Monday, October 26, 2009

1. Not Dead, Not Pining For The Fijords

Just haven't had much time for here since getting back from Vegas. That'll change, promise! In the meantime I've decided to divide my time even further by signing up on twitter. If you're interested I'm right here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

10. Thoughts On This Week's Comics

Here's my thoughts on -- hey, you've read the title! You know the score.

Blackest Night: Superman #2

*yawn* The first issue showed promise but this was was SO boring. The only good thing about it? We finally get to see Superman out-and-out whip ass on someone without holding back (i.e. lots of punching off B.L.Superman's jaw scenes). It doesn't really have much of a dramatic impact when the villain continually regenerates though.

Superman: Secret Origin #1

*yawn* Damn sorry. Seems to be a trend this week. Superman's origin was already retconned a few years back with the 'Superman - Birthright' miniseries. The only reason this is being done is because the new writers for the Superman universe reshaped Krypton's appearance and reintroduced the Legion into Superman's past when he was Superboy (yes, he's Superboy again, gang). There really isn't anything in this you wouldn't and couldn't have seen on 'Smallville' already. I'll be fair though: the explanation they give for Clark's glasses here is a great one, and will probably be better than whatever 'Smallville' comes up with when they finally realize "Hey, we've got to give Clark glasses!" And knowing 'Smallville,' that storyline will happen when Tom Welling is around 45 or so.

Justice League of America #37

Boy, I'm gettin' sleepy! *yawn* Another bad bad issue. Oh and DC? Sticking Superman on the front cover to look like he's fighting alongside them when he's only in four panels -- of a flashback no less! -- is pretty bad form.

Amazing Spider-Man #606

No yawning with this! Not when the Black Cat is around, meeeow! This issue is all right; not great, but nothing bad either. Which is a vast improvement over the ones above. Good for you, Marvel!

Dark Reign: The List, X-Men

Honestly, the title would be more accurate if it was "The List, Namor" since he's the target in this issue. But it doesn't matter because it was a pretty good story! Norman Osborn starts targetting his enemies, which include former-ally Namor. I've always thought Namor was pretty cool, and Norman's been consistantly entertaining since Dark Reign began. Nice job. And also has one of the coolest moments of the week, when the head of the assassin Norman sic'd on Namor is tossed through his window:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

9. The Witches of Breastwick

No, I'm not talking about the softcore sex romp with the fantastic pneumatic Julie K. Smith. This is about the debut of ABC's newest show 'Eastwick.'

Based on 'The Witches of Eastwick' (which itself was based on the book 'The Witches of Eastwick,' which itself was based on the short-lived TV show 'Combat!'), it follows the lives of three women as they discover they have magical powers. Each of the women have an unfulfilled hole in their lives, and one sunny day they each make a wish to have something exciting happen. Apparently "something exciting" means "summoning up Old Scratch" because that's what happens. The Devil comes down to Eastwick, looking for a little poon to steal.
We've got Rebecca Romijn-- Romji-- Ramen-- uh, the chick who left Uncle Jesse to marry the 'Sliders' guy as Roxanne, the cougarish artist who lives in a fabulous but falling apart home. Apparently her magical power is seeing the future. She's got a daughter, and a young piece of boytoy on the side. In fitting with the title of this piece, her breasts are always hanging out.

Next up is Lindsay Price as Joanna, a reporter who plays the prerequisite mousey-chick-in-glasses-who-becomes-a-stone-cold-hottie-once-she-lets-her-hair-down. She's got no one in her life but a best friend and a pining for a local photographer. Her power seems to be getting men to do whatever she wants by looking in their eyes. Once she starts realizing her potention, that's when she whips out the puppies.

The third of the trio is Kat, played by Jamie Lee Newman. She's a nurse with a family. The children seem okay but her husband is a drunken layabout who seems perfectly content to stay unemployed. Her power seems to be more elemental in nature, creating earthquakes and lightning strikes. She stays reserved through the story, letting the cleavage out only when she's partying with the Devil. However, since she's a married mom ABC apparently thought it best for her character to put a promo over her goodie-bag to lessen any view of impropriety.

The last member of our group is Beezlebub. Ol' Scratch. The Dark One himself. Aka Daryl Van Horne, who you can tell is evil because he leaves his prior residence (numbered 666, ha ha ha) to come to Eastwick. He's also got a big-ass "D" ring. He's played by Paul Gross, trying to invoke some of the Jack Nicholson humor and talent and doing a far better job than Michael Siberry did in the awful 1992 attempt at a TV series (oddly enough, written by Carlton Cuse who went on to do *gasp* 'Lost!').

