Friday, August 30, 2019

LEGO DC: Batman - Family Matters

The latest LEGO DC straight-to-video offers two storylines intertwined by the common theme of family. The more interesting of the two centers around the sudden appearance of the Red Hood (Jason Spisak) who picks off the Bat-Family one-by-one while enlisting the help of several other Bat-Villains including the Penguin (Tom Kenny), Riddler (André Sogliuzzo), Killer Croc (Nolan North), and Scarecrow (Steve Blum). Less deadly in LEGO form, the Red Hood still works fairly well as DC LEGO takes more family-friendly approach to the former Robin becoming a super-villain.

The other storyline involves Batman (Troy Baker) growing weary of being Bruce Wayne and deciding to sell off the company whose new invention Brother Eye falls into the hands of Two-Face (Christian Lanz) and becomes a problem the Bat-Family, with the Red Hood's help, will need to solve. Just as Jason Todd will reconsider his revenge and reclaim a role within the Bat-Family, Batman will reconsider the importance of his alter-ego to Gotham City.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

It's MechCon 2019 - Cosplayers in New Orleans

Ghost-Spider #1

While not quite as quick-witted as the final issues of Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider, the new series centered around Spider-Gwen leaving her own dimension to come to college and fight crime in New York gets a solid opening. If the first issue is any indication, it looks like the comic will split time between Gwen exploring her new home and events back in her dimension (which may eventually effect her new life).

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Lucifer - Expire Erect

Looking for closure, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) decides on one final case with Chloe (Lauren German) involving the death of a collector of classic cars. Chloe, who has only recently begun to come around to the truth about her partner, meets Eve (Inbar Lavi) for the first time and discovers there is another woman who has known about Lucifer who she can discuss the Devil with (and who has been impregnated by an angel and just gotten an unexpected roommate).

The Boys - The Innocents

In "The Innocents" Starlight (Erin Moriarty) continues to flex her muscles and push back against corporate's attempt to control her forcing the company to take drastic action by throwing the Deep's (Chace Crawford) to the wolves by having him admit on-camera he was responsible for sexually assaulting America's newest shinning star. Well, at least one of the assholes got what was coming to him. Meanwhile, the Boys go to Mesmer (Haley Joel Osment), a supe with the ability to read minds, in order to learn more about Kamiko (Momona Tamada). She calms down enough to give up a bit of her life story (after breaking one of the psychic's hands). While the choice helps out the boys in the short-term it also foreshadows huge problems as Mesmer reaches out to an old friend about what he has learned. The show also leaves quite a bit on the cutting room floor by introducing, and then quickly moving on from, an intriguing character like Mesmer haunted by his ability to connect to people while being completely disconnected from his daughter.

Batman #77

Batman #77 is most notable for the death of a major supporting character (at best a questionable choice, at worst potentially damaging the core of the Bat-Family). However, much of the issue focuses on Damian and his attempt to enter Gotham City (despite warnings from Bane and his minions about what will occur should any member of the Bat-Family enter the city limits).

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Game Card Trader Awesome Pack 4

Also check out Pack 1, Pack 2, and Pack 3.

Silver Surfer: Black #3

Still lost at the other end of a void, separated from his proper place in space and time, Norrin Radd will make a new friend and a dangerous discovery in Silver Surfer: Black #3 that will tie back to his past and the universe's future.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Killjoys - Three Mutineers

Alliances continue to shift in "Three Mutineers" as Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) struggles to deal with backstabbing convicts and murderous envoys. Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) on the other hand makes a new friend (Rachael Ancheril) and puts Nucy to work to get the Killjoys a new ship. By the end of the episode the Killjoys have all made it out alive, have a way back to Westerly, tricked the Lady into thinking that they are dead, and Dutch and Johnny have (thankfully) put hurt feelings and bruised pride aside just in time to continue the fight of their lives. Not bad for an hour's work.

Batman & the Outsiders #4

Batman & the Outsiders #4 offers the calm before the storm as Ra's al Ghul bends Sofia Ramos to his will and the Outsiders lick their wounds and gearing up to jump into the fray once more. The issue offers an allusion, if not a full explanation, about why Batman isn't joining the team on this mission. I'm guessing that the comic is referring to events tied to City of Bane, but honestly can't be sure as writer Bryan Edward Hill vagues this up as much as possible. Whatever the reason, it appears the Outsiders are on their own.

