Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ender's Game

Originally written as a short story published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, author's Orson Scott Card's story of a complicated boy who is humanity's best chance at survival took another eight years before it was released as the full novel Ender's Game. I first read the novel more than two decades ago. It's held-up remarkably well, although given its subject matter I doubted would ever be made into a movie.

Adapted and directed by Gavin Hood the story of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin isn't an easy one to pull off, especially in under two hours. Although the timeline is heavily condensed, and the subplots involving Ender's siblings is largely ignored, the movie gets far more right than I expected.

A lonely child with a good heart but a special talent for measured brutality, Ender Wiggin isn't the easiest of protagonists to put on screen. The best choice Hood makes is to cast Asa Butterfield in the complex role that requires us to feel for the situation the young man finds himself in but also be a little taken aback by the methods he uses.

Arrow - Crucible

Felicity‘s (Emily Bett Rickards) assumption that the city's new leather-clad vigilante isn't so much obsessed with the archer but Laurel (Katie Cassidy) leads to an official rooftop meeting between Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and Black Canary (Caity Lotz) who is revealed to be Laurel's presumed dead sister Sara. Sara's sudden arrival raises several questions for Oliver who knew Laurel's sister survived the shipwreck but has no idea what to do with her reappearance in Starling City, and from Sara's conversation with Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) we know she's not so sure either.

Transformers: Regeneration One #95

Cybertron is at war as the Autobots fight off both Decepticon forces and Bludgeon and his Warworld. Although the issue doesn't feature Galvatron (who is certainly conspicuous by his absence) Transformers: Regeneration One #95 features a host of familiar faces including Omega Supreme, Blaster, Soundwave, and Shockwave and Starscream who are still debating what their role in the battle should be. Oh, and Grimlock? He's back!

Finding evidence of Matrix energy below ground Kup leads the Wreckers on a search for answers. Sadly for most of the team, Bludgeon decides to follow and makes short work of pretty much all of Kup's friends. However, the sudden appearance of Rodimus Prime freshly returned from his time-travel odyssey helps turn the tide.

The issue ends with several questions still unanswered about the future of Cyberton, but with Rodimus Prime the Autobots have a new leader and with Bludgeon's defeat the comic should be able to turn its attention back on Galvatron and the Decepticons and the lingering issues on Earth. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

Beware the Batman #1

Hitting comic shops the same time that Cartoon Network announced they have shelved the cartoon its based on for the rest of the year, the first issue of Beware of the Batman should please fans of the show and give younger audiences a new Batman comic to read.

The writing by Ivan Cohen is better than many of the episodes of the half-hour cartoon as Batman uncovers the latest scheme of Simon Stagg who takes advantage of his new high-tech locking mechanism that actually leaves most of the city open thanks in part to the meddling of Anarky and an Occupy Wall Street-ish group. And there's also an explosive plot timed for the Fifth of November.

Artist Vecchio does a fair job in trying to adapt the show's sleek CGI-animated look to the printed page. The comic's continuity is a little perplexing as Katana seems to be Batman's fully-fledged partner (something hard won on the series over several weeks) but is still in possession of the Soultaker Sword. Small continuity issues like that aside, the first issue does a good job is selling the all ages Bat-book. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

Person of Interest - Mors Praematura

While Finch (Michael Emerson) helps an estate investigator (Kirk Acevedo) look into the questionable death of his foster brother (Michael Esper), tries to track down Root (Amy Acker) who has kidnapped Shaw (Sarah Shahi) in order to enlist her help for a mission for The Machine which has come to understand the need for self-preservation and has chosen the two women to help keep it safe against an imminent threat.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Flash #24

Issue #24 finally ties up the Reverse-Flash storyline (which, since it was teased for months before it ever began, seems like it's taken nearly a whole year to get through) with Barry Allen taking back the power of the Speed Force Danny West stole from him to travel back into time and murder his father. Although co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato underline the moral of the story, and the reverse nature of the New 52 version of the character, he's a far cry from the far more interesting original villain to use the name.

Following the return to the present there's enough time for the Flash to threaten the duplicitous Dr. Elias and even do a little dancing with his girl Patty Spivot (while making an appropriate puntastic joke).

