Friday, November 30, 2012

The Shadow #8

With his business in Nepal complete, Lamont Cranston slowly makes his way home with his pilot Miles through Istanbul and Rome bringing him to the streets of Paris where the interest of The Shadow is piqued by the murder of an elderly French couple, the Spanish Civil War, and the beguiling Major Esmeralda Aguilar of Spanish Military Intelligence.

After an exciting night with the major, Cranston returns to his investigation leading him to stow away on a cargo ship full of gun runners making its way from France to Spain. When the gun runners are ambushed while unloaded their cargo The Shadow makes it out of the port by the skin of his teeth, eventually rejoining Miles in Barcelona where fate leads him to the real reason behind his arrival - George Orwell.

Anna Karenina

Attempting another historical adaptation of classic literature, while re-teaming with leading lady Keira Knightley (with whom he collaborated on both Pride & Prejudice and Atonement), director Joe Wright delivers the unexpected with an evocative and dazzling adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's legendary novel Anna Karenina.

Limited by budgetary considerations and an unwillingness to repurpose locations other adaptations of Tolstoy's work, or those used by various recent historical dramas, Wright hit upon an extraordinary idea to breathe new life in the staid genre by staging a setting that transforms around its characters. The result is a game changer in how movies like Anna Karenina are told and a serious contender for the best film of 2012.

Set in Russia during the late 19th Century our story concerns rich socialite Anna Karenina (Knightley), her marriage to an honorable but bland government official (Jude Law), and her temptation and eventual affair with the far more dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Here's a little rant about Jack & Diane

Jack & Diane, sadly unrelated to John Mellencamp's 1982 hit, is a regrettable piece of filmmaking. It's regrettable that writer/director Bradley Rust Gray wasted four years trying to get the film made. It's regrettable that young actresses Juno Temple and Riley Keough are wasted in thankless roles. And it's regrettable for anyone who has to sit through what is arguably the worst film released in theaters this year.

The story centers around teenagers Diane (Temple) and Jack (Keough) who meet and share a rather tepid and unremarkable romance over the course of a summer. Gray intersperses the emotional and sexual aspects of their relationship with horror imagery meant to underlie the animalistic nature of their attraction (which we see little evidence of on-screen).

Gray's metaphor is ill-defined and sophomoric at best. The only positive to the various scenes involving monsters, growing hair, and various pulsating internal organs is a welcome relief from the relative boredom of the rest of the movie.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Arrow - Muse of Fire

Starling City gets a little crowded on the vigilante front when an armed assassin on a motorcycle kills a business man (John Cassini) in broad daylight while he was talking with Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson). Not-so-surprisingly the death of the businessman with mob connections to the Bertinelli crime family coincides with Oliver's (Stephen Amell) attraction to a young woman named Helena (Jessica De Gouw) harboring her own painful past and dark secret. That's right boys and girls, it appears the Huntress has come to Starling City.

Fables #123

The two-parter "The Destiny's Game" concludes as the Big Bad Wolf learns that the fate he was given of an untimely end was assigned, not earned. Armed with the knowledge of how the Green Woman of the woods (the Lady of the Lake) truly operates from the teacup turtle, who tells him the woman collects and distributes fates as she pleases, he sets out to change his fate once again.

Armed with the hope that his fate may be overridden the Wolf returns but learns a fate, once given, cannot be reascended. However, not willing to be killed by the Wolf, the woman does find an appropriate loophole that allows the fate to take place but also allows both the witch and the Wolf to live.

I enjoyed both parts of "The Destiny's Game" so much that I would have liked more of the story. Fables #123 does feel a little rushed, but it wraps up all the loose ends for all the major characters and allows the rules of the world to be bent without being broken. Worth a look.

[Vertigo, $2.99]

Les Misérables - I Dreamed A Dream trailer

Here's another trailer for Les Misérables which is set to Anne Hathaway's performance of "I Dreamed A Dream." The film premiered this past weekend in New York to a reported standing ovation with much of the praise going to Hathaway who now appears to be the early front-runner in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress. Hugh JackmanRussell CroweAmanda SeyfriedHelena Bonham CarterEddie RedmayneIsabelle AllenSamantha Barks, and Sacha Baron Cohen also star. Les Misérables opens in theaters on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Leverage - The Low Low Price Job

The Leverage team agrees to help a local grocer (Willa Ford) who, along with several other local businesses, is being slowly pushed out due to the underhanded dealings of a crooked super-store conglomerate looking to run the entire collection of locally run stores out of business. Elliot (Christian Kane), fueled in part by his own personal history, wants to take down the entire corporation but Nate (Timothy Hutton) is unsure they can do more than take down a single store. So the team sets out to destroy the new store before its grand opening, which is easier said than done.

