Monday, May 31, 2021

The Tumultuous History of The A-Team

Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #3

Dane Whitman embarks on a quest with Elsa Bloodstone and Jackie Chopra to find the other Ebony items. With the Ebony Dagger and Ebony Shield already in Mordred's possession, it's a race to see who will be the first to claim the Ebony Chalice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


I think if Disney made a movie about Hannibal Lecter it would be about how great a psychiatrist he was before he started indulging in other appetites. The ill-conceived, and lengthy, Cruella offers a look at the origins of the paper-thin villain from One Hundred and One Dalmatians who wanted to steal and murder dogs to skin for fur coats. Honestly, did anyone really need more than two-hours to explore extra layers and motivations of a character like Cruella De Vil?

The film is certainly stylish, and does offer its share of memorable moments over a 136-minute running time which also includes an unexpected The Devil Wears Prada plot about 70s fashion. Emma Stone stars as the orphan who would grow up to be a thief, a fashion designer, and eventually notorious celebrity known simply as Cruella. The screenplay also brings back Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser), the two henchmen from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, reimaging them as childhood friends and fellow thieves who she eventually takes for granted when Cruella's ambitions get the better of her. And, because it is a Disney movie, we also get a pair of dogs with inspirationally long lifelines and their dog tricks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Wrestlemania XXXVII

Wrestlemania XXXVII comes to DVD and Blu-ray featuring all 14 matches over the two night event. The first WWE Pay-Per-View with fan attendance in over a year didn't offer much in the way of surprises but it did deliver the first main event to feature two African American women headlining the event as Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks.

Notable matches included Bobby Lashley successfully defending his WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre, Cesaro winning his first Wrestlemania singles match, Rhea Ripley successfully defending the Raw Women's Championship against Asuka, and Roman Reigns successfully defending WWE Universal Championship against Edge and Daniel Bryan.

Slowed down by rain the first night and with less attendance than usual, Wrestlemania XXXVII offered a successful return to WWE in front of a live audience, even if it lacked some of the majesty or signature matches of past years. As you can watch the PPV for $5 on the Peacock Network, I'm not sure any part of the card merits owning it on DVD or Blu-ray


Despite it's raunchy title, Shithouse is more college dramedy than raunchy comedy. The film pairs up the lonely college freshman Alex (Cooper Raiff, who also wrote and directed) with his Resident Advisor Maggie (Dylan Gelula). A relationship of convenience, the question Shithouse asks is whether or not these two lonely souls could be more to each other than transitory companions.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Monday with Alexis Ren


Misbehaviour looks back at both the 1970 Miss World competition in London and a handful of women involved with the women's liberation movement who achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast. The script by Rebecca Frayn, who also directs, and Gaby Chiappe is a bit more nuanced than I expected. While the film certainly points out the numerous issues with the pageant objectifying the contestants for the public, it also showcases the good of Miss World offering opportunity to women all over the world and allowing both the panel's judges and its audience the opportunity to consider beauty in different forms.

Keira Knightley stars as a college student and new member of the more disruptive chapter of the WLM (Jessie Buckley, Ruby Bentall, Lily Newmark, among others). The 1970 pageant was memorable both for the protest, which disrupted the live telecast, and for the fact that Miss Grenada (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) became the first black woman to win. Greg Kinnear is a bit hammy playing Bob Hope, who the organizers (Rhys Ifans and Keeley Hawes) recruit as this year's celebrity. But, to be fair, he is playing Bob Hope.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #25

After preventing a pair of vampires from assembling the Judge, the team follows Willow into a parallel Earth to where the original television show's timeline is unfolding (and that Xander isn't a vampire). Anya is along for the ride although she doesn't reveal her true motivations to the Scoobies (are they called Scoobies in the alternate timeline?) and keeping them safe from the Lurkers looking to cleanse the world of those who don't belong.

The Flash - Family Matters (Part 1)

The Flash follows up one Barry (Grant Gustin) has a bad idea episode with a second one. Unlike "Timeless," where the episode startled the line, "Family Matters (Part 1)" pushes Barry into full dick mode as he becomes convinced training an ill-prepared Alexa (Sara Garcia), who is still afraid of the monster inside her, is the only way to keep her safe. It's finally Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) who steps in with the personal experience that Alexa needs to hear. Despite the process of getting her ready not running smoothly, and Barry putting her into harm's way in a somewhat irresponsible manner, Alexa is able to get control of the monster and help reach Psych (Ennis Esmer) who has been using his powers to attack old friends who turned their back on him years before.

Star Wars #13

Star Wars #13 acts as a lead-in to Marvel's upcoming arc which will crossover through their various titles including Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra. Set after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, "Prelude to War of the Bounty Hunters: The Hunt for Han" give us Luke, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, and the Wookie Sagwa searching for Boba Fett still in possession of Han Solo frozen in Carbonite.