Two full years since the launch of the New 52, The Flash has seen its ups and downs but it has consistently offered (mostly) good stories and (always) great art. The latest issue of The Flash sets the stage to begin the new chapter with the hero back in control of his life and powers, and everything, at least for now, seeming back to normal. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

Daredevil #32

Daredevil #32 begins with the anticlimactic result of the Jester's trap (which, as expected, is so obviously false it's dispensed with in only a handful of panels). Mark Waid tries to see the humor in a villain refusing to believe Matt Murdock is truly blind, but the macabre nature of a lynched Foggy Nelson doll simply doesn't work on any level.

From these humble beginnings the comic picks up as Daredevil enlists the help of Dr. Strange for information about the Sons of the Serpent and the cult's magic book which offers the opportunity for a funny, if immensely cheap, stab at the people of Kentucky.

The comic ends with Daredevil interrupting a good 'ol Southern lynch mob only to later realize the group is after actual monsters and he may have chosen the wrong side. The result is a somewhat forced Halloween adventure that ends in yet another cliffhanger and more trouble and no new answers for our hero. For fans.

[Marvel, $2.99]

Larfleeze #4

As Pulsar Stargrave finds himself meeting another (equally troubling) relative of the flighty The WandererLarfleeze is forced to deal with the legion of Orange Lanterns brought back to life by his former butler's new master. Larfleeze's incredulity at the anger of the other Orange Lanterns (who he murdered and imprisoned in the Lantern for years) doesn't help mollify some very ticked off ring-slingers.

The off-beat sense of humor the collaboration between writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis that has made the comic feel like a throwback to the pair's Justice League glory days is evident here again, especially in a single scene where the happy folks of Unicorn-12 meet a less than pleasant fate.

So far the comic has succeeded by giving us more of Stargrave than his master, but the latest issue proves both characters' antics can be a hell of a lot of fun. It also looks like the other Orange Lanterns are here to stay, as is Larfleeze (who they can't kill now that he is the living power battery for all their rings). Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer

We now have our first trailer for the X-Men: First Class sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past which centers around Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) being sent into the past to try and save the future of mutants from a war with humanity. The movie returns actors from both First Class and the original X-Men movies including Halle BerryAnna PaquinJennifer LawrenceEllen PageNicholas HoultShawn AshmoreLucas Till, and both James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, both Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen as Magneto. The movie opens in theaters everywhere on May 23rd.

The Blacklist - Gina Zanetakos

After having it out over the box under their floorboards Tom (Ryan Eggold) agrees to turn himself over to the FBI in order to prove his innocence. With Agent Keen (Megan Boone) suspended and sent home, Malik (Parminder Nagra) begins the interrogation of Elizabeth's husband. Reaching out, Reddington (James Spader) informs Lizzie that if she wants answers she needs to find Gina Zanetakos (Margarita Levieva), a member of The Blacklist who specializes in untraceable corporate terrorism and, if Reddington is to be believed, she is also Tom's mistress.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Geek Fest Florida 2013 - Cosplay Music Video

Check out this music video capture several of the cosplayers on-hand for this year's Geek Fest in Florida. Some of my favorites include the Star Trek cosplay by Jackie "Spider-Girl" Cosplay (0:07), Black Canary by Heather1337 and Ms. Marvel by Jennifer Ann (0:23), Captain Jack Sparrow (0:34), Batman Returns Catwoman (0:40), Black Cat and Lady Deadpool (1:30), Spider-Man (2:00), Velma (2:43), and Black Widow by Callie Cosplay (3:13).

Castle - Get a Clue

Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) investigate the possibly ritualistic murder of an accountant whose recent fascination with the occult and her death by stabbing of an ancient sword, not to mention the street footage of the woman being stalked by a monk (James MacDonald) and a college professor (Erik Jensen) who confirms the young woman was on a quest for lost Stonemason treasure, give Castle hope that they might have stumbled onto a real-life Da Vinci Code.

Samurai Jack #1

IDW's new Samurai Jack comic continues the hero's quest to find a way to return to the past to his own time, defeat Aku, and erase the future in which he still finds himself trapped. The comic's opening arc introduces the idea of the Rope of Eons which Aku shredded after using it to learn to control time.

