Friday, January 31, 2014


Although well-received by critics Ron Howard's last film chronicling the rivalry of Formula One drivers Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) leading up to and during the 1976 Formula One season, the film grossed just over $90 million worldwide and has been shut out at most of the major awards this year. That's a travesty. Aside from being an engrossing dramatic tale split equally between the two leads that found a spot on my Top Movies of 2103, Rush should easily have won Oscar nominations for visual effects, cinematography, and sound.

Brühl is the standout of the piece, but Hemsworth is used better here than any any film so far (including Thor). And Alexandra Maria Lara and Olivia Wilde lead a supporting cast as the women who love them. Two character studies for the price of one, and featuring some of the most amazing racing visuals every put to film, Rush is just as good on Blu-ray as it was in the theater. For more on the film read my original review.

Community - Analysis of Cork-Based Networking

The Save Greendale Committee face two important tasks (or what passes for important at Greendale Community College) in the latest episode. As Annie (Alison Brie) gets lost in the politics and labyrinthine, back-dealing, behind-the-scenes world of the college while trying to help Buzz Hickey (Jonathan Banks) get a simple bulletin board rehung in the cafeteria, Jeff (Joel McHale), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver), and Chang (Ken Jeong) create the theme for the school dance (not initially realizing where Chang got his brilliant ides of "Bear Down for Mid-Terms").

Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW

Just when I think Marvel's numbering system couldn't get any more ridiculous the company starts releasing .NOW issues. Sigh. Anywho, the latest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy is actually quite fun as it sets up the events of the crossover with All-New X-Men and the abduction of Jean Grey who the Shi'ar plan on putting on trial for the crimes as the Phoenix (despite the fact that this version of the character hasn't committed them yet).

After being saved by Gamora and Angela, who rescue an unconscious Peter Quill from a Skrull bounty hunter posing as one of his teammates, the murder girls (as Rocket Raccoon likes to call them) and the rest of the team head to Earth after learning of the Shi'ar plot.

I'm not really looking forward to title jumping into yet another crossover, but on the other hand the galactic ramifications of Jean Grey's trial make for an unique situation that fits this team perfectly. We don't get much from Rocket, Groot, or Drax, but the early stuff with Quill is fun as is the continued female bonding of the murder girls. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Link by Jessica Nigri

Labor Day

I'm a Jason Reitman fan. Young Adult made my Top Films of 2011, as did Juno a few years earlier. I consider Thank You For Smoking the best satire (by far) of the past decade, and Up in the Air was easily my favorite film of 2009. With a combination of wit, talent, and an eye for casting, the writer-director has produced some terrific films over the past few years. Sadly, Labor Day is not one of them.

Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day lacks Reitman's usual flourishes or the trademark edge of the director's previous work. Although competently acted and well produced, neither the director nor its stars (Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Clark Gregg, and Gattlin Griffith) can save the movie from trashy romance novel themes about the nicest escaped murderer (Brolin) this side of Mayberry and an implausible love story that is impossible to take seriously (but also not quite cheesy enough to laugh at or enjoy). It's with neither malice nor spite, but with a heavy heart, that I dub the film the best produced Lifetime Movie for Women ever made.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Psych - Somebody's Got a Woody

When a murder suspect (Peter Stormare) breaks into the police station and takes Woody (Kurt Fuller) hostage, Trout (Anthony Michael Hall) organizes the troops for a siege and to prepare to take the morgue by force. Believing his abductor might actually be innocent, Woody convinces Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) to take the case and solve the murder of a recently-released con. And Juliet (Maggie Lawson), not willing to let Trout risk Woody's life needlessly, puts her own life in danger by pretending to be the coroner's daughter.

Arrow - Tremors

While working with Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to track down Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) who was broken out of prison to retrieve Malcolm Merlyn's (John Barrowman) earthquake machine, Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) struggles to train an angry and impatient Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) who is spiraling further and further out of control since his exposure to Brother Blood's (Kevin Alejandro) super-soldier serum.

Batman '66 #7

One of my favorite criminals from the 60's Batman TV-show was False Face (played by an uncredited Malachi Throne). Only making a single appearance on the show in the two-parter "True or False Face" and "Holy Rat Race" the constantly-masked villain capable of perfectly impersonating anyone gets his own comic adventure here as the villain impersonates millionaire Bruce Wayne and attempts to destroy Mount Rushmore!

