Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I hope I can get tickets to that!

Leverage - The Queen's Gambit Job

The mid-season finale gives us a trip to Dubai, a chess tournament, a young prodigy (Ayla Kell), terrorists, a double-cross, and the return of Nate's (Timothy Hutton) former co-worker and the team's nemesis. Sterling (Mark Sheppard) comes to Nate for help in keeping a nuclear reactor component out of the hands of some very dangerous people.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #13

Emerald Warriors closes its run with a team-up with Guy Gardner and Batman aboard a space station. Fans of Justice League International will get the reference (especially after writer spells it out for them in the completely unnecessary final panel).

Even if Batman and Guy aren't the same characters they were during Keith Giffen's glorious run the pair work well together (though it certainly helps if you were a fan of Giffen's League). The mystery itself isn't explored very well (Batman solves the case off-panel while Guy grills the suspects), and, as I've already stated, the comic ends with a panel that (with all the subtetly of a Michael Bay action flick) directly references one of the most memorable moments from JLI.

Since it's creation this comic has been hit-and-miss for me from month to month. The last issue works well-enough (even if its somewhat hamfisted), but if you don't have nostalgia for JLI I'm not sure the story is going to hold up on its own. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

The Skin I Live In trailer

Antonio Banderas stars in Pedro Almodóvar's lastest film about a brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by tragedy and obsession, who creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. Elena AnayaMarisa ParedesBlanca Suárez, and Bárbara Lennie also star. The Skin I Live In opens in limited theaters in select cities on October 14th.

The Intrepids #6 (of 6)

I really enjoyed the first couple of issues of this mini-series about a team of children raised to take down mad scientists. The last couple of issues have lost a little steam, but this finale brings back pieces of what made those first few issues so strong (including killer cyber-bears, a trained battalion of baboons, and cyborgs) as The Intrepids turn their attention on the real villain in their midst, the man who trained and "improved" them: Dante.

I happy the Dante storyline was wrapped up with the final issue of the mini-series. If the team does earn a second mini-series, or an on-going title, I'll be glad to see them start fresh without the spectre of Dante still hanging over them.

Issue #6 is a good conclusion to a series that's given us some great moments (and memorable panels). It might not be as strong from beginning to end as I'd like, but where else do you see a grizzly bear with a mini-gun strapped to his back? There's enough here that I'd be willing to give a second mini-series a chance as well. Worth a look.

[Image, $2.99]

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Doctor Who - Let's Kill Hitler

After a mid-season break Doctor Who returns with an episode centered around River Song's (Alex Kingston) first encounter with the Doctor (Matt Smith). The episode, involving a friend of Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory's (Arthur Darvill) named Mels (Nina Toussaint-White), a trip to Nazi Germany, and tiny time police in a human-sized robot, has all the markings of a classic Doctor Who serial. And on that level it works well. However, there can be only one episode where River meets the Doctor for the first time, and that means there's an entirely different scale on which to judge "Let's Kill Hitler."

G.I. JOE: Snake Eyes #4

Snake Eyes is free, but he's still a captive deep inside the mountain fortress of Vikrim Khalikhan whose left the deadly Slice and Dice, and a whole army of soldiers, to deal with the Joe's most dangerous warrior. As Snake Eyes fights the assassins, Helix goes after Khalikhan, and Iceberg has to figure out how to get the wounded Alpine, and himself, off the top of a Himalayan Mountain alive.

The end of this first story arc is heavy on action, both deep inside the base and on the mountain tops as Iceberg and Alpine fend off squadron of COBRA Flight Pods. Damn, I haven't seen one of those in years! Well done.

The issue ends with a conversation between Snake Eyes and Scarlett to end the issue which gives us some clues as to Snake Eyes next "outside the box" assignment. I'm a little unsure of the final page's reveal, but the rest of the comic is strong enough I'll wait to see just what the Sword of Genghis Khan's role in the upcoming story might be. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

The Conspirator

Director Robert Redford examines the trial of the first woman put to death by the Unites States Government through the eyes of a reluctant young lawyer (James McAvoy) who ended up ruining his career with search for justice in a court that wanted nothing more than a quick conviction.

The story concerns Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) who was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassinations of President Abraham Lincoln (Gerald Bestrom) and Secretary of State William Seward and the attempted assassination of Vice President Andrew Johnson (Dennis Clark).