ABC is clearly trying to follow the lead of "Lost" here. As always networks seem to take one or two aspects of a successful series and use it as a hook to draw viewers into another show. "Lost" is serialized? We'll make "Eastwick" serialized, the audience will love it! It's a harmless little piece of fluff; a 'Charmed' for over-30 women.

The story itself was a nice little introduction, with a small bit of curious casting. Veronica Cartwright (the chick who got raped by the Alien) plays a local historican who gets mysteriously attacked by ants and ends up in the hospital. She warns Kat that evil is coming and has been to Eastwick before. Considering how none of the main characters share the same names as the ones from the movie, I'm wondering if this might not end up being a sequel to the flick. Cartwright plays the same crazy-ass sort of person she did in the movie. But her name is different; not to mention her character died in the movie. But that could be explained away I suppose.

All in all, not an awful show. It'll need to make an impact if it wants to continue for an entire season. My guess? An early renewal for 12 episodes, with a slim chance for a full season's worth of shows. But it'll take more than just the impressive winnebagos of Ms. Ex-Uncle Jesse to earn it a second year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

7. Things I Learned From Funny Books

Star Wars Annual #1 (Marvel)

Luke Skywalker shouldn't wear a tubetop. Ever.

6. Blackest Night speculation/theory

More Blackest Night thinking.

Okay, here's the current status of Superboy in a nutshell.

In 'Infinite Crisis' he was killed by the evil parallel-universe Superboy-Prime.

Over the course of various 'JSA' issues (and revealed fully in the 'Legion Of Three Worlds' miniseries), the 31st century Starman exhumed Superboy's body in the present day and put it in a Kryptonian regenerator (the same sort of device which healed Superman during his death). A thousand years later, the regeneration cycle was successful and Superboy returned to life. Just in time to put a beatdown on Superboy-Prime. At the end of that series he returned to the 21st century.

Which means there's versions of the same character on DC's Earth now: the dead Superboy being resurrected, and the resurrected Superboy from the future.

Why do I have a feeling we might see a Black Lantern ring resurrecting (however briefly) the dead Superboy.......

Sunday, September 20, 2009

5. Genre Shows of Old, Genre Shows of Gold

Cyberbeast did a post on his blog talking about genre shows from the past he remembered ( for those of you collecting links; trade with your friends!), so I felt inspired to do the same. Hey, I only steal from the best! Here are some TV shows from the past which may not have lasted very long, but I enjoyed anyway:

1) Under Cover (ABC, 1991, 10 episodes)
Long before 'Alias' and prior to 'True Lies,' there was this spy program. Anthony Denison and hottie Linda Purl were a couple of former US spies who left the program, got married, and had some kids. Years later they're pulled back into working for the firm and try to balance the two worlds together. It was a pretty cool show. It was played seriously, and had a really good drama/to/action ratio to it. John Rhyes-Davies was in it as old friend (and resident spy mystery man) N.F.M. Flynn: on his file "N.F.M." stood for "No First Name." While it didn't last long it was mostly known for the art-imitating-life storyline where the spies went into Kuwait during an Iraq invasion -- and just to show God has a sense of humor, the night that episode aired the real-life Iraq war started in that country! ABC took the show off the air as a result, and when it returned it couldn't gain its audience back. Sad.

2) The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage (1991, NBC, 8 episodes)
This was a fun show from the mind of Disney. The premise was simple: 17th century pirate Black Jack Savage was damned by his actions in life, and was sentenced to haunt his island home. Once he saved 100 lives he could go into Heaven. As fate would have it, a crooked Wall Street financier escaped US justice and fled to that island, taking up residence in Jack's home. It turns out the Wall Street goon will also be damned to hell unless he also saves lives. He does a deal to work with Jack and split their bounty of souls 50/50. It was a fun little adventure romp. It never really caught on in the ratings. And it didn't help that the actor who played Jack in the pilot didn't continue, and was replaced with a less-effective one in the main series.