The adventure is fun, if over-the-top, and forces Batman to abandon showing up as Bruce Wayne until Batman and Robin can clear his name. If I have a major complaint its the unnecessary ambiguous clues False Face leaves for the Dynamic Duo making him come off a bit like a second-rate Riddler.

The back-up story is a bit odd as the Joker decides to take Wall Street's advice and downsize to increase profits only to not have enough henchmen to properly execute a heist or defend himself against Batman and Robin. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

Pretty Little Liars - Bite Your Tongue

By the end of this week's episode one Liar will come close to a nervous breakdown as Emily (Shay Mitchell) is gaslit by A. Aria (Lucy Hale) will struggle to deal with her feelings after being blindsided by Mike's (Cody Christian) new relationship with Mona (Janel Parrish). Hanna (Ashley Benson) will play detective only get more than she bargained with in her trip to the dentist. And, in the storyline that holds the promise of big changes, a speed-popping Spencer (Troian Bellisario) will finally begin looking for A in the right place as begin to suspect the truth about Ezra (Ian Harding).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Force is Strong with this one

Sith by Heather1337

Intelligence - Secrets of the Secret Service

Gabriel (Josh Holloway) and Riley (Meghan Ory) go undercover on a former President's (Bill Smitrovich) Secret Service detail in Syria to rescue two American journalists whose fate could be the spark to start a long war with both Russia and the Middle East. Despite limited intel, the extraction plan nearly goes off without a hitch until Gabriel discovers one of the journalists will die from wounds before the end of the day and the other (Tania Raymonde) admits the pair are really are CIA operatives who have no plans on leaving the country and burning their covers until their mission to locate an American scientist working on a mission guidance system is complete.

Supergirl #27

I'm saddened, but not surprised, by DC refusing to capitalize on the perfect situation to admit a horrific mistake and move on. Last issue ended with Supergirl killing the pointlessly redesigned pseudo-Lobo which I had hoped might mean that DC Editorial had chosen to listen to fan outrage of yet another bastardization of a classic character and carefully orchestrated a way to get rid of the character in a single issue. Nope. At least the art is good.

The "dead" pseudo-Lobo of course comes back to life to cause trouble for Supergirl along with Shay Veritas and the other scientists trapped aboard the dimensionally-trapped Block. The comic also introduces us the ship's prisoner/passenger with the New 52 introduction of Lady Blaze (who, if possible, interests me less than pseudo-Lobo).

Although I've grown to like this depiction of Kara, the comic's hot-and-cold storylines have been hit-and-miss for me and I have little interest in seeing Kara and pseudo-Lobo, Round 2 after her solar recharge. Maybe I'll come back for the next arc. Pass.

[DC, $2.99]

Vanessa Hudgens, covered in Nylon

For the cover of their February issue Nylon Magazine turned to actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens who discussed her role in Spring Breakers as well as her new film Gimme Shelter along with growing into more adult roles on-screen, and what the future might hold. You can find the pics from her cover shoot inside.

Nova #12

Used mainly to set-up a series of events leading up to a classic misunderstanding (i.e. an overused comic book staple) and fight between two heroes in next month's issue, Nova #12 continues Sam's adventures in the stars while his family deals with their own troubles on Earth.

After being dismissed by Galactic Kraven (seriously, how else do you describe the guy who hunts super-hero types for sport?), Nova answers a distress call of a Nova spaceship under attack. Despite being creeped-out that the ship is powered by a dead Nova, our hero gives the spaceship a power boost not realizing he's just helped pirates and slavers avoid capture and continue to sell off their prisoners including the young girl who tricks Sam into helping.

Of course the whole point of this issue is to set-up the supremely ridiculously titled Nova #13NOW (really Marvel?) which will pit Sam against a very angry Beta Ray Bill and teach the young hero that things aren't always what they seem. For fans.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Blacklist - The Cyprus Agency

On the eve of her own adoption, Reddington (James Spader) brings The Cyprus Agency to Lizzie's (Megan Boone) attention along with their methods of illegally procuring children (in a bizarre manner) and passing them off to completely unaware new families. The search into the at-first apparently above-board firm, discovers 27 unusual baby adoptions in the last three years that can't be traced back to any actual births or parents. Further investigation reveals several of the children's DNA links back to a stable of missing women who the company keeps in induced comas to breed their stock.