Redford assembles a first-rate cast to tell an engaging story, but it never reaches the level of storytelling you would expect. Although the screenplay by James D. Solomon showcases the how Suratt was railroaded into the gallows and strongly suggests her innocence, the film never takes a definitive stand on her guilt. This means we aren't subject to Suratt's experiences but only those filtered through those of her lawyer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

DC Retroactive: Justice League - The 90's

DC's Retroactive titles have been a failed experiment (and that's putting it kindly). The attempt at telling tales from the 70's, 80's, and 90's with writers and artists who worked on those characters during that time period has delivered some of the most disappointing and awful tales the publisher has put out this year. Until now.

When I heard of the idea I was cautiously optimistic. Most of the group didn't interest me much but I was going to get Dennis O'Neil writing a Green Lantern story (sadly, without Neal Adams), and Len Wein was doing a Batman story, but the one that really piqued my interest was Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire reuniting for a classic Justice League tale. And, unlike the others, this one actually delivers the goods.

The issue gives us the classic 90's team (Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Mr. Miracle, Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, Martian Manhunter, Oberon and Maxwell Lord), a Parademon who has lost Darkseid's inhaler (or something) in a card game, the Injustice League, a giant monster loose on the city, and Power Girl shows up with that #$%@& cat!

A Dangerous Method trailer

Viggo Mortensen teams up with director David Cronenberg once again for A Dangerous Method which follows the relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and the troubled young woman (Keira Knightley) who comes between them. Vincent CasselSarah Gadon, and André Hennicke also star. Christopher Hampton adapted the film from his 2002 stage play. The film opens on November 23rd.

FF #7

After a two-issue interlude which derailed the current story arc on the Council of Reeds to focus on Black Bolt's whereabouts since his apparent death in War of Kings, writer Jonathan Hickman finally gets back to the story we've been waiting for.

Maybe it's the fact that this issue is two months too late, or the fact that Hickman's jammed the final battle with far too many characters such as the Reeds, their subordinates, the Inhumans, the High Eveolutionary's minions, and the expanded roster of the Future Foundation, but still doesn't go anywhere new with the story.

There are moments including Sue's dialogue with her father-in-law and Valeria's escape from her room, but the main battle (including a far too obvious double-cross) feels rushed, messy, and unfocused. We are given a couple of hints that everything Reed thinks he knows about his other selves might be wrong, but here's yet another issue that's not really about the Council of Reeds. At least this one does have the Future Foundation in it. Hit-and-Miss.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Comic Rack 143

It’s a new week so it must be time to talk about comics! Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls. Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at feet of the master as we offer you this quick list of all kinds of comic book goodness set to hit comic shops and bookstores this week from all your favorite publishers including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Archie, Dynamite, Image Comics, and others.

This week includes Amazing Spider-Man, Cobra, Deadpool MAX, The Goon, Hellraiser, Incredible Hulks, Jughead, Kato Origins, The Mighty Thor, Red Sonja, Secret Avengers, Super Dinosaur, Uncanny X-Force, Vampirella, Veronica, Who is Jake Ellis?, Zorro Rides Again, the first issues of Amazing Spider-Man: Infested, Angel and Faith, Epoch, Phases of the Moon, Justice League, Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Vescell, and the final issues of Flashpoint, Last Mortal, Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol, and Rocketeer Adventures.

Enjoy issue #143

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Guy Gardner heard what you said...

...and thought it was pretty freakin' stupid!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

In 1984 Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird released the first issue of a comic book which centered around four teenagers who just happened to tbe turtles... and ninjas. Over the years the franchise would span several publishers, inspire four television series, a Japanese anime, three live-action theatrical films, an animated feature film (which is pretty damn good, by the way).

Things have come full circle yet again as Eastman teams with IDW to return his creations back to comics. Along with writer Tom Waltz and artist Dan Duncan, Eastman re-imagines the Teenange Mutant Ninja Turtles for a new generation.

As the story opens we learn the Turtles have only been in action for less than 18 months, and have already lost one of their number. The comic opens with a battle between Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Splinter against Old Hob and his gang. Through flashbacks we're also shown the early days of the turtles and rat as lab animals at Stock Gen Research who are given their names by young lab tech April O'Neil.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If I Rebooted the DCU (Part Two)

With DC Comics reboot of their entire universe with 52 new first issues looming ever closer I continue to take a look at what I would do if I rebooted the DCU.

Where I could I kept ideas DC wanted to explore in the relaunch (when not incredibly stupid like Voodoo), and even included titles I'm personally not all that high on but characters I know have a devoted fan base. You'll find I've also kept far more of the current titles than DC's proposed reboot, and brought back a few personal favorites as well.

