Saturday, March 31, 2018

Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden #1

The new seven-issue mini-series from Dark Horse Comics starts not with our title character but with a chase through town, death, and a theft which will present a new mystery for Inspector Ishida and Miyamoto Usagi to solve. The introduction of Usagi and Ishida comes fairly late in this first issue, but it does help to begin frame the reasoning for a pair of murders and new policies from the Shogun to ferret out those with dangerous religious ideas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Are You Ready Player One for Pop Culture the Movie?

Ready Player One is cotton candy, but it's really good cotton candy. Based on Ernest Cline's 2011 book of the same name, the latest film from director Steven Spielberg takes us to the near future where life in the real world pales in comparison to the virtual reality of the OASIS where some go to play, some go to hide, and nearly all go to in order to avoid real life. Think of the OASIS as a virtual smorgasbord mashup of MMOs like World of Warcraft on steroids, mixed with every nostalgic 80s icon which can fit on a screen (and the film could get the rights for).

Legends of Tomorrow - I, Ava

The latest episode gets its title from the storyline of Gary (Adam Tsekhman) showing up looking for his missing boss and traveling with Sara (Caity Lotz) and Ray (Brandon Routh) to a forbidden time period where they learn something quite unexpected about Ava (Jes Macallan). Discovering the locked time period includes hundreds of Ava clones, Ava (who follows the group) turns out to be just as baffled by events as the Legends. With clones, actors hired to play Ava's parents, and single year that doesn't seem to make much sense blacklisted to all time travelers (did people the very next year simply forget?), there's plenty of craziness going on. While I don't doubt there is (at least some) reasoning for all this, the episode raises several questions about why Ava was plucked out the this time period, given fake memories and a fake family, and just why she is needed at the Time Bureau.

Wondercon 2018 Cosplay Music Video (Part 2)

Batman #43

"Everyone Loves Ivy" concludes as Catwoman spends time with the woman who has taken the world, providing just enough distraction for Batman to put his plan into action and release the one person from Ivy's control who may be able to talk the super-villain out of remaking the world in her image.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Krypton - Pilot

Created by David Goyer, the SyFy's new Superman-inspired TV-series cobbles together a version of Krypton from various sources (unfortunately Goyer's Man of Steel being one of them), to offer a look at the civilization that gave birth to the Man of Steel. Set during the lifetime of Superman's grandfather, the "Pilot" introduces us to Seg (Cameron Cuffe) whose family is disgraced in the show's opening scene, ending the House of El. Heroics 14 years later allow for the possibility of Seg regaining honor with another house, although a time-traveler named Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) has other plans for the rebellious street rat who must fulfill his destiny to continue the El line.

Beyond - F.G.B. / There's No Home for You Here

"F.G.B." and "There's No Home for You Here" wrap up the Diego (Oscar Camacho) storyline while leaving other lingering threads for the show to deal with should the show return for another season. "F.G.B." allows Holden (Burkely Duffield) to briefly return to the Realm, which (as we've seen before) is wildly inconsistent with other flashbacks in the very ordinary looking "strange" realm. We do get a return to the giant room from Holden's memories and a conversation with an old "friend." There's also a personal sacrifice, which comes off both macabre (which I'm sure was planned) and also bizarrely humorous (which I'm sure was not) that allows Holden to seal the breach to the other dimension. Hmm, you didn't want to return that demon thing to the Realm first? Oh well, thankfully our baddie will help out with that.

Super-Heroes Card Trader - Awesome Pack 7

For more super-heroes check out Super-Hero Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, Wonder Woman Pack 1, Black Cat Pack 1, Lara Croft Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Spidey Pack 1, Pack 2, Harley Quinn Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Birds of Prey Pack 1, Memorial Day Pack 1, X-Men Pack 1, and the X-Mas Mega Pack 1 and Mega Pack 2.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Giant Robots vs. Giant Robots vs. Monsters on the Pacific Rim

I enjoyed 2013's Pacific Rim as a throwaway action flick with sci-fi influences featuring robots fighting monsters, but aside from the possibility of having the robots fighting big-name threats like King Kong and Godzilla I wasn't much interested in a sequel. Without director Guillermo del Toro, who is replaced here by Steven S. DeKnight, and returning stars only in supporting roles, Pacific Rim: Uprising has all the flaws of a bloated, over-complicated sequel trying to out-do the original. It also doesn't help that the number of robot vs. robot scenes remind the viewer (painfully) of Michael Bay's Transformers franchise.