Thursday with Hendo Art

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Black Cat #6

The theme of Black Cat #6 is deals with the devil, so to speak. After the Black Fox's deal with the Guilded Saint, the Black Cat finds herself immortal but also watches as all of Manhattan begins being pulled into the Saint's lair as payment. Needing help, Felicia goes to the last person anyone would expect: Odessa Drake, the head of the New York branch of the Thieves Guild who Felicia was robbing to set-up the chain of events.

Legends of Tomorrow - The Ex-Factor

Legends of Tomorrow follows up a horror episode with a goofy story featuring the team battling an alien assassin to win the future's most popular singing competition. Returning to her own time, the episode takes advantage of Zari's (Tala Ashe) celebrity who tricks the unstoppable alien with a fleet of invading warships behind him that the only way to win the planet is to win the competition, a competition run by her ex-boyfriend (Ryan Bell) who is more or less a walking s'more. "The Ex-Factor" has some fun lampooning reality-TV competitions, which are really game shows, while stealing bits from various current shows to create "Da Throne."

The Invincible Red Sonja #1

A new adventure begins for Red Sonja starting aboard a plundering pirate ship whose victims include a princess on her way to a royal wedding. Although Sonja saves the princess from the pirates, the young woman escapes into the sea which turns out to be a better fate than the pirates who run into sirens and all die a horrible death. Still, it offers more enemies for Sonja to slay.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Anastasia Cosplay by April Gloria

April Gloria is a Kansas cosplayer. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also support her on Patreon.

Justice Society: World War II

After some lean years where DC Animated had decided to explore the clusterfuck that was the New 52, things appear to be getting back on track. It's amazing how easily and well DC can do when they make the Flash (Matt Bomer) the heart of the story (see Justice League: The New Frontier and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox). And, thank god, the creators of the film knew enough to keep the character's gorgeous simplistic design rather than the eyesore DC has been pushing on readers for nearly a decade now.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Kung Fu - Rage

In an effort to keep another weapon out of the hands of Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman), Nicky (Olivia Liang) enlists the help of Henry (Eddie Liu), Ryan (Jon Prasida), and Althea (Shannon Dang) to steal the artifact from the local museum on the night of a gala. While her logic is more than a little National Treasure-ish, and her group of friends and family are bizarrely good at their first heist, things go with a few other familiar faces showing up at the museum including Zhilan.

Legacies - I Was Made to Love You

"I Was Made to Love You" confirms a couple of suspicions that the Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) who returned isn't the real one, and is in fact made of Malivore mud, and the mysterious shaman/hunter is actually Hope's (Danielle Rose Russell) boyfriend. While I didn't expect Cleo (Omono Okojie) to be responsible for the Landon golem, there were plenty of clues from this season about there being much more going on with the character than what we'd seen up until this point (and the callback to Hope's bust was a nice touch). Looks like next week will be reserved for answers concerning these revelations (and maybe, finally, the conclusion to the end of the Malivore storyline?), meaning other lingering threads needed to be taken care of here in the various B-stories which turn out mostly well.

The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #2

After helping the Dynamic Duo investigate a haunted fun house at a carnival which turns out to be the work of the Joker and his henchmen, Mystery, Inc. earns a trip to the Batcave as a reward with their latest trophy in tow. However, shortly after arriving in the Batcave, the Caped Crusaders are threatened by the sudden appearance of a ghost (which for Shaggy is only slightly more scary than every other piece of the Batcave).

Prodigal Son - Sun and Fun

The search for the Surgeon (Michael Sheen) continues as Malcom (Tom Payne) is able to deduce Dr. Vivian Capshaw's (Catherine Zeta-Jones) involvement in the serial killer's escape, and that she in fact kidnapped Martin rather than the other way around, although the profiler has difficulty selling the concept to the rest of the team. (Vivian escalates to full cray-cray here.) The penultimate episode of the season quickly goes from a manhunt for an escaped serial killer to a rescue mission, at least in Malcom's mind. Despite her doubts, Dani (Aurora Perrineau) stays by Malcom's side (up until the point that Capshaw kidnaps him as well). The episode ends in a cliffhanger with Martin slipping through the law's fingers once more (with a new traveling companion) setting up the season's finale (which, given FOX cancelling the show likely marks it as the series' finale as well).

