Shut Up and Take My Money: Batman Arkham City Nightwing Arsenal

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item: Batman Arkham City Nightwing Arsenal

What it is: If you ever wanted to have an amazing replica of Nightwings sticks to help you fight crime with, then look no further. The replica creators at Triforce have managed to meticulously create the arsenal that Nightwing uses in the Arkham City game. It comes complete with a full-scale replica of Nightwings escrima sticks that actually light up to simulate the electricity running through them. The collection also comes with a collection of darts, posters and gimmicks and a really nice stand to display everything. The sticks and darts are hand- finished and hand painted out of polystone that has a solid feel and weight to it. Polystone is a very high quality material that allows for the sculptor to be very detailed in the design of replicas. This replica spares no expense to be the most accurate replica on the market.

How Much it Costs: This item is only for the serious collectors and will set you back around a thousand dollars. On the plus side however, the shipping is free so you have that to look forward to. There isn’t anywhere that seems to be offering any discounts, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye for possible price drops if you are seriously considering purchasing.

Is It Worth It?: With a price tag over a thousand dollars, this is really only going to be considered worth it to people who are serious Nightwing fans or collectors with some money burning a hole in their pockets. There is no doubt that this is an amazing replica and for the money, you can’t get something of higher quality. With high-end materials and the meticulous hand crafted nature of this replica, you really can’t go wrong if you did decide to spend the money.

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Bottom Line: This is definitely not for your average collector. Big money and an affinity for Nightwing are prerequisites for purchase here. If both of those requirements are met though, I would have to highly recommend getting this. It is almost too awesome to pass up.

Written by Robert Michael

“Respect My Craft” – William H. Foster III

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of comic books, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

ALL BLACK EVERYTHING

Name: William H. Foster III

Profession: Writer/Historian

Notable WorkDreaming of a Face Like OursLooking for a Face Like Mine

“It’s not about what you read, but what you do with what you read.” – William H. Foster III

William H. Foster III is a scholar, historian, writer and comic book enthusiast.  Informally known as Bill, Dr. Foster currently is a Professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Connecticut.  He also travels the world speaking about African-Americans in comic books.  He has a very wide scope of knowledge including black characters, authors, artists and publishers.  Because of his wealth of knowledge, he is renowned amongst his peers in the world of comic books.

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His traveling exhibit “Changing Image of Blacks in Comics” is a lesson in American history.  He speaks on the beginning of comic books and how that intertwines with the history of African-American’s in this country.  The display shows an array of prints from covers of some the most famous comic books featuring black heroes and characters.  He also shows a sample from his own collection of prized books including Static, Black Lightning, Sabre, and many publications from Golden Legacy Publications.  He also lectures about the history of it all, relating to it himself, as well as with other pieces of history that are important to consider.

Dr. Foster touches on Tom Floyd and his comics Blackman and Blackwoman, Golden Legacy’s Black Cowboys which features famed bull-rider Bill Pickett, all the famous baseball player comics including, but not limited to, Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis, as well as Luke Cage, Black Panther and issue #106 of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane when Lois Lane turns black for a day (uh, what?).  But more importantly, he weaves in his own experiences and his reactions to these stories along with real history.  Why were black people portrayed as “the help”or African?  Why was it impossible to find a black hero?  And if you could find one, they were instantly pulled from the shelf?  Under all the negative stereotypes and lack of diversity, there were people who were trying, though.  Dr. Foster makes sure to highlight all the great things that were happening and continuing to happen in the pop culture medium he (and we!) feels so passionately about.   He expounded on the Spring 1953 Weird Fantasy issue that brought racism to light, the beginnings of Static, and Stan Lee actually putting African-Americans in New York City.

Negro Romance #1 - June 1950, published by Fawcett Comics
Negro Romance #1 – June 1950, published by Fawcett Comics

What is really wonderful about what Dr. Foster brings along with his exhibit is a way to bridge the gap and talk about issues that may be hard for a lot of people, especially people in the comic book industry, to talk about.  Not only can he make everyone feel included in his lecture, but he can inspire anyone to pick up a comic book, no matter who is on the cover.  It is evident by talking to him and listening to his stories that comics are deeply ingrained in life.  He is most definitely influential for all people to pick up a book, graphic novel or comic and think deeply about what it says to society, to groups and to each individual.  Thank you Dr. Foster for teaching us that everything has meaning.

Checked out his bibliography and still want more? Check these books out:

Bill Foster has published to books on the history of African-Americans in comic books.  Dreaming of a Face Like Ours and Looking for a Face Like Mine are were both published by Fine Tooth Press and can be found in limited quantities on Amazon.  In 2015, Dr. Foster will publish his third book, Untold Stories of African American Stories in Comics.  He also runs his own website, Finally in Full Color, where he aims to begin an online store for black comic books. The best part is that this is for sentiment and historic value – so no ridiculous mark-ups to make a quick buck. 

How Much Does Hush Comics Love Bill Foster?

Just this past weekend, at the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library in Denver, Foster held a lecture that outlined the history of people of color in comic books. We found out about the lecture from John Soweto, and with the work we have been doing for our All Black Everything articles and the idea behind Hush Comics as a whole, it seemed only appropriate to attend.   We all left knowing more than when we walked in and felt inspired to keep on creating a community through Hush.  Thank you Bill Foster for educating and inspiring us!

Evan, Adrian and Sherif with Foster
Evan, Adrian and Sherif with Foster

Written by Adrian Puryear and  Sherif Elkhatib

Comic Book Reviews 02-12-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

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The Bunker #1 (Oni Press) – A

If you were one of the lucky few to order this book in print form, give yourself a pat on the back! The Bunker tells the story of a group of friends in the process of creating and burying time capsules in the woods. Instead, though, they stumble upon a military bunker, and self-addressed letter from their future selves. If that’s not trippy enough, the letters explain how each of them have a part in ending the world. No pressure. The Bunker did a really good job of pacing the story, and giving it enough detail that each character gets their own voice and personality. This could easily be made into a television show or movie. I highly recommend you pick this up digitally, or try to find a coveted physical copy. – S

Other Reviews:

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #28 – B+

After the crazy cliff-hanger from issue #27, Batman picks up in a completely different time, with a completely different cast. If you remember Harper, she’s the rambunctious orphan that has followed Batman around, and even saved his life when he was reeling from the unfortunate death of Damian. The break in action from Zero Year was a little bit annoying, especially when you realize that this issue was just a promotion for the weekly Batman: Eternal series out in April. All is forgiven immediately, as we finally see Harper, or Bluebird as she is called, knocking around the bad guys. There’s also a very awkward stand-off between Batman and Catwoman, who is very much a woman scorned. Bonus points for the underground club called The Egyptian. And a huuuge Spoiler at the end of the issue (get it?). Although issue #28 was a fun ride, and did make me want to read Eternal, it was an unneeded distraction from the superb Batman issues that preceded it. – S