FHM Says Summer is Sexy

Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles star Summer Glau took time out of her busy schedule to do a a photoshoot at Cadillac Jack's & the Pink Motel in Sun Valley, CA, for FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011. Inside you'll a find the video of her photoshoot and a couple stills from the shoot as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leverage - The Cross My Heart Job

Season Four is likely to be remembered as the season the writers shook things up by putting the team in unusual situations. Already this season we've seen the actors play characters in 70 year-old flashbacks, get caught in a murder mystery, have one of the team (Aldis Hodge) get buried alive, and now this week the Leverage team tries to steal back a stolen heart with no prep time or any of their regular tools.

Daredevil #2

Issue #2 of the latest relaunch of Daredevil certainly has its moments, most notably the fight between Captain America and Daredevil which kicks off the issue. While the fight itself, involving the pair switching weapons, is actually pretty cool, I'm with Daredevil in my confusion of how quickly the battle starts and ends. Some may say Cap is simply taking his grief over Bucky on Daredevil, but that doesn't sound too much like Captain America (who, as America's top cop, would by now have access to all of the Shadowland data proving Murdock wasn't in control of his actions) to me.

The issue also includes a fun conversation between Foggy Nelson and Kirsten McDuffie and Daredevil trying to hunt down who is behind the railroading of Ahmed Jobrani. Sadly, I'm less impressed with the issue's reveal of the first big bad of the series. I've never been a fan of Klaw. Sure, a "master of sound" makes for an intriguing villain for Daredevil, but I've always found him fairly ridiculous. The second issue isn't without a misstep or two, but it does have its moments. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

Batman #713

After more than 70 years and 700 issues another one of DC Comics longest running monthly titles comes to an end. This final issue of Batman gives us a look back at Batman's history through the narration of his adventures to a young audience. I won't spoil who the narrator is, but there are plenty of clues if you watch for them.

Rather than a solo adventure, of some kind of final tip of the hat to Dick and Damian adventure as the Batman and Robin this issue focuses on putting the entire history of Batman to rest with an underlying story that actually plays out over the course of Batman's history.

Some might find it a little schmaltzy, but I thought this story worked well as a Coda for the series and a nice send off for this version of Batman and Robin. I also enjoyed art recreating the various looks of Batman over the years and the outline of the big moments in Batman's history. There's also a nice splash page the Bat-Family. It may not have been my first choice for the Caped Crusader's final issue, but it's a solid one. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Darkwing Duck #15

What can I say? Darkwing Duck can even make politics fun! The battle for Mayor of St. Canard heats up as both Darkwing Duck and Launchpad McQuack stave off negative campaigning (who they blame each other for, although neither is responsible). As the comic nears its final issue this one is jampacked with cameos including Launchpad's new campaign manager, Spike, and Darkwing and Launchpad putting aside their issues to battle The League of Barely Remembered Supervillains!

The League is made up entirely of lesser known criminals from the Darkwing Duck cartoon including Lilliput, Professor Moliarty, the Bugmaster, Jambalaya Jake (and his pet gator Gumbo), and Tuskernini. Victory of the also-rans is shortlived as Suff-Rage pulls out all the stops by mysmerizing the audience to attack all three candidates.

Once again writer Ian Brill and artist James Silvani outdo themselves in creating an insanely fun read (with extra insanity). If you aren't reading Darkwing Duck you're missing out. Worth a look.

[Boom, $3.99]


In the dystopian future ruled by the Church most of the world is a wasteland after centuries of battle between humans and vampires. The film opens with the last of these battles as the Church's best warriors, known simply as Priests, set out to destroy the last hive of vampires. They are victorious, but only at the cost of losing one of their own (Karl Urban).

The film skips an undetermined amount of time into the future when the Priests have been disbanded and all vampires are believed dead. An attack on his brother's home on the edge of the wasteland sends one Priest (Paul Bettany), against the Church's orders on a hunt to rescue his niece (Lily Collins).

Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance trailer

Next February returns Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze in the sequel to 2007's Ghost Rider. Gone are Eva MendesWes BentleyPeter Fonda, and writer/director Mark Steven Johnson. The sequel is helmed by the the men behind Crank 2: High Voltage and stars Idris ElbaCiarán Hinds, Violante Placido, and Christopher Lambert. I'm not sure about the change in the look of Ghost Rider (one of the few things that worked in the original), and it's February release date isn't a good sign either, but I have to admit the trailer's final joke is funny.