Monday with Vixence

Vixence is a California cosplayer and model. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram. You can support her on Big Cartel and Patreon. Photo by Gil Photography.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Angel Has Fallen (And Can't Get Up)

Gerard Butler returns as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning who was introduced in the dumb, and not really that much fun, Olympus Has Fallen. Things haven't changed much. The sequel frames the decorated agent as the mastermind behind the assassination attempt of the President (Morgan Freeman). Armed with circumstantial evidence, and ignoring the agent saving the President's life and his service record, a dimwitted FBI Agent (Jada Pinkett Smith) fingers Banning for the bad guy while his friends at the Secret Service do nothing to help. Luckily for our hero, the real villain is just stupid enough to not only fail to kill his patsy but also arrange for his escape allowing Banning to go on the run and attempt to clear his name.

Since it isn't much of a list, let's look at what works in the film. I'm always happy to see Piper Perabo who offers the film's best performance as Banning's wife, angry at him for keeping secrets about his health but not enough to believe her husband has become a terrorist. And second, there's Nick Nolte who is the only one having fun in this dog of a movie that takes the ridiculous events far too seriously.

Lucifer - All About Eve

"All About Eve" offers a proper introduction to Eve (Inbar Lavi) when the second human being in all of creation shows in Los Angeles in need of Lucifer's (Tom Ellis) help. When the man who flew her to Los Angeles turns up dead with his priceless necklace missing, the Devil sets out to protect Eve from both the mob and the police. Having fled Heaven to enjoy life on Earth, it isn't until the end of the episode that Eve reveals her true interest is Lucifer (whom she is able to accept for all that he is, unlike a certain police detective). Chloe (Lauren German) seems finally able to make an effort to accept Lucifer, Devilnes and all, but has she missed her chance? And is Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) correct to worry that Eve is exactly the wrong kind of influence Lucifer needs as she may push him back in bad habits?

The Boys - Good for the Soul

Much of "Good for the Soul" centers around the Believe Festival, where Starlight (Erin Moriarty) continues to chafe under the expectations of what others want her to be and Hughie (Jack Quaid) blackmails a supe to give the Boys dirt on Compound V. Despite having to trade on her fame to further Butcher's (Karl Urban) plans, Hughie continues to grow closer to the new woman in his life while she loses her shit a little standing up against the hypocrisy of what her beloved festival has become (or what she had just failed to notice when she was younger and even more naive than she is now). Hughie's inner conflict and Starlight's common sense allow the pair to be the only likable characters in a world gone to shit.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wu Assassins - Drunken Watermelon

The opening episode of Netflix's Wu Assassins offers an interesting premise, with some impressive fight sequences, even if the storytelling is bit less focused than one would hope. At the core of the story is a Chinese-Indonesian chef (Iko Uwais) whose sense of honor and justice gets him in hot water with the Chinese Triad. Luckily for Kai Jin, he's granted the power to become a Wu Assassin (although he is hesitant to live up to the later-half of that title) and tasked with taking out the heads of five criminal families to the recover supernatural powers before they destroy the world.


Usagi Yojimbo #3

Usagi Yojimbo #3 ends the comic's opening story as Miyamoto Usagi and Sasuké fight for their lives against the demonic puppets and discover that Takagi isn't the puppet master they believe, but just another puppet being played by the true force behind the scenes.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Killjoys - A Bout, A Girl

It's hard to tell whether our heroes are in better or worse shape after the events of "A Bout, A Girl." The arrival of Qreshi onboard the space prison for a prisoner super-brawl known as Bellaxion gives Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) a plan of escape. Joining the contest with Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) working behind the scenes to hack the security chips within all the prisoners gives the team a change. However, to make the plan work they'll need the help of their new pal Sparlow (Alain Goulem) which turns out to be a very bad idea. Along with a montage of Dutch kicking some serious ass, the episode also features a tender moment where she breaks down to D'avin (Luke Macfarlane) about the fracture of her relationship with Johnny who, as Khlyen (Rob Stewart) so eloquently pointed out, is her true North.

Event Leviathan #3

Event Leviathan #3 picks up from Batman and the heroes he's gathered wrongly accusing the Red Hood for being the mastermind behind Leviathan. As expected, Jason Todd isn't the one responsible for the attacks on various spy organizations across the DCU, although writer Brian Michael Bendis does up the character's game in making him a legitimate threat to the heroes if he chooses to be in the future.