Daredevil #20

After literally loosing his head in the pocket dimension Coyote has trapped him in, Daredevil begins plotting his escape a his body moves through the villain's realm while his head keeps Coyote distracting in a Bond villain style rant (in which he explains every detail of his nefarious enterprises).

In the B-story Kristen McDuffie, who apparently works the offices of Mad Men, finds it impossible to get her bosses to take a crazy Daredevil seriously when they accuse her of having a lover's spat with her boyfriend. Although it skirts the issue of Foggy's drunken confession, the McDuffie outcome is troubling at best as writer Mark Waid and Marvel Editorial have deciding the New York District Attorney's Office is perpetually stuck in (an overly cliched version of) the 1950's.

The Coyote story works far better, although bringing up (and showing) human trafficking as one of Coyote's new interests does feel a little unseemly for what has been up until now a pretty safe all-ages book. Hit-and-Miss.

[Marvel, $2.99]

Les Misérables trailer

We now have our first full-length trailer for director Tom Hooper's adaptation of the Broadway musical Les Misérables adapted from Victor Hugo's original novel. Hugh Jackman stars as a Frenchman imprisoned for stealing bread who breaks his parole and remains constantly on the run from a police inspector (Russell Crowe) determined to throw the man back in prison. Anne HathawayAmanda SeyfriedHelena Bonham CarterEddie RedmayneIsabelle AllenSamantha Barks, and Sacha Baron Cohen also star. Les Misérables opens in theaters on Christmas Day.

Bones - The But In The Joke

Bones (David Boreanaz) and her team are faced with a unique challenge when a notorious street artist (Jay Paulson) accidentally falls and glues himself to remains of a murder victim while working on his latest billboard. While Booth and Bones start interview suspects including his girlfriend (Stephanie Lemelin) and the man's boss (Jeff Witzke), Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) and Fisher (Joel David Moore) work on trying to separate the remains of the victim from the artist's body using a simple jar of peanut butter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Justice Leauge #14

The Justice League chases the Cheetah to the jungles of the Congo where Superman becomes infected by the curse and Wonder Woman is faced to deal with truth about the woman she once believed was her friend.

The "end" of the Cheetah story is a little awkward, especially given that it appears the super-villain's plan was to be taken captive all along (and wasn't searched for any transmission devices before being put in prison). Superman also take Diana home to Smallville for a little more mid-air smooching, which doesn't go unnoticed by another member of the team. It will be interested to see where this storyline goes now that Batman knows about their relationship.

The Shazam! back-up story works a little better than usual as it is focused on Black Adam journeying out into the world with Dr. Sivana rather than the truly awful (not to mention unrecognizable) version of Captain Marvel that DC has presented us with as part of the New 52. Seriously, this character is already in serious need of a reboot. For fans.

[DC, $3.99]

Hawaii Five-0 - Wahine'inoloa

Five-0 is called in to investigate the murder of a man who was shot, dosed with gasoline, set on fire, and hit by a moving car in the middle of remote sugarcane fields. The trail leads McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Kono (Grace Park) to a squirrely therapist (Vanessa Marcil) who McGarrett is positive is involved in the murder, even if he can't prove it. A trip to the victim's wife (Amy Sloan) reveals the victim had something on his conscience to atone for before his death, but doesn't provide McGarrett anything to connect an improper relationship between her husband and his therapist leading Danny (Scott Caan) to question McGarrett's initial assessment of the situation and their leading suspect.

Iron Man #2

Iron Man travels to the tiny nation of Symkaria to stop the spread of Extremis technology by engaging in gladiator-style combat with an Arthurian legend obsessed group known as the Circle.

