The Walking Dead Review – “Four Walls and A Roof” S5E3

Every once in a blue moon, The Walking Dead takes a break from the divergent path it has made from the comic books in order to really bring it back to the source material. While the first three episodes of this season have varied in characters, their likeness to the comic books is completely uncanny. Whether or not it has done Robert Kirkman’s story justice is up for debate. If you’re having a hard time hitting the nail on the head, why not just get a bigger hammer, right? Viewers who have not read the comic books are in for a special treat, but avid readers may not get as much out of this episode as they would have liked.

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In some ways, “Four Walls and A Roof” translates the events of the issues it takes its materials from (Volume 11: Fear the Hunters) flawlessly. The writers are able to seamlessly blend the events of the comic books with what has already happened at Terminus – a concept that doesn’t exist in the books – and make it all flow together. Word for word, the entire “Tainted Meat” scene is taken from The Walking Dead #66, and was a horrifying, yet appropriate way to open up the episode. We knew Bob had to go after we saw him legless at the end of “Strangers,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t go out in style, because he said the line we were all waiting for, and went out like a true G.

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The Terminians, as the show has branded them, have always been a smart group of people. I mean, how else would they have been able to take back their camp, survive for so long, AND get the upper-hand on Rick’s group? Their downfall, however, would be their ridiculous arrogance. Leaving themselves a trail like Hansel and Gretel to get back to Terminus (is there even anything left there?) is inviting anybody – say, Morgan for example – to follow them. Also, while painting a big bloody “A” on the church when they returned Bob was spooky, a notion to the group that the Terminians still had them trapped, but it gave themselves away too early on.

However, Rick and Co. prove that their arrogance would be their undoing, as a small group trick the Terminians into entering the church under the pretense that all the strong members were leaving the weaker ones at the church to ambush the Terminians, but were rearing back around to surprise them. It was all going well until somebody, once again, decided to bring the baby to the apocalypse party. I swear, Judith better have the cure to the zombie virus because she is a complete crutch at this point. The scene where Rick finally finishes off Gareth and the rest of the Terminians is pretty quick. There’s not nearly as much build-up as I felt there were in the books, and even the poetic justice of Rick hacking away at Gareth with the red machete is a bit cliché. I would like to think that if I am about to commit gruesome revenge murder on somebody who just ate my friend’s leg, that I would have come up with a better punchline than “I already made you a promise.”

While the scene that unfolded in the comic books was not as visually vile as the one on the TV show, I felt an inane sense of horror reading it. The reaction that Rick, Sasha and Michonne get from the others is half-surprise, half-disgust. From the get-go, Maggie, Glenn and Tara have always known Rick’s group to be the “good guys,” which definitely challenges the idea of Rick gutting Gareth like a pig. Could that have been an influence for them to immediately join Abraham’s group in traveling to “Washington DC?” It seems as though Glenn has become the voice of reason in the group, and while Rick is not talking into disconnected telephones anymore, he sure doesn’t seem level-headed. Glenn even has to use his balls of steel to tell Rick to stand down.

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With another episode of The Walking Dead in the books, we lose another group member in Bob. Bob’s character has gone through quite the transformation, going from the drunkard that Daryl almost through off a roof to a solid member of the team, and the only one able to crack the ice cold persona that Sasha had. The actor behind the Bob, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., has always been a Hush favorite. His place on the show has always been an auxiliary one, not one of great importance. Hey, at least he lasted longer here than he did on The Wire.

Speaking of that timeless show, the guy who really stole the show here was Seth Gilliam (Ellis Carver in The Wire), who plays the timid Father Gabriel. Under the confession-influencing blade of Sasha, Gabriel spills the beans about his cowardice when his congregation came to him at the start of the outbreak. Gabriel’s teary confession was both chilling and sad, making us really feel for him as a character. Gilliam plays the character to a T, really exploring the depths of his acting ability and making him instantly recognizable as the same character in the books. Although not necessary “useful” in the traditional sense of murdering scores of the undead, his spiritually-driven words will ground Rick Grimes, who seems to be teetering off the edge of normalcy.