Set a decade after the original film, the sequel centers around the never-before-mentioned son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) who is forced to re-enlist after trouble with the law. John Boyega works fine as Jake Pentecost, even if the script can never quite decide how disinterested or invested he should be in the Jaeger program. The sequel also plays fast and loose with the core concept of paired drifting being as much art as science by throwing pairs randomly together once the action gets fast and furious. Cailee Spaeny co-stars as a troubled but talented teen who also joins Jake in the program as part of a plea deal.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

iZombie - Brainless in Seattle

iZombie's two-parter "Brainless in Seattle" gets Liv (Rose McIver) high on romcom brain as the search for the person who murdered a woman smuggled into the city becomes a larger look at the city's isolation from the rest of the country and the underground business of smuggling items and people in and out of the city. Even the subplots delve into this theme as Blaine (David Anders) and Chase Graves (Jason Dohring) both search for one of these human smugglers (Dawnn Lewis) who is turning more people into zombies and disrupting a delicate status quo leading to a possible brain shortage in as soon a six months. Neither the video of a zombie attacking an unarmed teen nor the aggressive murdery cult of Angus McDonough (Robert Knepper) is likely to help keep the peace.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Lucifer - The Last Heartbreak

While investigating a double-homicide reminiscent of one that Pierce (Tom Welling) solved decades ago in one of his former lives, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) struggles to adjust to the world's oldest murderer cozying up to Chloe (Lauren German). "The Last Heartbreak" is memorable mostly for giving us our first real glimpse into some of Cain's past. Despite the obvious attraction between the pair, it's obvious well-before the final reveal that Cain has decided to pursue Chloe not out of that attraction but for purely selfish reasons related to his desire to end his immortality.

Osaka Cosplay Street Festival 2018

Vampironica #1

Have you ever wanted Archie comics to be more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? If so, I give your Vampironica #1. The new ongoing series centers around rich girl Veronica Lodge who gets bitten by a vampire and becomes a creature of the night. Despite her hunger for blood, it appears Veronica's main purpose is to protect her friends from the vampire who turned her and the other vampires looking to feed in Riverdale.

Game Card Trader Awesome Pack 2

Also check out Pack 1.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Supergirl #19

Supergirl #19 works around some of the issues I've had with the series (the DEO being an ominous entity out to stop Supergirl, Catco being anti-Supergirl, and Kara stuck in high school) by centering the storyline not on Supergirl but by someone she saves. Framed through a Catco interview Lee Serano explains to Ben Rubel what Supergirl means to Lee beyond just saving the non-binary character's life.

Super-Heroes Card Trader - Lara Croft Awesome Pack 3

For more super-heroes check out Lara Croft Pack 1, Pack 2, Super-Hero Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, Wonder Woman Pack 1, Black Cat Pack 1, and Harley Quinn Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Birds of Prey Pack 1, Memorial Day Pack 1, X-Men Pack 1, and the X-Mas Mega Pack.

Katsucon 2018 National Harbor DC Cosplay Music Video

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft is back. After the pair of financially successful (if pretty dumb) films starring Angelina Jolie in the early 2000s, the most famous video game archaeologist (sorry Mr. Jones) returns to the big screen. Because origin stories are all the rage, the latest Tomb Raider (following in the footsteps of the character's more recent comic adventures) takes Lara back to the beginning to showcase how she became the world's best tomb raider.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Katsucon 2018 Cosplay Showcase 3

Legends of Tomorrow - Amazing Grace

When Rock 'n Roll is never born, the Legends head back to 1954 to Memphis to help a young Elvis Pressley (Luke Bilyk) get his big break, save the city from ghosts, and recover the the Death Totem. To save history, and grab the totem for themselves, the team has to walk a narrow line of leaving the magical guitar in the hands long enough for Elvis to hit it big but take it back before things go all to hell. The result is one of the show's goofier, but not necessarily funniest, episodes. The episode also ignores the cultural issue of Nate (Nick Zano) and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) making goo-goo eyes at each other in the South in the 1950s. Still, there is fun to be had in Zari's (Tala Ashe) frustration with living with a speedster as the show continues to work Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) into the mix.

