Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Jungle Cruise

Given Disney's adaptation of Pirates of the Caribbean it's hard not to see similarities with Jungle Cruise as the studio attempts to turn another theme park ride into a motion picture. Jungle Cruise feels like a mix of Pirates with a bit of The Mummy (and several other films) thrown in for a wacky adventure in the Amazon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Blue and Gold #1

Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are back. Writer Dan Jurgens and artist Ryan Sook bring DC's best bromance back to comics with the first issue of the eight-issue mini-series featuring the pair of heroes sure to fill readers of a certain age with all the feels.

The Story of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

Leverage: Redemption - The Rollin' on the River Job

While she proved helpful in the previous episode, "The Rollin' on the River Job" works as Hardison's (Aldis Hodge) foster sister Breanna Casey's (Aleyse Shannon) first job with the team as their new hacker. She quickly discovers filling her brother's shoes is easier said than done (especially given the team's unreasonable expectations and demands). The team targets a greedy riverboat owner (Piter Marek) forcing out locals in New Orleans to build for the expansion of his new casino. Targeting both the man's greed and competitive nature by creating the illusion of another potential casino headed into area, the team also works in several unknown extras (obviously part of the larger Leverage team developed over the years, none of whom get introduced here) to rig the games in his casino making it unable for him to pay-out in front of a representative (Bernard Hocke) from the gaming commission. It's a solid con with some nice twists and even includes an old-school safe-cracking scene.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #119

The trouble-free days for the heroes in a half-shell appear to be over. April has been run out of New York City by Baxter Stockman who is taking measures to see she never makes it back to Manhattan to share the information she learned about his secret mutant program using the Slithery's offspring.

This is Anime Matsuri 2021

The Flash - Heart of the Matter (Part 2)

The Flash concludes it's Seventh Season with Part 2 of "Heart of the Matter" featuring the team struggling to deal with the army of Godspeeds fighting each other all over Central City. Everyone gets into the action here, including the entire Allen family of speedsters and a few old friends. In order to save the city, Barry (Grant Gustin) is forced to make deals with not one but two super-villains. First he agrees to grant August Heart's (Karan Oberoi) deepest wish by giving him organic speed in exchange for the future speedster recalling the Godspeeds back into himself. Then Barry enlists the help of the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) to deal with the remaining Godspeed.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Snake Eyes

The third movie of the troubled franchise, Snake Eyes: G.I. JOE Origins turns back the clock to offer an origin story for the most popular member of G.I. JOE. The film plays fast a loose with the character's history replacing his past as a soldier with that of a underground street fighter and member of the Yakuza. Snake Eyes (Henry Golding), who is named in the most ridiculous way possible, saves the life of Tommy "Storm Shadow" Arashikage (Andrew Koji) who invites him to join his ninja clan.

The story flips origins of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow so it is Snake Eyes driven by revenge for the murder of a relative into making bad choices. This results in the screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse arguably turning its lead character into the villain of his own movie. While certainly a bold choice, it's not necessarily a good one. Like the previous films, G.I. JOE: Retaliation and G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra, Snake Eyes is a bit of a mess. Part martial arts film, part revenge tale, part spy story, part bizarre fantasy (at one point the film becomes Conan the Barbarian), and part character drama, the pieces never quite fit together.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #284

Part 4 of "Murder by Assassination" sends the Joes to Southeast Asia in search of the Cobra operative known only as Al Kawbra. The team on the ground consists of Chuckles, Sherlock, Lady Jaye, Multo, Black Hat, and Roadblock. Despite Sherlock's first-rate tracking and deduction, the Joes are consistently one-step behind their prey who enjoys leaving explosive presents for them.

