Thursday, March 23, 2017

Legion - Chapter 7

"Chapter 7" begins to offer answers. With David (Dan Stevens) and his friends still locked away in the mental institution of his mind, and David further segmented from the group in the deepest recesses of his mind, Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) now controls all. Working through his troubles with another aspect of himself, David is able to piece together some basic facts about himself and the other consciousness which has been with him nearly his entire life. For those waiting for Legion's paternity to be revealed there's an awfully big reveal here. As for Lenny, he/she finally has a name.

Batman #19

The entire comic is foreplay, set-up for Batman vs. Bane round 2. Hidden deep in the bowels of Arkham to give the Psycho Pirate time to fix the mind of Gotham Girl, Batman waits.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Flash - Duet

"Duet" made me angry. Not because the musical episode failed to impress. No, the episode infuriated me because this is what I want from both Supergirl and The Flash and somehow you just know the writers of both shows will ignore all that works here as each show gets stuck back in the grim and grittiness of its current storylines. "Duet" is what I want both shows to be: bright, fun, energetic, and hopeful. This shouldn't be a standout. This should be the bar both shows attempt to reach every single week. This year Supergirl has been more successful than The Flash in the regard, but both have struggled juggling darker themes and unnecessarily convoluted relationship drama getting in the way of the fun. I'm not saying never get serious, but embrace more zany hopeful storylines so that when you do need to take a serious moment it will have all the more impact (as opposed to episodes of moping or acting like a dick for weeks at a time to those who love and rely on you).

Iron Fist - Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch / Eight Diagram Dragon Palm

If the first two episodes of Iron Fist are about reintroducing Danny Rand (Finn Jones) to New York City, the second pair are about him reclaiming his family name. Free from the mental asylum (which apparently is fine, because no one ever peruses the escaped mental patient), but unable to claim his name from the Meechams, Danny hires Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) to fight for 51% of the company his father built. This becomes increasingly hard with Ward's (Tom Pelphrey) cronies destroying ever piece of evidence that Danny ever existed. Netflix's TV universe continues to connect its shows only through supporting characters. Hogarth shows in a few episodes this season, and we'll soon be seeing a certain nurse as well.

Super Sons #2

Caught snooping by Lex Luthor, Robin and Superboy manage to get away thanks to a little misdirection and Damian threatening to blow up the LexCorp laboratory. Luthor's reaction to the entire encounter is puzzling.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Supergirl - Star-Crossed

The arrival of Mon-El's (Chris Wood) parents on Earth reveals his princely secret to Kara (Melissa Benoist) causing an immediate strain on their relationship. Kara's unwillingness to forgive either his lies or the fact that Mon-El is the prince of a society which is the antithesis of her Kryptonian heritage and ideals appears to have ended the relationship before it began in earnest. While the show enjoys some fan casting here with Teri Hatcher cast as Mon-El's mother, the role doesn't really allow her to do much (and unfortunately also doesn't bring her into contact with her former Lois & Clark co-star). While she's good, and has one nice one-on-one scene with Kara, I would have preferred the show given her something more to do. Apparently she and Kevin Sorbo will be sticking around for at least one more episode so maybe there's more to come.

Daredevil #18

Continuing to fill-in the events between the previous series set in San Fransisco and Matt Murdock's return to New York City as an Assistant District Attorney, Daredevil #18 brings back a classic villain with the return of the Purple Man. As told in flashbacks during Murdock's confession, the Purple Man's escape from prison and the arrival of two of the Purple Children on his door with a mind-controlled mob behind them springs Daredevil into action to seek out the remaining children and discover just what the Purple Man has in store for them.

Elementary - The Ballad of Lady Frances

"The Ballad of Lady Frances" is one of those mysteries where nothing is initially what it appears to be. When an experimental new monitoring device captures the murder and torture of a construction worker refusing to give up the location of Frances, Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) begin scouring the man for a woman in his life who may also be in danger. What they uncover instead is a missing guitar worth millions that it's owner (Meat Loaf) is willing to kill to get back. Further investigation into the crime uncovers corruption within the city's new surveillance system and the motive for a second, far more expensive, murder.