The comic plays to the strengths of Greg Land as it offers several different types of armor and action without giving the artist too many opportunities to draw in porny women (although he still finds a way). The various armor of the Circle was created by an old enemy of Stark known only as Meredith who blames him for ruining her promising career. Knowing her armor couldn't stand up to Stark's one-on-one she put her faith in pilots by choosing gymnasts and marital artists including the talented Russian Alex Draguno.

Although writer Kieron Gillen is pretty heavy-handed with the Arthurian references and let's Iron Man cheat his way out of a competition he should be able to easily win, the comic introduces a couple of intriguing ideas and a new stable of enemies for our hero. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Mentalist - Black Cherry

The CBI investigates the murder of a former gangbanger who was beaten to death and whose body was dumped on a public golf course nearly three years after he had turned his life around by working for a real estate office known for hiring criminals looking for a second chance. Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) discover their victim made several trips to the emergency room during the past year including one for a severe beating a month ago courtesy of his former associates. Before they find the killer Lisbon and her team will have to stop the victim's younger sister (Kyla Pratt) from taking matters in her own hands by killing the head (Vicellous Reon Shannon) of the gang her brother used to work for.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #14

The Red Hood, Arsenal, and Starfire return from their outer space adventure only to have another alien hunt them down - Superman. Despite knowing they can't win the battle the Outlaws take on the Man of Steel until eventually exhausting themselves and hearing what Superman wants.

I'm glad to see the group back on Earth, and the appearance of Superman (and their reaction to him) works well-enough. However, the comic gets into deep trouble with Superman's weak explanation for showing up and the comic's 180-degree shift to move the story into a Death of the Family crossover.

Given Jason Todd's personal experience with the Joker it should have been the easiest thing in the world to tie the comic to the ongoing Bat-title crossover. However, what we are given here is awkward beyond belief reinforcing the idea that the Joker is responsible for Todd being chosen as Robin in moves that make the impossibly complicated plans of Heath Ledger's Joker look amateurish by comparison. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

Captain America #1

After growing disinterested in the end of Ed Brubaker's run on the character I was ready for a new writer to breathe life into Captain America. The first issue of the new series written by Rick Remender is a bit of a mixed blessing as Cap contemplates marriage to Sharon Carter and take on an old enemy in Armin Zola.

Yes, Remender takes the character in a new direction, but he also gives us a questionable introduction of Steve Rogers abusive father and a message (hamfistedly delivered at least three times over the course of the issue) that has been Cap's guiding philosophy since childhood. I understand what Remender's going for, but to start out a new series with a gross oversimplification of a character's origins isn't the best way to begin.

Although I don't hate the art, I'm not sure John Romita Jr. is the right choice for the comic if, as Remender states in the afterward, the point is to take the series into the weird sci-fi stories the character enjoyed under Jack Kirby's run in the 1970's. Hit-and-Miss.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday with Scarlett

Young Justice #22

With SupermanSuperboyCaptain AtomCaptain Marvel, and Wonder Woman all trapped on the moon and several other members of both Young Justice and the Justice League trapped inside an impenetrable sphere surrounding Metropolis the remaining members of the team work together with the Atom, the Flash, and the Martian Manhunter to figure out just what the hell is going on as Miss Martian and Lagoon Boy head to the moon on a rescue mission.

The story is a little more focused this time around, but we still get more more five-year flashbacks involving Dick Grayson's relationships with the ladies of the team. As good as these are by themselves, these flashbacks continue to be somewhat disorienting, especially as they have yet to be tied directly to the current situation our heroes find themselves in.

The issue is certainly packed with characters including several of the newer members of the Young Justice team including Batgirl, Wonder Girl, Zatanna and Blue Beetle, and even a surprise cameo by Plastic Man. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]


With 360 director Fernando Meirelles and screenwriter Peter Morgan offer an ensemble piece featuring several tangentially related stories about love, sex, and money. The idea to weave separate elements such as these together is hardly a new one, but (as is often the case with this type of film) not all the stories measure up, and despite the film's insistence that it has some great wisdom to impart by throwing all these characters together, in the end 360 is still something of a mess.