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Aside from the fact that the episode is primarily taken directly from the source material, there are a few Easter Eggs that the show refers to that might be of interest:

Tyreese face...
Tyreese face…
... is the new Dale Face
… is the new Dale Face
  • When Father Gabriel voices his disapproval of the church slaughter to Michonne, and explains that he still hears the voices, Michonne coldly says, “Yeah, that won’t stop – hearing the voices.” This could be a reference to Michonne’s comic book character, who, like Rick and his phone, talks to her former lover through her Katana. When she states earlier that she did not miss the sword, perhaps she was trying to move on, but the pull of having it was a bond to more than just her killer, badass self, and more to the loved ones she has lost before joining the group.
  • The marquee in the church has a series of Bible passages that relate specifically to the zombie apocalypse, or the second coming of Jesus, or whatever:
    • Romans 6.4: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
    • Ezekial 37.7: “So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.”
    • Matthew 27.52: And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised”
    • Revelations: 9.6 “During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
    • Luke 24.5: “In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
  • Although not exactly in sync with The Walking Dead timeline, Morgan does make a brief appearance in the books about 15-20 issues after the Hunters are dealt with. It doesn’t look like Morgan is in the same frail state of mind we left him in Kings County seasons ago. Will he be good? Bad? Crazy?

Hush Comics gives “Four Walls and A Roof” a B for its solid adaptation of one of the most brutal chapters in this now over a decade-long series. The episode has effectively transformed Rick’s group into cold-hearted killers, where the role of the “good guy” is extremely subjective. The acting in the episode was phenomenal, from Andrew J West as Gareth to Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel. However, I feel like comic book fans got the raw deal here. Where the show largely succeeds is its variation from the source material, and what he got here was a complete reenactment of what we already knew would happen. We would have liked to see a bit more originality and suspense. We do know that next week’s episode “Slabtown” will at least give us that much, as we get to see just what the hell Beth has been up to. #praythestrainaway?

All pictures belong to AMC.  They are credited to Gene Page.