Superman/ Wonder Woman #5 – B+

It is said that behind every strong man is an even stronger woman, but in what world is Wonder Woman significantly stronger than Superman? So strong, in fact, that she is able to handle two Kryptonians with little issue while Clark gets his ass kicked all over the forest. This time around, Wonder Womans resolve seems to be shaky as to the future of her and Clarks relationship. While it is way too early for them to break up, relationship issues have the potential to effect up to four different publications, depending on how writers portray things. Not to mention that after three issues of Zod, we still don’t really know why he is here or what he was locked in the Phantom Zone for. Despite all of that, this was still a great issue and I am convinced that this is just setup for something big. – R

Injustice: Year Two #2 – B

Injustice has easily become one of the most enjoyable books out. I love how original the story is, and the fact that I really don’t know what comes next is very appealing to me. With Batman out of commission, the people of Earth must look to others to try to stop Superman’s regime. There’s a lot going on in this issue, which hurts it a bit. The last few issue runs felt very focused and I think that helped guide the story much better than skipping around like a television series. I was in no way disappointed in the issue, it just felt like a big lull amidst the incredible action-packed issues preceding it. – S

The Royals: Masters of War #1 – B

In the mood for a spot of tea and a jolly good read?  Why my good lad, you should take romp down to your local comic book shop.  Cheeio!!  Pip-Pip!! God Save the Queen!!  Sorry… I’ll go back to American text now.  The Royals: Masters of War #1 is now on comic shelves.  The setting is London, 1940’s, WWII.  The focus – A royal and lavish British family, the House of Windsor.  Only this royal family is way more exciting than even Prince William, wife Kate and their little bundle of royal joy.  They have superpowers.  Superman with a charming accent?  Swoon m’ladies.  And what’s a better use of kingly superpowers than to stick it to Hitler and his evil regime?  However, the head of House Windsor, Albert, has his children under strict order to never demonstrate the greatness of their unique gifts.  Turns out super powered nobles don’t have the happiest of histories – you know that usual bit about not everyone being welcoming and accepting of those that are “different.”  Thankfully for the citizen of London, not everyone in the House of Windsor agrees with father’s orders.  As the fight is taken to the invading Germans we learn that the Windsor family is not the only “gifted” royal family on the block and it’s likely to spell trouble for both the Windsor family and London.  I’ve got a good feeling about this six part series and it’s unique twist on pivotal events in recent history. – T

Nightwing #28 – B-

I’ve been really impressed with the way writer Kyle Higgins has managed to build a new world for Dick Grayson without using Gotham to lean on; Nightwing has a real home in Chicago, and it’s not just about Tony Zucco (the man who killed his parents). Unfortunately, some of the art seems a little awkward when showing Dick Grayson outside of being Nightwing. This issue pushes things along, as a little girl in his life is thrust into the same situation he was in when his parents died. It’s a really interesting angle, but it was entirely too rushed – for multiple reasons. I wish Higgins would have taken this over the span of an entire six-issue arc, but I can understand where this is going. All while reading this issue, I had a gut-wrenching feeling. After the events that opened up Forever Evil, you know we are building up to a major tragedy in Grayson’s life, but it just won’t come. – S

Justice League 3000 #3 – B-

Takron-Galtos!  The prison planet that has three of the five cloned Justice League members trapped and searching for a way off.  After a nasty encounter with Locus, the reality bending blue-alien tween, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman experience  “Hell” in the year 3000.  The images and artwork showcasing the expanses of Takron-Galtos are awesome.  Porter (artist) has consistently delivered gorgeous landscapes and cityscapes every issue.  It’s one of the most alluring elements of the series.  Whereas the last issue of JL 3000 was a little disjointed, I felt a strong refocusing back on the big picture plot even though the story is being told from various angles.  Bit by bit the mysterious villains are being to reveal themselves. The ever developing and at time hilarious dynamic of the genetically engineered superheroes carries the story well.  There are lots of pieces working in the background and it’s all going to come to a head very soon.  Oh… and Superman is still an ass-hat. – T

Batgirl #28 – C

I finished this issue more confused than when I started reading it. After an enticing Gothtopia issue, it seems as though they’ve completely abandoned the Detective Comics-centric storyline. That wasn’t explained very well and then to snap into the current story with zero mention of the last issue was disappointing to say the least. Barb is back to fighting form and wearing her yellow bat after her self-imposed exile. This new story arc introduces a vampire hunter who is given no real introduction or back story. We also get to experience a nice tag team duo with Barb and Strix that has the potential for some cool moments. I continue to enjoy Batgirl, as usual, and this story arc seems to be like filler until the next major plot line or the next cross over event. I’m personally hoping for the latter. – R

Dark Horse:

Star Wars #14 – C-

As Ensign Nanda continues to tow Vader across the galaxy in what I call an “epiphany quest,” I continue to be underwhelmed by this story arch in the revitalized Star Wars comic series.  Brian Wood’s attempt to highlight the brutal and ruthless nature that so perfectly describes Darth Vader falls far short in my opinion.  On top of that, the last few issues of Star Wars have failed to move the plot along.  No major revelations, twists or epic moments were to be had.  The most redeeming aspect of this 14th installment was getting to see Vader and his super-elite, black-ops Storm Troopers in action.  Even at that, those sequences left more to be desired.  At the conclusion of this issue it appears as though the story is preparing to steer back on track to a likeness similar to the first five or six issues.  There seems to be a ton of Vader focus in Dark Horse comics these recent months.  I hope the oversaturation slows down so that new characters and stories can be shared with all the hungering fans out there!  It is the Will of The Force! – T

Image:

The Walking Dead #121 – B-

Another issue goes by, and a whole lot of nothing happens. I’m not even sure that this will read better in the trade format. Negan has a few inappropriate lines that just make me laugh out loud. He’s the nastiest one in the bunch, and I find myself rooting for him more than I do The Survivors. Meanwhile, Rick has become a caricature of himself, the self-righteous leader. Honestly, it’s like a soap opera, because even though The Walking Dead has given me nothing notable since a main character’s gratuitous death in issue #100, I still keep reading it. Every issue, I just can’t wait to see if our heroes will be about to crawl out of whatever hole they dug themselves into. Well, sigh, this isn’t the one – better luck next time- S