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Supergirl - Fear Knot

The final episode before a three-month hiatus sees the team head into the Phantom Zone to rescue Kara (Melissa Benoist), over and over again. The concept is easy to guess during the first vignette, but basically it boils down into each member of the team becoming trapped in a prison of their own fear and living out a series of events in their mind while only a handful of minutes actually pass aboard the Martian's flying library ship (seriously, where did this come from?). While each mini-episode offers a look at how a certain character sees things going wrong, it does quickly fill up the running time so that the actual rescue of Supergirl is a mere afterthought (the team doesn't even get a proper introduction to Kara's not-so-dead father). Still, despite the awkwardness of its conclusion, the episode works fairly well by shining the spotlight on the various characters including letting us know what kind of helium-filled monstrosities haunt Brainy's (Jesse Rath) dreams.

The Flash - Timeless

Barry's (Grant Gustin) plan to deal with the Forces creates a schism within Team Flash in "Timeless." Despite his own history which says attempting to change the past is a really, really, really bad idea, Barry becomes insistent on the idea of resetting time to prevent the Forces from being born. Iris (Candice Patton) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) are against the plan, but that isn't enough to prevent Barry from enlisting the help of the lasting remaining Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). In an episode that cements family as the theme of the season, the show also lays the foundation for Cisco's exit as this has been confirmed to be Carlos Valdes final season on the show (on the heels of another character disappearing into prison for life).

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Legends of Tomorrow - Meat: The Legends

The search for the missing Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) continues as the Legends track an alien to 1950s San Bernadino in the hopes that Spooner (Lisseth Chavez) can communicate with it and lead the team back to their missing captain. There's strong horror vibes in the creepy "Meat: The Legends," without ever capturing that old 50ss sci-fi B-movie vibe, as the search for the alien leads the team to a local burger joint and the secret sauce which turns out to be made from the secretions of a giant alien wasp gestating in a cocoon. The episode's B-story picks up with Sara and Gary (Adam Tsekhman) who have crashlanded on an alien world where they meet Amelia Earhart (Jen Oleksiuk), or some monster pretending to be her, while searching for answers about where they are and how they might make it home.

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #280

The final issue of the one-off "Untold Tales" stories turns its attention to from the Joes to Cobra. The issue starts with Wild Weasel and the Baroness crash landing a severely damaged Rattler prior to the Baroness heading off to Paris on her next assignment. The mission is to kidnap the Borovian Prime Minister in order to make him reconsider cutting off his country's association with Cobra. Things are complicated by Major Bludd planning a triple cross hoping to kill the target and cash a payday from multiple angles.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Andrasta Kai'Sa Cosplay

Andrasta is a cosplayer and gamer. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Darth Vader #11

"Into the Fire" concludes as Darth Vader reaches the surface of Exegol in search of the Emperor. Although Vader fights off a few guards, and defeats a crowd of the Sith supporters shown in The Rise of Skywalker, Darth Vader #11 sadly doesn't offer any more context to the group on the Emperor's secret base nor reveal any more detail about them. Other than the one unexpected item Vader discovers in the laboratory, the base on Exegol offers no surprises or reveals (either because Greg Pak had nothing to add to the underdeveloped plot hole left from the film or wasn't given permission to fill it).

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Cut and Run

The first normal-length episode of the series, "Cut and Run" sets up the template for what life on the run for Clone Force 99 (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) will look like. The team travels to Saleucami and introduces Omega (Michelle Ang) to former Clone Trooper Cut Lawquane (Dee Bradley Baker) and his family. It's a little unclear what help the Bad Batch hoped to get from the family as things shift almost immediately to the clones working to get the family off the planet which is now under Imperial control. The rest of the episode centers around the team forging passes to get the team off-world (rather than simply take them aboard their ship and drop them off anywhere in the galaxy, completely under the Empire's nose since they only discover the ship after the Bad Batch notify them as part of the convoluted plan).

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Human Factor

For decades the world has looked at the tension in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors and wished for a peaceful solution. In the new documentary featuring interviews from the American negotiators involved, The Human Factor takes us back to the 1990s and the closest America came to brokering peace between Israel and its neighbors Palestine and Syria.

With access to members of the team who dealt directly with Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak, and others, director Dror Moreh's film offers a behind-the-scenes look at obstacles, struggles, and small victories (such as the Oslo Accords) that offered the hope of lasting peace only to ultimately come up short. Although Syria feels a bit short-changed here given the strong focus on Israeli's relationship to Palestine, and the film could do better in expanding on the last 20 years of after the 90s peace proposals finally fizzled out at Camp David, The Human Factor is an informative and engaging documentary from the perspective of those who lived through events with the added benefit of decades of hindsight to look back on what went wrong.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Once and Future #18

Riding a dragon, Duncan, Rose, Bridgette, and the Shadow Secretary race to prevent the Holy Grail from falling into the hands of Merlin and Zombie Arthur. While successful, Nimue (or whatever she's referring to herself now) inserting herself back into the story to save her son has much larger implications that she could ever imagined.

Prodigal Son - You Can Run...