Once Upon a Time - Ill-Boding Patterns

Since the show's beginning, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) has been one of its most interesting characters. While I still feel Once Upon a Time did itself a disservice but not allowing the character to continue the heroic turn he began last season, an episode like "Ill-Boding Patterns" does show us there's more to the Evil One than just a quest for power. With the flashbacks taking us back to the Ogre War and the current storyline focused on Gideon's (Giles Matthey) attempts to kill Emma (Jennifer Morrison), both pieces of the episode delve into the role of Rumpelstiltskin and his role as a father protecting both his sons against a darkness he knows all too well. An admitted coward, Rumpelstiltskin has never shied away from protecting his sons from danger.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Star Wars Rebels - Twin Suns

The long-teased showdown between Maul (Sam Witwer) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Stephen Stanton) finally arrives. Alerted to Maul's plan by the Holocrons, Ezra (Taylor Gray) ignores orders to stay and help the Rebellion ready themselves for the fight to retake Lothal. Instead, Ezra and Chopper head to Tatooine in search of Maul, not realizing that the former Sith Lord is using Ezra to lead him to the Jedi Mater in exile. By the end of the episode Ezra will learn a valuable lesson about understanding and trusting his place in events, and Kenobi and Maul will square off for the last time.

Angel Season Eleven #3

Stuck deep in the past during the age of Old Ones where a far-less-attractive version of Illyria battled another ancient evil creature, Angel and Fred struggle to get a handle on why her alter-ego brought them to this time and place and what they can do to survive and make it home safely.

Stella Chuu: A Cosplay Showcase

Samurai Jack - Episode XCIII

After defeating the latest version of the Beetle Drone, Jack (Phil LaMarr) is attacked on all sides by the the quick-moving Daughters of Aku who soon destroy the samurai's arsenal, motorcycle, and weapons leaving Jack to hide from the group inside an abandoned temple. As we saw in the first episode of this season, this version of Jack has been worn down mentally by the constant battle with Aku's robots of destruction. Initially taking the Daughters to be machines, Jack uses the shadows of the temple to hide until he can make his escape. However, before doing so he will make a discovery while whittling down the daughters' number by one. Jack survives the encounter, barely, but will he survive the season?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Arrow - Checkmate

In "Checkmate" Oliver (Stephen Amell) not only discovers the identity of Prometheus but the episode also reveals a far more powerful enemy behind the man who has been torturing the Green Arrow for months. Unable to go head-on against Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra), Oliver's team searches for the kidnapped Susan Williams (Carly Pope) which will also lead Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) further down the rabbit hole in her dealings with the hacker collective Helix.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Iron Fist - Snow Gives Way / Shadowhawk Takes Flight

There are some definite similarities to the first two episodes of Netflix's new series Iron Fist and the first couple of episodes of FX's Legion. Sadly, Iron Fist isn't as stylized or as intriguing as the other property. Even several episodes in, while there might be grave doubts to who David (Dan Stevens) is, and whether or not he's sane, there are no such complexities when it comes to Danny Rand (Finn Jones). The first two episodes drag out Danny's return to New York and his re-connection to a pair of childhood friends who take the odd homeless man as either a mentally-deranged fool or con artist. Hoping to reclaim a part of his life before the plane crash which marooned him in the Himalayas fifteen years ago, Danny struggles and is eventually institutionalized by the very friends he returned to find.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Emma Watson and the Beast

Disney's new Beauty and the Beast isn't so much an adaptation of their 1991 animated film as a live-action reproduction of the original. The new film follows the pattern so closely that when it diverges at any point something feels a bit off. In a loving remake, director Bill Condon and his team bring the magic of the original back to the big screen in a way which should please fans.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Jessica Jones #6

Jessica's undercover assignment for Carol Danvers concludes in Jessica Jones #6 with a couple of quick twists, and some unexpected fallout for Jessica. Pretending to throw in with the enemy, Carol is captured and beaten - just what's needed to get the villain to monologue and spill her super-secret plans. With the villains in custody and Jessica free from the mission that destroyed her life (well, destroyed it more), the heroine is left to pick up the pieces. This won't be easy now that Luke has their daughter and doesn't want anything to do with his wife.

