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