Learning that the various Threads of Time can be rewoven to return the samurai home, Jack follows the directions of a less than trustworthy source who neglects to inform the samurai to win the first thread he will have to defeat an array of champions in the bottom of a gladiatorial pit.

As first issues go Samurai Jack #1 is a lot of fun. Writer Jim Zub captures the tone of the original cartoon, and I was also very impressed with the art by artist Andy Suriano and several of the panels that balance the action, tragedy, and offbeat humor of the character (although I'd love to see more of the cross-cut sequences the cartoon was known for). Fans of the character will want to track this one down. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

Nova #9

Returning home from his encounter with Speedball and Vance Astrovik, Sam Alexander discovers Kalendra has captured his mother and little sister and is holding them hostage unless Sam agrees to fight her without use an weapons (including the Nova helmet).

Initially agreeing the fair fight (which is less than fair since Sam has received no actually hand-to-hand combat training), the newest Nova throws in the towel early, donning his helmet and kicking some serious butt all the way back to Kalendra's home where her failure gets her caged in isolated confinement.

The heavy bondage themes not withstanding, Nova #9 provides a good example at the type of hero the newest Nova is. Honorable, maybe not, but certainly willing to do whatever is needing to save the ones he loves. And despite his repeated refusals, it seems Nova may have found himself a pair of new teammates (which I would be more on-board with if they clad Astrovik in Vance Astro's costume). Worth a look.

[Nova, $3.99]

The Mentalist - The Red Tattoo

The CBI is called in to solve the murder of a prominent member of Visualize who was killed in his locked hotel room. The case also brings in the cult's head of security, and one of Jane‘s (Simon Baker) remaining five Red John suspects, Ray Haffner (Reed Diamond) as an observer. As Lisbon (Robin Tunney) sits down with Visualize's second-in-command Jason Cooper (Robert Picardo), Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) investigates a nearby car-jacking that looks to be tied to the murder, and Jane and Cho (Harry Groener) head to the dead gymnastic coach's gym to talk with his students, their parents, and the dead man's partner (Ray Abruzzo) who hated the victim's connection to the cult.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wonder Woman Fan Trailer

Directed by Jesse V. Johnson and featuring Nina Bergman in the title role, this fan trailer gives us Wonder Woman kicking some serious Nazi butt in this trailer set during WWII. Check out a short behind-the-scenes look inside and learn more about the project on the official Facebook page.

Once Upon a Time - Good Form

While Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), and Regina (Lana Parrilla) resort to questionable means by pulling out the heart of a Lost Boy (Skyler Gisondo) and making him their slave to deliver a message to Henry (Jared Gilmore), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) leads Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) on a fool's errand whose true purpose is to save the life of Emma's father. Although the cure works, magic always has a price and the Dreamshade's poisonous effects will only be put off as long as Charming never again leaves Neverland.

The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction #2

The unusual team-up between The Spirit and The Rocketeer continues as the pair of heroes investigate the odd murder of a Central City man whose body was impossibly found in Los Angeles without enough time for it to be transported there under any conventional means. The autopsy reveals that isn't the only thing shocking about their victims whose innards seem scrambled beyond comprehension and the man's spirit seems to have somehow gotten trapped inside a television.

While dealing with these facts The Spirit and his new friend also have to take on an air assault on The Rocketeer's home base which puts Central City's hero high above the ground in action without the luxury of jet-pack or parachute.

Writer Mark Waid and and new artist Loston Wallace showcase each of the heroes' girls as Ellen shares a tender moment with Cliff and one of the mini-series' villains finally shows his face to offer Betty a starring role on this newfangled television contraption. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #4

Tom StrongVal Var Gram, and a small group of the world's remaining heroes show up just in the nick of time to save a transport of increasingly scare humanitarian supplies from a biker gang. After helping turn the tide, Strong is able to negotiate a settlement between the two groups and continue on his way.