The Fuse #1 – C-

Seriously, what the hell is a cabler?? In what has become tradition with new publications from Image, I left the end of the first issue not really knowing anything that was going on. Unfortunately, unlike Black Science and Deadly Class, I really am not invested in The Fuse. The debut issue takes us to a futuristic planet, not Earth, where we follow a new guy, recently transferred from Munich, and an witty older woman who has been doing this for a long time. Together, they search for the cause of death of these “cablers” around the city. It has kind of a cliche vibe – the buddy cop thing has been done before. To boot, the art looks raw, and not in a good way. It, in no way makes the cut when compared to other Image titles like Walking DeadSaga, and the aforementioned two titles. I’m not turned off yet, but it’s gonna have to take a convincing second issue to get me on-board with The Fuse – S

Marvel:

Superior Spider-Man #27 – B+

Now this is what I’ve been waiting for! Finally, a villain fit for a villain. After Green Goblin had taken control of the Goblin army, he makes his move to tighten his grip in the city. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is swallowing the pill of defeat when he learns of Goblin’s idea to cloak his army from the Spider-Bots that Spidey had created to survey the city. Peter’s consciousness also plays a part in trying to escape his own body’s sub-conscious (props for including the original Doc Ock quote from Amazing Spider-Man #3), but gets sucked even further down the rabbit hole. Everything is going to hell and all that’s left are Otto Octavius and Norman Osbourne, playing chess as the city burns to the ground around them. – S

Kick-Ass 3 #6 – B+

Kick-Ass 3 has been slowly moving along, as Hit-Girl has been imprisoned for the entire six issue run. You know what though? I love Kick-Ass. I love the brutal nature and the realistic portrayal of teens playing vigilante. Most of all, I love the story of Hit-Girl and how her dad trained her as a little girl to be a superhero – and not no “liberal asshole” like Spider-Man. The flashback takes up nearly 3/4 of the issue and I just wish it was longer. Issue #6 also ends on a Mother-F***** of a the cliff-hanger (get it?).  Anybody who can handle the crude language and content of this book written and drawn by legends Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. should pick up this awesome third installment. – S

All-New X-Men #23 – B+

The Trial of Jean Grey has added some much-needed excitement to the series, which has been waning up til recently. Jean Grey is captured by the Shi’ar, an ally race whose planet was destroyed by The Phoenix. Of course, poor Jean Grey has no idea of any of this, as she is a pre-Phoenix version of herself. The Guardians of the Galaxy come to the rescue, conveniently, and are on a rescue mission to save not only Jean, but the series along with her. The writing of Brian Michae lBendis is on point, and there are plenty of hilarious moments in the book. This story is really heating up, and the inclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy own makes it that much more enjoyable. Throw in the inclusion of a nearly-forgotten fan-favorite, and we’ve got a heck of a family reunion. – S

Deadpool #23 – B

I don’t know how or when it happened, but somewhere between that god-awful issue with the Wakandan alien monsters and here, Deadpool has found his identity in the Marvel NOW! universe. Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. draws to a close in this issue, and it does so in epic proportions. It’s a non-stop thrill ride, and I laughed almost the whole way through – mostly at the goons who work for U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. The way particular scenes mirrored Alien (which you could have guessed from the cover) brought it back to the good old days of Merc With A Mouth, which showed Deadpool for what he truly was, a bad-ass and a psycho, but above all, a comedian. – S

All New X-Factor #3 – B

Serval Industries, the company that employs mutants and mission statement is all for the betterment of people finally starts to show a bit of its true nature.  Some questionable acts and curiously unexplained motives are revealed by CEO Harrison Snow through the panels of All New X-Factor #3.  I for one am glad to see this development begin to take shape.  Its final form is definitely going to make this series fly or flounder.  For added juiciness – there appears to be ulterior motive for some of the Serval mutants as well.  I’m anxious to see how it all plays out.  I’m in love with Giandomenico’s pencil work.  Even the small and uneventful panels are nicely detailed and do much to bring life to the page.  The issue was exciting and I’m invested in the grand plot enough to keep money stashed away for the next issue. – T

The Winter Soldier #1 – B-

The debut of Winter Soldier was not really what I was expecting. This initial story goes back to the time when the Winter Soldier was still a myth. It’s hard to tell whether or not this book will be a collection of short stories that involve the Winter Soldier or if it will be a normal story arc. We did get to see some classic Nick Fury action which is nice after all the Sam Jackson portrayals. The art is great and the depiction of the Winter Soldier is much closer to what they have setup for the upcoming Captain America movie. I knew that this book was supposed to come out to give the new Captain America movie some exposure so I can’t help but wonder if the government replacement for the Captain will be present at some time. I am excited to see where this story goes and will definitely keep my eyes on this book. – R

She-Hulk #1 – C-

Damn, I’m pretty disappointed with this book. I don’t know if it’s because I expected something different from the world’s strongest woman or that I’m just not getting the point of this book. I thought a good 90% of it was just so boring. I haven’t seen a wordier comic than this one in such a long time. I don’t think there is anything wrong with comics have tons and tons of dialog, but when there is no action to back it up, it becomes stagnant and boring. Now, I understand that they are trying to transform and introduce a new side to this hero. Rather than follow her superhero career, we follow her lawyer career. That’s all fine and dandy, and I understand it’s nice to see the human aspect to things some times. Call me a poor judge of comics or whatever, but the bottom line is that I didn’t enjoy reading this comic. For others, this will downright be a great read. However, what I read comics for and what I seek to enjoy was nowhere in this comic. The artistic side of the comic made the people look aquatic or fish-like, which was weird. Nothing really popped or stood out. I’ll stop here because I realize I’m going on a rant. Some positives about this book, however: it has the makings to make a pretty good story in the court room and there is a lot of valuable information presented within this comic. Like Hawkeye and Daredevil before it, it is nice to see the human side to our heroes. I’m sorry to say that it simply isn’t enough for me. – E

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 6 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 2.86

Marvel Comics: 6 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 2.86

Independents: 1 A, 1 B and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.75

Funniest Panel of the Week:

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Epic Panel of the Week:

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Cover Art of the Week:

Jerome Opena's Kick-Ass 3 #6 variant
Jerome Opena’s Kick-Ass 3 #6 variant

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibAdrian Puryear, Taylor LoweEvan Lowe and Robert Michael

“Respect My Craft” – Aaron McGruder

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of comic books, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

ALL BLACK EVERYTHING

Name: Aaron McGruder

Profession: Writer & Artist

Notable Work: The Boondocks

“When I pass, speak freely of my shortcomings and my flaws. Learn from them, for I’ll have no ego to injure.” – Aaron McGruder

Before he was the stone that the builder refused, Huey Freeman was just a figment of Aaron McGruder’s imagination. Similar to his characters in “The Boondocks,”  McGruder hailed from the South Side of Chicago and moved to a predominantly white town as a young boy. His stay in Columbia, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, gave him a good look at race relationships in America. A young McGruder found his identity through Hip-Hop, Star Wars and comic strips, inspiring him to draw comics. 