Samurai Jack #4

Samurai Jack's quest to gather the remaining Threads of Time leads the wanderer to a frosty kingdom deep in the mountains ruled over by the tyrannical Queen Krystle whose android warriors capture Samurai Jack and put him to work in the kitchens.

Although I still enjoyed the issue, especially the early scenes recaping the samurai's journey to find the village deep in the mountainous wilderness, Samurai Jack #4 is by far the weakest issue of the new series complete with a queen who enjoys cake while her peasants starve (and even, unfortunately, at one point utters a trademark phrase causing anyone knowing their French history to groan).

Capturing the strand which has kept the Queen young and powerful for generations, Samurai Jack moves one step closer to his task (which is now being aided actively by the strands themselves who are growing more powerful as Jack collects more of them). For fans.

[IDW, $3.99]

House of Lies - Boom

The well-crafted plan of Marty (Don Cheadle) and Jeannie (Kristen Bell) to woo a grocery conglomerate and a organic food chain and and pit them against each other quickly falls apart, along with Jeannie's position within Galweather Stearn, when the firm unexpectedly fires Julianne (Bess Armstrong) and decides to bring back "The Rainmaker" Marco Pelios (Griffin Dunne), who isn't exactly Jeannie's biggest fan. Seeing her position in the company fall apart when the man she got fired by exposing his practice of sleeping with various female employees is given back the keys to the kingdom, Jeannie has no choice but to call a last-second audible.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #27

The All Caste/League of Assassins storyline comes to an end here with a tale about as confusing as everything else concerning the All Caste as Jason Todd punches all the magic out of Ra's al Ghul thus saving the world and fulfilling his destiny. Seriously, that's what happens.

A confusing end to an equally confusing series of events involving the magic assassin types who trained Todd, the issue does offer a pretty good fight between al Ghul and the Red Hood while Starfire and Arsenal battle various members of the League of Assassins. (Although Bronze Tiger, even if it is the crappy New 52 version of the character, doesn't earn much more than a cameo.)

The best part of the issue is that it brings an end to the odd, and often awkward and confusing, storyline allowing Todd to play hero and put an end to this chapter of his life. Hopefully this means the comic will move forward with less poorly-defined mysticism and on to more of Todd's journey of redemption. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

Monday, January 27, 2014

New 52 Batgirl by Yaya Han

True Detective - The Locked Room

While continuing to delve into the demons both men were fighting on an investigation no one wanted them to spend so much time and resources on, "The Locked Room" develops the first solid lead in the case as Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Hart’s (Woody Harrelson) discovery of the burned-out church with a painting eerily similar to their murder scene leads them to a tent ministry. When the lead doesn't pan out, it forces Cohle to redouble his efforts into finding another murder that matches the profile and a thread to follow back to their killer.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time

Aimed more to a kid-friendly all-ages audience than the much more publicized Justice League: War release, and available only at Target (as a tie-in to the store's JLA toy line), JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time proves to be a hell of a lot of fun. Rather than adapting an existing mini-series or comic arc (which seems all that DC has been interested in lately), Trapped in Time offers an original adventure from screenwriter Michael Ryan and director Giancarlo Volpe that's a bit of a throwback to the old Super Friends days.

The straight-to-DVD adventure begins with the Legion of Doom's latest plan of world conquest by expanding the polar ice caps which leaves Lex Luthor (Fred Tatasciore) stuck in ice for hundreds of years before his frozen remains are eventually discovered. Accidentally released by two junior members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Lex uses the knowledge and technology of the future to return to the past with a plan to stop the Justice League from ever forming by attacking Superman while he was still an infant.

Atomic Robo and The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #5

Dr. Dinosaur was right! Okay, he wasn't actually right. He is an insane dinosaur scientist after all. The final issue of Atomic Robo and The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #5 will end Atomic Robo's battle with his arch-nemesis in the underground caves where Dr. Dinosaur has enslaved a rock-creature army and created a nuclear-powered time bomb to destroy all trace of humanity. And, here's the thing, it goes off!

Filled with more war of words between the action scientist and the deranged reptile, the final issue of the series ends on a suprising note. Unable to prevent Dr. Dinosaur from exploding his absurd creation, Atomic Robo gets his colleagues to safety but is unable to remove himself from the center of the blast. Although it doesn't destroy all history of mankind, Dr. Dinosaur's time bomb does actually shoot Atomic Robo into the past. So he was right! Not really! But sort of!