Most of the second-half of the issue deals with a conversation between Tom Strong and the wounded Cavalier (a rapier-wielding small-time hero who shares his own history with the science-adventurer from a parallel Earth). Along with filling in the hero's origins, their conversation also touches on the subject of science vs. magic, and the ridiculousness of a man dressed like one of the Three Musketeers defending the Earth against attacks from giant robots and unstoppable plagues.

Although Strong gets no closer to answers, or even finding the man who could offer them, the early action and the conversation between the two heroes delivers another strong issue fans of the character should enjoy. Worth a look.

[Vertigo, $3.99]

Hawaii Five-0 - Kupu'eu

A simple surveillance job takes a tragic turn when an armed gunman shows up to kill a cheating husband they were monitoring and put bullet holes in both Catherine (Michelle Borth) and Billy Harrington (Justin Bruening) that only one of them will survive. Despite her injuries, Catherine refuses to remain in the hospital and works with McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Five-0 to uncover the reason for the double-murder and an expert cover-up that destroys almost all the evidence from the crime scene.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Star Trek by Jackie "Spider-Girl" Cosplay

Chloë Grace Moretz does it the American Way

Promoting her remake of Carrie, Chloë Grace Moretz is the cover girl for the October issue of the American Way. In the cover interview the actress discusses being drawn to darker roles, her five older brothers, growing up a tomboy, Hugo, her older brother Trevor's influence on her career, Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, her desire to produce, Dark Shadows, dealing with her celebrity, remaking the original Carrie, being home-schooled, and growing up. You can find the pics from her photo shoot inside.

Covert Affairs - Something Against You

After killing Henry Wilcox‘s (Gregory Itzin) man, Annie (Piper Perabo) uses the man's cellphone and her connection with Wilcox's ex-wife (Seeta Indrani) whose fiance he was planning to frame to lay a trap. With little prep time and no resources at her disposal, Annie comes extremely close to taking down Wilcox once and for all, even if it does require helping Henry's plan along in order to get him to Switzerland and put her plan into action.

Batman '66 #2

The second issue of Batman '66 sends Batman and Robin up against the formidable team of the Penguin and Mr. Freeze who have constructed a enormous iceberg in the middle of Gotham Harbor that somehow the Penguin has been able to get legally recognized as its own sovereign country.

Trespassing on Penguinia, Batman is thrown in the icy dungeon leaving Robin to find a way out of the pickle as Emperor Penguin and Ambassador Freeze blackmail ships needing passage in or out of the harbor. With the help of the Bat-Sub, the Boy Wonder comes up with a plan to free the Caped Crusader and save the day.

The back-up story we get isn't as entertaining but it does feature a pair of the more ridiculous TV-show villains fans of the show should enjoy in Chandell and Lorelei Circe. The story is also notable for the cameo by Kathy Kane who even gets to dress up as Batwoman (although only in Batman's Siren-caused hallucination). Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

Elementary - Ancient History

Without a case to solve in days, and with boredom seeping in, Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) drags Watson (Lucy Liu) to the morgue looking for any unsolved death that may offer the promise of an interesting case. What they find is the hit-and-run of a former professional hitman who Holmes believes may have killed a man the day he died.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

White Collar - Out of the Frying Pan

After arresting the owner of the world's most notorious Black Market E-bay site, Neal (Matt Bomer) and his new handler Special Agent David Seigel (Warren Kole) turn their attention to catching as many of the site's buyers as possible as Diana (Marsha Thomason) creates multiple false profiles to outbid for the stolen merchandise allowing the FBI time to track down as many buyers as possible and Peter (Tim DeKay) begins his new role as head of the White Collar Division. Trouble for Neal and his new partner starts early when the first name of anonymous buyers Seigel chooses to go after turns out to be Mozzie (Willie Garson).

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - Forget Me Not

Needing to know who took the genies bottle, Alice (Sophie Lowe) and the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) set out on a quest to recover the Forget Me Knot, a magical item allowing the viewer to look back at past events. Their journey takes them first to the Caterpillar (Iggy Pop) and then the Grendel (Steve Bacic) to recover the item which will only bring Alice sorrow as she realizes she has been betrayed by a close friend. The pair must also deal with a monster from Alice's past when Jafar (Naveen Andrews) and the Red Queen (Emma Rigby) unleash the Bandersnatch after the young woman hoping to force her to use the first of her three wishes.