Based on the novel by Alan Glynn, Bradley Cooper stars as a struggling writer who takes an experimental drug allowing him to use a larger part of his brain and granting him enhanced intelligence and creativity. His world instantly expands as he writes his novel and begins to clean up on Wall Street by using his intellect to see patterns in numbers.

However, the drug doesn't come without a cost. Aside from being a stolen commodity which several people are willing to kill for, NZT-48 causes blackouts and time lapses, and is highly addictive as the body becomes dependent on the drug.

Using his enhanced abilities Eddie attempts to make his fortune, use his abilities to help a corporate tycoon (Robert De Niro) with an important merger, win back his former love (Abbie Cornish), and stay ahead of those (Andrew HowardTomas Arana) willing to kill for the drug.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Power Girl #27

Time is running out for Power Girl, in more ways than one. As a metaphor for the end of the series writer Matthew Sturges gives Kara the task of saving victims trapped in three separate life-threatening situations in under one-minute. The man behind the deadly tests is the Calculator who knows Power Girl won't be able to stop all three attacks. But, then again, he doesn't know our girl very well, does he?

The issue works on its own as a solo adventure as well as a not too obvious send-off for Power Girl who (at least right now) doesn't look to have a spot in the new DCU. Those picking the issue up three years from now out of a longbox might not even realize its the series' finale.

Although it was never quite as good as Batgirl or Secret Six, I'm sorry to see this title go away. It's provided some extremely entertaining stories including magic dinosaurs, a misunderstood Arab super-hero, appearances by Batman, Superman, and Zatanna, clones, a Power Girl fan convention, and more. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

Killer Elite trailer

Jason Statham stars as a retired British Special Forces officer who comes out of retirement to track down the man (Clive Owen) who has kidnapped his mentor (Robert De Niro). Dominic PurcellDaniel MessierGrant Bowler, and Chuck's Yvonne Strahovski also star. The body count starts piling in theaters everywhere on September 23rd.

Captain America #2

Almost 70 years ago a team of special team of Allied Forces and the Hydra agents they were lost in a dream world when Captain America's team was infiltrated by spy. The young boy, Jimmy Jupiter, who had the power to open rifts into this dreamspace and transport people across worlds was knocked into a coma from which he has only now, decades later, finally awoken.

With the second issue of the newly rebooted series writer Ed Brubaker gives us a little more insight into the mission that went wrong as well as give us glimpses how the dreams of both Cap and Sharon Carter are being affected by Codename: Bravo and others lost in the dreamspace.

The issue is solid, and includes Cap beating down several Hydra soldiers, but only reveals part of the puzzle (and if I have a complaint it's that the revelations feel more drawn out than necessary).

The final panel shows us things aren't going to get easier for Cap anytime soon with the return of the Ameridroid and Bravo playing Casanova in Sharon's dreams. Creepy! Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

The Thing trailers

A prequel to a remake of a film originally based on a novella. Wow, Hollywood sure seems full of original ideas. The Thing is set before the events of John Carpenter's goriffic film focusing on the Norwegian and American scientists who originally discovered the alien. Mary Elizabeth WinsteadJoel EdgertonEric Christian OlsenUlrich ThomsenStig Henrik HoffAdewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje,  and Davetta Sherwood star this time around. John W. Campbell, Jr. novella Who Goes There? was first adapted to the screen in 1951 by Howard Hawks (which is the version I still prefer).You can find the trailers for the both of the previous versions of the film after the jump. The Thing opens in theaters on October 14th.

Comic Rack

It’s a new week so it must be time to talk about comics! Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls. Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at feet of the master as we offer you this quick list of all kinds of comic book goodness set to hit comic shops and bookstores this week from all your favorite publishers including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Archie, Dynamite, Image Comics, and others.

This week includes Archie, Astonishing X-Men, Avengelyne, Captain America and Bucky, Deadpool, Doctor Who, Dungeons & Dragons, FF, Haunt, Hellraiser, The Intrepids, Kick-Ass 2, Northlanders, Queen Sonja, Snake Eyes, Wolverine, X-Men, Young Justice, the first issues of Anne Rice's Servant of the Bones, The Iron Age: Omega, Kevin Smith's The Bionic Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Warehouse 13, and the final issues of Action Comics, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Gates Of Gotham, Flashpoint: Hal Jordan, Rage, Teen Titans, and Wonder Woman.

