Saturday, May 30, 2020

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The New Deal


It's been over two years since I sat down to watch an episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which I was astonished to discover was still on the air. Set in New York City during the early 1930s, features the remaining agents tracking Chronicoms who plan on stopping S.H.I.E.L.D. from ever coming into existence by altering the timeline. The episode has fun with the look of the era, particularly in styling Daisy's (Chloe Bennet) hair and clothing. The season premiere also fixes a mistake with the show since it's inception by having the version of Coulson (Clark Gregg) be a Life Model Decoy for the now dead (again) agent. The choice to allow the LMD to know what it is allows for some internal conflict within the character and also full use of its enhanced strength against the threat of the Chronicoms.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Rick and Morty - Never Ricking Morty


"Never Ricking Morty" offers an anthology-style story strung together by the idea of Rick (Justin Roiland) and Morty (Roiland) being trapped on a train full of passengers all of whom have various Rick and Morty stories to tell. Pushing the limits of meta, Rick and Morty discover the train is controlled by Story Lord (Paul Giamatti) who hopes to use the imaginations of the pair to break through the fifth wall (but it turns out the entire episode takes place within Morty's new trainset). As with previous anthology-style episodes, some of the bits (quick look at the futuristic war between cats and dogs, Biblesaurus and his veggie pals) work better than others (Rick's musical numbers, a Christmas saving vignette without a punchline, or the constant abs jokes).

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Birds of Prey: Sirens of Justice #1


Birds of Prey: Sirens of Justice #1 offers a team-up between Harley Quinn, Black Canary, and Huntress when Harley brings information about a hospital lost in a sync hole and its connection to the local mob. The pairing of Harley with the Birds of Prey is obviously inspired by the recent film, but for the storyline of this comic DC turns to Gail Simone whose history with the characters is well-established (even if most of the Birds she usually writes don't make an appearance here).

Avengers #33


On the night of a Supermoon, a new storyline begins with Moon Knight targeting the mystical Avengers one-by-one. Avengers #33 opens in the Himalayas where Moon Knight takes down Iron Fist. Making stops to take down Doctor Strange, crush Thor, and steal Ghost Rider's car, the former Avenger continues to increase his power.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Anna Akana has way too much fun with a cardboard cutout

Harley Quinn - Being Harley Quinn


In a season that is all about discovering just who Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) is after leaving the Joker, "Being Harley Quinn" gets the most literal as it takes the crew in Harley's mind to find the cause of her inability to make decisions about who she is and what she wants. Unwilling to let the pervy Doctor Psycho (Tony Hale) enter their friend's mind on his own, the entire crew heads inside Harley's brain where they find plenty of Jokers, a young Frankie Muniz (Frankie Muniz), killer child Harleys, and a whole bunch of answers Harley wasn't expecting.

The Nice Jedi Fan Trailer

Monday, May 25, 2020

Stargirl - S.T.R.I.P.E.


Working as a second-half to the show's pilot, "S.T.R.I.P.E." offers a proper introduction to Pat's (Luke Wilson) robot teased at the end of the first episode as well as Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) in costume for the first time as Stargirl. Once again, the show downplays high school life, other than a scene to remind us that Courtney is largely ignored by the student population, while focusing on the willful teen embracing her super-hero destiny over Pat's objections (including a humorous montage where she makes good use of the school's sewing room to remake Starman's costume into her own).

Super Dinosaur - Under the Dome


The second episode of Super Dinosaur introduces us to the Kingston family. Bruce (Brian Dobson) and Sarah (Kathleen Barr) are assigned to the Dynamo Dome as technicians and support staff. Despite Derek's (Valin Shinyei) reluctance to accept their help, both quickly prove their value. Their two daughters have mixed reactions to the move. Erin (Shannon Chan-Kent)) is curious and amazed by the new surroundings while the sullen Erica (Shannon Chan-Kent) is far less amused by the move.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Harley Quinn - Finding Mr. Right


Hoping to enhance her prestige in Gotham City, Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) sets out to get herself a nemesis. Looking to take on Batman, a public altercation with Robin (Jacob Tremblay), also looking to set himself up with a nemesis of his own, lowers Harley's stock in the villain community ever farther to the point where Lois Lane says she put the women's supervillain movement back decades. Of course the Boy Wonder claiming that Harley is his new nemesis at every turn doesn't help matters any.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Stargirl - Pilot


For as many super-hero shows that have been produced over the past decade it's odd that Stargirl is the first to center around a single teen protagonist rather than your usual twenty or thirty-somethings. Despite opening with the deaths of multiple heroes, the pilot episode offers a bit of a lighter touch than we've seen in recent years focusing on the upheaval of Courtney Whitmore's (Brec Bassinger) life as her family leaves Los Angeles for a new life in Nebraska. There's plenty of cliche here, both in the depiction of Midwestern hospitality and in high school life, but when the show focuses on super-heroes it finds its groove. The first character we're introduced to isn't Courtney, but her new stepfather (Luke Wilson) who a decade ago was the sidekick for the dying Starman (Joel McHale) who entrusts his cosmic staff to Pat, suggesting someone other than Pat (really, anyone but Pat) might one day be chosen.