Superman & Lois - Fail Safe

With Smallville still reeling from the machinations of Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner), the Kent boys ditch some school for cute girls, Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) has a crisis of faith over hiding the details of Edge's plans to keep her family's secrets safe, and the Lang family continues to feel the backlash of their friends and neighbors who appear all too willing to lay the blame of recent events at their feet. "Fail Safe" is a mostly transitionary episode focusing on bringing the troubles of Smallville to light while getting its name from Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) suggesting Project 7334 should continue as the world needs protection from its greatest hero if something like this happens again (something his wife is less than pleased with).

The Invincible Red Sonja #3

The theft of the royal crown, which threatens the upcoming wedding of Princess Zaria, alters Red Sonja's mission in Erkhara. Rather than remain by the side of the princess, Sonja sets off in search of the thief known to be able to fence such an item. Coincidentally, the thief Bahira Yakootah is also the one who has put a price on Sonja's head.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Rick and Morty - Rickdependence Spray

Remember that time Morty's (Justin Roiland) masturbation nearly destroyed the world? Starting out with one of the most contrived setups in the show's run, Morty discovers the joy's of using the horse hospital's horse breeding mount for his own sexual gratification just days before Rick (Roiland) plans to used borrowed horse semen to create a weapon to use against cannibalistic horse people known as Chuds (who have apparently being warring with humanity for some time... off-camera). Of course Morty's DNA leads to complications and mutated monster sperm attacking humanity. Unaware of his grandson causing the failure of his experiment, Rick assumes his invention is to blame and easily coerces Morty into a fabricated lie involving "Space Sperm."

Summer of Soul

In the same summer as Woodstock, the Harlem Cultural Festival held a series of concerts to celebrate African American music and culture. The more than 40 hours of concert footage has been sitting around for decades and now can finally be seen.

Director Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson weaves the performances together with a cultural narrative and interviews from surviving performers and attendees. Along with the numerous great performances, Summer of Soul also captures the immense crowds present at the events only to see the concert be lost to time. Until now.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Leverage: Redemption - The Panamanian Monkey Job

The team follows Fletcher Maxwell (Reed Diamond) to Panama in the second episode to stop their mark from accessing family funds kept in a private bank catering to unscrupulous clients. Since the bad guy remains the same, "The Panamanian Monkey Job" doesn't require as much time in the way of setup. Instead that time is used to introduce the show's other new cast member in Hardison's (Aldis Hodge) foster sister Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon) who will take over for Hardison as the team's new hacker with Hodge's exit due to other contractual responsibilities. The episode offers up the idea that the work Hardison does outside the team is more needed than being present on their individual jobs while leaving Breanna in the hands of Parker (Beth Riesgraf).

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Secret of Chesbro House #1

The first issue of the two-issue tales takes us back to 1983 where Hellboy and Madame Zemperelli work together to investigate a haunted mansion for the B.P.R.D. Along for the ride are Carter Stroud (the great-great-grandson of the mansion's builder who was known for wild orgies and the disappearance of his 16 year-old daughter before cutting off his own head and jumping into the fireplace) and Carter's fiancé Serena Wilkins (neither of whom believe the house to be actually haunted).

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Battle Scars / Reunion / Bounty Lost

The trio of episodes, "Battle Scars, "Reunion," and "Bounty Lost" lead into each other starting with the Bad Batch (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) hastily working to remove Wrecker's implant before he turns like Crosshair. The location of the surgery, in which the other clones also get their chips removed, provides the backdrop of the following episode in which bounty hunters and the Empire catch up to the clones on Bracca. Both episodes allow for the show to pull in familiar guest-stars with Rex appearing in "Battle Scars" and Cad Bane (Corey Burton) showing up to abduct Omega (Michelle Ang).