During his college career at the University of Maryland, McGruder was a cartoonist for a student-run newspaper called The Diamondback, which published the very first “Boondocks” strip in December 1996. Aaron was getting paid more than double what the other cartoonists were being compensated, a whopping $30/strip. The Boondocks began as a campus cartoon strip, and after only a couple issues, sky-rocketed to fame after it appeared in Hip-Hop based magazine, The Source. Soon after, the series was picked up by the Universal Press Syndicate, joining the company of such legendary comics as “Garfield” and “Calvin & Hobbes,” in December of 1998. It was a quick rise to fame, as McGruder was only in his mid-twenties, and a well-deserved one.

McGruder used the characters in “The Boondocks” to create a sort of yin-yang in Black culture: Huey Freeman, the Afro-centric philosopher and freedom fighter (named appropriately after revolutionary Black Panther Huey Newton), as well as Riley Freeman, the radical wannabe-thug, and Grand-dad Freeman, who represents the old-school mentality. With them, McGruder wrote an ensemble cast with various cultural and political backgrounds. Using different relatable social situations, “The Boondocks” painted a hyperbolic, yet accurate, picture of what it’s like for many minorities living in white communities.

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McGruder began to publish trade-paperbacks of The Boondocks., the first of which was named Because I Know You Don’t Read the NewspaperMcGruder had begin to focus on writing, and hired artist Jennifer Seng to help with the art in 2003. The series became so popular that, by 2004, over 300 major newspapers nation-wide were publishing “The Boondocks”. One of the aspects that made the series so beloved was McGruder’s tendency to speak freely when it came to socio-political issues.

From 9/11 conspiracy theories that outwardly criticized President Bush to attacking BET (Black Entertainment Television), nobody was safe from being called out. And as “The Boondocks” garnered more and more attention, McGruder got more and more liberal with his messages. Not all agreed with McGruder’s approach to such touchy subjects, though, as many black and white critics felt that he was trying to provoke racial tension instead of commenting on it. It could be that those who were harsh against McGruder just couldn’t understand the satirical nature of his work, but whatever the issue, the controversy just kept getting louder and louder.

boondocks6

After almost a decade of written features, Aaron McGruder began to pitch the idea of an animated television sitcom of The Boondocks. However, the shocking subject material made it difficult for the series to be picked up by network television.  Luckily for us, Cartoon Network picked it up in 2005 and put it in their Adult Swim time-slot. This would prove to be a match made in White Heaven, as it gave him the freedom he needed to tell even the most controversial of stories.

Throughout The Boondocks‘ initial three-season run from 2005-2010, McGruder wrote episodes that satirically ripped into everybody: R. Kelly, BET, and even Santa Claus weren’t safe from criticism. Taking up twenty plus minutes per show also allowed McGruder to include a much deeper cast, which consisted of some hilarious guest spots, and was bursting at the seams with social commentary. To boot, a lot of the show’s content was somewhat based off the strip, expanding on funny moments and making them funny episodes. The anime-inspired fight scenes were also amazing, as McGruder clearly had some Samurai Champloo inspiration. More over, what made the series so relatable is that it felt so natural. The character archetypes all interacted how you would expect, but was written so well that you never really knew what crazy thing would happen next.

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RILEY+WHITE+PEOPLE+HAVE+POOLS+_79037771b58c1075ceec4e4eeb78b236

What I really loved about how McGruder wrote The Boondocks is how it never felt like it had an agenda; it just asked really good questions that made readers/viewers think. We could laugh at the stereotypes or see the sad satire of American culture for what it was – it really depended on how the consumer absorbed the material. To this day, “The Boondocks” comic strip remains the only comic series picked up by the Universal Press Syndicate that has a black creator or a mostly black cast. It’s an award-winning and fan-favorite television show that serves as a cracked mirror for lack & American culture that we know we want to do better than what is portrayed.

For better or worse, after the run of nearly ten years, McGruder’s “Boondocks” has pointed out a lot of the flaws in how mainstream media portrays African-Americans, while criticizing African-Americans for exploiting those flaws. In the same way Dwayne McDuffie used Milestone Media to build up the positive black image, Aaron McGruder used “The Boondocks” to tear down the negative black image. Thus, I can define Aaron McGruder in three words: “Maaaaaan, F*** BET”

Checked out his bibliography and still want more? Check these books out:

BIG news here everybody; it looks as though The Boondocks will be returning for a fourth season, debuting April 21st, 2014, after an almost four-year hiatus.

Birth of A Nation is a graphic novel about what it would be like if East St. Louis (dubbed Blackland) were to secede from the nation. This is “All Black Everything” in it’s truest incarnation. McGruder co-wrote this book along with Reginald Hudlin (Who is the Black Panther? review coming soon!).

McGruder also was on writing duties for Red Tails, a film about the Tuskegee Airmen. It was a little too Hollywood for my taste, but it’s worth a shot if you’re interested.

How Much Does Hush Comics Love Aaron McGruder?

Aaron McGruder has a special place in my heart. A big part of my late-teens were spent watching and reading The Boondocks. McGruder’s work did more than entertain me; it educated me. His rise to stardom was so quick, the gravity of his accomplishments may slip by casual fans. More importantly, he shared his message with no filter – from the return of Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. to white privilege to fried chicken shortages, McGruder was never afraid to talk about the serious issues.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

Graphic Novel Review – Static Shock: Trials By Fire

Graphic Novel Review: Static Shock – Trial By Fire

ALL BLACK EVERYTHING

CollectingStatic #1-4

Original Release Date: 1993 (collected edition released in 2000)

Publisher: Milestone Media (collected edition published by DC Comics)

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Characters: Static/Virgil Hawkins, Holocaust

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie (Milestone Media, Blood SyndicateJustice League: UnlimitedBen 10 TV series)

Artist: John Paul Leon (Earth X)

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 9
Art – 8
Captivity and Length – 8
Identity – 10
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 8
Fluidity – 7
Intrigue/Originality – 9
The Little Things – 9
Overall awesomeness – 9

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1993 was a spectacular year. Bill Clinton was in the WhiteHouse, Ice Cube could see his name on the Goodyear Blimp, Toni Morrison got a Nobel Prize and Milestone Media paired with DC Comics.