Enjoy issue #142

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fright Night

With one or two exceptions, I'm not usually one for vampire stories. Sure I have some fondness to cheesy flicks from my childhood such as Love at First Bite and Once Bitten, but for the most part vampire movies leave me cold. So when I find one I enjoy I'm pleasantly surprised.

An exception to my disinterest to the genre is Joss Whedon's TV-series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. It's probably not a coincidence that I enjoyed Buffy writer Marti Noxon's fresh take on 1985's Fright Night. I'll also freely admit it doesn't hurt that the movie co-stars Doctor Who's David Tennant.

The remake streamlines the plot of the original film and kicks into high gear much earlier as high school student Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) discovers his new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is not only a vampire but responsible for the death of several of his classmates in the Las Vegas suburb including his missing friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). (A fact that is revealed to the audience, Charlie, and his friends, much earlier than in the original).

One Day

One Day is the type of movie that women are likely to enjoy far more than men. It has two likable stars, is less clumsy (in spots) than most romantic comedies, and wants desperately to be better on-screen than it is on the printed page. Sadly, the movie is nothing more, or less, than a romance novel put to screen.

At its best, One Day an intriguing idea with two charming leads, at its worst the movie is predictable and tawdry. The set-up is simple: We see two friends, who (shockingly!) should be more, over the course of a couple of decades, but only on a single day - the 15th of July. Sometimes they are together, sometimes they are apart, but it seems they are always thinking of one another.

Anne Hathaway is the smart girl (i.e. glasses, no makeup and bad hair - until she "miraculously" blooms into a beautiful young woman) who is too good for her rich, spoiled friend (Jim Sturgess) whom she truly loves. In the same way Emma fancies him, Dexter wants more from the relationship but isn't ready to grow up enough to deserve her.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top Ten Most Memorable Batgirl Moments

Over the past two years Bryan Q. Miller has taken a character from the scrapheap and transformed her into one of the most vibrant young stars of the DCU. Sadly, with the looming DC Reboot, Barbara Gordon will take the cowl, which means an end to these terrific adventures.

Leverage - The Boiler Room Job

The team faces one of their toughest challenges yet when they take on con man aristocracy. There latest mark (David Rees Snell) is the youngest of a long line of great con men, who knows every con in the book. He's so observant it only takes him a cursory glance to conclude Nate (Timothy Hutton) and Sophie's (Gina Bellman) relationship (much to the shock of the rest of the team).

Thori Black

Comic nerds and Thor fans rejoice! A couple of months back, to coincide with Marvel Comics' theatrical film Thor hitting theaters, model and adult film actress Tori Black did a photo shoot for IGN in little more than a Thor tee. You can find the pics after the jump as well as a short video montage of the shoot. I'd say enjoy, but I don't really need to, now do I?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If I Rebooted the DCU (Part One)

In a couple of weeks DC Comics will be rebooting their entire universe with 52 new first issues. Some of the new comics intrigue me, but quite a few do not. This starting me thinking, what if I rebooted the DCU?

To keep each post a reasonable length, and to mirror DC's own announcement structure, I've split the reboot into four posts each covering 13 issues. Where I could I kept ideas DC wanted to explore in the relaunch (when not incredibly stupid like Voodoo), and even included titles I'm personally not all that high on but characters I know have a devoted fan base. You'll find I've also kept far more of the current titles than DC's proposed reboot, and brought back a few personal favorites as well.

Morning Glories #11

Following the recent trend to spend each issue focusing on a single character the latest issue of Morning Glories showcases Ike, the weaselly member of the group who has already betrayed the other new arrivals for a cushy new room an all kinds of special perks. Now Mr. Gribbs has another tempting offer for Ike: He will be allowed to leave the school just by doing it a small favor.

Much like the previous issues focused on the other members of the group we get plenty of flashbacks into Ike's life including the aftermath of a murder he committed, being charged with the murder of his father, showing up drunk on a party bus at his father's funeral, and acting like a real douche to the members of the board when he takes control of his father's company.

The entire issue is centered around temptation. First Ike is offered his freedom by Gribbs, and then more amorous pursuits by Ms. Daramount, and all he has to do is commit one simple murder. However, in true Morning Glories style, the issue gives us a final twist when Ike learns the identity of his intending victim. Worth a look.