The stories involve a man (Anthony Hopkins) searching for his lost daughter who meets a young woman (Maria Flor) who has recently broken up with her boyfriend (Juliano Cazarré) on a flight to the United States, an aspiring prostitute (Lucia Siposová) and her sister (Gabriela Marcinkova), a recently released sex offender (Ben Foster) stuck in a Colorado airport, a couple (Jude LawRachel Weisz) each having secret affairs, and a dentist (Jamel Debbouze) struggling with his feelings for his assistant (Dinara Drukarova) who is married to the driver (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) of a Russian gangster (Johannes Krisch).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow #19

"Target: Snake Eyes" comes to a head as both Helix and the Coil seek out the Arashikage Clan's home in Cambodia, although for very different puproses. Helix continues her search for Snake Eyes only to be taken down by Storm Shadow and his ninja while Serpentor and the Soft Master lead the Coil into Arashikage's home hoping to wipe out the entire clan for good.

The issue is filled with action including the new Cobra Commander's attempt to kill the Baroness for her recent failure, Snake Eyes squares off against Rika's son who wants revenge for what he sees as Snake Eyes' traitorous actions that led to her death, Helix temporarily holding her own against the ninja, and Snake Eyes coming face-to-face with a betrayed Storm Shadow.

Another strong issue that sets up a possible Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow showdown in the next issue of G.I. JOE or perhaps another temporary reliance as the ninja clan will need all the help it can get to survive Cobra's latest attempt to destroy them. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

Ame-Comi Girls #2 (featuring Batgirl)

I will admit the entire idea of Ame-Comi Girls is goofy as hell, and that's part of the charm. One thing in short supply since DC Comics launched their New 52 is accepting and embracing the fact that comics are supposed to be fun. From the digital comics that were based on the anime-inspired figures from DC Collectibles, the Ame-Comi version of the DCU is female-centric, and in this issue features Batgirl and Robin facing off against Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and the villainous Duela Dent.

The writing isn't great, although it's better that many of the New 52 books from the past year, but one thing it delivers, oddly enough given its set-up, is easily recognizable characters. We get the basic archetypes for Batgirl, Poison Ivy, and (the original version) of Harley Quinn. Catwoman seems to be based off a more current interpretation, and I would have preferred by Robin to be blonde and named Stephanie Brown, but I'll take what I can get.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Covert Affairs - Lady Stardust

In the Third Season finale Annie (Piper Perabo) calls on the help of Auggie (Christopher Gorham) and one of Barber's local assets to help free Eyal (Oded Fehr) who is being held by Khalid (Haaz Sleiman) in Amsterdam. In order to get the information Khalid demands in exchange for Eyal's safe return, Annie gets herself beaten and breaks into the U.S. Consulate to retrieve confidential information about CIA assets working undercover in Khalid's operation.

Doctor Who - Series 7 (Part One)

The first half of Doctor Who Series Seven is collected here including The Doctor's (Matt Smith) final farewell to Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), dinosaurs on spaceships, a cyborg assassin in the Old West, an invasion of mysterious black cubes, the introduction of Mark Williams as Rory's father, and an entire planet of insane Daleks which teases the future introduction of Jenna-Louise Coleman as The Doctor's new companion in this year's Christmas episode.

Centered around single one-off episodes rather than an ongoing story arc, these episodes get the season off to a good start (even if the western episode is a little flat), before returning the Weeping Angels to their original glory and saying a tearful farewell to the Ponds. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" is the real stand-out among the set which feels very much like a throwback to Doctor Who's old Douglas Adams days complete with an absurd premise and pair of quarreling robots.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

With his latest movie, Silver Linings Playbook, writer/director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Three Kings) delivers his most mainstream film to date in this adaptation of Matthew Quick's novel of the same name about a teacher (Bradley Cooper) who moves back in with his parents (Robert De NiroJacki Weaver) after spending eight months in a mental institution. At times I think Russell can get too cute for his own good (see I Heart Huckabees), but Silver Linings provides the director the kind of manic characters he enjoys while still forcing him draw within the lines. The result is one of the year's best films.

Our story begins with the release of Pat (Cooper) from his stint in the loony bin after brutally assaulting a fellow teacher who he discovers sleeping with his wife (Brea Bee). Armed with medication he refuses to take and an optimistic attitude of winning back his wife (despite being still haunted by her infidelity), putting his life back together, and looking for the silver lining in every bad situation, Pat begins his slow (and rocky) road to recovery.

