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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Panel Vision - All-Star Squadron #38-40

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As we enter the middle point of January, depictions of racism and marginalized races, especially black people, has become something of a running focus in the popular discourse.  This particular subject has been at the forefront for a while, ever since the Internet-enabled marginalized fans to demand greater representation on panel and behind the scenes in superhero comics, but this is somewhat unique.  

With both Black Lightning and Black Panther poised to remake the superhero genre in their own image, DC Comics has announced plans for screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years A Slave, Let It Fall) to write a new comic chronicling the stories of DC’s marginalized entitled The Other History of the DC Universe.  This is a great idea and it’s got me thinking about the VAST number of DC heroes who fit this dynamic and I settled on one story, in particular, that’s unique even among the annals of DC comics: All-Star Squadron’s Detroit is Dynamite.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Panel Vision - Human Defense Corp

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As I write this it’s Veterans Day, the day the US has set aside to honor the men, women, and non-binary individuals who’ve served in the nation’s armed forces.  It’s also kind of an odd holiday to try and make topical content around when you’re a comic reviewer as a lot of the military-oriented comic book content is from the ‘40s and ‘60s.  Previously I’ve looked at stuff like the incomparable Enemy Ace as well as the DC military heroes who served during World War 2 but this time around I wanted to dig into something a bit more modern.  

As such, I’ll be taking a look at a peculiar oddity offered by that bizarre time in comics that was the early 2000s.  It’s part of the great DC Comics tradition of sporadically reviving their military comics in hopes of recapturing their massive popularity of past decades, each attempt a unique and curiously compelling attempt in its own right and this one is a real doozy: The Human Defense Corps. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Doctor Who News Update

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So, we have a new Doctor.  In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, well firstly congratulations on choosing such a fine place to try and wait this whole year out but secondly let me introduce you to Jodie Whittaker, the woman who be the Doctor.  If you’ve been under that rock for more than a year and have no idea what Doctor Who is let me just congratulate you on bravely clicking this link regardless of your own ignorance, have some knowledge.  

Doctor Who is a British sci-fi TV show from the ‘60s that persisted through into the late ‘80s before going on a 10-year hiatus and re-emerging in 2005.  Since then, the show has slowly increased in popularity, peaking around 2012-2013 during the show’s 50th anniversary/height of the 2010s’ British Cultural Invasion.  

The premise of the show is about a time-traveling alien named the Doctor who meanders through time and space with some human companions having various adventures.  The show’s cleverest wrinkle has always been that the Doctor will, at times of extreme injury, regenerate into a new person, which is used as an excuse to swap lead actors.  Jodie Whittaker is the 13th such actor to take up the role and first woman to play the character yet and she’s bringing some interesting changes to the show with her. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

WB/Amazon Consider Lord of the Rings Show

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As the decade dwindles, it’s becoming increasingly clear that WB is finding themselves more and more left by the wayside in the age of global franchising.  The hard truth of the matter is that times change and more in more having a popular series of films matters less than having a film series that can stick around as part of the pop culture atmosphere.  The peculiar alchemy of turning online interest into hype into engagement has become the order of the day and that is a game WB really doesn’t seem to know how to play.  That’s why, despite the twin success of The Conjuring film series and the Kaiju-verse, WB is still chasing a return of their older franchise stalwarts- Batman, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. 

We already saw their attempts at branding a Batman for the new decade in last year’s disastrous Batman v. Superman while their attempts at a Harry Potter prequel in Fantastic Beasts were met with a resounding “meh,” which was at least a better response than the loud cry of “BOO!” the Hobbit films engendered.  Now, WB looks to the world of streaming to reverse its fortunes as they’re reportedly inching towards a deal with Amazon for a Lord of the Rings streaming series. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chantal Thuy Cast as Grace Choi

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As we continue the slow crawl toward Black Lightning, we’ve started to get a trickle of information about the additional superheroes that will pepper the show.  That’s basically just par for the course of CW superhero shows at this point- single hero shows are out the window and everything now will have a rotating cast of supporting heroes.  Now I'm in favor of this practice, it helps keep things interesting and at an appreciably grand level now that single hero stories have become the bread and butter of the Hollywood hit machine.  

In an age of The Avenger and Justice League selling a whole superhero show on 1 masked crime fighter has become kind of passe.   In the case of Black Lightning, the show already had 2 additional superheroes at the starting track in the form of Black Lightning’s daughters Thunder and Lightning.  Now, the show has reached out to add its first additional hero outside of that immediate family unit with Grace Choi, who will be played by Chantal Thuy. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Zach Levi Cast As Shazam

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I have to say: I don’t think there’s been a bigger curveball production in the superhero game lately than Shazam!  For years I, like most people, figured this was one of those DC movie projects that were on the schedule but probably not going to actually happen, more of an announcement to get something on the board than anything else.  Then, out of nowhere, WB announced David F. Sandberg to direct, which seemed odd given he was known largely for the 2016 horror film Lights Out, the latest in WB’s newfound cash cow of low-budget/high-return horror offerings for the summer season. 