The manhunt for the escaped Surgeon (Michael Sheen) begins. The show teases the possibility of capturing Martin in a single episode, returning the show to the status quo. Instead, we get a couple of twists as it seems the Surgeon didn't think of everything. Malcom (Tom Payne) discovers he is more conflicted about the hunt for his father than he expected, especially after discovering one of his old toys in his father's possessions and discovering Ainsley (Halston Sage) has been secretly communicating with their father in the weeks leading up to his escape. In the end, Malcom is able to profile his father well enough to deduce his escape plan and capture both the criminals he escaped with, but the Surgeon slipped through his fingers as it seems Martin's journey took a far different path than anyone expected.

Batman: Black and White #5

Five more stories of Batman in black and white are presented in Batman: Black and White #5. The most interesting of the issue is the Choose Your Own Adventure style tale from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie which pits Batman against both the Riddler and Killer Croc allowing the user to choose Batman's actions and jump forward to another panel further in the issue to discover the results. While the concept works better in print than digital, it's still a fun exercise (especially for those of us who grew up with Choose Your Own Adventure novels).

The Force is Strong with LeeAnna Vamp

LeeAnna Vamp is a model, actress, and cosplayer. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and check out her official site.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Flash - The People v. Killer Frost

In a season that's been struggling to define itself, "The People v. Killer Frost" throws a curveball both in the main storyline of Frost (Danielle Panabaker) being sentenced and the B-story where the fight against the Forces takes an unexpected turn. The outcome of the trial allows the show to give Frost a hero moment and complete the character's arc by refusing to accept the permanent loss of her powers by the state and instead voluntarily sign-up for life in prison without parole rather than allow Kristen Kramer (Carmen Moore) to set precedent and go after the powers of all metahumans. Although not exactly a subtle metaphor, Frost speech taps into transgender and racial themes taking a strong stand for acceptance rather than oppression or an enforced normal. While Caitlin appears to be sticking around, it looks like we've seen the last of her frosty alter-ego... for now.

Black Widow #6

With the first arc concluded and the fake life both revealed and taken from her, Black Widow looks to move on with Yelena Belova. Her chance encounter with a pickpocket in trouble named Marigold draws Nat's attention to an organization known as the Apogee whose henchmen she beats up through several panels in some beautiful art by Rafael de Latorre.

Legends of Tomorrow - Ground Control to Sara Lance

The Sixth Season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow kicks off with Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) missing in action after being abducted by aliens, who apparently include Gary (Adam Tsekhman), from 1977 London leaving Ava (Jes Macallan) to rally the troops and find her girlfriend. While searching for a lead, the Legends enlist the reluctant help of former abductee Esperanza "Spooner" Cruz (Lisseth Chavez) and the episode also introduces the idea of alien magic which Constantine (Matt Ryan) attempts to use to help locate Sara.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tuesday with Sara Moni

Sara Moni is a model and cosplayer from Phoenix, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. Photo by paused4life.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Aftermath

Opening at the end of the Clone Wars, the first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch catches up with Clone Force 99 (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) on Kaller with the genetically mutated clone squad riding to the rescue only to see the rest of the clones turn on Depa Billaba and her Padawan. Returning to Kamino confuses the clones even more where the discover an Empire has risen, the "regs" have gotten more dickish than usual, and Admiral Tarkin (Stephen Stanton) has arrived to reexamine the role of a clone army within the First Galactic Empire. The look of the series mirrors the group's appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the fan-favorites begin their own series of adventures.

Silk #2

There's definitely some old school Spider-Man vibes happening in the new volume of Silk with Cindy Moon working for J. Jonah Jameson, although her boss seems to appreciate Silk far more than he ever did the city's other Web-Head, and doing some further investigation while spinning webs in tights. The story that has Threats & Menaces interest is the attack on local gangs which Cindy has connected to the tech company Fujinet through some unusual tech.

Monday, May 3, 2021

MacGyver - Abduction + Memory + Time + Fireworks + Dispersal

After five seasons, the rebooted MacGyver closes up shop. While predominately about the nanobots which the team discovered earlier this season, and which MacGyver (Lucas Till and Riley (Tristin Mays) were infected by, the episode begins with the disappearance of both characters who reappear a day later having been experimented on by a drug company and the U.S. Government hoping to turn the technology into a means of weaponized mind control. With various plot threads left dangling such as the fate of Desi (Levy Tran) and Mac's relationship (once again the show strongly hints there's far more than friendship between Mac and Riley), it's obvious the show wasn't meant to be a series finale. That said, the rushed wrap-up of the nanobots (who become infinitely more dangerous in this episode) works to end that hastily assembled final arc.

Monday Morning Montage - Oceans Eleven (Assembling the Crew)

John Wick: Chapter 2 & Chapter 3 Honest Trailer