Elementary - Their Last Bow

After seven years on CBS, Elementary concludes with a series finale that focuses not on a case to solve but on the core relationship of the show's two primary characters. Set years after "Reichenbach Falls," with Odin Reichenbach (James Frain) now sentenced to hundreds of years behind bars, Watson (Lucy Liu) brings back her partner who has traveled the globe in recent years solving crimes under a slew of different pseudonyms while the world has believed Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) to be dead. Initially it appears Holmes' old flame has lured him out of hiding, but further investigation reveals that Jamie Moriarty (who sadly doesn't make an appearance here) has known about Holmes' survival for some time.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Lucifer - O, Ye of Little Faith, Father

Unable to use Chloe (Lauren German) to take down Lucifer (Tom Ellis), Father Kinley (Graham McTavish) approaches the Devil and attempts to drive a wedge between the pair by providing some half-truths about Chloe's trip to Rome and her desire to force the Devil back to hell. While investigating the murder of former gang members who had each turned their lives around, Lucifer catches his partner in a lie and struggles with what to do next while he begins more and more to compare himself to the victims and Chloe to the murder unable to allow for the possibility of redemption.

The Boys - The Female of the Species

After releasing her while searching the hidden supply house where A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) gets his drugs, Butcher (Karl Urban), Mother's Milk (Laz Alonso), and Frenchie (Tomer Capon) scour the city for the murderous woman (Karen Fukuhara) whose connection to larger events none of them yet understand. (I'll admit, I'm a little lost, too.) Meanwhile, Hughie's (Jack Quaid) goes out on a date with Starlight (Erin Moriarty) continuing to find more in common with the hero than he though possible making it even hard to lie to her, and use her to spy on the Seven as the show continues to push Hughie towards a major decision which Hughie will be forced to choose between his new life (and revenge for the death of his girlfriend) and possibly moving on with Starlight.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Wonder Woman #76

Wonder Woman #76 is a transitional issue bridging the gap between the previous arc and teasing what is to come as the comic gets wrapped up in DC's current Year of the Villain event. While I'm not all that interested in Cheetah going all god killer over the next few issues, this issue works impressively as a standalone issue (even if you, like me, haven't been paying close attention to the comic recently).

Legion - Chapter 27

Legion comes to a close with a final episode that features Kerry (Amber Midthunder) fighting time demons, Switch (Lauren Tsai) evolving into something more, David's (Dan Stevens) squaring off against the younger version of Farouk (Navid Negahban), Charles Xavier (Harry Lloyd) coming to an understanding with the older Farouk, and David being granted his most fervent wish for a second chance. More linear than many episodes of the series, "Chapter 27"'s low-key tone feels a bit underwhelming as the show's finale. That said, it wraps up the existing plot points and offers a much happier ending than any of these characters had a right to expect. Subverting expectations by making the final confrontation with the Shadow King ultimately non-confrontational allows David to grow further (although I don't know if I accept the growth necessary in either version of Farouk to make this ending possible). Still, for what it was, Legion offered a host of memorable moments over its three seasons which ends (not unexpectedly) with a song.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Black Cat #3

Black Cat #3 wraps up the heist of the Sanctum Sactorum as Black Cat an her team struggle just to make it out alive of Doctor Strange's home after losing control of their wizard Xander. Getting out of Doctor Strange's home is challenge enough without a crazed power-mad wizard trying to kill you.

Batman: Hush

The latest DC Comics animated feature is an adaptation of the hugely popular twelve-part mini-series by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. The film takes quite a few liberties with the source material, even going so far as to change the identity of the villain named Hush who the arc introduced as a mastermind attacking both Batman (Jason O'Mara) and Bruce Wayne from multiple angles prior to revealing himself. Although some cutting may be necessary to fit within the structure of the movie, the script still oddly keeps an excessive amount of the (mostly unnecessary) thread involving Superman (Jerry O'Connell) and Poison Ivy (Peyton List).

Fitting into the existing storyline of the Son of Batman movies, with only a cameo from Damian, the script does take steps to push Batman into more of a classic costume for most of the film to more closely resemble the look of the comic (if only the those in charge of the project had done the same with the plot).