For those of you unfamiliar with Milestone, I want you to close your eyes, now picture a group of amazing comic book writers and artists,  can you see them? Now imagine they’re Black. Dwayne McDuffie, and Denys Cowan were tired of the minimal representation of African Americans in major comic books, but instead of complaining, they created their own. They immediately flooded the market with multiple titles.  I remember being excited to see so many black heroes on the shelves. To be completely honest, Hardware, Blood Syndicate and Static were the first DC titles I ever purchased.

I instantly loved Static and was thrilled when Sherif asked me to write a review about the first four issues in honor of Black History Month. As a kid, I couldn’t believe there was a character who looked like me in the comics. He wore Spike Lee’s Malcolm X cap, had thick lips and a street confidence Peter Parker just didn’t have.

A young John Soweto rockin' Spike Lee's Malcolm X hat

Pretty soon my brother Aaron began to steal my issues, and I’m sure became a bigger fan than I was. But Static’s popularity wasn’t limited to us. In 2000, the WB picked up the cartoon Static Shock, our hero made appearances in Teen Titans, and of course, add fanboy buzz over the years for Donald Glover to star in a full-length feature film, and you have the makings of legend.

But it all began with Trial By Fire, the first four issues of the series. Enter Virgil Ovid Hawkins, a teen given the power to wield electrostatic energy. He is a meta-human. This new race of super-powered street kids have X-Men like abilities. There are some obvious Marvel storyline similarities.  Static was written as a contemporary Spider-Man. Virgil is a witty do-gooder who is misunderstood and in need of an alter ego to cope with his own self-deprecation. Since Static was written in a single-issue format, the transition between issues feels a lot like watching episodes of a television show as opposed to reading through one, fluid story.

Issue one: “Burning Sensation” gives us a clear idea of who he is and what he stands for, and it certainly doesn’t waste anytime getting to the action. Our electric hero makes short work of goons who plan to kidnap Frieda Goren, a girl he is madly crushing on. At the end of the issue he is confronted by Hotstreak, a street thug with the ability to control fire. He loses the fight and his secret identity is revealed to Frieda. What was, and is, so refreshing about Static is that the dialog doesn’t feel forced. It’s not trying to be cool, because it IS cool.

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Issue two: “Everything But the Girl,” gives us the back-story we were waiting for. Virgil is bullied by a Flash Thompson doppelganger named Biz Money B. After being beaten and publicly humiliated he decides to get a gun to settle the score. He tracks Biz to a Warriors style gang meeting and before he has an opportunity to pull the trigger they are attacked by the authorities with a mysterious toxin. Virgil and others are transformed into meta-humans, capable of performing amazing super-powered feats. He uses his abilities to escape the raid and begins training to master his powers. We learn that Hotstreak is actually Biz Money B and Virgil lost the fight because he is still scared of the hallway bully. By the end of the issue he is able to confront him and gain the attention of a mysterious super villain.

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Issue Three: “Pounding The Pavement” starts with a bang. Static has earned some cred in tha hood and now a bad guy named Tarmack is looking for him.  They have an epic showdown in a parking lot and Static proves that he can overpower and out-wit his adversaries. The issue ends with a crossover cliffhanger and we are introduced to Holocaust from The Blood Syndicate.

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Issue Four: “Playing With Fire” starts by teaming our hero up with the vigilante Holocaust. Static plays flunky and  roughs up some gangsters for the villain. When he goes to see Frieda afterward he finds her with his best friend Larry. He is crushed. Filled with anger he decides to help Holocaust rip off the mafia to help his mom pay bills. When Holocaust takes the heist to a deadly level, Static steps in to protect a small child. This dissolves their partnership in crime but we get the feeling that their relationship has only just begun.

Static is well written and as the story develops, the art improves. If you are in the mood for 90’s nostalgia you will find plenty of references from Arsenio Hall to Star Trek: The Next Generation.  This comic led a comic book revolution and captured the imagination of every black comic-book head who searched for a hero that looked and sounded like them.

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Written by John Soweto

Comic Book Reviews 01-15-13

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Uncanny X-Men #16 – A

If you’ve been reading any X-title post- AvX, then you would think Magneto had turned into an impotent, outdated vigilante with a change of heart. You (and I) would be sorely mistaken. Since the Phoenix entity was defeated, leaving Magneto, Emma Frost and Cyclops allwith clipped wings in terms of power, Magneto has had a difficult time adjusting to his new sage-like role. As Erik takes some time off from the other Uncannys, he is led to a Genosha-like island where all the children are being pumped with growth hormones. Looking somewhere between Max Payne and Master Roshi, Magneto absolutely loses his mind. Has he become unhinged? Was he faking his power loss all along? All I know is that Magneto is back, and not in a good way. Well, that is, not in a good way for anybody but the reader. – S

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2 – D

I wonder if the news about Marvel taking over the comic book rights to all Star Wars comics is getting Dark Horse writers down.  If so, is showed in this issue of Cry of Shadows.  We pick up right where we left off in issue #1.  CT-5539 who, during his hiatus in the dessert after being abandoned by his Jedi generals, has decided to name himself Hock rejoins civilization and signs up for service in the new Galactic Empire as a Stormtrooper.  We are also regaled with additional background from Hock’s training and service to the Jedi, prior to Order 66.  As a whole, this issue was very disjointed.  I’m confused in the direction Tim Siedell (author) is moving this story.  Nothing of any notable significance occurred in the 25 pages of Cry of Shadows #2.  While I do appreciate the story telling perspective – through the eyes and thoughts of Hock – the tales are about as exciting as listening to my brother describe the sandwich he just made… It was ham… I had high hopes (and somewhat still do) for this series.  I hope issue #3 provides some direction and I really hope we get to experience more exciting themes through Hock’s eyes as the story continues.  And for any Dark Horse writers out there that might be reading this – cheer up!  I’m sure Marvel has a spot lined up for you in 2015.  You all know as well as I do that The Force works in mysterious ways. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Superman/Wonder Woman #4 – B+