[Image, $2.99]

Red Robin #26

It's all lead up until this moment where Tim Drake decides what kind of a hero, and what kind of a man, he wants to be. He's taken on Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins, an evil Internet, Catman, and even had time for a little romance, but nothing has prepared him for what happens next. Red Robin comes face-to-face with Captain Boomerang, the man who murdered his father.

In a logical manner Tim has left breadcrumbs for Captain Boomerang to follow, with each selfish decision further closing the noose around his neck and putting him in harm's way. Red Robin actually carefully orchestrated Boomerang's death at the hands of Mr. Freeze, only to have second thoughts at the last minute, deciding he needs to do the job himself.

In the end Red Robin can neither allow Mr. Freeze or himself to kill Captain Boomerang. He skates a thin line but still comes out the hero. The issue ends with short conversations with Dick Grayson and Batman receptively, which showcase how closely each was watching Tim's methods.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Listen to three tracks from Muppets: The Green Album

To coincide with The Muppets Disney is set to release a new soundtrack of Muppet favorites entitled Muppets: The Green Album. Along with My Morning Jacket covering "Our World" (from Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas), Andrew Bird's version of "It's Not Easy Being Green" and OK Go doing their version of The Muppet Show Theme Song (all of which you can listen to after the jump), the album also includes The Fray doing "Mahna Mahna," Rachael Yamagata covering "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" (Gonzo's song from The Muppet Movie), Alkaline Trio doing "Movin' Right Along," Matt Nathanson with "I Hope That Something Better Comes Along," and Weezer covering "Rainbow Conenction." The album hits stores next Tuesday.

Birds of Prey #15

While Gail Simone's Secret Six has been consistently good, this run of Birds of Prey is best described as a shadow of its former self. Part of the blame has to go Brightest Day which saddled the team with a pair of members (Hawk and Dove) who never really meshed with the group, but although this volume has had its flashes (such as the Catman and Huntress issue) it has seemed in need of major tweaking for awhile now.

I was surprised that Simone wasn't on hand to do the final two-issue adventure, but writer Marc Andreyko does manage to breathe a little life back into the book (with absence of Hawk and Dove), even if the story itself, involving a Nazi scientist, clones, and mental displacement, is pretty lame.

That said, the issue is an improvement over part one and does have some nice moments between Zinda Blake and the Phantom Lady. I also thought Manhunter worked pretty well with the team. Is it a great finale? No, not really, but for a comic that has struggled to live up to its own legacy (and struggles here without its trademark writer) it's about what I expected. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

Leverage - The Grave Danger Job

When the team sets out to take down a crooked mortuary director (Anne-Marie Johnson) who is running not one but two cons on her clients and the recently departed they get more than they bargained for. Hardison (Aldis Hodge) ends up buried alive in one of the coffins and it's up to the team to find him, take down the drug runner (James Martinez) who put him there, and save their friend before he runs out of air.

Season of the Witch

Two Teutonic Knights (Nicolas CageRon Perlman) who have grown weary of killing innocents and become deserters of the Crusades are given the chance to redeem themselves by transporting an accused witch (Claire Foy) to a far away monastery. The accused is charged with spreading the Black Death across the world.

Along for the ride are a priest (Stephen Campbell Moore), a knight (Ulrich Thomsen), an altar boy (Robert Sheehan) and a swindler (Stephen Graham) as their guide.

There are good Nic Cage films, silly but passable ones, and plenty of gawdawful crap. Season of the Witch fits in the last category. The nature of the witch is given away far too soon, and the twist of the true nature of her evil will seems nothing more than a forced attempt to raise the stakes of a film you've given up on long before its climax.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Batgirl #24

Writer Bryan Q. Miller's run on Batgirl comes to an end. Barbara Gordon may be back in the Batsuit starting next month, but Miller sends out Stephanie Brown out in style with almost everything you'd could ask for. Issue #24 includes a terrific final page that not only neatly wraps up the series, and says goodbye to the character, but also fits so naturally into the tone of a comic that's been one of DC's best for two years now.

He even manages to squeeze in a cameo for Damian. I'm just sad he didn't have 20 extra pages to say goodbye to all of Stephanie's friends and supporting cast as well.

The issue begins with Batgirl confronting her father, the Cluemaster, who's been behind the Reapers since the beginning and has transformed the Black Mercy into a weaponized hallucinogen. We see the aftereffects of the drug on Stephanie's system later (in some terrific full-page panels by Pere Pérez), but not before Miller delivers a heartwarming scene between Steph and her mother who has discovered, and come to terms with, Stephanie's latest alter-ego.

