David Fury, airdate 5/21/02)

A trio of long time Buffyverse writers are on board for the final act of the season, and what an act! Wasting no time going from last episode, it all spins quickly out of control. Tara is dead (and how tragic is it that Dawn has to find her and cannot leave until Buffy arrives?). Buffy is critical and Xander stands by her side. Willow is juiced up after absorbing all the dark magic text (very cool effect) and then goes to save Buffy while she still can. Warren, meanwhile, realizes his goose is now cooked (he is a laughing stock of the demon bar - with good reason) and is on the run. But he can't run fast enough or far enough. Willow has her revenge in a way that is almost fitting justice for all Warren has done this season and how he has done it. But Buffy is right - they don't kill humans and the human world has its own rules. Willow has crossed the line, and she is not through yet!

Anya tries to warn everyone of the coming of Willow to the jail to seek revenge on Andrew and Jonathan (who still fight with one another despite the gravity of their situation). And, boy, does Willow tear the jail house down! Buffy and Xander manage to get the boys away only to have Willow control a truck to run them down (okay, that was just a bit weird on the visuals - very comic booky). But she needs power so where does she go? Yup, the same place Dawn convince Clem to take her - to Rack's. But Willow gets there first, and she gets a little payback to him for earlier in the season. Then she threatens Dawn (going way too far there, Will...). Meanwhile, Anya and Xander seem to be making a little amends as they talk at the shop - as Xander realizes how useless he has been of late and how, he feels, all of this is his fault. Good set up for later. Big fight when Willow shows up as the shop gets trashed. It looks like it is over when Buffy and Willow go toe-to-toe and Willow can take it all. Time for the cavalry - the British cavalry.

Yeah, Giles. Hopped up on borrowed power from the Coven, he shows that he still cares and wants to help the kids do right. But, rule 101 of fighting a big-bad - never, ever take a relaxing break. Finish the job and keep an eye on your enemy. Poor Anya gets dooped by Willow's mind mojo and we're back to square one. Buffy has to go save the guys, Xander and Dawn - leaving Willow free and clear to take Giles' power (which he wanted all along - which is why he is the clever one). Dawn and Buffy end up in a deep grave, fighting for their lives - but this time side-by-side. Don't mess with the Summers sisters! But how can Buffy save the day from a hole? She can't. Willow is stopped by the last person one would expect - one only armed with courage and love - Xander. Man, that was moving for me. Great scene. Friendship and love were the key to get us beyond this dark place. Yeah! Let's get back to the norm. Oh, wait...can't. Spike has gone through many trials to earn what he thinks he should have to give the Slayer what she has got coming to her. Surprise, Spike. That guy you went to thinks she needs you to have a soul again. Good luck with that! :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Comics of the Week (7/15/09)

Blackest Night #1 (of 8) - WOW! This first issue was a great kick off to this big event. Johns and Reis deliver the goods as the day of rememberance of the departed heroes turns into the beginning of a nightmare. When they said the dead would rise, they weren't kidding! Given all the heroes who have died in the past 25 years or so just since the Crisis, this could make for an event that will hit all the major franchises. Looking forward to more.

Brave and the Bold #25 - the team ups with the Milestone heroes continues - this time with Hardware meeting the new Blue Beetle. I wasn't majorly impressed by the issue - it was okay. I never was a huge Hardware fan. Ah well.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #6 - the cosmic conflict with Starro continues, and no alien world is safe. Vril Dox again shows why he's known as a ruthless leader when he and his rag-tag team put a bit halt to Starro's campaign. That won't bode well. Enjoying this title a lot.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 / Buffy season 6 episode 19

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A3-19: The Price (written by David Fury, airdate 4/29/02)

Eeeewwww! Those translucent creepy-crawlies gave me the willies. And, man, talk about seriously deadly. Dark magic has a price and this one is nasty. I really enjoyed this episode a lot - especially that it brought back that whole creepy, terror kind of theme for an episode. Lots of great interplay with all the regulars. And even Lilah and Gavin got into some with their own one-upping each other. Of course, the ending was the shocker icing - "hi, Dad"???? Yowch.

B-19: Seeing Red (written by Steven S. DeKnight, airdate 5/7/02)

Lots of character interplay here too. Willow and Tara back together. Dawn ecstatic about it. Anya unable to focus on vengeance for others. And lots of needed talks - Dawn with Spike, Buffy with Xander, Spike with Buffy (though I could have done without the rape attempt), Spike with Clem, and of course Buffy finally facing the Trio. Nice of Jonathan to show his true side by tipping Buffy off, and Andrew showing his totally weenie-ness when his jet pack failed. Xander and Buffy make good as friends, but Warren isn't through yet. Damn! Another shocker ending. Two for two. Side note: Warren's stunt double is very obvious in the fight scene between he and Buffy. So obvious that it almost threw me out of the episode.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 / Buffy season 6 episode 18

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A3-18: Double or Nothing (written by David H. Goodman, airdate 4/22/02)

While discovers that he has no place left to go after leaving the hospital, Gunn's past comes back to bite him. I enjoyed the idea of Mr. Jenoff and his casino - and how he basically contracts for souls. Interesting twist in that having someone fall in love with another is like promising their soul (here souls represent a future). Of course, Gunn goes too far in planning the perfect day with Fred, and she is way too smart to fall for the break up. Loved that Cordelia is back too and her first action is just to be there for Angel, waiting to listen when he is ready to talk and to help him over this hurdle. And, of course, she is key to the defeat of Jenoff when the cards don't go Angel's way. Great episode.