Suicide Squad #5

While the issue shows us a bit of Waller dealing with the fallout of Red-X, teasing the possible introduction of Swamp Thing, and the growing insubordination of Peacemaker, most of Suicide Squad #5 focuses on a single member of the Suicide Squad and setting up a new arc for the Task Force X.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Flash - Heart of the Matter (Part 1)

As expected, The Flash pulls in several familiar faces for the show's 150th episode which also acts as the first-half of the season finale. The various Godspeeds continue to war across the city. Team Flash's plan to take them down fails and alerts Barry (Grant Gustin) to the fact that the Godspeeds have an added hate for Bart (Jordan Fisher). The episode does offer the return of John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick, although he's mostly used as a hostage, as well as the return of one of the show's recently departed cast members. Suffering defeat, with Bart in a coma and no plan on how to defeat the Godspeeds, Barry prepares to enter the mind of an amnesiac time-traveler (Karan Oberoi) hoping to find answers on how he can save his city and perhaps alter the future to keep his children safe.

Deadpool (and Korg) Maximum Reactions

Deadpool brings in Korg to react to the trailer for the long delayed Free Guy.

Superman & Lois - Through the Valley of Death

Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) has surrendered to Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) to protect his family. Now his Kryptonian half-brother is attempting to overwrite Superman's mind with that of Zod creating a partner to destroy humanity and bring forth a new Krypton. I'm still a bit foggy on why Superman needed a brother and why Edge couldn't be just any random Kryptonian. Up until this point the pair's shared biology has played no significant role in the storyline. Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) rallies the troops whose plan is not to save Superman but use John Henry Irons' (Wolé Parks) tech to kill them both.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Mysterious Benedict Society - Carrying A Bird

The chosen orphans begin their assignment for Mr. Benedict (Tony Hale) who sends the foursome undercover to infiltrate the L.I.V.E. Institute which he believes is the source of the transmissions causing the Emergency. The school is no less peculiar than anywhere else the orphans have found themselves up to this point. The kids don't learn much on their first day, other than a mysterious tower they are told not to approach. However, on day two they do meet the head of the institute leading to all kinds of questions considering how much he looks like someone they know. The episode highlights Sticky's (Seth Carr) knowledge of Morse Code as well as fill in a bit of both his backstory and that of Milligan (Ryan Hurst). And we discover Benedict's belief that the annoying Constance (Marta Kessler) may be the key to the group's success.

Red Sonja: Black, White, Red #1

Red Sonja steals a page from Batman with a series of short tales in black and white (with a splash of red thrown in) from different writers and artists. Red Sonja: Black, White, Red #1 offers three tales featuring the She-Devil with a Sword.

Alyson Tabbitha - Ahsoka Tano (MANDALORIAN) 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.

Kung Fu - Attachment

"Attachment" offers more big wins for Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) and Kerwin Tan (Ludi Lin) as they successfully steal the weapons in his father's collection (mostly off-screen, sadly) and the acquire the last weapon from a pop star completing the full collection. Despite the other guardian's help, the new lovebirds Nicky (Olivia Liang) and Henry (Eddie Liu) are thoroughly beaten by the pair. With all weapons in her possession, and a copy of the map to the forge, is there anything Nicky can do to stop Zhilan?

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Green Lantern #4

Green Lantern #4 continues the dual storyline of John Stewart stuck without his ring in the Dark Sector fighting slavers and bounty hunters while back on Oa Sojourner Mullein picks up the pieces of an attack that has left Green Lanterns without working rings, Guardians stuck in some kind of stasis, and the Central Battery deconstructed.

Rick and Morty - A Rickconvenient Mort

Remember that time Morty (Justin Roiland fell in love with Captain Planet? That's the basic idea of "A Rickconvenient Mort" when Morty falls for environmental super-hero Planetina (Alison Brie) who is brought forth by the not-so-teenage Tina-Teers using the four elemental rings to fight for the environment. Like all episodes dealing with Morty's love life, things end poorly. The episode's B-story features Rick (Roiland) replacing the absent Morty with Summer (Spencer Grammer) on a planet-hopping tour of three worlds all on the edge of annihilation.

X-Men #1

While I wasn't looking, Marvel rebooted X-Men. Again. The new volume features the heroes return to New York through a Treehouse connected to the mutant's home base on Arrako. X-Men #1 does offer a look at the Treehouse both through the eyes of Polaris getting a tour inside and reporter Ben Urich reporting on the heroes' return and their swanky new digs.