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Elementary - Reichenbach Falls

The penultimate episode of Elementary brings a close to the season-long arc involving billionaire vigilante Odin Reichenbach (James Frain). The deaths of Morland Holmes (John Noble), the professional criminals he used to commit the crime, and the detectives' star witness against Reichenbach leave Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) back at square one with no new plan on how to pick-up the fight. Holmes struggles with an outside-the-box solution for their foe, which, given his past, leads Watson to suspect her partner of taking the law into his own hands.

Killjoys - Ship Outta Luck

While Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Johnny (Aaron Ashmore), and D'avin (Luke Macfarlane work on getting out of the prison they've been sent to, a reawoken Zeph (Kelly McCormack) enlists some help to slow down the Lady's terraforming project. Although the Killjoys fail in their escape attempt, they do gain the notice of the space-prison's warden (Rachael Ancheril) who offers them a deal in helping to prevent an assassination attempt inside her prison. As for Zeph, she, Pree (Thom Allison), and Turin (Patrick Garrow) manage to make a small dent in the lady's plan by destoying several of the ships she uses to seed the clouds with her mind-controlling rain.

Best of Marvel Cosplay Music Video

Monday, August 12, 2019

Lucifer - Somebody's Been Reading Dante's Inferno

As Chloe (Lauren German) and Lucifer (Tom Ellis) investigate murder on a reality-TV series and plan their first date, more of Chloe's time with Father Kinley (Graham McTavish) is revealed. Having found the detective in Rome, the preacher has enlisted her help to force Lucifer back to Hell. While McKinley speaks only of reestablishing the status quo and preventing the Devil from having any bad influence on the world, the father also secretly hopes to prevent a dark prophecy from coming to pass (never questioning the possibility that his actions may be leading directly into it becoming an reality).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #7

The focus of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #7 stays mostly on Willow following her sacrifice to prevent Xander from becoming a full vampire. The result of the ritual has left them both with half of her soul, left Xander as some kind of half-human/half-vampire hybrid, and bruised the carefree Willow's usually sunny disposition.

The Boys - Get Some

The third episode of the series delivers a super-hero race between A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) and the new up-and-coming speedster known as Shockwave (Mishka Thébaud). A big publicity stunt helping to sell both the heroes and used to also push the company's agenda, A-Train knows he cannot afford to lose his spot on the team (as the show underlines just how much the heroes rely on their fame and how it might be the most powerful weapon which can be used against them). Staking out A-Train's girlfriend (Brittany Allen), the Boys discover the speedster's dirty little secret involving a drug that enhances his abilities but makes him loose control. A-Train's reliance on it brings it to the Boys' attention as well as reveal the super-hero was hopped-up on it when he ran through Hughie's (Jack Quaid) girlfriend.

Super-Heroes Card Trader - Spidey Awesome Pack 4

For more super-heroes check out Super-Hero Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, Pack 7, Pack 8, Pack 9, Pack 10, Pack 11, Pack 12, Team-Up Pack 1, Wonder Woman Pack 1, Green Lantern Pack 1, Black Cat Pack 1, Pack 2, Lara Croft Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Spidey Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Deadpool Pack 1, Harley Quinn Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Birds of Prey Pack 1, Pack 2, Memorial Day Pack 1, X-Men Pack 1, and the X-Mas Mega Pack 1 and Mega Pack 2.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

I wasn't expecting too much from a live-action adaptation of Dora the Explorer, but I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised by what I found in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Far from perfect, the film does have charm and enough brains to both celebrate and poke fun at the educational animated series which spawned it by having Dora (Isabela Moner) raised by her parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) in the jungle helping to explain her quirks (such as talking to her backpack or making up songs about the most mundane things). Although ultimately not as successful, it's tone and humor reminded me of 2007's Nancy Drew.

In Moner the film's producers chose wisely. She's just sweet, honest, and precocious enough to make us buy this version of Dora who is forced to leave the jungle and stay with family while her parents go off on their latest adventure in search of a lost city. The film offers not one but two fish-out-of-water plots as happy-go-lucky Dora struggles in the city to fit in before she, her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg), and two new friends (Madeleine Madden and Nicholas Coombe) are kidnapped back to the jungle by treasure hunters seeking the lost city.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

FanimeCon 2019 Cosplay Fun

Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny - Blade of the Red Phoenix

After opening with a sequence involving Po's (Mick Wingert) vision of two dragons battling, and a visit from Oogway (Piotr Michael), "Blade of the Red Phoenix" sends Po and his students back into the cave where the four young Pandas discovered their power in search of a scroll which may help unlock the secrets to their powers and which Jindiao (Steve Blum) covets to complete his plans. As with the earlier episodes of the series, "Blade of the Red Phoenix" showcases one character further unlocking his powers. Here it's Fan Tong (Makana Say) who conjures a sword using chi of Red Phoenix to vanquish the demon sent by Jindiao to capture the scroll. The greater control of his powers also unlocks part of the scroll, foreshadowing all may be revealed when all four students are ready.