Samurai Jack - Episode XCII

For 50 years Samurai Jack (Phil LaMarr) has traveled the wastelands of the future that is Aku (now voiced by Greg Baldwin). Along the way the samurai has lost his hope, his ability to age, the magical sword, and perhaps his sanity. The first new episode of Samurai Jack in more than a dozen years gives us a sobering look at our hero haunted by his failure to make his way home and destroy Aku. Opening with some trademark action, "Episode XCII" gives us the motorcycle-riding, gun-totting new version of Jack taking out a host of Beetle Drones to save a mother and her child. Despite the fact that his skills haven't lessened, it soon becomes obvious this is not the same samurai whose quest is legend. Haunted by visions of the past and all those he cannot save, Jack seems lost. Has Aku finally won?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Flash - Into the Speed Force

"Into the Speed Force" feels like one of those episodes we should learn something from... but I'm not sure exactly what that's supposed to be. While the episode works well enough on its own I'm also a disheartened by the show's stubbornness to continue to run from Barry (Grant Gustin) as a hopeful hero and continue down a more lonely path. Like him or not, since getting his speed Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) has been able to embody the exuberance Barry used to enjoy as the Flash (before he became a dick to everyone he loves). The conclusion of the episode seems to be to put Barry on the path to being a better speedster, but the show might be better served if it concentrated on making him a better man.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954 - Ghost Moon #1

Set in August of 1953, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954--Ghost Moon #1 sends Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. to the Walled City of Hong Kong during the month of the Ghost Moon on the Chinese calendar when people believe the gates of Hell open allowing spirits to return. Called in by Trevor Bruttenholm who has already lost one agent to mysterious happenings in the city, Hellboy, Susan Xiang, and Archie Muraro arrive to investigate.

Scorpion - Monkey See, Monkey Poo

Leaving Sylvester (Ari Stidham) back in the garage, the rest of the team heads to Africa in search of a monkey which scientists believe might be the key to stopping a dangerous viral outbreak from spreading any further. For Walter (Elyes Gabel) and his friends that means tracking down the monkey, running tests to find out what is making it immune to the disease, and then putting their skills together to solve the problem and save the day. Complicating matters for Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Happy (Jadyn Wong) are the marriage advice from Dr. Rizzuto (Penn Jillette) forcing Toby to recognize his fiance's faults as well as her gifts. Thankfully, this doesn't interfere with either the mission or the pair's impending wedding.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Red Hood and the Outlaws #8

Red Hood and the Outlaws begins its second arc by shifting focus away from the Red Hood to Artemis. Red Hood and the Outlaws #8 offers a bit of backstory for the rogue Amazon including both in Themyscira and in the desert where her world would come crashing down and eventually put her on a path to meet the other Outlaws.

Once Upon a Time - Murder Most Foul

While "Murder Most Foul" focuses on Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) being the noble one and preventing an obsessed David (Josh Dallas) from taking revenge on the man responsible for his father's death, the episode ends on a twist which just may undo all the good the pirate has done since meeting Emma (Jennifer Morrison). Hook may have one won the blessing of his girlfriend's father, but what happens if either of them learn his secret?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Super-Heroes Card Trader - X-Men Awesome Pack

For more super-heroes check out Super-Hero Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Black Cat Pack 1, Lara Croft Pack 1, and Harley Quinn Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Birds of Prey Pack 1, and the X-Mas Mega Pack.