The issue also sees Jenkins turn the tables on Majestic, but, just as Atomic Robo's story ends on a cliffhanger, we're left to wonder just what happened after the explosion at Tesladyne. Must-read.

[Red 5, $3.50]

Sherlock - The Sign of Three

Much like the best man's speech Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) gives at Watson's (Martin Freeman) wedding reception, "The Sign of Three" is messy and meandering while still delivering a terrific mystery and a slew of the series' most humorous scenes. The episode could certainly be tightened up, but Holmes' recitation of his recent cases with Watson to a captive (and often uncomfortable) audience certainly ranks as one of the show's most memorable and largely entertaining episodes.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Atlantis - The Price of Hope

With the help of his friend Daedalus (Robert Lindsay), Pythagoras (Robert Emms) finds a cure for Medusa (Jemima Rooper) but is reluctant to tell his friends as it would require Hercules (Mark Addy) to sacrifice his own life for the woman he loves. Cure or no cure, when Hercules sets out to find Medusa on his own, Pythagoras and Jason (Jack Donnelly) go after him only to be captured by Scythians and reunited with Hercules as potential prey for the barbarians who plan to hunt the threesome through the Forest of Calydon.

White Collar - Taking Stock

When a client calls looking for Rebecca (Bridget Regan) it means an importunity for Diana (Marsha Thomason) to get back in the field and for Neal (Matt Bomer) to sit down with the assassin who conned him. As Diana goes undercover it allows Mozzie (Willie Garson) to spend a little time with his namesake, her baby Theodore. Aside from being a terrific babysitter, Mozzie's time with Theo will also lead to him make a huge discovery concerning the diamond leading into next week's season finale.

20 Feet from Stardom

The Oscar-nominated documentary 20 Feet from Stardom is a great idea of showcasing those who spend their entire lives as back-up singers and dancers in the shadow of famous artists that doesn't give audiences as much insight to these women as you might first expect. Primarily concerned with Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, and Táta Vega, the film also touches on several other artists including The Waters, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill.

Featuring interviews from several back-up singers, producers, artists, and even a few big names (Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Stevie Wonder, and former back-up singer turned star Sheryl Crow) praising the unknowns that add so much to their acts, director Morgan Neville is definitely worth viewing. But despite such a treasure trove of untapped potential and some terrific performances (both live and shared from a variety of video clips), 20 Feet from Stardom comes off as a very good, but somewhat limited, look at these women and lives of back-up singers over the years.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday with Emma

Bones - The Master in the Slop

While Bones (Emily Deschanel) pouts that Cam (Tamara Taylor) earns a prestigious Women in Science award that usually goes to her and is forced to work with Canadian Forensic Podiatrist Douglas Filmore (Scott Lowell) rather than one of her usual lab assistants, the Jeffersonian helps the FBI investigate the murder of a champion chess master whose remains were found in pig slop.

Power Girl: Bomb Squad

Recollecting issues #13-18 of Power Girl's self-titled series prior to the New 52 reboot, Power Girl: Bomb Squad features our heroine dealing with a hidden enemy out to not only destroy Kara but her alter-ego Karen Starr as well. The run also reintroduces Maxwell Lord as the hidden puppet master who has made everyone but a handful of the former Justice League International members including Booster Gold forget his existence.

Along with the slow rediscovery of who Max is, and what he's capable of, this six-issue run from writer Judd Winick and artist Sam Basri pits Power Girl against the living bomb Crash out to destroy New York City, a clone of Kara named Divine, and features cameos from Booster Gold and Dick Grayson as Batman (during Bruce Wayne's lost-in-time storyline).

It may not be the title's best arc (although it leads up to those issues), but there's plenty for Kara to tackle here and I quite enjoy her interactions with old friends (especially with Dick Grayson's Batman). Worth a look.

[DC, $14.99]

The Transcendent Kate Mara

Promoting the return of House of Cards and her role in the upcoming film Transcendence, actress Kate Mara can be found in the February issue of British GQ. You can find the pics from the photo shoot inside.