Tifa Lockhart Cosplay by Kawaii_QueenTsun

Kawaii_QueenTsun is a California cosplayer. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also support her on Patreon.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Black Cat Annual #1

Annual issues of ongoing comic titles are often quite hit-and-miss. Thankfully, Black Cat Annual #1 proves to be better than most as Black Cat gets out of New York on a much needed vacation only to be coerced into helping local heroes in Korea. It seems a local crime syndicate has gotten control of South Korea's most powerful hero Taegukgi and is threatening to unleash the hero on Seoul.

Loki - Journey Into Mystery

In an episode that is named after the comic series that birthed the character, "Journey Into Mystery" offers one last slow tease laying the foundation for answers which can no only come in the series finale. Learning that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) isn't dead, and trapped at some kind of purgatory at the end of time, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) kills herself and join him there. Until she arrives, Loki isn't without company as he encounters several other Lokis who war and trick each other for control and attempt to stay alive from the large smoke monster in the sky that can wipe someone from existence.

Batman: The Adventures Continue Season Two #1

Batman: The Adventures Continue, um, continue in a new volume. Writers Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, and artist Ty Templeton, all return for the first issue of Season Two which introduces the Court of Owls to the expanded DC Animated Universe. Issue #1 focuses on a Talon killing Mayor Hill and doesn't get too bogged down in the backstory of the secret organization who created zombie soldiers to rule Gotham City from the shadows.

Leverage: Redemption - The Too Many Rembrandts Job

It's been more than eight years since the final episode of Leverage aired. The core cast, last seen in "The Long Good-bye Job," all return for the new series with one notable exception. The choice to move forward without Timothy Hutton, whose character acted as a central spoke all the other parts of the show played off of, leaves a large hole at the center of the new series which Leverage: Redemption honors in its first episode. "The Too Many Rembrandts Job" opens with Sophie (Gina Bellman) long out of the game still mourning the loss of Nate who died one year earlier. Hoping to raise their friends spirits, Parker (Beth Riesgraf), Eliot (Christian Kane), and Hardison (Aldis Hodge) attempt to lure Sophie into a small museum theft. At first uninterested, Sophie notices a man in need of help leading to the band coming back together for "one job."

Friday, July 9, 2021

The Boss Baby: Family Business

The sequel to 2017's The Boss Baby picks up the story where an adult Tim (James Marsden) and Ted (Alec Baldwin) are recruited back into action by Tim's baby daughter (Amy Sedaris) to save the world from a villain's (Jeff Goldblum) evil plot. The story involves the pair getting turned back into the younger versions of themselves from the first film and infiltrating the local school. The film opens with the idea that schools, and learning/growing, are evil, something that it only grudgingly pulls back from. In a world where an entire segment of the population mistakenly cherishes this belief, using a family motion picture to, in any way, promote that idea is criminally negligent.

The movie is a mess, with plenty of callbacks and gags which may appease younger members of the audience and fans of the first film. The story makes less sense by the minute, but does provide some fun (if completely unbelievable) sequences. There's also a nice message about family built-in that might appeal to parents and children alike (if they can make it through the film without screaming in terror or boredom). The film's heart is in the right place (for a needless cash-grab sequel), but there's little evidence of brains.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Rampage / Decommissioned

"Rampage" and "Decommissioned" both find the Bad Batch (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker working for a Trandoshan named Cid who promises to exchange information and a cut of the stakes in each job the squad takes on for her. Both episodes also tie in to various other aspects of the Star Wars universe. In "Rampage," the Bad Batch is sent to Ord Mantell to rescue a kidnapped child (who turns out to be a Rancor). In "Decommissioned" the squad attempts to steal a T-series tactical droid on Corellia before it is destroyed only to run into a legion of droids guarding the facility and Rafa (Elizabeth Rodriguez ) and Trace Martez (Brigitte Kali Canales) who are also after the lucrative prize.