Torchwood: Miracle Day - The Middle Men

As Rex (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther (Alexa Havins) discover the truth in the Los Angeles overflow camp Gwen (Eve Myles) and Rhys (Kai Owen) attempt go save her father from the same fate of Vera (Arlene Tur) and countless others who have deemed undesirables and burned alive in giant ovens.

The Comic Rack 141

It’s a new week so it must be time to talk about comics! Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls. Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at feet of the master as we offer you this quick list of all kinds of comic book goodness set to hit comic shops and bookstores this week from all your favorite publishers including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Archie, Dynamite, Image Comics, and others.

This week includes All Nighter, Avengers, Captain America, DMZ, Fables, Hulk, Invincible Iron Man, Samurai's Blood, Simpsons Comics, Uncanny X-Men, The Walking Dead, X-Factor, X-Men: Schism, the first issues of Brilliant, Herc, Spider-Island: The Amazing Spider-Girl, Star Wars: Knight Errant - Deluge, Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom, and the final issues of Batman, Conan: Road of Kings, Fear Itself: Deadpool, Flashpoint: Abin Sur - The Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League of America, Power Girl, Supergirl, and Zatanna.

Enjoy issue #141

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Son of Batman

I finally got to add a Damian action figure to help complete my Bat-Family. He's part of the Batman: Incorporated line.

Friday, August 12, 2011

30 Minutes or Less

Loosely based on real story Jesse Eisenberg stars as slacker pizza deliver guy Nick who is kidnapped by two slackjawed buffoons (Danny McBrideNick Swardson) who strap a bomb to Nick's chest and give him 10 hours to rob a bank. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Nick must quickly make up with his best friend (Aziz Ansari), who he recently had a falling out with, and come up with a plan to save his life. Despite having everything to loose, Chet (Ansari) agrees to help Nick rob a bank with a plan that makes the guys from Bottle Rocket look like the Ocean's Eleven crew.

Somehow 30 Minutes or Less wins a prize for being overly simplistic and convoluted at the same time. I'm still not sure exactly how screenwriter Michael Diliberti managed to do this. It turns out McBride and Swardson don't want the $100,000 for themselves but as a down payment for a hitman (Michael Peña), the boyfriend of a stripper (Bianca Kajlich) they have just met, to kill McBride's character's father (Fred Ward). Did you follow all that?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top Ten Most Memorable Moments of the Secret Six

In July of 2005 DC Comics unleashed writer Gail Simone in her own little corner of the DC Universe with the six-issue mini-series Villains United. The idea behind the comic was simple, the various villains of the DCU were banding together as part of Lex Luthor's expansive Secret Society of Super Villains, that is until one villain said no. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since the first issue of Villains United the Secret Six have appeared in more than 50 issues including the current run which, sadly, came to an end last week in the wake of the looming DC Reboot. The Six might be done, but Gail Simone gave us a highly enjoyable run of a team of D-listers who found common ground and struck a chord with fans all over the world.

Catman, Bane, Ragdoll, Scandal Savage, Jeannette, and Deadshot (and all the others who've shed blood as members of the team over the years) might not be suiting up for another mission anytime soon, but they've left of us with some great memories. Without further delay, I give you the Top Ten Most Memorable Moments of the Secret Six.

Covert Affairs - World Leader Pretend

Annie's (Piper Perabo) by-the-book extraction of a defecting Chinese scientist (Benedict Wong) runs into problems when he starts showing symptoms of radiation poisoning. Taking precautions for herself and her family, Annie comes clean to her sister (Anne Dudek) about the radiation scare and what really does for a living. Let's just say her sister could have taken the news a little better.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

White Collar - Countdown

The Third Season's mid-season finale finds Neal (Matt Bomer) in a delicate balancing act, on several fronts. Peter (Tim DeKay) has called in his mentor (Beau Bridges) and is closing in on the one piece of the Nazi treasure that was sold. Mozzie (Willie Garson) has given Neal an ultimatium of 48 hours to decide on whether Neal will accompany him when he leaves New York. Oh, and Keller (Ross McCall) is still lurking around trying to uncover the treasure, and the hit Mozzie put on him certainly hasn't enhanced his mood.