Reagan Kathryn's Emerald City Comic Con Vlog

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Star Wars Rebels - Family Reunion / and Farewell

The two-part finale of Star Wars Rebels wraps us several ongoing storylines while foreshadowing possible new adventures for some of these characters somewhere down the line. In the final two episodes the siege of Lothal will come to an end, Ezra (Taylor Gray) will be tempted one last time by the Dark Side before firmly choosing the path that Kanan and his friends helped pave for him. Turning himself over to Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) to save the civilians of Lothal, Ezra buys time for the rest of the team to get control of the Imperial Dome and complete their mission. It's an action-packed finale that, like several episodes of the series, features creatures connected to the Force playing an important role as Ezra calls on the Purrgil to help rid Lothal of Thrawn.

Cammy by Anna Faith

The Wild Storm #12

Break-ins are the common theme of both storylines in The Wild Storm #12. As Jacklyn King begins I.O.'s hack into Skywatch, Grifter and his team for an evacuation of an I.O. facility to steal data, crash their system (part of the plan), and leave lots of dead bodies (not so much part of the plan). The one thing that's clear after the dust settled is everyone is more on edge than they were before and the war Jennifer Mei Sparks saw brewing between Skywatch and IO may have just begun. I hope you are gathering your team Sparks, it appears the world is going to need them sooner than later. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

Katsucon 2018 Cosplay Music Video

Monday, March 12, 2018

Arrow - Doppelganger

There's a shake-up in Star City as Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) comes forward pretending to be this world's Laurel Lance putting Oliver (Stephen Amell) in a tough spot and preventing Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) from taking revenge on the super-villain for her recent actions. Meanwhile, Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) consolidates his power and influence in the corrupt police force apparently leaving him as the major villain over the remainder of the season. Add to that the return of Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), captured by Diaz's cronies, and there's plenty for Team Arrow to deal with.

Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #35

Less elaborate than most Scooby-Doo mysteries, Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #35 sends Mystery, Inc. to Jellystone National Park where a simple picnic lunch gets complicated. First the group encounters Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo who attempt to steal their picnic baskets, and then they find a ghost within Yogi's cave.

Altered Carbon - The Wrong Man / Man with My Face

"The Wrong Man" and "Man with My Face" offer a possible solution to the murder investigation, explain Ortega's (Martha Higareda) obsession with Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) along with bringing the man out-of-time face-to-face with himself (so to speak), and wraps up the small arc of Dimi's attempts at vengeance. Ortega's flashbacks fill Kovacs in on her relationship with the man whose body he's been walking around in since his return to the living. Her life with her former partner and lover not only helps him understand why Ortega is so interested in him but also gives him some context for Dimi's hatred as well. With everything laid bare, so to speak, the two give in to a mix of feelings for each other as their relationship gets even more complicated. Making good use of actor Matt Biedel, who in the previous episode played a dumb street thug and then Ortega's grandmother, here his body becomes host to Dimi... at least until he finds one more suited for taking out his revenge.

Super-Heroes Card Trader - Lara Croft Awesome Pack 2

For more super-heroes check out Lara Croft Pack 1, Super-Hero Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, Wonder Woman Pack 1, Black Cat Pack 1, and Harley Quinn Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Birds of Prey Pack 1, Memorial Day Pack 1, X-Men Pack 1, and the X-Mas Mega Pack.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Giles #1

We may never have gotten the Giles television show Joss Whedon wanted, but the Watcher now earns his own four-issue mini-series written by Whedon and Erika Alexander. To catch up those who don't know, after being killed by Angel, Giles was resurrected but as a teenager. After helping the Scooby Gang, Giles has now been sent in undercover at an inner-city Los Angeles high school (partly to hide him from the anti-magic government and partly to allow the teenage Watcher to investigate odd occurrences in the high school).

Jessica Jones - AKA Start at the Beginning

Despite having killed off her personal boogeyman at the end of the show's First Season, little has changed for low-rent super-hero private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter). Drinking too much, making enemies wherever she can, taking seedy jobs from clients, and pretty much being pissed off 100% of the time, Jessica continues stumbling through life when Trish (Rachael Taylor) and a prospective client (Jay Klaitz) both force her to examine a past she'd done her best to ignore. While the search into what made Jessica into who she is isn't surprising, the episode struggles with selling the concept to both its protagonist and its audience for most of what turns out to be a very flat premiere.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time

I don't know if writing the original story required heavy doses of LSD, but I have a hard time believing that there wasn't some serious drug use putting this film together. Based on Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 novel of the same name, A Wrinkle in Time stars Storm Reid as troubled teenager who, along with her younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), heads of on a fantastical adventure with three total strangers (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling) who inform the children that their missing father (Chris Pine) is alive, trapped in a far off world, and needs their help. Oh, and Meg's classmate (Levi Miller), who isn't really even a friend, comes along as well. Because why not?