3) War of the Worlds (syndicated, 1988-1990, 44 episodes)
This was part of Paramount's push into the syndicated TV show field. It started out with a simple premise: Paramount's original WOTW movie really happened, and decades later members of the alien invasion are resurrected and start their campaign to take over the Earth again. A small twist was that the aliens discovered they were able to take over human bodies. A covert government taskforce (of four people -- these all-important groups are ALWAYS less than 10, ever realize that?) takes up trying to defeat them. The first season was standard fare. However Paramount shook things up in the second season by switching the series around 180-degrees. Instead of a 'modern day' version suddenly the Earth became this "Blade Runner"-esque society. Even the aliens themselves were changed; with others from the race coming in with their own plans for invasion. An interesting idea, but you could easily believe these were two different shows. Or in another example, similiar shows done differently (like with Desperation and The Regulators).

4) Probe (ABC, 1988, 8 episodes)
Isaac Asimov created this show: a sort of modern day Sherlock Holmes-twist. Parker Stevenson was a scientific genius who solved crimes as a hobby (back in the '80s, everyone solved crimes as a hobby), and Ashley Crow (who later went on to greater exposure as Hayden Panetierre's foster mom in 'Heroes') was his secretary. It was a quirky little program that was a lot of fun, where Stevenson used science to solve the crimes.

5) Once A Hero (ABC, 1987, 3 episodes)
ABC decided to get in on the superhero craze with this weekly series. The premise had a comic book creator dealing with his comic's declining sales. Cancellation looked like it was on the horizon. The thing is: the comic book world he created was a real dimension, and if the comic was cancelled all of the characters in it would die. So the comic's lead character, Captain Justice, went into the 'real world,' hoping to inspire his creator to keep writing. In the end he decided he could do more good in our world. A nice little idea, with the twist that in our world Captain Justice had no superpowers. The ratings were in the tank for this right from the start, so only 3 episodes of the seven produced ever saw telecast; which is a shame because one of the unseen ones would've had Adam West as an actor who'd played C.Justice in a '60s version of the comic. Inspiring!

Friday, September 18, 2009

3. Blackest Night #3

Considering I'll be talking about comics occasionally here, I might as well start right off by saying "I'm a DC." I've loved DC Comics since I was a kid. Nothing against Marvel; I've just always felt more of a kinship with the DC line. DC's latest 'event' series is 'Blackest Night:' showing a dark force which is resurrecting dead heroes, villains, and others and bestowing them with Black Lantern Rings. The latest ish of this is #3.

This series rocks. A few people have compared it online to 'Marvel Zombies' but I can't agree with that. The first 'Zombies' story might've been interesting; but Marvel's bottom line is that they daren't do anything to show their cashcow heroes in a negative light -- even in a parallel universe. So they started making the Zombies emo and angsty, which took all of the, well, fun out of what they were doing. The Black Lantern dead here are totally heartless, willing to use the memories of the dead for their own uses to goad the living (such as BL-Sue Dibny attacking Ray 'Atom' Palmer emotionally with taunts how his wife killed her).

A few others online have said "DC is ruining their heroes again by making them do these unspeakable things." The thing is, DC isn't. This isn't Martian Manhunter, Ralph Dibny, Aquaman, et al doing this. The rings -- or more precisely the power behind the rings -- are doing it to the corpses. Ray put it best this issue:

The answer is simple. Well, a little. Each death and emotional attack on the heroes has been seen to increase their power levels bit by bit. To what end this is happening I don't know. But it does explain why such a great concept (having the most powerful heroes and villains resurrected for evil purposes) was apparently being dumbed down with senseless tie-in issues. Dick Grayson and Tim Drake's non-powered parents' resurrection are good examples. Can you imagine the anguish and torment having to fight them will do to those power levels?

The best testimony to this issue's outstanding comes from the death of Firestorm's girlfriend Gen. Long story short, Jason and Gen merge together to create Firestorm who can manipulate elements. Jason controls the body while Gen is a presence in his mind. The previous/now-dead Firestorm has forced Jason into his mind and is goading him as he attacks Gen.

I've never been a Firestorm fan. Never liked him, past or future -- but I actually felt awful for Jason at this moment. What a horrifying, awful thing.

That's not to say it's a perfect issue. We get the long-awaited introduction of the Indigo Tribe who can (temporarily) destroy the Black Lanterns. It's interesting, but it also gives us a throatful of forced exposition over two pages that is so uncomfortably done it lessens the impact.

Yup. Your classic "You had to ask" moment.

Another outstanding issue. What could've been a standard hero.v.hero slugfest is turning into quite a chilling piece of writing. Well done DC!