In Time trailer

In a world where people only live until 25 years of age time becomes a valuable commodity. Justin Timberlake stars a man given more time than he can possibly use by a mysterious stranger (Matt Bomer) and soon finds himself on the run. Amanda SeyfriedOlivia WildeCillian MurphyAlex Pettyfer, and Johnny Galecki also star. The premise sounds like a so-so idea for a sci-fi short story, but we'll have wait until October 28 to see if writer/director Andrew Niccol can make it work for an entire full-length film.

Flashpoint #4 (of 5)

One of the most intriguing redesigns of the Flashpoint universe was Captain Marvel. Instead of Billy Batson alone calling on the magic of Shazam, he is one of six hosts who together all form Captain Thunder. The lightning also transforms Tawky Tawny into something which can only be referred to as Battle Cat. Now c'mon, that's kinda cool.

The problem is after introducing Captain Thunder in the first issue of Flashpoint he's been M.I.A. ever since. This issue rectifies the situation by having Batman and his team come to Billy and his friends to help the Flash. Sounds good right? Captain Thunder even agrees to help the team take on the Amazons and Aquaman.

Trouble is, even in the Flashpoint universe DC Comics seems intent on limiting the number of pages Captain Marvel can appear. The team is betrayed and Billy Batson is killed. But at least I'll get to see him in the new DC Reboot, right? Oh, Captain Marvel isn't part of that either? Sigh. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $3.99]

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Usagi Yojimbo #139

Usagi's wanderings lead him to cross paths with an old friend when he comes upon Inspector Ishida fending off an attack by an entire band of ruffians.

After helping his old friend dispatch the last of the killers Uasgi learns Ishida is transporting a prisoner, one of two brothers who lead this nefarious band, to justice. Usagi agrees to accompany him and the two warriors and their prisoner set off for their destination only to be waylaid by the weather when they must make a stop at an inn.

It's here Ishida and Usagi run into an assortment of characters including the inn keeper, who despite closing the establishment can't turn a blind eye to weary travelers in bad weather, a pompous aristocrat who fancies himself a poet and his bodyguard, and a humble paper dealer and his family.

Franklin & Bash - Go Tell It on the Mountain

The First Season of Franlin & Bash comes to a close with Jared (Breckin Meyer) and Peter (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) defending their boss (Malcolm McDowell) for murder. The problem? He freely admits to committing the act and lied about it for years. The situation isn't helped by the arrival of a partner (Tricia Helfer) from one of the other branches of the firm who seems to be doing whatever she can to sabotage their case and take control of the Los Angeles branch of Infeld Daniels.

The Warrior's Way

Dong-gun Jang stars as the world's most dangerous swordsman who refuses to kill the last remaining member of a rival clan. Instead he makes his way to America with the young baby to lose himself in the Old West.

Now marked for death by his own people, Yang attempts to hide himself in a small town at the edge of the desert in a town full of broken people and carnies who make up one of the strangest Old West small towns you're ever likely to see on-screen.

The town has troubles of its own in the form of a vicious gang leader (Danny Huston) who occasionally terrorizes the town by showing up to rape its young women. Yang befriends one of the villain's previous victims (Kate Bosworth) and helps her to learn the ways of the sword to take her revenge - just as he did.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Secret Six #36

You know you're in trouble when Ragdoll is the voice of reason. On the eve of Bane's plan to take on Batman by attacking those closest to him the team begins to fray as they are surrounded by heroes who have followed the Penguin's tracker to the abadoned warehouse the Secret Six is using as its temporary base.

In an attempt to end things quickly Huntress calls in favors and brings in everybody, and I do mean everybody, to take the Six down, but as Huntress realizes far too late this isn't the team to back down against an overwhelming show of force. As Ragdoll points out this team only has one redeeming virtue: they simply don't know when to quit. That's one lesson they never learned.

Moon Knight #4

Almost immediately after deciding they can trust each other Moon Knight and Echo get an unexpected visit from the Night Shift who want the pair to stop their investigation into the identity of the kingpin of Los Angeles. Never being ones to taken advice from super-villains the pair decide instead to kick some ass.

The issue begins with a very humorous exchange between Ms. Marvel and Echo who calls in to Avengers Mansion hoping to find someone to vouch for the crazy guy she's thinking of teaming-up with. This gives us Carol's fluster over not immediately knowing who Echo is and a great one-liner by Spider-Man. It also shows us how quickly Ms. Marvel can adapt to the situation by whittling down to the crux of what Echo was really asking.

Every month I pick up Moon Knight expecting it to be my last issue and every month (at least so far) writer Brian Michael Bendis has given me a reason to come back for more. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]