Some thought that perhaps Sandberg’s presence meant Shazam! would have a horror aesthetic, sort of in the vein of James Wan’s Aquaman, but as the interviews rolled in and we crept towards the start of production it seemed like it was going to be light-hearted and funny.  Now, finally, we have a star to attach to the vehicle: Zachary Levi will be playing the titular Shazam in the 2019 film. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gareth Evans to Direct Deathstroke

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So, let’s talk about Deathstroke.  Back when it was first reported Deathstroke might have a role in Justice League and would be the villain of The Batman I had a lot of thoughts to share about everyone’s favorite Teen Titans bad guy.  Since then, however, Deathstroke’s role in the DCEU has become a lot more fluid (much like the DCEU itself,) and I think he’s a sore subject worth revisiting.  If you haven’t been keeping up with the news or maybe don’t even know who he is- Deathstroke is a DC Comics villain and mercenary most commonly associated with the Teen Titans and Batman. 

He was a mercenary who adopted a costume and some super soldier powers to try and stay competitive in the superhero world and is most notable for the time he seduced an under-aged sociopath to get her to defeat the Teen Titans for him.  He’s a very popular bad guy who was set to appear first in Justice League before starring as the villain of The Batman as played by Joe Manganiello.  However, after extensive reshoots and re-edits, Deathstroke is gone from Justice League and The Batman has all but completely stalled out in production.  However, there is good news for Deathstroke enthusiasts- Gareth Evans, director of The Raid and The Raid 2, has stepped in to helm a Deathstroke movie. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

New Mutants Trailer Breakdown

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One of the curious things about film success in the 2020s is that “quiet victories” have become more and more prevalent.  That’s more the result of Geek Media spending a lot of time talking up the loud victories than anything else.  For instance, the X-Men franchise is a great example of something quietly successful.  Outwardly the franchise is considered mostly past its prime and running on goodwill and fumes.  

However, a lot of that is simply because the main film series doesn’t draw a lot of interest in the online circles, meanwhile, the spin-off material like Deadpool, Logan, and Legion have been making big waves and spawning imitators left and right.  A lot of that is that Fox seems more willing to experiment on the job with the X-Men peripherals, probably because they assume they aren’t going to be successful anyway so might as well get weird with it.  That certainly seems like the attitude at play with the latest X-Men spin-off flick The New Mutants whose trailer has revealed it to be…a teen horror flick? 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cover Story - Top 13 Jason Voorhees Covers

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Happy Friday the 13th everyone, this weird day we’ve all decided is cursed for reasons we can no longer remember.  Seriously, I have no idea why the fearful and unlucky reputation of the number 13 has persisted so long or even where it started but it has stuck around so we might as well indulge it.  This Friday the 13th I’m celebrating with a dive into the single best argument for why this random day of the year has persisted as a national holiday: Jason Voorhees, star of the Friday the 13th film series.  

Released in 1980, Friday the 13th may not have started the ‘80s slasher craze but it did cement it, helping to full launch the horror blockbuster and launching the franchise that would turn “Jason” into psycho-killer shorthand.  Nearly 40 years later Jason has managed to invade every medium- film, television, video games, novels, music, and, naturally, comic books.  There has been a cavalcade of Friday the 13th comic books over the years both tied to the films and independent of them and today we honor those comics by looking at their best cover artwork, let’s dive in. 

Panel Vision - No Man's Land

As you probably know Puerto Rico recently suffered devastation at the hands of Hurricane Maria.  It’s a natural disaster of incalculable scale made infinitely worse by the federal government's point-blank refusal to help Puerto Rico in the manner that would befit our so-called leaders.  If you’re at all able to give please consider donating to organizations like United for Puerto Rico, Americares, Convoy of Hope, Direct Relief, Catholic Relief Services, International Medical Corps, or Unicef.  The people of Puerto Rico are in desperate need of help and it’s painfully clear that it’s going to have to come from us because those in power are too cruel or incompetent to take action. 

This idea of being abandoned by our own government has been a running theme in 2017, especially with the way the natural world seems to be coming apart at the seams.  More and more, the organizations we once trusted with our basic safety and day-to-day concerns have turned on us with, at worst, a predatory maliciousness and at best a blind idiocy.  

In that power vacuum citizens have had to rely on one another to fight the battles we can’t as individuals, be that in the form of mass demonstrations and call-in over healthcare or the civilian fleet that went to Houston after Hurricane Harvey.  This blend of federal abandonment with the greater need for joint community action seemed fairly familiar to me because it’s also the core of my favorite Batman comic of all time- No Man’s Land.