Set in the Cars expanded universe and originally planed as a straight-to-DVD release, Planes is admittedly a mixed bag. Produced and co-written by John Lasseter, the film is visually stunning with a nice message for kids and some enjoyable racing sequences. Sadly, the film's script about a crop duster (Dane Cook) with a fear of heights competing in a worldwide race, isn't exactly inspired. Mostly, it feels like Cars-light.

Lacking the heart of Cars, one of my favorite Pixar films, Planes has issues with tone, a large assortment of mostly forgettable supporting characters (voiced by Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Priyanka Chopra, and John Cleese among others), and a by-the-numbers script that holds no surprises. That means the film has to fall back on only its charm and beautiful design to get it through the various peaks and valleys our hero navigates over the 91-minute running time.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Community - Geothermal Escapism

And then there were five. In a fitting farewell to Donald Glover (who is leaving the show to concentrate on his his stand-up comedy), Abed (Danny Pudi) gets the entire Greendale community to sign-on for a game of Hot Lava where no student or faculty member is allowed to touch the floor until only a single survivor remains. As expected, Greendale devolves into a bizarre dystopian future in only a couple hours as the entire populace becomes obsessed with winning the game (and the $50,000 Abed puts up for a grand prize), and the various members of the Study Group each find their way to say goodbye to their friend and wish him well on his worldwide adventure.

Psych - Remake A.K.A. Cloudy... With a Chance of Improvement

While cracking several jokes about unnecessary remakes (and making quips about things we know will come to pass over the show's eight-year run), Psych turns its attention to unnecessarily remake one of the show's First Season episodes "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder." Bringing back some, but not all, of the episode's original guest-stars (including Michael Weston as the defense attorney in far over his head) while adding in Ralph Macchio, Ray Wise, and Ed Lover, Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) head into the courtroom as legal consultants intent on saving a preschool teacher (Lindsay Sloane) who is charged with the murder of a local weather man (Dana Ashbrook).

G.I. JOE: Special Missions #11

The search for Destro continues as Scarlett and her team continue to shadow Copperback hoping the former Cobra agent will lead them straight to the weapon designer's new base of operations.

Most of G.I. JOE: Special Missions #11 focuses on the Special Missions team keeping Copperhead under surveillance while doing their own research to Destro's location (which turns out to be a good thing when Copperhead gives Scarlett and the JOEs the slip in an international airport).

Along with a few panels of Destro's latest B.A.T. testing involving a promising but questionable new subject, the comic also ends with Scarlett calling in a little help once the JOEs locate the weaponer's likely home.

The introduction of Helix, and the possibility of seeing the still MIA Snake Eyes's two lady friends attempt to work together despite their history, adds a nice wrinkle to the storyline as the search for Destro continues. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

Teen Titans Go! - Breakfast Cheese

After Starfire (Hynden Walch) becomes concerned that the team's level of violence isn't solving the problem of preventing crime and seems to be leading to the team being more confrontational and competitive inside Titan's Tower, she slowly begins to convince the group to give peace a chance.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stephanie Brown by SniperPlushie

Arrow - Blind Spot

Realizing Laurel (Katie Cassidy) has begun uncovering a past he has worked very hard to keep hidden, Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro) kills the woman the world knows as his mentally-unstable aunt (Ana Mercedes), who is actually the mother who witnessed a young Blood kill his father in cold blood. Unable to get the Assistant District Attorney to risk investigating Starling City's next mayor, Laurel turns to Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) for help.

Intelligence - Mei Chen Returns

With a missing CIA agent (Annie Wersching) in London attempting to sell intel to the highest bidder, Riley Neal (Meghan Ory) is sent to pull an AWOL Gabriel (Josh Holloway) back home. Still dealing with the death of his wife (Zuleikha Robinson), Gabriel also has a second problem as he begins to suspect his chip has been compromised. At first he believes the woman's voice he's hearing may be from his wife, but when returning to his cyber-render he discovers Mei Chen (Grace Huang) survived the procedure and has full control of an even more powerful chip that allows her to access everything Gabriel knows and possibly even gain control of his mind.

Worlds' Finest #19

With Power Girl's wild power fluctuations becoming more frequent and dangerous, the Huntress decides it may be time for the pair to consider finding help. After a year-and-a-half of the title focues on the pair to themselves (other than Helena's friendship with Damian, and Power Girl meeting Supergirl) it appears Worlds' Finest is finally ready to introduce Earth-2's Robin and Supergirl to this world's heroes.