Ghost-Spider #9


Most of Ghost-Spider #9 features our spider-heroine mulling over the unexpected offer of friendship and team-up by Johnny Storm and Sue Storm. Despite her initial reluctance (and multiple warnings from her Spidey-Sense) Gwen decides to go forward with the meeting that ends with the trio taking down some smugglers (with what the Storms really want from Gwen yet to be revealed).

The Flash - Success is Assured


It's more accurate to say the Sixth Season of The Flash ends with "Success is Assured" as little effort is made to come to a conclusion in the shortened season finale. Yes, Joseph Carver's (Eric Nenninger) reign of terror will come to an end as Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor) gets her revenge, but Iris (Candice Patton) remains trapped in the mirror universe and Barry (Grant Gustin) is no closer to creating an artificial Speed Force or preventing the loss of the little speed he has left. Also, with so little time left, it's a bit odd for yet another episode to devote so much time to Killer Frost's (Danielle Panabaker) personal story which is completely disconnected from the season arc and ultimately doesn't lead the character anywhere but into an obvious state of hiatus.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Supergirl - Immortal Kombat


The Fifth Season of Supergirl comes to an early end. Given the COVID-19 shortened season, not all of the season's plot points are resolved, as the show offers a cliffanger ending leaving the fate of one supporting character in doubt and the endgame of Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) still a mystery. More than the big battles featuring Supergirl's (Melissa Benoist) pals fighting literal gods, or Kara's speech to convince people to leave Obsidian North Platinum, the finale is most notable for finally offering the opportunity for Kara and Lena (Katie McGrath) to put aside recent hurt feelings and come together once more (hopefully the signaling the start of a new friendship that won't be fractured by the first sign of trouble... or Lex's inevitable retaliation).

Doctor Aphra #1


Set after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, evil archaeologist Chelli Lona Aphra earns a new series opening with her plundering the recently-evacuated Rebel base on Hoth, and running into a bit of Imperial trouble, before accepting a job from Shadow University student Detta Yao. Yao is on the hunt for the mythical Rings of Vaale (which, it turns out, may be real, very valuable, and very dangerous).

Super Dinosaur - My Best Friend's a Dinosaur


The first episode of the CGI-animated Super Dinosaur, adapted from the all-ages comic of the same name, introduces us to young genius Derek Dynamo (Valin Shinyei) and his best-friend SD (Deven Christian Mack) - a genetically-altered Tyrannosaurus rex with a robotic harness. The two live with Derek's absentminded father (Alessandro Juliani) in the Dynamo Dome, working for Earthcore to prevent other walking, talking Dino-Men under the control of Max Maximus (Marco Soriano) from taking over the world. The show premiered on Amazon Prime to such little fanfare that I wasn't made aware of its existence until two-years later happening upon it on a completely different platform.

Harley Quinn #72


I believe in Booster Gold. Harley Quinn enlists the help of the greatest hero you've never heard of to look into why her best friend Alicia was murdered. While the pairing might seem a bit odd, it does invoke memories of of the character's madcap antics in the Justice League International before DC's various attempts to turn the character more serious, lose him in time, or wipe him out of existence completely.

Friday, May 8, 2020

How to Build a Girl

Adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Caitlin Moran, How to Build a Girl introduces us to awkward and imaginative teenager Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein) who finds a way to take her writing talent and use it not only to support her struggling lower-class family, but also reinvent herself into music critic Dolly Wilde.

Along with Johanna, the family Morrigan consists of her equally socially-awkard gay brother (Laurie Kynaston), a mother (Gemma Arterton) whose attention is consumed by newborn twins, and a father (Paddy Considine) who has yet to accept he was a rocker who was never good enough to make it big.

Triggered in part by need to help her family, but also by a desire to escape her lonely life, Johanna breaks out of her comfort zone. First through a love of music, and later through ruthless criticism, Johanna is transformed into the sassy Dolly Wilde. How to Build a Girl is part coming-of-age story, part self-exploration, and part morality tale how a little power can corrupt someone so easily and completely (especially an unsuspecting teen).

Thursday, May 7, 2020

How Jessica Nigri Made Her Mandalorian Costume

Harley Quinn - So You Need a Crew?


After being upstaged by the Joker (Alan Tudyk) and his henchmen, Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) decides she needs a crew of her own. In an episode full of both subtle and overt references towards society's treatment of women, "So You Need a Crew?" humorously features Harley's struggles where henchmen are more likely to sign-up for the clueless Kite Man (Matt Oberg) than a woman in spandex and super-villain agencies are far less willing to help once they realize Harley no longer works with the Joker. The episode even features the example of the Queen of Fables (Wanda Sykes), the last female super-villain who attempted to break through the super-villain glass ceiling only to suffer a far worse fate than her male counterparts at the hands of the Justice League.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Flash - Pay the Piper


Everything old is new again. While offering glimpses into Iris (Candice Patton) finding Kamilla (Victoria Park), who the show finally remembered is also trapped in the mirror universe, and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) offering some encouragement to Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), the show mainly focuses on the lack of team morale for Team Flash given their recently loses. Enter yet another version of Godspeed to terrorize the city. With Barry's (Grant Gustin) speed waning the team looks to an unlikely ally as the episode also introduces a Crisis-rebooted version of Hartley Rathaway (Andy Mientus) who agrees to help Barry and friends in return for the team fixing his henchman and boyfriend who was injured during one of the Pied Piper's run-ins with the Flash in the rebooted timeline.