The Flash - P.O.W.

Godspeeds from the future are wreaking havoc on Central City searching for August Heart (Karan Oberoi) who is trapped in the present but without any memory of who he is or why the Godspeeds want him. Barry (Grant Gustin) also discovers his wife's grip on the timeline is in jeopardy as his fears nearly consume him about the uncertain future of his family. However, the episode is most memorable for it's guest-stars. First, we get John Diggle (David Ramsey) showing up with A.R.G.U.S. tech to help fight the Godspeeds (and running from a destiny that was teased in Arrow's finale) and, helping to set the stage for next week's 150th episode, we get the return of XS (Jessica Parker Kennedy) and the introduction of Impulse (Jordan Fisher).

Black Widow #8

Black Widow, Yelena Belova, and Anya Corazon continue their investigation into Apogee and The Olio. Spider-Girl's time as a spy comes to a sudden end when she's forced to reveal herself to prevent others from ingesting the serum which can give volunteers super-powers but ultimately killed Gumby (something Lucy still hasn't worked through).

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Mysterious Benedict Society - A Bunch of Smart Orphans

The first episode of Disney+'s The Mysterious Benedict Society has a similar vibe to Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Also based on a series of young adult novels, The Mysterious Benedict Society introduces us a world in turmoil and four children who may hold the answers to saving it. The first episode follows orphan Reynie Muldoon (Mystic Inscho) on his journey to earn a scholarship to the prestigious Boatwright Academy. Through some unusual testing, we meet the other students (Mystic Inscho, Seth Carr, and Emmy DeOliveira), and the increasingly quirky adult characters (Tony Hale, Ryan Hurst, Kristen Schaal, and MaameYaa Boafo) who will make up the core cast.

Kung Fu - Choice

The theme of couples runs through the various storylines in "Choice." The most interesting of the threads involves Kerwin Tan (Ludi Lin) choosing Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) over his family when his father's head of security uncovers what he's been up to. While his choice leaves him with literal blood on his hands, it does cement the pair's partnership to work together to acquire the remaining weapons. However, they might not have one piece of important information Nicky (Olivia Liang) uncovers from her aunt's journals in that the weapons' true power can only be unlocked at the forge where they were created.

Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: Chameleon Conspiracy

Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: Chameleon Conspiracy offers an over-sized conclusion to the Chameleon Conspiracy which involves armies of Chameleons and Jack O'Lanterns fighting on a secret space station which will crash into Earth before the end of the issue. Also onboard are Foreigner and Chance hoping to get their hands on the Catalyst (technology which can predict the future) and its creator. Got all that? Needless to say this isn't the best place to jump into the story.

Rick and Morty - Mortyplicity

"Mortyplicity" is more of a bit taken to an absurd extreme than a fully fleshed-out story. The story stems from the fact that Rick (Justin Roiland has cloned duplicates of the family to act as decoys for his enemies. However, believing themselves to be the real family, those clones have begun making clones of their own and attacking each other in a vicious loop to prove who is the "real" family. "Mortyplicity" certainly racks up the carnage as we see various families killed over, and over, and over again along with some odd style clones (including one set that appears to be wooden and clockwork). The fact the President doesn't care about the deaths of Rick and Morty (Roiland) is a nice callback to his problems with the pair in previous episodes. The reveal that the "real" family is actually nowhere to be found during the carnage is confirmed in the epilogue.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Legends of Tomorrow - Stressed Western

Sara's (Caity Lotz) first mission back is to the Old West where the Legends search for an alien in the peculiar town of Fist City in 1891 where outlaw Levi Stapleton (Nic Bishop) has become sheriff and turned the town into a violence-free zone by controlling a giant space worm. While not getting too angry (an emotion that draws out the worm), the Legends work together to take down the sheriff, remove the alien, and return the town to normal. Sara initially hides her new alien makeup from the rest of the crew, but her ability to survive getting shot through the head turns out to be a pretty big clue something has changed with her captain. Other than her healing abilities, and sudden love of cherries, we don't see much unusual behavior from Sara... at least not this week.