Much of Worlds' Finest #19 is set-up as Kara's latest power freak-outs leave Helena stuck in a public park in her pajamas and almost burn down Starr Industries' board room. Realizing her friend needs all the help she can get, Helena breaks into the Batcave hoping to convince this world's Batman to help the daughter of another world's Batman.

I"m glad the pair's isolation is coming to an end, but I would have preferred the issue to move along quicker rather than simply set-up events for confrontations which apparently won't even take place in this title (as DC plans to begin the pair's introduction to the wider DCU in Batman/Superman #8). Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

Pretty Little Liars - Close Encounters

Not knowing whether or not the group has accidentally led A straight to Alison (Sasha Pieterse), the Liars discuss what to do next which is complicated further when Shana (Aeriél Miranda) approaches Emily (Shay Mitchell) with what she says is a message from their mutual not-so-dead friend. Willing to trust the chance Shana might be telling the truth, Emily agrees to meet Ali alone. Although she's rewarded for her trust, the meeting isn't all she hoped when its interrupted by another of the Liars causing a new fracture in the group.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Amazing X-Men #3

After opening up with a fun sequence involving the Beast fighting demonic pirates (which leaves Hank McCoy a very different character at the end of the issue than the man who began it) Amazing X-Men #3 finally begins reuniting Nightcrawler with his former teammates beginning with Storm.

With the fates of the other X-Men not touched on, the main crux of the latest issue deals with McCoy's unfortunate transformation that certainly suits his moniker and the reunion between Kurt and Ororo that includes a flashback to their time in the mansion and might have brought them both to tears if there weren't an entire ship full of pirate demons in need of being dispatched.

After two issues of set-up, Amazing X-Men finally starts delivering on the promise of working Nightcrawler back into the group. Although I didn't expect the level of romantic undertones we get here, I love the reunion between the pair and can't wait to see where they go from here. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Sleepy Hollow - Bad Blood

As the season finale begins Ichabod Crane's (Tom Mison) good mood at finding some suitable clothing at a Revolutionary War reenactment is short-lived when the Sin Eater (John Noble) shares his vision to Crane, Abbie (Nicole Beharie), and Jenny Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) of Moloch raising the second Horseman on the anniversary of Abbie and Jenny's first encounter with the demon during an eclipse 13 years ago. In need of a witch to stop War from literally descending on the town, Crane plans to use the map of ley lines he memorized from Washington's map and walk into Purgatory to save Katrina (Katia Winter) and bring her home. And, despite Jenny's objections, Abbie refuses to let him go alone.

Daredevil #35

With the penultimate issue of this version of Mark Waid's run on Daredevil before Marvel reboots the title along with most, but not all, of the Marvel NOW! titles in favor of yet another new numbering scheme that may or may not last a full year or two, the writer sets up the pieces for major shifts for Matt Murdock both in the courtroom and while donning his red tights.

Blackmailed by the Sons of the Serpent (who have a full portfolio on Murdock's night-time activities and a complete profile highlighting Daredevil's weaknesses) to represent a member of their organization who is actually innocent of the crime he's been accused of, Daredevil calls on the help of Elektra to help him work out his options (and punch bad guys). Stuck in a no-win situation, Murdock does what he does best - improvise.

The move Waid makes here is certainly bold, but it's also a genie that's going to be hard to ever put back in the bottle should Marvel find an outed Matt Murdock problematic to deal with.

Son of Batman trailer

Following the release of Justice League: War in two weeks, we now have our first trailer for DC Animated's next project which will apparently by a (very loose) adaptation of Grant Morrison's Batman & Son storyline that introduced Batman (Jason O'Mara) and the world to Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan). Morena Baccarin, Giancarlo Esposito, Thomas Gibson, and Cameron Bowen also lend their voices to the project. Although I have problems with Morrison's story (which completely ignored the fertile ground laid by Mike Barr) and have trouble seeing how the addition of Deathstroke will help matters, I'm glad to see DC bringing back Damian in any form and I've got to admit this one interests me far more than Justice League: War.