The film's strengths lie in its overabundance of CGI and young stars. While somewhat emotionally empty, the settings which Meg finds herself in are visually appealing (even if it appears there's little actual thought put in to how things work). While the various adult actors appear to be having fun making a kid's film, all the emotional weight is left for Reid to shoulder. And McCabe succeeds in jumping from quirky to downright creepy when required.

Life Sentence - Pilot

The new series form The CW stars Lucy Hale as Stella Abbott. In the opening scene we learn about Stella, her struggle for years with cancer, a wirlwind romance and marriage in Paris, and a mission to live each day as if it could be her last. On the heels of all of this Stella discovers that an experimental procedure has saved her life. Following her family's jubilation over the news, however, life begins to set in with all kinds of changes Stella isn't prepared to face including her parents' sudden separation, eight years of family secrets her brother (Jayson Blair), sister (Brooke Lyons), mother (Gillian Vigman) and father (Dylan Walsh) have been keeping from her, and a husband (Elliot Knight) uncertain if he can keep up the same level of wedding bliss indefinitely.

The Flash - Enter Flashtime

"Enter Flashtime" is one of the series' more interersting set-ups. While Barry (Grant Gustin) and the team manage to step in and help round up a group of terroists stealing an A.R.G.U.S. experimental fission weapon they are not fast enough to prevent them from activating it. Moving at super-speed with the rest of the world stuck in the moment of explosion, Barry struggles to come up with a solution to save the city from the equivalent of a nuclear blast. Pulling others into his "Flashtime" our hero races to find a solution before time runs out for the rest of Central City. Fortunately for our hero he has the help of a couple of speedsters from other Earths in and Jay (John Wesley Shipp) and Jesse (Violett Beane) to lean on. Unfortunately, the heroes disagree on Harry's (Tom Cavanagh) plan to send the bomb into the Speed Force and the other attempts they make all end in failure.

iZombie - Blue Bloody

Murder on the golf course through the use of a makeshift golf-ball gun puts Liv (Rose McIver) on spoiled aristocrat brain which quickly rubs everyone, including Clive (Malcolm Goodwin), the wrong way. Discovering the motive for the crime and unmasking the killer leads to Liv and Ravi (Rahul Kohli) choosing to break the law to save a child's life, but in doing so Liv strains her relationship with Major (Robert Buckley) past the breaking point. With both zombies now single, will we see new romantic possibilities for one or the other in the near future?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lucifer - Infernal Guinea Pig

Whoever coined the phrase "the devil is in the details" obviously never met Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis). While there is a murder of the week to solve and some lingering drama between Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) and her friends, the main focus of "Infernal Guinea Pig" is Lucifer's latest attempt to defy his father and help Pierce (Tom Welling) find a way to die. This week that involves returning to Hell, grabbing Abel's soul, and putting it in a recently deceased body on Earth (thus negating the murder that caused Cain's curse). While one of Lucifer's better plans involving the immortal police captain, things go quickly awry when Lucifer puts Abel not in and elderly black man but a vivacious young woman (Lauren Lapkus) who they immediately lose.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Jessica Jones #17

Jessica Jones #17 brings a conclusion (at least for now) to the odd relationship between Jessica Jones and Zebediah Killgrave, the Purple Man. It's a talky final issue between the pair as Jessica refuses Kilgrave's offer and verbally spars over the reasoning against using his powers at all (even for the greater good). Despite the temptation, Jessica is firmly against the possibility of using Killgrave to "fix" the world. Is it the right decision? Perhaps, perhaps not, but it is the only one (given their history) that Jessica could make.