Kneel before Zod!! While nothing too crazy happens in this issue, it does take the lull as an opportunity to touch on some interesting aspects of superhero relationships as well as the potential consequences for regular humans. It also starts to take a closer look at the deeper differences between Clark and Diana in regards to their upbringing and how that will affect their future together. Zod, unfortunately, didn’t play as major of a part as I was hoping/anticipating. That’s not to say that he won’t play a major part in the future, it just feels as though they may have showed their hand a little too early.  Only time will tell how this pans out, but even if they don’t do anything major with Zod, the threat of Doomsday still lurks on the horizon. – R

Batgirl #27 – B

We got a tidbit of a preview of the Gothtopia arc in last week’s Detective Comics #27, where all our heroes are dressed in white as they patrol the shiny, crime-free streets of Gotham. This issue sees Batgirl, or Blue-Belle, is trying to save a group of children from a woman gone mad at the Joker Ice Cream Company – so you already know something isn’t right. It’s a great introduction into the story arc, as the Pleasantville-esque setting is as entertaining as it is eerie. The only thing really lacking from a phenomenally-written Batgirl (kudos to Gail Simone) is a consistent artist. The art in #27 is choppy at best, to the point where it detracts from my focus on the words and a far cry from the gorgeous cover art we see each month. That aside, Batgirl continues to be a silent juggernaut in the DC Universe. -S

Batman: Li’l Gotham #10 – B

What amazing artwork!  I am a fan of all the “Li’l” artwork anyway, but this was beyond expectation.  We open with Poison Ivy taking us through the seasons.  When she reaches Autumn, her least favorite she becomes catatonic.  Throughout these panels, she seems fairy-like and almost ethereal, especially because of the color-scheme.  The story here is pretty great, too.  Selena, Harley and Mr. J all think of creative ways to try to cheer their friend up.  Is it weird that I think all kids should read this to learn about friendship?  The second half of the story focuses on Damian who is suspicious of Alfred.  After convincing his friends that Alfred is a murderer, they all find out he was just cleaning up around Wayne Manor.  This section was notably darker than the first.  While it was cutesy and nice to see Damian in comics, it would be nice if Damian did a bit of growing up in future issues. -A

Justice League 3000 #2 – B-

Welcome back to the year 3000 again in the newest issue of Justice League 3000.  The genetically recreated five member team (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and The Green Lantern) is sent on a mission by their creators – The Wonder Twins – to take out a Garrison of the mysterious “The Five.”  Things go very astray once the dysfunctional group encounter Locus – a super charged, teenage, alien girl that has can alter any and all aspects of reality.  As a reading I’m developing a love-hate relationship with this series.  What I love about the story is the way Keith Giffen (author) subtly develops plot and reveals how and why The Wonder Twins have decided to recreate the original Justice League.  I also love the nuances in character personality and team interaction from the JL of the prior millennium.  Flash is a bit too nancy, Batman is slightly more introspective (but still the coolest), Green Lantern is missing pep from his step, Wonder Woman needs a double dose of chill pills and Superman is way more of an ass-hat than usual.  What I’m having difficulty appreciating is the almost annoying omission of a greater conflict.  Referring to “The Five” incessantly isn’t providing any additional suspense.  Before too long I need to know why it is The Five are to be feared across all galaxies and how our heroes plan on taking them down.  I’m banking on major development in issue #3 to keep me engaged. – T

IDW Comics:

Black Dynamite #1 – B-

If you are a fan of Black Dynamite and his authentic Chinese Kung Fu, then chances are you will enjoy this book. I like that fact that with this issue, the fans get the sense that this arc is going to be more than just a comical story about our beloved hero. There is definitely something deeper at play right from the get go. And I also appreciate the way the story was told: we begin with a mystery, the middle portrays background relevant to the current story, and the end goes back to the present and revealing more about the mystery along with a little twist. One reason I liked this book is because it has classic Black Dynamite quotes that are both hilarious and awesome. It makes you think, “Man, I wish I was cool enough to say that.” The art was cartoony, but not in a bad way. It really reminded me of the old Fat Albert cartoons which makes sense for both the genre and time period. The only reason I didn’t give this comic a higher grade was because there wasn’t anything truly grasping me into the story. Yes, it was fun and cool, but noting made me excited, nothing made me truly invested in the actual story. A much as I love Black Dynamite, I’m not too sure I would pick this comic over others out this week, but if you do have time, it has its funny moments. – E

Marvel:

Amazing X-Men #3 – B+

Feels like just yesterday that Kurt Vagner.graced us with his presence, his devilish, blue tail BAMFing around in Heaven. Three issues in and his return isn’t any less shocking. One of the best characters in X-Men history is back, and sees to have brought a hell of a villain with him. Ed McGuinness and Jason Aaron are a comic book making machine, as the art and story complement each other perfectly. This issue focuses on Beast, as he is BAMFed into a fight with Azazel aboard his ghoulish pirate ship. Beast battles with grace, as well as sass, while Nightcrawler and Storm reunite once more for some more-than-friendly interactions. I was so enthralled that I was sad to have it end at all. Great job by this team; this is beginning to form into a great story, and at only three issues in, you need to jump on board. Get it? Pirate Ship? On Board? Whoo… – S

Daredevil #35 – B+

This run of Daredevil has been one of the best runs of any comic book out recently. This “everyday hero” aspect given to Matt Murdock is what makes him so easy to relate to. After putting The Sons of the Serpent, an underground white supremacy group with reach throughout the justice system, on blast last episode, they seem to have an ace in the hole against Matt: his best friend Foggy and his secret identity. Dardevil spends the issue debating the right thing to do – whether he “the right thing for the wrong reason [or] the wrong thing for the right reason.” Issue #35 is a very introspective issue and embodies the character as a whole. I can’t say enough about Mark Waid as he has re-crafted a character thought to only exist in the darkness of Frank Miller’s world. – S

Miracleman #1 – B+

The return of Miracleman is finally here!  OK, I’ll be honest.  I don’t know that much about him, but this issue explains a lot.  Mircleman was originally called Marvelman.  There were some legal issues regarding the character and he became Miracleman, who is science based.  He has been written and rewritten several times over.  The newest reprisal is actually a reprint of Alan Moore’s 1980’s reboot, which is the only reason Miracleman #1 gets a B+ this week.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the 1950’s story and then the updated 1892 story.  The story is clearly classic and Alan Moore’s reworking of it brings it to the more serious side.  The artwork from both eras is pretty incredible.  I am looking forward with what a 2014 take on Miracleman will look like for the future, and I am honestly glad this issue was more of history lesson before we delve into the modern update.  – A