Josie and the Pussycats #5

Returned from their concert in Rome, Josie and the Pussycats are back in the United States on the state fair circuit where Josie is still trying to get over the Alan M. debacle and the band struggles with losing their chance at a record deal when a child prodigy steals their spotlight. An already emotional Josie goes a bit crazy while Val considers leaving the group once again.

Powerless - Cold Season

Over Teddy's (Danny Pudi) objections, Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) submits his newest invention for company-wide awards. Unaware for how her emotional employee takes the prospect of both success and failure, things get frosty in the office (and not only because the beginning of summer means the arrival of cold-based villains who begin freezing everything in sight). In an expected, but still a humorous twist, Teddy's heat gloves do come in handy with the return of Crimson Fox (Deanna Russo) leaving all well and good in the offices of Wayne Securities once again.

Top 10 Planet Comicon Guests

Planet Comicon returns to Bartle Hall in Kansas City on April 28-30. Tickets are available now. Need a few reasons to come? How about 10 of them? Here are, in my humble opinion, the Top 10 Guests to meet at Planet Comicon this year.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

Far more focused than Peter Jackson's bloated three-hour mess, Kong: Skull Island is a film with a clear agenda of what it is and what it wants to do. Sadly, King Kong hasn't had the greatest career in the movies with far more disappointments than successes. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and screenwriters Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, and Derek Connolly strip away much of the Kong story to focus only on the discovery of the giant ape and the mysterious island which is also home to other monstrous beasts the outside world can only imagine.

Legion - Chapter 5

After recent events David (Dan Stevens) begins showing a frightening level of confidence in himself and in his abilities. While this allows him to get closer to Syd (Rachel Keller) and rescue his sister, David's outward calm comes to an end putting both Amy (Katie Aselton) and Syd in danger when the malevolent force inside his mind turns its attention to them. David's gleeful use of power to save Amy is shown in video footage where he effortlessly kills his way through Division 3 to rescue his sister. More in control of his powers than ever before, David is a force to be reckoned with... but is it really David in control?

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #16

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #16 is a headscratcher. While it certainly delivers Guy Gardner being Guy for his fans, the entire issue is little more than filler. Having rescued Saint Walker, Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner return to Mogo only to find John Stewart and Guy gone. This leaves their story to wilt on the vine while the comic looks elsewhere for plot.

KATSUCON 2017 - Epic Cosplay

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Flash - The Wrath of Savitar

Following the two-parter featuring Grodd and his army of apes, The Flash falls back into some bad habits I had hoped were behind the series this season. The return of Savitar means the return of dickish Barry (Grant Gustin). After somehow viewing the scene of the future without Barry and his memories, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) blurting out a questionable conclusion puts Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) back three steps from last week's engagement. And the team's insensitive use of Julian (Tom Felton) puts strain on his burgeoning relationship with Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). Oh, and Caitlin reveals she's put everyone's lives in danger for weeks by hiding a powerful relic in the lab. Seriously, did Grodd mindfuck these people while I wasn't looking because they are all pretty much acting like bad (and dumb) examples of themselves for the entire episode.

Mademoiselle Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley is the face of Chanel's new Coco Mademoiselle campaign. You can find more pics inside.

The Edge of Seventeen

Nadine's (Hailee Steinfeld) life is falling apart. Her only real friend (Haley Lu Richardson) has begun dating her brother (Blake Jenner) which has only caused the outspoken high school student to become more the anti-social. Her new refuge in the storm that is her life is an equally sarcastic teacher (Woody Harrelson), who likes the student more than he lets on.

Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen focuses on the emotional tumult of a teenager's life leading to an honest, and sometimes quite funny, film. Steinfeld balances the protagonist's frayed emotional state with aplomb in the story of a troubled young woman that is still hopeful even as Nadine swerves closer and closer to the edge.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Supergirl - Exodus

Both Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Alex (Chyler Leigh) struggle with crises of faith in "Exodus." For Alex its the mixed emotions caused by her father's involvement in Cadmus which leads to her being benched by J'onn (David Harewood). And for Kara it's choosing between doing the right thing by warning aliens they are under attack by Cadmus or swallow the story until she can get enough proof for Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez) to run the story. Not surprisingly, neither woman choose to remain silent.

Elementary - Wrong Side of the Road

The death of someone Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) worked with in London brings Kitty (Ophelia Lovibond) back to New York believing that the apparently death of natural causes is actually the third of such crimes hiding three murders tied to a case she and Sherlock worked in London. While initially skeptical, Holmes and Watson (Lucy Liu) begin to agree with Kitty's assessment which suggests the defendant (Michael Patrick Thornton) involved in the case is likely responsible. And then events take an unexpected turn.

Batman #18

After kidnapping Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, and Duke Thomas, Bane offers Batman a simple exchange: his friends for the Psycho-Pirate. Despite his history with the Dark Knight Detective, the villain is unprepared for Batman's response.

How Star Wars Rogue One Should Have Ended

Monday, March 6, 2017

Once Upon a Time - Tougher Than the Rest

Once Upon a Time returns with a mid-season premiere featuring Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina's (Lana Parrilla) quest to return to Storybrooke from the alternate reality in which they find themselves trapped. To do so the pair will turn to Pinocchio (Eion Bailey) for assistance. In doing so Emma will be reminded of a childhood memory, and how August nudged her on to the path with a few words and a fairy tale. With a little prompting from Emma, the woodcarver's son will find a way to get the women home... with an extra traveler in tow. Robin Hood's (Sean Maguire) return to Storybrooke can't be that unexpected given him showing up at the end of the previous episode, but it does raise a few questions about just how alike this version of the character is to the man Regina lost.

Star Wars Rebels - Secret Cargo

Star Wars Rebels has given us plenty battles between the Rebellion and the Empire. Predominantly focusing on a single cell operating out of Lothal, the show began to shift it's focus in Season Two with the introduction of other Rebels and adventures away from Ezra's (Taylor Gray) homeworld. This thread bears fruit as the Ghost transports Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly, the actress who also played the role in Rogue One) to a secret rendezvous in order to bring the Rebels together and, for the first time, see the beginnings of a larger Rebel Alliance take shape.

Emerald City - No Place Like Home

Emerald City closes out its First Season with major changes in Oz. Dorothy's (Adria Arjona) plan succeeds in momentarily halting the war between the Wizard (Vincent D'Onofrio) and the witches, but also leads to the unexpected release of the long-discussed Beast Forever who will likely be a major player should the show return for a Second Season. Dorothy's reunion with her birth mother (Gina McKee) is short-lived but it does allow the girl from Kansas to leave Oz and make the trip home... for however long that lasts. Tip (Jordan Loughran), now revealed to be Ozma, reclaims her birthright and takes pleasure in exacting a measure of revenge against the man (Mido Hamada) responsible for her parents' death. And West (Ana Ularu) and Glinda (Joely Richardson) are apparently on the same side again. Should Dorothy return to Oz she may find it a very different place.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

River - Episode 1

The first episode of the BBC's six-part mini-series introduces us to Detective Inspector John River (Stellan SkarsgÄrd). Already known as a bit of an odd duck by his coworkers, River is in further distress by the recent murder of his partner Stevie (Nicola Walker) who continues to appear to him (and whom he talks to as if she was still alive). Despite his amazing ability to close cases, River's erratic behavior has led to mandatory counseling with a department psychiatrist (Georgina Rich) and raised questions about his fitness as a police officer.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

First Look - Deadpool 2 (No Good Deed Clip)

Posted to his own YouTube account, Ryan Reynolds has released the Deadpool 2 sequence now playing in front of Logan in theaters now. Deadpool returns to theaters March 2, 2018.