Angel #3

The third issue of Angel teases us with what our hero's future will look like on this new rebooted timeline, offers him a bit of context to the villain he's fighting who is targeting victims through social media, and introduces the handsome stranger to Winifred Burkle. It's the last of these which is most interesting, as Angel saves Fred from a demon-possessed attacker with the help of a balloon filled with holy water.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Wednesday with Nicole Whittaker

Nicole Whittaker is a California model. You can follow her on Instagram. Photo by Top Tier Images.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - Roll With It

"Roll With It" is an amusing episode from the Second Season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power as a planning session to take a tower from the Horde becomes an out-of-control table-top roll-playing adventure with each character offering "help" that gets further and further away from reality. There are two running gags in the various scenes shown. First, Bow (Marcus Scribner) manages to die in every last one of them. And second, Adora discovers that her friends have very distinct (and often quite humorous) impressions of Catra (AJ Michalka).

Avengers: Endgame Honest Trailer

Alyson Tabbitha - Elsa Makeup Cosplay Tutorial

Alyson Tabbitha is a cosplayer and costume maker. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr. You can also support her on Patreon.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Killjoys - Three Killjoys and a Lady

Having escaped from the Lady, the Killjoys find themselves at odds with each other when appearances suggest one of them has been turned by their adversary. Suspicions run high in "Three Killjoys and a Lady" and before all is said and done our heroes will be recaptured and one core member of the team won't make it back alive. Along with the paranoia there's more than a little humor as Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) finds just the right way to calm the Jaqobis boys down and reveal the true villain in their midst. Like Johnny (Aaron Ashmore), I'm sad to see Lucy go but the episode does let the A.I. go out in style with an on-screen appearance of Tamsen McDonough giving Lucy a face to remember. Another member down, the fight with the Lady is just beginning.

Lucifer - Everything's Okay

After disappearing with Trixie (Scarlett Estevez) for a month following the events of the Third Season finale, Chloe (Lauren German) returns apparently having come to terms with her partner's devilish nature. True to his nature, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) attempts to poke and prod his partner to get to the hidden unresolved issues (which he is at least partially right in recognizing). The gang is all back in the first episode of the show's move to Netflix and subplots involve Amenadiel's (D.B. Woodside) return to Los Angeles, Dan (Kevin Alejandro) still struggling with the loss of Charlotte Richards (Tricia Helfer), and Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) looking for forgiveness from her first human friend.

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Boys - Cherry

The second episode of The Boys deals with the fallout of the previous episodes as Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Butcher (Karl Urban) are left with an invisible and indestructible hero (Alex Hassell) on their hands. Enlisting the help of an old friend (Tomer Capon) the duo becomes a trio and looks for ways to properly dispose of the hero before he can escape or one of his friends comes looking for him. The culmination of this plot thread firmly establishes Hughie on a new path. A bit more focused than the first episode (other than a questionable subplot involving the blackmail of a senator), the show continue to revel in its depravity as Hughie's fall to the level of Butcher and the heroes he blames for his girlfriend's death is complete.

Elementary - Unfriended

As the show moves one-step closer to the series finale, the focus remains on billionaire vigilante Odin Reichenbach (James Frain). Enlisting the help of his father, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) begins a two-pronged attack against Reichenbach. As Holmes and Watson (Lucy Liu) work to track down another of Reichenbach's killers (Kristen Bush), Morland Holmes (John Noble) uses the vast influence in the criminal organization in an attempt to cut the knees out from Reichenbach. Only one of these plans proves to be successful. The other will have tragic consequences.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

The Fast & Furious franchise has produced a series of films over the past two decades that range from fairly okay (Fast Five and Tokyo Drift) to largely forgettable (see everything else). Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw may not have a lot going for it but it does have Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham who take their bickering to the next level when forced to work together on a joint CIA and MI6 assignment (despite neither one working for either agency).