Seekers of the Weird #1 – B

Seekers of the Weird is based off a concept from Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump.  Years ago, his idea for the Museum of Weird was supposed to be its own attraction at Disneyland, but never came to fruition.  Now, it is coming alive through the comic book.  We are introduced to Max and Melody Keep who have normal teenage problems.  They go to the family curio shop called “Keep It Weird” and things certainly do get weird.  Their parents are kidnapped by demons and their never before seen Uncle Roland leads them to the Museum of the Weird to find their kidnapped parents.  Max and Melody will have to explore the museum to figure out what happened to their parents and find out what weird things they have been getting into.  I enjoyed this comic, but everything seemed to happen so fast, that it was hard to find something relatable about the characters.  It did have a modern Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego vibe, which was one of my favorite shows growing up.  I am looking forward to delving into the Museum of the Weird and what adventures we will go on with Max and Melody. -A

Marvel Knights: Hulk #2 – B-

With the second installment of Marvel Knights: Hulk, I came in still not knowing what to expect after reading the first issue; however, at the end of the issue, I was pleased, but I had to wait until the end to reach that feeling. For the beginning and middle of the book you begin to see a little bit more of a glimpse as to what is happening, yet they still have a ton of information left in the bank – hopefully for later issues. The writing can be stale at times, seeming like a dull point in an action film, so I wasn’t too excited about the progression that was happening. However, the ending saved it all for me. The design and flow of panels, the art work (by the talented Piotr Kowalski of image Comics’ Sex), and the evolution of the last few pages hit me and all of the sudden I was excited and intrigued again. I got to see the Hulk I know and love, but it is obvious that there is a little something different this time around.  There are still a ton of questions I have, that I’m sure can’t be left out for future issues, but nevertheless I am excited and interested to see where they take it from it. It can either turn out to be something really unique and entertaining, or it can be a complete flop; it truly has the potential to fall any which way at this point. – E

Superior Spiderman #25 – B-

We’ve been putting up with Otto Octavius as Spiderman for an entire year now, and the pompous super-genius is really starting to wear out his welcome. He’s tossed Mary Jane to the side, used his Avengers’ status selfishly, and even managed to take his anger out on poor Aunt May. It’s been unsettling, but for the sake of story-telling, we went with it. As Spidey is consumed by the Venom symbiote, he’s letting all his feelings out. The Avengers need to be called in to subdue Spiderman, and a huge reveal is made along the way. This reveal, which is so big I have to SPOIL, is that Peter Parker is not dead and gone. He is in fact returning to comics in April. That was a saving grace in a book that has been plauged by Otto’s obnoxious attitude. We want Parker back! – S

Night of the Living Deadpool #1 – C

Sporting a clever name like Night of the Living Deadpool and plenty of puns and potty humor, this book pits Deadpool against an army of the undead. Basically, if you’ve been waiting on a Deadpool zombie book not titled Marvel Zombies, this is for you. However, you probably haven’t been waiting for said title, so let’s disect the book for what it really is. As interesting as it is to watch Deadpool chop hordes of zombies apart, I got the sense that I’ve read something like this before. As a fan of the Merc With A Mouth, I will likely keep reading the series, but to call this a great series in the making is just too far of a stretch. – S

All-New X-Men #21 – D+

It wasn’t too long ago that Jean Grey and friends burst onto the scene as literal blasts from the past. The emotional shock of Cyclops turning into a felon and the physical shock that Iceman and Beast had when learning of their physical transformation was enough to keep me completely hooked. However, now that the novelty has worn off a bit, the All-New team seems, well, stuck. Battling a group of religious zealots called the Purifiers is just as mundane as it sounds. The potential for good things to happen later will be the sole reason I keep reading, but this arc isn’t doing All-New any favors. – S

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 4 B’s, averaging out to a 3.00

Marvel Comics: 1 A, 6 B’s, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.77

Independents: 1 D and 1 B, averaging out to a 2.00

Funniest Panel of the Week:

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Epic Panel of the Week:

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Cover Art of the Week:

Batgirl #27
Batgirl #27

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibTaylor LoweEvan Lowe, Adrian Puryear and Robert Michael

The Walking Dead Review “Dead Weight” S4E7

We open with chess pieces. The Governor is playing the strategy game with Megan again. They are in a new camp with a new group of survivors led by Martinez. Megan studies the board. Phillip Blake, still acting out the part of Brian Heriot, calls Megan “Pumpkin”.  We cut away to where “Live Bait” left off with Martinez pulling Brian and Megan out of the zombie pit. Martinez allows The Governor back to the camp with his brood, under several conditions, “One, I’m in charge. Two, no dead weight. That goes for everyone.”  The scene cuts back to the game. The Governor tells Megan that letting her win wouldn’t be winning – his daddy used to say so.  He also says that his daddy used to beat him in everything, including fisticuffs. Because of his tone, we are led to believe that Philip was an abused child.

We are introduced to a new crew of zombie killing roughnecks, Mitch, Pete, and Alisha. Alisha is  played by actress Juliana Harkavy of Graceland. Mitch is played by actor Kirk Acevedo, best known for his work on HBO’s OZ as Miguel Alvarez. Pete is played by Enver Gjokaj, known for his role as Victor on Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse series. It was exciting to see TV junkie fan favorites in this episode.  I tend to give a series more credibility with known actors, especially  if they come from The Wire! (Dear Tyresse and Bob, please come back into our lives.)  Our new group is scouting the woods with “Brian” in the opening scenes. Sidenote: there’s some history in the book The Rise of the Governor that explains this more thoroughly, but we think that he changes his name because Brian only has one I…. get it?? One EYE! The exchange between Martinez and Philip is tense. Martinez immediately catches on to The Governor’s identity theft scam and plays along. We cut back to The Governor and Megan. The frame widens and just behind Brian is an army tank. Fans of the comic appreciate its significance.  It remains to be seen whether or not that tank will be used to its full capacity.

Well... FUCK.
Well… FUCK.

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead is titled “Dead Weight.”   We find Philip and Lilly clearly in a relationship. Their interaction reminds us of his relationship with Andrea. He deceived both of them. We are made to feel sorry for these women. If only they knew! Brian’s new family of Tara, Megan, and Lilly is dependent on Martinez concealing Brian’s true identity, the diabolical sociopath known as The Governor.