Life of Pi

Based on the bestselling novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi is the tale of an impossible adventure of a young man named after a swimming pool who rebrands himself on the mathematical constant Pi (Suraj Sharma) and his journey of survival after a shipwreck and 227 days alone on a life boat with a Bengal tiger as his only companion.

Much like the book, the movie hinges on the audience being able to accept the tale of the unreliable narrator, an older Pi (Irrfan Khan) recounting his adventure years later, despite all logic that tells us the young man's journey would be impossible.

The film is beautiful to behold, and with only a few exceptions (most notably the odd depiction of Pi's uncle) the CGI elegantly renders the animals and stark environment the young zoo keeper's son finds himself. After a brief introduction, and discounting the later events of the older Pi sharing his story to a struggling writer (Rafe Spall), nearly the entire movie takes place on the small lifeboat in the middle of an empty ocean.

Red Dawn

After being filmed in the Fall of 2009 this needless remake to 1984's Red Dawn sat on the shelf for three years before finally being released in theaters this Thanksgiving. The new version of Red Dawn is an uninspired trainwreck of an incredulous plot mixed with a gritty attempt at character study, draped in the flag of simplistic patriotism that would make Michael Bay proud, that can never decide what kind of movie it actually wants to be.

Where the original film saw the United States invaded by the Soviet Union, the remake chooses China as the new baddies. However, unwilling to lose the lucrative Chinese movie market, the studio spent another $1,000,000 in post production and CGI to recast North Korea as Red Dawn's new villains. Because, in Hollywood's view, all Asian bad guys are so easily interchangeable. Seriously, I've seen WWII propaganda films which were more subtle.

Rise of the Guardians

Based on William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood children's series, Rise of the Guardians is an old fashioned tale of good and evil centered around an unlikely hero called to join the battle. The Guardians, a group of mythical beings who are sworn to protect children across the globe, are comprised of Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman). Despite some infighting, the group works together to keep the magic and wonder of childhood alive across the globe.

When the villainous Pitch Black (Jude Law) returns to introduce nightmares and fear into the dreams of children, while making them begin to doubt the existence of the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, the Guardians rise to stop the Bogeyman before he can destroy the dreams and beliefs on children all across the globe. To do this they will need the help of the irresponsible Jack Frost (Chris Pine), a mischief maker with a shadowy past and a yearning to be recognized and celebrated the way children love the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

A Royal Affair

Set in the last half of the 18th Century, during the Age of the Enlightenment, A Royal Affair examines the reign of the mentally unstable King Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) from the perspective of his queen (Alicia Vikander) and most trusted advisor, German doctor Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) whose wide sweeping reforms (the abolishment of censorship, torture, the slave trade, and an increase on taxes of the aristocracy for the good of the people) and affair with the queen, albeit briefly, changed the course of Denmark's history.

Unable to acquire the rights to Stuensee's story, director Nikolaj Arcel choose instead to adapt a Danish romantic novel of Bodil Steensen-Leth. Because of the source material, far more emphasis is put on the relationships the Queen has with both her husband and Struensee, and the behind-the-scenes palace politics and court intrigue, than the reforms themselves or their effect on the Danish people. The story also never questions the doctor's noble purpose or motives for grabbing so much power (including so thoroughly dismantling the King's government) that, along with his affair with the Queen, ultimately led to his downfall.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Castle - After Hours

The murder of priest in an abandoned building that tracks back to a mob enforcer (Tony Denison) leads Beckett (Stana Katic) and Castle (Nathan Fillion) to a witness (Patrick Fischler) to the crime who is being hunted a pair of mobsters (Devin McGinnBryan Friday). Relieved of their phones and wallets (not to mention and Beckett's gun, badge, and car), Beckett and Castle manage to escape with the witness but find themselves on the run in the wrong neighborhood with no way to call for support.

Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #4

When we last left our robot scientist-adventurer Atomic Robo had managed to get himself captured by the Chokaiten, the secret organization created by the brightest scientist and military minds of Japan, who have no intention of losing the Pacific. While a prisoner Robo learns a little more about the organization, and their plans to attack the United States with "Earthquake Bombs," before our intrepid hero gets himself fried and almost loses his head to a pair of Chokaiten scientists.