The Walking Dead Review – “Strangers” S5E2

I should have known when last week’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded that the happiness I felt would be short lived. In all honesty, I knew the peace and serenity would be short lived for the characters I love so much, maybe I just didn’t want to admit it. At least last night’s episode, “Strangers”, was able to snap me out of my delusions.
First of all, let’s talk about Father Gabriel. Is he good? Is he evil? Like basically every single other person they’ve come across? I’m no fool, I know how this works, and clearly that man has some darkness in his past that he is trying to hide. Something is up with him and it’s very obvious, from the knife carvings on the outside of his oddly intact forest church to how clean his clothes are. I don’t trust him, but I feel bad for him. The man is terrified, regardless of what he was up to before he met our group. Yet, it was still sad to watch him panic.
Am I good? Am I bad?  Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
Am I good? Am I bad? Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
For fans of the comics, the small screen adaptation of the Priest is spot on.  I was impressed with his skiddish-ness, his deer-in-the-headlghts looks, and fear of being “found out.”  So what did Father Gabriel do?  Well technically, he didn’t lie to Rick, answering the three interrogation questions as honestly as he could, but leaving out one major detail.  No, he hasn’t killed anyone; instead SPOILER, he just refused to let anyone in the congregation into the church because he wanted to save himself and all the food.  Is this just as bad as killing them himself?  It could be, but for a man of God, I think he really doesn’t care what others think, because only God can judge him, despite the ominous etching on the church that reads “You will burn for this.”
It is clear, though, that Father Gabriel judges himself.  He is very guilty about his actions, and this comes across flawlessly in this episode.  As fleeting as his character may seem right now, he is still around in the comics series.  He may be a character the audience will have to learn to love.  As a side note, Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel and is another alum of The Wire (Ellis Carver) is a fantastic actor.  This role is a total 180 from what I was used to from him.
“Strangers” was the good old The Walking Dead we all know and love, it was intense, gut-wrenching, and when it ended, all I could think about is how the hell am I going to make it to next week?! Not only that, but it was very aptly titled. The group doesn’t just meet a new stranger, who doesn’t repent to strangers, but in many ways they realize how they are strangers to themselves and each other at this point.
Do we really know any of these people?
Do we really know any of these people?
The beginning of the episode spent a lot of time on Carol and her “strangerness.”  There are things she has done that parts of the group don’t know she did: David, Karen and Lizzie.  Carol is a stranger to the group, and frankly to herself.  If this was the Carol who was around when her husband was beating her up or when Sophia ran off, she may have been never gotten beat and never lost Sophia.  But it was all that, and her acts of murder, that changed Carol from abused housewife to full-on Linda Hamilton.  Unrecognizable.
Even Carl is a stranger.  He is not the kid who runs out of the house foolishly, but he still has a glimmer of humanity left in him.  He innately wants to help people.  He always is the one to run towards screams in the woods.  Carl is the man Rick was before the apocalypse.  He doesn’t torment walkers anymore, now he investigates.  Carl will continue to change drastically, at least I would guess so.  He is a teenage boy growing up in a very dangerous landscape.  The things that happen to him now will shape what kind of man he will become, and that could go one way, or the other, if he survives.  With that being said, in the comic series, at this exact point Carl is a murderer.  He killed a kid his age.  I doubt they will show this in the series, but it is the definitive moment of the books for Carl, in my opinion.
And then there is Rick.  Between his wife being a whore (yeah, I said it), having to kill his best friend, battling The Governor, losing people he loves, and losing not-his-baby, Rick is the best stranger; he has nearly lost all of his old humanity.  But we still trust his judgement.  And by we, I mean the audience (I assume) and his group.  They even say so by agreeing to go into the church in the first place.  Let’s face it: Rick is a murderer.  But he is loyal to people who don’t screw him over, and for the most part, he keeps them alive.
And now, for some rapid fire thoughts:
  • From an outsider’s prospective, who doesn’t have to eat cesspool beanie weenies, it seems obvious that Eugene is a fraud. But I suppose that in a moment of “We almost got slaughtered” that he seems like their only hope, but he is no Obi-Wan for sure.
  • Would you get in a cesspool of zombies and water leakage that have been cooking together for about two years?
  • Would you eat the food that has been sitting in that cesspool whether it was canned or not?
  • Michonne doesn’t miss her sword? Well I do.  She does explain that she found it in the first place, just like she did in the comics.
  • Beth! Beth!  Carol and Daryl go after her!  Will they be in the next ep?  And so much for that whole, “we are sticking with Rick from now on” theory.
  • The amount of religious symbolism was beautiful.  Father Gabriel has been copying the Bible word for word.  The carvings and quotes around the church are particularly poignant.  Especially “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has Eternal Life” from John 6:54, in reference to Jesus’ promise of heaven on the last day.
  • Episodes written by The Walking Dead daddy are always great.  Thank you, Robert Kirkman for being so deliberate with your attention to detail.
At the end of last week’s episode we were shown how the “Termites” were once people, too, if you will, and that at one point all the survivors had their humanity intact, begging the question how much could a person take before they break? When Gareth comforted his poor mother in the train car I thought, “Okay, I might feel some sympathy for this guy. Maybe he’ll grow on me!” But after seeing what institutionalized evil becomes when it’s in the wild, I know that Gareth will only make the Governor look like the fat kid from Stand By Me.
Hey Beth.  I'm bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you.  Hope that's ok.
Hey Beth. I’m bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you. Hope that’s ok.
But what about Bob? (Yeah that was an intentional reference to the Bill Murray movie) Ever since Bob was introduced, I have been watching week after week, biting (ha!) my nails, waiting for the terrible inevitable death that awaits him. He’s a moral compass for the group, but more than that, he is their ray of sunshine. Yes, baby Judith gives us all hope simply by surviving, but Bob tries every day to find the beauty in the life he has, which was clear in the game he and Sasha play. When Bob got pulled down by the sewer walker, my heart stopped, but then he rose up and seemingly triumphed. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sitting there for the rest of the episode waiting for the reveal that he had in fact been bitten.
It is clear that Bob is the new Dale.  Not only for the show but a stand in for the comic book version.  The moral compass never stays around too long. And even though we have no official confirmation he was bitten down in the flood water, if he is in fact replacing the Dale of the comics, he was.  Will we get the famed line, “Tainted Meat!”?  I certainly hope so; it is one of the hallmarks of the entire comics series.
Will our group meet Gareth’s group again? Will there be a battle a la the comics?  Will Gareth’s group die because they are eating someone who is about to turn?  And what the hell happened to Beth?  There are so many questions still looming! How exciting!  Hush Comics gives “Strangers” an A- because it gave viewers exactly what we look for; a major cliffhanger, intense moments of stress, and reminders of why we love these characters so much and we tune in to root for them week after week.
All pictures belong to AMC.  They are credited to Gene Page.