Martinez, Mitch, Pete and Brian go on patrol in the woods, and Mitch clearly doesn’t respect The Governor. He throws a jab at him. “Hey one eye, what you doing?” Brian is focused. We come upon a beheaded body strapped to a tree. The word LIAR is written on a sign and nailed to its torso. Back at camp Tara and Alicia have a flirtatious exchange.  Grrh.  The group finds another body, this time the word RAPIST is nailed to its cadaver. These bodies have led Martinez, Brian, Pete and Mitch to a cabin. MURDERER is nailed to the last body on the porch. They enter the cabin cautiously.  They investigate and are attacked by biters. Brian shows his prowess by saving Pete’s life and reasserting his dominance. The scene is horrid. The severed heads of the bound corpses are rolling about on the cabin floor. We are given no explanation as to why, and it adds to the loss of humanity in this ghoulish nightmare.

And you thought your exes were bad...
And you thought your exes were bad…

Martinez is clearly in charge. He tells The Governor that  he wouldn’t have saved him from the pit if he had been alone. Martinez has lost complete respect for him. He isn’t The Governor’s subordinate anymore. Martinez has made a place for himself now.  The four men spend the night in the cabin. Mitch finds beer and The Governor gives an disapproving  look. One of the funniest lines of the season comes at this point, “I can never tell if he’s winkin’ or blinkin’.” Said in a Southern accent by the gruff Mitch makes for some of the best comedic timing and delivery in the show.  In a tender moment, Mitch reveals that he was an ice cream truck driver turned army tank operator. Pete was at Fort Benning before the turn.  Hooah.

We return back to the camp with the girls. The Governor doesn’t like the conversation between Martinez and Lilly. He is visibly upset when Martinez hints to their past community at Woodbury. Martinez and The Governor clearly are in a pissing match. They are both the alphas. At some point they will have to lock horns.

If you were looking for Bromance, watch Big Bang Theory
If you were looking for Bromance, watch Big Bang Theory

Martinez invites The Governor to his camper.  Drunken, he shoots golf balls from the roof of his RV into the zombie pits. He reveals that Shumpert is dead  and it was Martinez who ended up having to put the bullet in him. Martinez hits the ball into the great beyond, and tells The Governor to grab him another. My how the tables have turned! In my head, all I could think was “Who’s the bitch nooow?” Martinez suggests that they share the crown, and that’s when the fun begins! The Governor clubs him with a 5 iron. It was a swing Elin Nordegren would appreciate. The Governor kicks him over the side of the camper. Once down, he drags Martinez, like dead weight towards the biter pits as The Governor blubbers, “I don’t want it,” The biters pull Martinez into the pit. Martinez is a sacrifice, and the image is almost Christ-like. His arms are spread, as if some macabre stage dive at a concert. The hungry mass pulls him in.

Oh man! Martinez is goin like big-screen TVs on Black Friday!
Oh man! Martinez is goin like big-screen TVs on Black Friday!

The Governor is upset about murdering Martinez. Lilly tries to comfort him, not knowing what he has done. He is conflicted. Pete now wants to control the camp, but is met with discord by the other camp members.  Why on Earth would he want that shit job? One thing that we can rely on in this world is that with enough time, heroes and loose ends meet their maker. Most of the camp look like extras from Duck Dynasty anyway.  Pete seeks Brian for help. They find another camp while on patrol. The three of them, Brian, Pete and Mitch, contemplate robbing the camp. Mitch wants to, but Pete still has morals and shit, and is not prepared to make the hard decisions. The Governor watches and plots. They return back to camp.

The Governor wants to leave . He feels like it isn’t safe. He doesn’t think the interim regime will last. He convinces the girls to leave. Alicia tags along because she and Tara have started a serious relationship, like a day ago.  They leave camp in the night and don’t get far. The road is blocked by biters in quick sand. Stuck in the mud, gruesome and alone, The Governor stands in the car’s  high-beams looking back at the RV of scared women with the biters behind him stuck waist-deep all vying to eat him; the scene is like a comic book  panel or one of those lame “Choose Your Own Adventure” Goosebumps books. They have no choice but to turn back.

Back at camp, The Governor wastes no time and kills Pete by literally stabbing him in the back.  How poetic.  Brian puts on his leather jacket and embraces his true self. He has his Mojo back!  Except that he forgot to pop his collar.  Oh, well.  He immediately goes to Mitch, gun drawn.  He offers a smoke and an opportunity. The nerve! He kills the guy’s brother and then cons him into believing that it was necessary because Pete was weak. The Governor talks about his own brother, a weakling, his first mention in the series. Easter Eggs, galore!!! The Governor tells Mitch a story about stealing his dad’s cigarettes. He and his brother smoked the Lucky Strikes, a clear shout out to Mad Men and Don Draper; plus we see what seems to be a Fleetwood Bounder RV in this episode, a subtle nod to Breaking Bad and Walter White.  Awww, look at AMC sticking together. He tells Mitch, that he won’t need to worry about doing the right thing or wrong thing, because they will do The Only Thing. This implies that morality is Dead Weight in our world and has no place. The two coldly craft a story about Pete’s death. The Governor intentionally doesn’t crack Pete’s skull to keep him “alive” as a biter. He dumps his chained body into a nearby lake. As Pete is reanimated, we see The Governor, standing above his submerged body. He is staring into the water as Pete the Biter tries to reach out of the water for him, much like he did with his heads in the fish tank. Fans of the books know that Phillip did this to keep strong – to erase any fear or doubt. Pete serves the same purpose; he will undoubtedly be visiting him often. Pete has now literally become Dead Weight.

That's cool AMC. Introduce on of our favorite actors from Dollhouse and then kill him. No hard feelings...
That’s cool AMC. Introduce on of our favorite actors from Dollhouse and then kill him. This scene will have him casted for Lady Gaga’s new video in no time.

The Governor is running the show with a  leather jacket and a swag in his step. He gives orders and people willingly follow.  He once again proves his badassery after a Walker wanders into camp and attacks Megan. While the others are unaware of what to do, he blows its head off, with his shirt open, blowing in the wind. It was a defining moment for the camp. He proved that he is the right man in charge. He won’t hesitate when threatened and they can trust him. He is back. With a new confidence The Governor drives his truck out to the prison. He watches Rick and Carl, once again plotting. He walks the perimeter and sees Michonne with Herschel. He raises his gun and…

governor shooter

Hush Comics gives “Dead Weight” a B for its awesome yet predictable portrayal of The Governor’s fall back into crazy. The next episode is the mid season finale entitled “Too Far Gone,” a title shared with the trade paperback of The Walking Dead Volume 13 in the comic series! The comics are far evolved from this point in the storyline that the show parallels, so we’ll see if there’s any connection to it on the mid-season finale. It’s been a wild ride so far.  Come back next week for our recap and review! 

written by John Soweto, Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

All images credited to AMC Television