The Blacklist - The Alchemist

While Reddington (James Spader) continues his own investigation into the mole the FBI have long ago stopped looking for he also alerts Agent Keen (Megan Boone) to the identity of another member of The Blacklist: a "forensic virtuoso" who specializes in making people disappear by faking their deaths down to the teeth and DNA. Although the FBI originally scoffs at Reddington's claims, after they find a very much living mobster (David Vadim) whose body was positively identified in a plane crash they become far more interested in getting their hands on The Alchemist (Ryan O'Nan) and all the former clients he has helped disappear over the years.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Castle - Limelight

While Castle (Nathan Fillion) puts off writing a recommendation letter for Alexis' (Molly C. Quinn) boyfriend Pi (Myko Olivier), and Beckett (Stana Katic) pretends not to be bothered by baseless paparazzi rumors that Castle is getting back together with his ex-wife (Monet Mazur), the pair begin investigating the murder of a former teen star's (Alexandra Chando) paid decoy (Deanna Moore) who was killed while standing-in for the celebrity.

Velvet #3

Framed and on the run from the same government agency she has worked for her entire life, Velvet sets out to solve the murder of Jefferson Keller. After her friend Burke sneaks her out of the United States and into Vienna (while quickly dispatching any trouble they come across), Velvet begins retracing the final days of Keller which includes seducing a government paper-pusher and breaking into a prison to rescue Jefferson's asset and try to slow piece the mystery together.

When the woman proves difficult demanding to see her child before helping fill-in the blanks about Jefferson's final days, Velvet reluctantly agrees only to get played and nearly loose her newly-won asset before getting any useful information out of the broken woman.

Although she's been out of the game for years Velvet continues to easily slide back into the life she was born for as the agency that trained her hunts her down and she searches for the identity of the person who murdered two old friends and framed Violet for the crimes. Worth a look.

[Image, $3.50]

Sleepy Hollow - The Indispensable Man

The first-half of Sleepy Hollow's two-hour First Season finale involves Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) investigating the message hidden in George Washington's Bible four days after Washington's (Louis Herthum) death by none other than Zombie George Washington (yeah, you read that right). The message includes a map to Purgatory Crane could use to free Katrina (Katia Winter) or provide Moloch a method of bringing forth his apocalypse. As Crane faces the double-edged sword of Katrina's salvation versus the end of the world, both he and Abbie do their best to ignore the prophecy that Crane will eventually turn on Abbie and deliver her soul to Moloch.

House of Lies - Power

As Marty's (Don Cheadle) personal life takes a couple odd turns as he sleeps with a motivational speaker (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) and is confused by Roscoe's (Donis Leonard Jr.) new crush (Bex Taylor-Klaus) each of his old Pod mates face personal and profession problems of their own. Using skills taught by her former leader, Jeannie (Kristen Bell) steals a lucrative account from a misogynistic co-worker (John Carroll Lynch), Doug (Josh Lawson) becomes even more flustered then usual when Sarah (Jenny Slate) informs him she stopped taking birth control, and the hell hole of Clyde (Ben Schwartz) working for Monica (Dawn Olivieri) takes a dangerous turn.

Powerpuff Girls #5

Only after loosening his control of Townsville's villains and letting each revert back to their true form does HIM finally reveal his presence and gloat at his victory. The Powerpuff Girls jump into action to stop the collection of villains from laying waste to the town. However, after discovering HIM's mind control the villains re-purpose their anger accordingly and threaten retaliation.

Facing the prospect of fighting the girls and the various villains, HIM decides to release each character's inner sin to further destroy Townsville - including those of Buttercup and Blossom. Thankfully for the town, Bubbles steps up in a a big way as the lack of darkness in her soul forces the villain to abandon his latest scheme. And, to wrap-up events, the comic leaves us with a nice message about people actually being able to change if they are given the opportunity.

Writer/artist Troy Little delivers another fun issue leaving the Mojo Jojo thread still left to be resolved next month. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

Monday, January 20, 2014

True Detective - Seeing Things

As the investigation into the bizarre ritual murder stalls the second episode as "Seeing Things" takes time to fill-in the back story of Detective Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) including the tragedy of losing his young daughter and his extended stay as a Narcotics undercover officer which left him with a drug habit and occasional visions (for which the episode gets its name). We also get a closer look at Detective Hart's (Woody Harrelson) relationships with both his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and mistress (Alexandra Daddario) as the episode showcases the pressure on Hart and Cohle to find a suspect for the murder of a local prostitute.