The Blacklist: Redemption - Kevin Jensen

The second episode of The Blacklist: Redemption pushes the theme of mothers and lost sons with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. When the son of an old friend is detained and tortured in Kyrkistan by government officials who believe the journalist is actually a CIA spy, Scottie Hargrave (Famke Janssen) mounts a rescue mission despite the United States Government explicitly ordering her not to. The plan has more than a few kinks to work out, although Tom (Ryan Eggold), Solomon (Edi Gathegi), and Nez (Tawny Cypress) are able to extract the man from a maximum-security prison with few resources at their disposal.

HeidiMaetrix & BrosephDavid - Hurt (Logan-inspired Johnny Cash Cover)

HeidiMaetrix and BrosephDavid come together for this Logan-inspired music video shot in rural Missouri. Well done!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Detective Comics #951

"League of Shadows" begins here with Shiva and the League hitting Gotham City. Killing the mayor and framing Batman for the crime (hrm, not really happy to see another Batman fugitive storyline), the League of Shadows also expose the local newscasters to Joker venom on-air. And they are just getting started. Wreaking general havoc, the League begins its attack on the city and its protectors. As to just what the League wants, and how Batman for Batman and his team will have to go to stop them, we'll just have to wait and see. Worth a look.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Legion - Chapter 4

With David (Dan Stevens) lost inside his own mind, his friends attempt to search for answers in the outside world by tracking down those who knew him best including his former girlfriend (Katie Aselton) and Dr. Poole (Scott Lawrence). Their investigation doesn't give them any solid answers but does seem to confirm that Syd's (Rachel Keller) supposition that David is hiding his true memories under layers of fake ones. Unfortunately for one member of the team, their actions draw the attention of D3 leading to an ambush at the doctor's secluded home.

Arrow - Fighting Fire With Fire

Since they were introduced it was obvious that either Billy Malone or Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) was going to eventually be revealed as Prometheus. Billy's death made it all too easy to guess the identity of the season's big bad. As expected, Adrian is revealed to be Prometheus in "Fighting Fire With Fire" although Ollie (Stephen Amell) won't know this for at least another week. The main focus of the latest episode is Oliver and company (heh) going into damage-control mode after Chase leaks the cover-up in Green Arrow's involvement in Billy's murder. Facing impeachment, Oliver decides drastic action is called for, and rather than blackmail those deciding his fate or throw one of his subordinates to the wolves, Mayor Queen decides to turn the city's hero into the bad guy.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Flash - Attack on Central City

Barry's (Grant Gustin) joy at stopping Grodd (David Sobolov) and preventing an ape attack on Central City is short-lived as the follow-up to last week's "Attack on Gorilla City" brings Grodd and his army of gorillas to Earth-1. Mind-controlling Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), Grodd is able to bring his entire army over (and somehow hide a large group of armor-covered apes from prying eyes for nearly the entire episode). Fearful both of an attack on the city he's not sure they can stop, and more of Iris' (Candice Patton) future coming true, Barry considers the possibility of putting Grodd down, for good.

Elektra #1

Elektra has been many things over the years, but most of her best stories usually tie back to Daredevil (in one way or another). The character's new comic takes Elektra far from the streets of New York and Matt Murdock's new life, and deposits her on the strip in Las Vegas where the despicable treatment of one of the casino workers raises the assassin's ire.

5 Film Collection: Gangsters

What the hell is Gangster Squad doing on this set? The 2013 film wastes a talented cast on this idiotic take on a 50s cop (Josh Brolin) attempting to take down Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). What a piece of shit. The rest of this collection is actually quite good, making you wonder who decided to try and polish this turd by putting in in their company.

Ben Affleck's The Town is the second-weakest entry in the set, but the look at Boston bank robbers is at least occasionally compelling. While flawed, 2001's Training Day is worth a look for the performances of Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as the older detective introduces his new partner to his world.