Usagi Yojimbo: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1

IDW continues to collect old Usagi Yojimbo stories and release them in color for the first time. Usagi Yojimbo: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1 offers the retelling of the first chapter of "The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy," originally released in the late 1980s Fantagraphics Usagi Yojimbo run. Although Miyamoto Usagi does appear in the issue, as one of three separate weary travelers struggling through the rain (the other two being Gen and Zato-Ino), his entrance to the story comes rather late.

Loki - The Nexus Event

Leave it to the most narcissistic character in the MCU to fall for himself (or at least another version of himself). After surviving the literal end of the world and seeing Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) captured, "The Nexus Event" moves the series back to the Time Variance Authority where Loki is held accountable for his recent actions and Sylvie uses the seeds of her previous encounter with the TVA to arrange for an escape and face-to-face with Time-Keepers. Four episodes in, the show continues to change things up with the death of a major supporting character, the apparent death of Loki, and a reveal that might not show us what is behind the curtain but certainly confirms the curtain's existence.

Friday, July 2, 2021

The Tomorrow War

The Tomorrow War, about soldiers from the future who arrive to draft earlier generations to fight a war against aliens who are wiping out humankind in the future, is a passable horror movie. The problem is it's also a below average sci-fi film with aspects of a TV-movie thrown in for good measure. Director Chris McKay and writer Zach Dean struggle to make the various pieces fit into a coherent whole.

Any movie with Chris Pratt, who stars as a high school science teacher with delusions of grandeur, and Yvonne Strahovski, who stars as the future commander, starts out on pretty good footing. The film makes less use of the rest of the cast, which are mostly monster food or stuck in family drama subplots which, will of course, need to be resolved for our hero to learn his lesson.

The aliens, named "White Spikes" for their ability to shoot spikes out of their tentacles, are Chimera-ish monsters interested only in killing. Although not that interesting, the creatures do fit the bill as mindless movie monsters when the film steers into horror where it turns out to be the most successful.

Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #4

Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #4 isn't a great issue for our heroes. Dane Whitman finds himself haunted by visions shown to him by the Ebony Chalice and finishes the issue slowing bleeding out on the floor. Jackie Chopra dies a rather gruesome death. And Elsa Bloodstone abandons the fight when Mordred buys her off with the bobble she came for.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Thursday with Griffin Maria

Griffin Maria a model, cosplayer, and content creator from Arizona. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow her RPG and D&D content on Instagram and TrueFanz. And support her on OnlyFans and Pateron.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch - Cornered

A much-needed supply run forces the Bad Batch (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) to Pantora to restock and give Tech time to scramble the Havoc Marauder's signature. The action of the episode comes from the appearance of Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) who's showing up everywhere these days. Befriending the lost Omega (Michelle Ang) who got separated from Hunter, the bounty hunter nearly makes off with the clone. The episode is really only notable for introducing Fennec into her fourth Star Wars property (not to mention books and comics) while continuing to foreshadow something special about this young clone.

The Sad Failure of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Toy Galaxy looks back at the history of television's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

We Are Lady Parts - Earth Natives

Amina (Anjana Vasan) struggles to keep her two lives separate as the day of Noor's (Aiysha Hart) engagement party and the band's audition arrives. Thanks to some unexpected help from Ahsan (Zaqi Ismail), Amina is able to get through the party without explaining to her friends that the two aren't dating. The audition, however, is another story. Leading up to the scene, "Earth Natives" showcases Amina's growing tension keeping two halves of her life separate but also how much more comfortable she's become with playing with the band in private. But when the venue becomes public her new found courage quickly evaporates. At least she didn't puke. After the disaster of the audition, where does that leave Amina now?