Star Wars Rebels - A Fool's Hope

With Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) on Coruscant updating the Emperor on the Outer Rim, Ezra (Taylor Gray) comes up with a risky plan to strike and retake Lothal from the Empire. With a little misdirection and the help of several old friends, and the Loth-Wolves, the Rebels eek out a narrow victory from the edge of defeat as the show moves one-step closer to the series finale. There are plenty of familiar faces here including Hondo (Jim Cummings), the clones, Vizago (Keith Szarabajka), Mart, and Kallus (David Oyelowo). As the series inches ever closer to the end it appears the battle for Lothal is just beginning.

Detective Comics #975

Although she isn't present for the proceedings, Detective Comics #975 convenes the rest of the Bat Family to discuss Batwoman and her choice to kill Clayface. While Batman sits largely silent, each member of the team presents their case for or against the woman they all saw as an ally.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Star Wars Card Trader Awesome Pack 16

Also check out Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, Pack 7, Pack 8, Pack 9, Pack 10, Pack 11, Pack 12, Pack 13, Pack 14, Pack 15, and the Star Wars Disney Princess Pack.

Darth Vader #12

Returning from a missing to kill a Jedi where the Dark Lord of the Sith was ambushed by mercenaries, another attempt is made on Darth Vader's life when someone blocks his ship's communications and causes the Coruscant defense to shoot down Vader and Ninth Sister. Someone obviously very high up in the Empire wants Vader dead.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - All the Comforts of Home

Despite having made it back to the present Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team appear to be still stuck in the inevitable timeloop of the Earth's destruction and surrender to the Kree Empire. Aside from the authorities, there's also a death squad after the remaining agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. inexplicably led by General Hale's (Catherine Dent) bitchy teenage daughter Ruby (Dove Cameron). The final scene's reveal of the fact is surprising, but more from a WTF is going on perspective than any kind of clever reveal through good writing.

Japan Weekend 2018 Cosplay

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #39

A severely-injured Kyle, only held together by the power in Hal Jordan's ring, has made it back to Oa with news of Hal's capture by Zod. While the Guardians hesitate to come to any rash response, Guy Gardner forms his own team and sets out with the cavalry to the planet Jekuul to lay some GL smack down on Zod and his family.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Katsucon 2018 Cosplay Showcase 2

Voltron - The Prisoner

The Fifth Season of Voltron: Legendary Defender opens with Lotor (A.J. LoCascio) a prisoner of the Paladins, and a useful one at that. Despite providing the Paladins with useful intel to help Voltron free nearly a third of the Galra Empire, Allura (Kimberly Brooks) finds it difficult to trust the son of Zarkon (Neil Kaplan). When further evidence of his trustworthiness is demanded, Lotor offers the Paladins the location of several valuable scientists including the father of Pidge (Bex Taylor-Klaus) and Matt (Blake Anderson). Racing out before the rest of the team can respond, brother and sister infiltrate the base with the help of their new friends. Although they are able to save several captives, they are far from the first to attack the prison, and are forced to leave without their father.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Red Sparrow

Adapted from Jason Matthews' 2013 novel of the same name (which apparently "borrowed" heavily from Black Widow's comic history), and starring Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Red Sparrow is a disappointment in every since of the word. This movie is B-A-D. A slow burn spy thriller, with jolts of quick-cut stylized action, plot holes big enough to drive the Death Star through, and sex scenes so laughable only Showgirls fans can truly appreciate them, the film is a complete waste of time for everyone involved. For the audience, it's an excruciating, although sometimes laughably bad, experience.

The Flash - Subject 9

"Subject 9" continues the season's larger arc as DaVoe seeks out another of the meta-humans created by the Flash's (Grant Gustin) return from the Speed Force in a musician with the ability to control sound waves. Prompted by Barry and Ralph (Devon Graye), a reluctant Izzy (Miranda MacDougall) agrees to train with the heroes who believe, for a brief second, they might stand a chance against the super-villain who has stayed one-step ahead of them this entire season. While earning his freedom, Barry discovers his return to the crime lab will have to wait until there is more closure with the DaVoe case. For now it appears Barry will have to do his crime fighting in a blur of scarlet and gold.

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #249

Okay, it's been awhile since I've picked up an issue of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero. So to catch-up: apparently Snake Eyes is dead, the JOEs have a new Snake Eyes on their team (which also includes Storm Shadow?!), and then there's Dawn Moreno (a teenage athlete and Cobra recruit who Dr. Mindbinder gave all of the original Snake Eyes' memories). Yeah, looks like I've missed a few things.