When we last left the She-Devils of the Pacific the group was reorganizing after the surprise attack by the Chokaiten made the jet-pack wearing, gun-toting, ladies of the Pacific abandon their secret island. Looking for a little payback, the She-Devils hit a Chokaiten base, rescue and reactivate our hero, and help him decipher the villains' plans to attack San Francisco in five days time.

Issue #4 sets up the events of next month's series conclusion, reunites Atomic Robo and the She-Devils, and provides tons of action and a couple of very amusing moments. In other words, exactly what you'd expect from Atomic Robo. Worth a look.

[Red 5, $3.50]

Hawaii Five-0 - Ohuna

Five-0 is called in to investigate the abduction of a young computer hacker (Matt Bush) from his family (Alan RuckMelinda McGrawGregory Kasyan) only minutes after being released from juvenile detention. The family's GPS was tampered with, leading them into the perfect isolated location for an abduction, but by the time Kono (Grace Park) and Cho (Daniel Dae Kim) recover the van used in the kidnapping the young victim is already dead.

Transformers Prime - Season Two

The Second Season of Transformers Prime continues the animated battles of the Autobots and Decepticons on Earth as well as the robots in disguise home planet of Cybertron. The series adopts the look and style of Michael Bay's (truly awful) Transformers franchise and recent video game releases that as a fan of the original toys, comics, and cartoon series, I will freely admit, doesn't always please me.

This means we're stuck with several problematic elements from the movies including a Bumblebee that still can't speak (and is a Camaro instead of a VW Bug), the moronic monster-like design of several of the Decepticons, a lack of understanding basic differences between robots and humans, a scarcity of only a handful of Autobots heroes, and a near endless supply of nameless (not to mention useless) Deception cannon fodder warriors that rank somewhere between Stormtroopers and Cobra soldiers in the grand scheme of things.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Mentalist - Red Sails in the Sunset

Unable to reach Lorelei (Emmanuelle Chriqui) on his own, Jane (Simon Baker) calls in a favor from Bret Styles (Malcolm McDowell) and gets the cult leader's assistance in breaking Red John's assistant out of a Maximum Security Federal Prison. The hunt for Lorelei and the missing, and presumed abducted Jane (given evidence he planted before picking Lorelei up from prison), is led by Robert Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan) of Homeland Security and Lisbon's (Robin Tunney) team at the CBI.

Batman #14

Writer Scott Snyder's Batman #14 is problematic as it seems to suggest, but carefully never directly prove, that the Joker has far more knowledge about the true identities of the men and women who are part of the Bat-Family than has ever before been stated. Is this simply the writer toying with us, or is Snyder about to implement yet another major New 52 deviation that I simply can't get on-board with?

The classic take on the Joker is a villain obsessed with Batman who doesn't want to know the Dark Knight Detective's secret identity, as that would ruin all the fun. This is exactly what happens in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker when the Clown Prince of Crime admits that he wished he had never peeked under the cowl.

Snyder is careful by giving us an alternative explanation for the Joker's abduction of Alfred as well as the Joker never naming names when he "reveals" he knows Batman's secret identity. I'm hoping for a huge bait-and-switch. But seeing how the New 52 has given me very little of what I actually want, I'm not too hopeful. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

Elementary - One Way to Get Off

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is called into to consult on a case of home invasion and murder that he believes is linked to one of Captain Gregson's (Aidan Quinn) old cases. While Holmes wants to talk with the man (Keith Szarabajka) Gregson put in jail 13 years ago, Gregson is reluctant and would rather pursue other avenues of the investigation including the latest victims' contractor (Brian Tarantina) who was keeping  a woman (Evgeniya Radilova) chained in his basement and recently threatened the couple after they complained about his work.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Burn Notice - Over the Line

Picking up right where last week's two-hour premiere left off, Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) must face the consequences of killing Card (John C. McGinley) as he and Sam (Bruce Campbell) try to to escape the building before the CIA's full tactical team led by Olivia Riley (Sonja Sohn) discover Card and Gray's (Seth Peterson) bodies and begin searching for the killer. Although Michael is able to make his own exit, the CIA finger him as the shooter and Sam gets pinched before he can make a clean getaway.