The Crazy Ones - She's So European

The arrival of one of the firm's favorite clients (Saffron Burrows) puts everyone in a tizzy as she takes both Simon (Robin Williams) and Zach (James Wolk) as her lovers on back-to-back nights and shares secrets about her relationships with both men with Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Sydney's discomfort with the situation gradually rubs off on both men creating a problem to properly service the client (so to speak).

The Big Bang Theory - The Romance Resonance

Sheldon's (Jim Parsons) breakthrough scientific discovery goes to his head, but once he discovers the mistake in his work that led to the discovery completely by chance, rather than his self-pronounced brilliance, the scientist becomes obsessed with accepting no credit for his remarkable discovery.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nashville - Don't Open That Door

Fighting to get her voice back after the accident Rayna (Connie Britton) also fights for control of her latest album, which given her condition the studio believes may be her last. With Rayna dropping out of the tour that leaves Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) to headline on her own along with the label's new starlet Layla (Aubrey Peeples) as her opening act. It also opens up an opportunity for Will (Chris Carmack) to earn a spot on the tour as well. The night at the Grand Old Opry forces Rayna to test the limits of her voice in public, leading to a performance that brings the house down, and the night also provides highs and lows for Juliette who is admitted in a select fraternity only to later learn she still doesn't have the respect of her fellow artists.

Velvet #1

The old adages of hiding in plain sight and not judging a book by its cover immediately come to mind while reading the latest collaboration between writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting. When we first meet her, Velvet Templeton is shown to be the highly intelligent secretary of the Director of Arc-7 (a secret government spy program whose agents and funding do not exist in any official records). The murder of an agent who Velvet was once close to has the middle-aged executive assistant thinking back on the past and doing some investigating of her own when she doesn't trust the official story.

It's while investigating Arc-7's leading suspect, a retired spy who Velvet also spent some time with in and out of the bedroom, that the woman realizes she's been played as the audience realizes Velvet is much more than your average secretary.

The twist of having Velvet be a highly-trained field operative in semi-retirement, without revealing much of her past, as she's underestimated by those who choose to frame her for the murders, creates an intriguing set-up which I will happily stick around to read more of.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer

We now have our first trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier starring Chris EvansScarlett JohanssonAnthony MackieRobert RedfordEmily VanCampSebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier. The sequel opens in theaters on April 4th.

Ravenswood - Pilot

Remaining in Ravenswood to help Miranda (Nicole Gale Anderson) get settled with her estranged (and very strange) family, Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) also has a few questions of his own he'd like some answers to beginning with who is buried out in the cemetery under his name and likeness. While Caleb searches for answers in a town that doesn't like to share its secrets, Miranda tries to warm to her uncle (Steven Cabral), make some kind of connection to her family, and try not to get spooked out by the weird events in the house that appears to be haunted.

Much Ado About Nothing

Filmed over the period of 12 days in director Joss Whedon's home, Much Ado About Nothing is a low-key character-driven of version of William Shakespeare's play that comes off quite different than the far more lavish version Kenneth Branagh dazzled audiences with two decades ago.

Set in present day, shot entirely in black-and-white, and filled with performances of several of Whedon's favorite actors, it could be easy to dismiss the film as a vanity project. To do so would be a mistake.

The film casts two of my favorite Whedon actors in Alexis Denisof, as the quick-witted Benedick, and Amy Acker, as the sharp-tongued Beatrice. Having spent many a night in Shakespeare readings with Whedon, as well as the time together on Angel, the pair have an obvious comfort level and chemistry that would impossible to create with such a short shooting schedule.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Arrow - Broken Dolls

Picking up from last week's cliffhanger, the latest episode of Arrow opens with the Black Canary (Caity Lotz) springing Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) from Laurel's (Katie Cassidy) trap. Loosing his new friend moments later, Oliver enlists the help of Roy (Colton Haynes) to learn as much about Startling City's new vigilante as possible. Tracking down a young woman named Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) gets Roy face-to-face he wanted but things don't go quite as he planned.