B6-18: Entropy (written by Drew Z. Greenberg, airdate 4/30/02)

I'm kind of getting sick of the Trio. They aren't a major threat yet their actions tend to cause personal mess-ups for the gang. Poor Anya and Xander - I wanted them to work it out but it just didn't happen. His poor communication and her scorned heart got in the way. Of course, having Halfrek around for guidance probably wasn't the best thing for Anya either (I'm really starting to hate Hallie). Interesting that Anya and Spike would end up comforting one another (in more ways than one) but that is just enough to ignite Xander's fury. And then, again with the poor communication, he not only manages to hurt Anya but Buffy too. Boy, he's going to out in the cold. On the plus side, Willow and Tara seem to be back to normal - but I have a feeling that Tara's decision to forgo the period of regaining trust is going to come back to bite them big time. That's just the way this season seems to be going. Can we get back to happy-monster-hunting please?

Monday, July 13, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 / Buffy season 6 episode 17

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A3-17: Forgiving (written by Jeffrey Bell, airdate 4/15/02)

Wow! Justine is angry for Holtz abandoning her and the gang. Angel wants someone to hit - and it'll either be Linwood from W&H or Sahjahn who opened the portal to Quor-toth. Loved the White Room (good brief role by young Kay Panabaker - who has gone on to do a lot over on the Disney Channel). Not surprising that Fred would be the one to try to keep the group together - to see why Wesley did what he did. With Cordelia still away, she provides that extra glue. But Angel wants none of that! Even when they all find out that Sahjahn altered the prophecy (as it originally implied that Connor would be the death of Sahjahn) to get rid of the child, Angel is still angry. That final scene in the hospital - powerful! And scary! I can see that though as that would be a typical parental response if someone close to them betrayed them, as Wes did, even if it was the wrong thing for the right intentions.

B6-17: Normal Again (written by Diego Gutierrez, airdate 3/12/02)

The Trio's demon stabs Buffy and makes her flip back and forth between Sunnydale and a mental facility in LA. Which is the reality and which is the delusion? I like how the story leaves that open for interpretation. Would Buffy be better off as the Slayer or a normal young woman? It is interesting that it is the talk with Spike that pushes her towards one road, and then the talk with Joyce pushes her towards the other. Meanwhile, Xander does return after last episode and realizes he still loves Anya but was not ready for marriage yet. A good episode.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 / Buffy season 6 episode 16

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A3-16: Sleep Tight (written by David Greenwalt, airdate 3/4/02)

Wes should have known that when Holtz offered him a bite of the apple that this was clearly a "Garden of Eden" reference. Still, Wes is blinded by concern over Connor that he fails to realize that his own betrayal of his friends would be quickly mirrored by betrayal by the enemy. Not good and something that is going to present a problem in future episodes (assuming Wes survives that slashing to the neck from Justine). Meanwhile, we see what levels Lilah will stoop too - tainting Angel's pigs-blood stock with the blood of his own son (twisted). Of course, everyone wants the baby except Sahjhan who just wants him dead. Still, the twist comes when Holtz does something no one suspected - takes the baby into another dimension, leaving a very grieving father Angel. This season just gets better and better.

B6-16: Hell's Bells (written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner, airdate 3/5/02)

Man, talk about dysfunctional family. It is a wonder Xander turned out halfway decent given his parents and such. Sad. Even sadder - the gushing bride Anya gets left at the altar. She clearly loved Xander, but his own fears of what he might become - even if those future images were faked - lead to a very unhappy ending for the couple. Loved how Dawn is very uncomfortable around Halfrek now. A shame Halfrek didn't get a scene with Spike before he and his skank date took off. Oh, and Buffy cannot stall/lie worth a darn. And, in the end, we are left wondering - will Anya, now scorned, go back to her path of being a vengeance demon? I hope not as I really enjoy this secondary character a lot.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 / Buffy season 6 episode 15

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A3-15: Loyalty (written by Mere Smith, airdate 2/25/02)

I'm not liking the road Wesley is taking in this arc. I get that he's now concerned about the prophecy and having, literally, Connor's blood on his hands. But he's going from his usually likeable self to a much darker place. Now, his conversation with the animated burger-order-unit was rather interesting (liked the animation on that). Still, he's going to be looking for signs all the time and reading way too much into everything folks do and say. Plus, he's giving Gunn and Fred a hard time for coupling and that's wrong. They make a cute couple. Meanwhile, I liked how Lilah has one up on Sanjhan - seems lawyers are worse than century old demons.