47 Ronin #1

Dark Horse Comics founder Mike Richardson has been obsessed with bringing the Japanese legend of the 47 Ronin to comics for the better part of a quarter of a century. Now, with the help of artist Stan Sakai, he succeeds in beginning his tale of the Japanese legend (based in historical fact) of 47 former samurai turned ronin who attempt to avenge the honor of their former master.

Stan Sakai is the perfect choice to bring the story to life, although I'll admit it does take a little getting used to him drawing humans rather than katana-wielding rabbits. As good as his work is here, for someone going through months of serious rabbit ronin withdrawal (Sakai's work on Usagi Yojimbo was halted for him to work on this project), I can't wait to see him return to new stories of his creation.

The first issue of the five-issue mini-series is presented in a way that should appeal both to those who already know the story and those discovering it for the first time. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $3.99]

Scandal - Spies Like Us

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) receives an anonymous letter from a suicide victim (Richard Gilliland) shortly before his death asking her to protect a group of spies who were part of a top secret off-the-books CIA program from a master hacker who plans on exposing them all, included Huck (Guillermo Díaz). Despite Huck's initial reaction to run, Olivia convinces him to stay and let her do what she does best by fixing the situation.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday with Kaley

Person of Interest - Critical

The latest number delivered by The Machine introduces some unusual problems for Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch (Michael Emerson). First, Reese has to save the life of a previous number second time when Leon (Ken Leung) gets mixed up with the Russian mob. Second, they have to find a way to protect a surgeon (Sharon Leal) who is being blackmailed by a mysterious businessman (Julian Sands) holding her wife (Erica Leerhsen) hostage to make sure the doctor's latest patient doesn't survive his surgery.

Batman and Robin #14

"Death of the Family" continues (albeit without the Joker) as Batman and Robin #14 concludes the story from last month by focusing separately on both Damian and Batman fighting with the army of hungry zombies kidnapping citizens for food. Even putting aside my dislike of zombies in general, I've got to say this is one of the most uninspired comics I've read so far this year.

Most of the comic focuses on Damian actually acting like a hero and fearful and irrational Batman needless berating him, first over the comms and later in person, before a 180-degree so fast it will give you whiplash.

Aside from Damain actually doing some justice to the Robin name (and not being the complete tool the New 52 has been so focused on delivering month after month) there's almost nothing worthy of notice. The story is completely forgettable and the mix of both Patrick Gleason and Tomás Giorello's art makes the comic feel uneven at best. Pass.

[DC, $2.99]

Glee - Glease

On hearing the news that Mr. Shue (Matthew Morrison) plans on leaving the Glee Club until after Sectionals once the musical is complete the club panics and Sue (Jane Lynch) goes bananas when Schuester announces Finn (Cory Monteith) will be leading the club in his absence. Declaring war once again on the arts, Sue begins to undermine both the Glee Club and the musical beginning with convincing Wade's parents (Mark Christopher LawrenceDavenia McFadden) that it may not be safe for their son to play the role of Rizzo in Grease.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Big Bang Theory - The 43 Peculiarity

Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) become obsessed with where Sheldon (Jim Parsons) disappears to every day at 2:45pm as Leonard (Johnny Galecki) deals with his own obsession when Penny (Kaley Cuoco) starts to hang out with a new study partner (Ryan Cartwright).

Nashville - You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave)

The amazing thing about soap operas is you can miss a couple of weeks of episodes and not miss a single beat. And, in both good ways and bad, Nashville is very much a soap opera. Despite not watching the previous two episodes of the series it took me less than 2-minutes to get caught up on the show's ongoing stories, which (in typical soap opera fashion) haven't made all that much progress in my absence. That said, "You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave)" works well enough that I may return in a couple of weeks to see what else Nashville has in store when it returns after a short Thanksgiving break.

The Ambassador

A funny film about blood diamonds? As odd as that sounds, it's exactly what The Ambassador delivers. For his latest work Danish journalist and filmmaker Mads Brügger undertook the challenge to expose the corruption of diplomatic titles sold on the black market and the African conflict diamond trade in the Central African Republic by purchasing a diplomatic title and becoming the newest ambassador for Liberia.