Ame-Comi Girls #8

The final issue collecting the digital comics reimagining the DCU filled with all super-powered heroines and villains comes to a close with more of a whimper than a bang with three separate tales introducing three new characters rather than offering up a final big adventure.

Of the three stories the middle one concerning White Canary is the most interesting as the other two don't offer much in the way of diffrentiating the Ame-Comi version of the characters from their regular DCU counterparts. The Big Barda space pirate story is fun but incomplete and Mera vs. a female Black Manta didn't do much for me at all.

The White Canary story gives us a character whose sonic scream is far more pronounced, making it impossible for the heroine to communicate at anything above a whisper (unless she wants to destroy all surrounding structures). I've enjoyed this series, and even if the final issue is one of the weakest, I'll still miss it's optimism and gleeful spirit. Once again, this is something the New 52 could use far more of... as well as more strong (preferably not insane) female characters. For fans.

[DC, $3.99]

Person of Interest - Razgovor

When The Machine gives Finch (Michael Emerson) the number of an orphaned 10 year-old girl (Danielle Kotch) with surveillance skills beyond her years and dreams of being a spy, Shaw's (Sarah Shahi) patience is put to the test. When Shaw discovers the young girl bugged her entire building (which isn't exactly in the best part of town) she and Reese (Jim Caviezel) are stuck with a multitude of suspects and motives for the well-organized group of men that want to do her harm. Just as Shaw was starting to bond with the girl she looses her, but wounded or not the former spy has not intention of letting Reese and Finch continue on without her.

Pretty Little Liars - Grave New World

Before the second-half of the Pretty Little Liars' Fourth Season begins next January, the show offers up this Halloween episode as Emily (Shay Mitchell), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Aria (Lucy Hale), and Hanna (Ashley Benson), all dressed in Edwardian costumes, seek answers about A and Alison (Sasha Pieterse), despite warnings to get out of town by the creepy Mrs. Grunwald (Meg Foster), during an unusual gathering in the cemetery in the equally odd city of Ravenswood. Stuck on a nearly empty bus on his way to meet up with his girlfriend, Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) meets the chatty Miranda (Nicole Gale Anderson) on her way to Ravenswood to meet lost family she's only recently learned about.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Catwoman (BTAS) by Dayna Baby Lou

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Girl in the Flower Dress

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is on route to Hong Kong to rescue a street performer (Louis Ozawa Changchien) with the ability to create and control fire who was abducted by a woman in a flowered dress named Raina (Ruth Negga) who Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team discovers has ties to the Rising Tide which brings Skye's (Chloe Bennet) loyalty to the team into question. When Skye identifies the hacker (Austin Nichols) who sold out the asset to Raina's people who have plan to enhance the street performer's powers turning him into a soldier (at least that's the line they sell him), Coulson diverts the jet to Texas and goes searching for answers not all of which he will like (which includes Skye helping the hacker evade capture).

Supergirl #24

As the disembodied spirit of Supergirl fights to regain her body, Brainiac attacks I’noxia, and the restored Zor-El discovers his mistake at sacrificing his daughter to regain his own humanity.

Supergirl #24 wraps up the Cyborg-Superman storyline with the return of both the New 52 versions of the villain and the comic's heroine. Although the planet is lost to Brainiac's attack, Supergirl's ordeal has cured her of the Kryptonite poisoning and both Kara and Cyborg-Superman are left unaware of the true series of events that allowed to regain her form as the villain, loosing the knowledge he gained as Zor-El, believes Brainiac's attack is the cause of the experiment's failure.

The comic ends with an appearance of an Oracle and the introduction of a Supergirl/Action Comics crossover (something I'm not too excited about) featuring "The Return of Krypton (something I'm really not excited about). I enjoyed this arc, but it may be time for me to give this comic another short break. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

Chanel’s Once Upon a Time…

Keira Knightley and Clotilde Hesme star in the short film from German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

The Blacklist - The Courier

Reddington (James Spader) sends Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and the FBI after "The Courier" (Robert Knepper), a notorious middle-man in Reddington's line of work who kills an Iranian spy he was conducting a $20 million deal while trying to evade the FBI. After catching the man, the FBI uncover evidence a kidnapped CIA Analyst who The Courier buried alive and who the FBI have only 20 hours to find before the young man's limited air supply runs out.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Castle - Time Will Tell

Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) investigate a parole officer who was stalked in the days leading up to her being tortured and killed. Beckett tracks down the stalker, a mentally unstable man (Joshua Gomez) who claims to be a temporal anthropologist and the only one who can stop billions of people from being killed by a fellow time traveler who is responsible for the parole officer's death. Beckett's certainty that they've captured their man is deflated when Lanie's (Tamala Jones) time of death gives the whackadoodle an unshakable alibi.