B6-15: As You Were (written by Douglas Petrie, airdate 2/26/02)

You know it's bad when the vamps say you stink. The mundane work life is the least of Buffy's problems though. First Riley is back and needs your help - yeah. Oh - he's married to Sam - boo. Buffy turns to Spike to feel "loved" - yeah. Oh - Riley catches her - boo. And Spike is "the Doctor" - bigger boo. At least Buffy realized that she was using Spike for her own needs and is ready to do something about it. Hopefully though he won't take no for an answer. Love the tension with the two. I did enjoy the stressing of Xander and Anya as the wedding is only a week away. A lot of couples go through that - even when you don't have to deal with drunkard family members and demon friends. Looking forward to the nuptuals.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 / Buffy season 6 episode 14

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A3-14: Couplet (written by Minear and Bell, airdate 2/18/02)

Both Angel and Wes find themselves odd men out when Cordelia focuses her attentions on Groo and Fred gets closer to Gunn. Some great character stuff in this one - like Cordy wanting Groo so much and how she gives him a makeover to look exactly like Angel (clearly Freud would have something to say about that!), Angel constantly down-grading Groo (his height) and being protective of his weapons and clothes, Gunn and Fred being such a cute couple - so much so they fail to miss the man they were sent to observe, and of course that nasty tree-life-sucking thing (ick!). Love how Angel got to take his frustrations out on Groo and at the same time save the day by making himself the bait. The last bit with what Wes uncovered from the prophecies is concerning: the father will kill the son. Yipes!

B6-14: Older and Faraway (written by Drew Z. Greenberg, airdate 2/12/02)

Buffy's birthday once again turns out chaotic, this time thanks to Dawn's tired of being left alone all the time. Love how Spike showed up with Clem, and the guy Xander and Anya wanted to hook Buffy up was clearly a "red shirt" (even dressed the part). Good to see Willow and Tara getting some needed reconciliation of sorts - loved how Tara stood up to Anya when things got really hairy. Of course, the best part was how Anya figured it all out and got Halfrek to appear (and how Halfrek called Spike "William" - clearly she knew him from his pre-vampire days). All in all, a decent episode - as Dawn's kleptomania gets addressed as well.

Comics of the Week (7/8/09)

Booster Gold #22 - another mission into the past - this time to save Dick Grayson. Booster ends up in the early days of the New Teen Titans. Dan Jurgens does a pretty good job with this. The only obvious thing I noticed - he doesn't do anything with Changeling and very little with Kid Flash. Expected more out of those two during the fight. Ah well. The Blue Beetle back up was okay - seems to be a little rushed as the transitions between scenes seem non-existent.

Green Lantern #43 - the prologue to Blackest Night is here, and we get a detailed look into the past of Black Hand. Once again, Geoff Johns takes a classic villain with little to them and turns them into a very interesting and exciting character. Nice. This crossover event is going to rock!

Monday, July 6, 2009

DVD review - Angel season 3 / Buffy season 6 episode 13

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Angel season 3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A3-13: Waiting in the Wings (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 2/4/02)

Leave it to Joss to come in and pen an episode that puts the group dynamics in a new direction. Wesley and Gunn are both smitten by Fred, but only one is in her eye in a romantic way. Poor Wesley - though something tells me that this is going to lead to a bigger rift with him and the others. Meanwhile, both Fred and Lorne recognize that Angel and Cordy are right for each other - it just takes the spirited possesion of them to make them bring forth that heat. Naturally, Angel is ready to let his true feelings show to Cordy, only for her to be distracted - by the return of Groo (not the Wanderer - the hunk she fell for back in Pylea). I enjoyed the acting debut of Summer Glau, who would follow Joss over to Firefly later in the year. Oh, and the deleted scene with Amy and Alexis doing the ballet was wonderful.

B6-13: Dead Things (written by Steven S. DeKnight, airdate 2/5/02)

The Trio still continues to give geeks/nerds a bad name. Their latest plot to make women sex slaves is pathetic, and Warren drops to the ultimate level of skeeve by trying to take over his ex-Katrina and then being so callous when he accidentally kills her. I am glad Jonathan at least is still having second thoughts about the whole thing. And to have them try to get Buffy to think she killed her - twisted. Spike continues to show Buffy how much he loves her - not just for the sex but more - when he willingly tries to help her out of this "accident" she believes she caused. Buffy, of course, is heartbroken when Tara concludes that Willow's spell to bring her back was fine - that she pretty much was the exact same Buffy as she was before. Buffy can't accept it - because now she has no excuse for why she's doing with Spike what she's doing.