Through the use of hidden cameras Brügger is able to document the alarming amount of corruption, bribes, and backroom dealing for those with enough money the grease the wheels of the corrupt government of the CAR.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Arrow - Legacies

DC's favorite all-purpose C-List bad guys, the Royal Flush Gang (Currie GrahamKyle SchmidTom StevensSarah-Jane Redmond), show up in Starling City and kill an off-duty police officer during their latest bank robbery. Diggle (David Ramsey) seizes the opportunity to try to convince Oliver (Stephen Amell) to widen his focus beyond his father's list and protect everyone who needs Green Arrow's help.

Super Dinosaur #15

Super Dinosaur #15 concludes the Inner Earth storyline as Derek is able to escape the clutches of The Exile, reconnect with Super Dinosaur and his friends, and make his way home. The action is certainly fast and furious, but Derek's reunion with his friends does feel a little rushed compared to the amount of time the arc has spent with the other aspects of this story.

Although Derek, Super Dinosaur, and the other children manage to make it back home from Inner Earth safely, writer Robert Kirkman lays down quite a bit of foreshadowing and the events from this arc are likely to have long term consequences for everyone involved.

The Exile is imprisoned but his theory on life on the surface has been proven and he has plenty of time to plot his revenge. We also get SD finally making a connection in Inner Earth when the group is saved thanks to help from another Tyrannosaurus rex, only to have to abandon his new friend to help Derek get safely home. It may be a bit rushed, but Super Dinosaur #15 is a good conclusion to the arc. Next month: Super Dinosaur in space! Worth a look.

[Image, $2.99]

Covert Affairs - Quicksand

With Auggie deploying to Iraq to be a "battle buddy" for a soldier (Jocko Sims) suffering from post-traumatic stress Annie (Piper Perabo) has to rely on the help of Barber (Dylan Taylor) and Eyal (Oded Fehr) when she is set up in Luxembourg attempting to retreive to possible intelligence from a murder victim she believes to be her former asset (Michelle Nolden). After avoiding capture and making to Zürich alone, Annie reconnects with Eyal, but rather than take a safe trip home the hunted becomes the hunter as the two spies agree to go after Khalid (Haaz Sleiman) together.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hawaii Five-0 - I Ka Wa Mamua

An accidental house explosion leaving the charred, and scattered, remains of a terrorist lead Five-0 to believe other members of his cell are on the island and preparing another bomb. McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) calls on Catherine (Michelle Borth) to use her connections to find out as much as possible about their dead terrorist as Kono (Grace Park) and Cho (Daniel Dae Kim) investigate the bomb and crime scene leading them another terrorist, bomb making equipment, and several potential targets including the airport, a power plant, a retirement ceremony for a three-star general (John Colton), and schools across the island.

World War Z trailer

Based on the post-apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks, Brad Pitt stars as a United Nations employee who is trying to protect his family and stop the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse. Mireille EnosEric WestMatthew FoxJames Badge Dale, and David Morse also star. World War Z hits theaters on June 21st.

Bones - The Patriot in Purgatory

After taking a sudden interest in basketball, Bones (Emily Deschanel) assembles five of her most talented interns (Eugene Byrd, Michael Grant TerryJoel David MoorePej VahdatLuke Kleintank) to work together to try to identify as many sets of the Jeffersonian Institute's collection of unidentifiable remains as possible. While the others try to score points on identifying as many remains as possible, Vaziri (Vahdat) becomes fixated on a homeless man who was wounded during the attacks on 9/11 and died 10 days later.

Worlds' Finest #6

Battle of the Bat-Brats! While breaking into a Wayne Enterprises facility to steal a paltry few million dollars to continue her own pursuits the Huntress runs into this world's Robin - Damian Wayne.

The comic's main story (with art by Kevin Maguire) features the children of Batman battling over Gotham as an angry Damian starts to think that there is more to this thief, who seems to have the moves of both Batman and Catwoman, than meets the eye. The back-up story (with art by George Perez) features Power Girl "borrowing" a satellite from Morgan Edge (there's a name I haven't heard in awhile) to search for dangerous Apokolips energy signatures, like the monster they fought over the past couple of issues.

The Helena/Damian story works better than Power Girl's tale which really isn't given enough time to develop. That said, we are give the brutal one-note Damian though most of the story, at least until his curiosity at Helena's true identity gets the best of him. I will be interest to see if Helena becomes the New 52 big sister stand-in for Stephanie Brown to teach him a little humility and humanity. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]