Bones - The Woman in White

While making the final preparations for Booth (David Boreanaz) and Bones' (Emily Deschanel) wedding the Jeffersonian crew do what they can to keep the happy couple focused on the wedding instead of a 30 year-old murder. When the case becomes more complicated than Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), Angela (Michaela Conlin), and Edison (Eugene Byrd) can handle on their own, Cam (Tamara Taylor) calls on the reserves by inviting Daisy (Carla Gallo), Wendell (Michael Grant Terry), Vaziri (Pej Vahdat), Oliver (Brian Klugman), and Fisher (Joel David Moore) to all help solve the murder.

Morning Glories #33

And here I thought the Jun/Hisao storyline couldn't get any more complicated. Nick Spencer, you proved me wrong. Morning Glories #33 centers around Guillaume's attempts to reconnect with the boy he loves. He takes the standoffishness of Hisao (who everyone knows as Jun) to be the result of loosing his brother. The truth, however, is far more complicated.

The issue also gives us flashbacks of Hisao's meeting with Hodge to try and earn his brother's release from Morning Glories Academy after Jun took his spot. Although he earns his own ticket, Hisao isn't able to get his brother released. It's not until the sacrifice where we learn how Hisao was able to make up for his brother's sacrifice with one of his own.

The result of Jun and Hisao switching bodies means the core group of students is left with a stranger in their midst with the face of a friend, and Jun and Guillame are both left to suffer the loss of their loved one. As to what this means for the future, and how/if Jun can successfully take his brother's place (again), we'll just have to wait and see. Worth a look.

[Image, $3.50]

The Mentalist - Red Listed

Two of Jane's (Simon BakerRed John suspects, Reede Smith (Drew Powell) and Robert Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan), investigate Jane as a suspect in the torture and killing of a murderer he once buried alive to coerce a confession. One, however, already knows who is responsible. Jane finds the entire situation interesting since the misinformation he left out to be found by whoever was spying on the mentalist pointed to the man as one of seven fake Red John suspects. Not willing to let the other seriously awful people meet the same fate, Lisbon (Robin Tunney) enlists the help of Cho (Harry Groener), Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), and Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) to offer them all CBI protection.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Once Upon a Time - Nasty Habits

With father and son reunited, Neal (Michael Raymond-James) and Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) work together to rescue Henry (Jared Gilmore) from Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) while elsewhere on the island Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Regina (Lana Parrilla), and Hook's (Colin O’Donoghue) rescue plan runs into a snag when Tinker Bell (Rose McIver) refuses to help, and incur Pan's wrath, until the group comes up with an escape plan out of Neverland.

Fables #134

A single issue interlude in the "Camelot" storyline centers around the afterlife of Bigby who has been living out his days in a forested realm without remembering the series of events which led him there. Visited by Boy Blue, and one other important visitor, Bigby is roused out of his dream state to consider and question what happens to the legendary Fable going forward.

Although Blue doesn't show him the way, his conversation to Bigby implies the wolf can return to the land of the living if he so desires. Or, if he believes that life is finished and is happy in his new surroundings, the wolf can stay in his new realm for eternity.

Bigby's abscence in the comic has been felt, even before he was turned to crystal and shattered by Prince Brandish. This issue suggests that his return has more to do with the wolf's decision and will than the various magics of Fabletown tirelessly working to put him back together again. The issue ends on a sweet, if melancholy, note, but I expect we haven't seen he last of the wolf. Worth a look.