Star Trek: Discovery - Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad


"Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" offers a time loop episode featuring the return of Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd. Through the use of an injured, and endangered, space creature and a time crystal, Mudd is able to sneak on-board Discovery and keep resetting time as he searches for the secrets of the ship which he plans to sell to the Klingons. He also spends quite a bit of time killing Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) over and over as revenge for the captain living Mudd in a Klingon prison. While not as clever as something like "Cause and Effect," and problematic for glossing over how Mudd acquired (and could figure out how to use) such technology, the episode does have its moments including the use of a Trojan Horse and making use of Stamets' (Anthony Rapp) altered physiology to explain why he alone remembers the various loops.

DC Super Hero Girls: Infinite Frenemies #2


Metropolis High School's dance may not be a typical teenage experience, but it turns out to be a pretty typical night for the DC Super Hero Girls when Livewire attacks, taking over the auditorium's sound system, and forcing the kids to keep dancing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Star Wars Revenge of the Fifth Awesome Pack


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, Pack 16, Pack 17, Pack 18, Pack 19, Pack 20, Pack 21, Star Wars Day 2019 Pack, and the Star Wars Disney Princess Pack.

Star Trek: Picard - The End Is the Beginning


After being denied assistance by Starfleet Command, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) turns his attention to an old friend with plenty of resentment towards Romulands and Picard (whose exit from Starfleet led to the swift end of her career as well). Three episodes in, the show is still dragging its feet and struggling to get Picard into space. It will be another episode before the crew is complete, and two more before the story presented in the first episode actually begins to come together. (So it's not really the end of the beginning just yet.) As a conspiracy nut who has seen better days, Raffi (Michelle Hurd) shows how far Picard has to go in order to find assistance outside of Starfleet. Hurd is fine here, although the show will continue to struggle with well Raffi holds it together and the level of her skill-set over nearly every episode in which she appears. Flashbacks between the pair help further explain Picard's exit from Starfleet in a rather uncharacteristically moment of naivete.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Supergirl - Deus Lex Machina


While not as successful as "The House of L," "Deus Lex Machina" does use the same structure to present a story from the perspective of Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) to catch viewers up on what the character has been up to behind-the-scenes over the past few months. Beginning with his return after "Crisis," the episode chronicles how the villain has juggled the various threats against him and used Eve (Andrea Brooks) to both ingratiate himself to Leviathan and work for their destruction. While successfully coming out both an ally for Leviathan and hero for stopping them, Lex earns another victory. However, his ego does get in the way where a certain caped hero is concerned.

Thanos Loses


Thanos Loses collects five separate issues from Marvel Comics, each featuring a victory over the Mad Titan by various Marvel Heroes. Taken out of context, some story elements are lost here but the individual issues do provide what the comic promises.

Prodigal Son - Like Father...


The season finale of Prodigal Son opens with Malcolm (Tom Payne) framed for murder and Martin (Michael Sheen) transferred to general population in Rikers with a price on his head. Malcolm continues his own investigation, first through a bit of chicanery and later through the help of the police, which leads him face-to-face with the ghost from his past (Anna Eilinsfeld) but without a way to clear his name. Despite the advice from his father, Malcolm can't bring himself to kill Nicholas Endicott (Dermot Mulroney) even after he has Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) is stabbed by one of his minions. However, the other of the Whitly children turns out to take more after her father.

Harley Quinn - Til Death Do Us Part


I've watched the first five episodes of DC Universe's Harley Quinn and the show's premiere "Til Death Do Us Part" is the weakest of the bunch. (Sadly, it's also the only one to feature the character's original costume.) "Til Death Do Us Part" Opens with Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) growing tired of her sidekick role with the Joker (Alan Tudyk) but unable to break the pull the Crown Prince of Crime has on her. The show's opener features Joker abandoning her, leaving her to rot in Arkham Asylum for a full year, and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) working to help her friend get over her puddin'.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Charlie's Angels

Charlie's Angels is a sequel (of sorts) to both the 70s television show and the movies from the early 2000s, Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. The Townsend Agency has gone global, there are now Angels in offices all around the world (and for reasons never explored, each has a support agent all of whom use the codename of Bosley). The team the film focuses on is made up of former heiress and thief Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and former MI6 agent Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) who are assigned to help programmer Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) who has uncovered some dangerous truths about her company's new technology. After extraction, Elena's skill set proves useful and she soon becomes one of the team.

The movie highlights some of the goofiness of the original television show in terms of disguises and planning, it also ratches up the action quite a bit. There are plots and subplots here, some making the main story more convoluted than necessary and others simply used as filler.