[Vertigo, $2.99]

Guardians of the Galaxy #7

Fighting with the mysterious Angela didn't solve anything, so in the latest issue the Guardians of the Galaxy try talking to the woman who it took all of them to eventually take down. Guardians of the Galaxy #7 reveals the cosmic event that brought the angel to the Marvel Universe (the same one Thanos mentioned last issue) as well as reveals her true origins to the Guardians as an angel of Heven.

There's not much action here, as the issue is mainly used to introduce the character (finally) to those readers unaware of her origins. The interactions between the group while talking to Angela are fun, but both Tony Stark and Peter Quill push the flippant Whedonesque pop culture joke references well past the bounds of reasonable behavior.

With no reason or authority to hold her, the Guardians release Angela to Earth (a realm she only knows about through stories). Although the issue ends with the angel on her own, given the fact she appears on next month's cover I don't think it will take too long before we see her again. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Hawaii Five-0 - A Ia La Aku

As Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) torture a Yakuza hitman for the name of who put a hit out on both of them, Five-0 is called in to investigate the murder of a wedding crasher and the attempted murder of a runaway bride (Lacey Beeman) on the day of her wedding. Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) manages to find a connection between the two victims who were actually brother and sister wedding scam artists. Both the groom (Alex Ashbaugh) and his mother (Rebecca De Mornay) are shocked by the news of her past despite their lawyer's (Bruce Nozick) detailed background check.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Embrace of the Vampire

Released in 1995 during what can only be descried as actress Alyssa Milano's naughty phase, Embrace of the Vampire was one of a handful of movies Milano starred in to shake-up her image, leave the role of Samantha Micelli from Who's the Boss behind, and move forward into more adult roles.

Even as a B-movie erotic thriller Embrace of the Vampire is far from successful. The goofy attempt at serious melancholy vampire story is far less memorable than the amount of skin the actress flashed in the film.

Milano stars as Charlotte, a 17 year-old college freshman nearing her 18th birthday on which she plans to lose her virginity to her boyfriend (Harold Pruett). Her world is shaken by a vampire (Martin Kemp) who believes Charlotte to be the reembodied soul of his lost love. The vampire begins invading the dreams and subconscious of the young woman opening her up sexually and trying to draw her into his web.

Hawaii Five-0 - The Complete Third Season

Much of the Third Season of Hawaii Five-0 centers around the return of Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) super-secretive former CIA agent mother (Christine Lahti) from the grave and the series of lies and half-truths between mother and son that keep the truth about both her past and current pursuits a mystery from her son. Other ongoing stories include Michelle Borth becoming a full member of the cast and the continued relationship between Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) which is complicated by the return of his brother Michael (Daniel Henney) from prison.

Highlights from the season include the return of Doris to Hawaii, McGarrett and Danny (Scott Caan) getting shanghaied on the high seas, a look back into one of Danny's cases in New JerseyKono being framed for murder, and a series of murders McGarrett is positive were committed by a therapist (Vanessa Marcil).

Covert Affairs - Dead

After faking her death to go off the grid, Annie (Piper Perabo) heads to Switzerland with a new passport, a new hairdo, and a new deep cover mission which begins with getting close to Jai's mother (Seeta Indrani), Henry Wilcox's (Gregory Itzin) ex-wife. First starting a friendship with the woman at a support group for those who have tragically lost loved ones and then getting a job in her husband's (Mike Dopud) firm Annie works her way into the woman's life. Things do get a little complicated when the man Henry hired to destroy the helicopter and frame Teo (Manolo Cardona) for the crime shows up on the other side of a conference table.

The Shadow #18

The Shadow's battle of wills with The Light comes to a close high above the city on rooftops and the top of the bridge as Lamont Cranston fights the crazed nun believing she is doing God's work killing the sinful and purifying the world of the evil they represent.

Although I think this story arc is at least one issue too long, I can't argue with the fact that it's gotten stronger as it has gone on. The conclusion, with the two vigilantes both of whom equally believe their version of justice is righteous and the other's is tainted, offers a physical battle as well as a battle of words and a debate on each of the vigilante's actions set to some great panels by artist Giovanni Timpano.

The issue comes to a close with The Shadow victorious, but the inability of the police to discover a body in the river suggests we may not have seen the last of The Light nor her mission. Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]