The Walking Dead Review – “No Sanctuary” S5E1

As I took notes for the long awaited season 5 opener of The Walking Dead, they included several “What the fucks,” a dash of “Carol is hot/Rick is hot/Maggie is hot,” lots of “Oh my god!” and once, all in caps, “FIRE ZOMBIES!”  Tonight’s episode was a roller coaster of emotion, and I really enjoyed the ride. Suffice to say, “No Sanctuary” lived up to my expectations after last season’s finale.  Now be warned, this is NOT a spoiler free review, so here be spoilers.

First of all, how badass is Carol?  And who would have thought in season 2 that that woman would be the heroine of future seasons?!  Between her Rufio hair, her zombie blood face mask, and the fact that she is responsible for setting Terminus ablaze, I think we can officially say that Carol is the toughest lady in the zombie apocalypse.  Carol is an army of one.

I love you Judith, but I must go rub my self in zombie guts and channel my inner Rambo.
I love you Judith, but I must go rub my self in zombie guts and channel my inner Rambo.

As for “our” group, they are as resourceful as ever.  Rick leading the group through taking apart the box car, the terrible butcher room, and finally through the overrun Terminus has me screaming “Go Rick!” at the TV harder than I have every screamed for any football team on a Sunday.  I was really emphatic when he grabbed that guys machine gun and killed a shit ton of humans and walkers alike.  Go Rick, you murderous beast you!  But along with that note, I think it is interesting that Rick is insistent they kill everyone.  The line between Rick being good and bad morally is getting thinner and thinner.  The parallel between he and his enemies is also evident; just like the people of Terminus, he doesn’t trust anyone, and he doesn’t have any reason to.  “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.”

As for Terminus… those are some crazy cannibals!  But who can blame them after finding out that their people were pillaged?  Well Rick and this group can because they don’t know that, yet.  Yet is the key word here.  There have been plenty of times that The Walking Dead has built something up only for it to be inconsequential in the end (i.e. Andrea and The Governor), but it was clear that the writers are up to a little more here.  The beginning “Then” scene coupled with the final “Then” scene are very telling of what is to come.  For readers of the comic books, the shadowy figure with the flashlight and the creepiest laugh ever resembles major villain Negan.  However, he doesn’t appear for quite some time after the “prison” arc.  It is very possible this whole thing is a tease to lead us in his direction. CORRECTION: So at the time of writing, I had not watched Talking Dead or kept up with Robert Kirkman’s Twitter account.  The “Charles Manson” looking man was the man who had taken over Terminus.  He is NOT Negan.  Womp, womp, woooomp.

Hi.  I'm Gareth and I am goddamn ruthless.
Hi. I’m Gareth and I am goddamn ruthless.

Gareth is the ruthless ringleader of his group, and he will stop at nothing to protect his own.  I am very interested to find out how exactly he was able to get Terminus back from the people who took it over.  It is clear that Gareth and his crew aren’t exactly tough (other than the extreme Columbian neckties).  They are barely able to kill the walkers who have taken over their land, and they don’t kill people without their hands tied behind their back.  But they do have a few things going for them: they are smart, they are strategic, and they have a lot of land that they claim as theirs.  It seems like Gareth’s story will become important as the season goes on.  One thing I do wonder, do you think that Gareth and his group were cannibals before they were taken over?  They seem like they were nice people before, particularly because of Mary’s speech to Carol.  Perhaps this is their way of revenge?

One reason I started to question whether the Terminus group used to be cannibals is because of the man who Tyreese is stuck with in the cabin.  He talked about his past life compared to now.  He seems like he used to be a decent person, but he is so jaded now.  However, he did make a good point about Tyreese and Judith.  Why keep a baby in a world where she is a handicap?  It is something I have thought for a long time.  I realize that a) they can’t kill a baby on TV and b) that she represents life, but she really does present more danger than hope.  To go with that, I just don’t understand why Tyreese is so domesticated.  I get that he is still upset about Lizzie, but he isn’t thinking things through, either. This could be attributed to his preoccupation with what Carol did last season; he clearly does not see her as a friend, but acknowledges baby Judith as one.  All of it seems to be clouding his judgement, proof in not tying the man’s hands behind his back and turning his back on the baby was asking for her to get hurt.  His redeeming factor was taking the hammer to the walkers on the outside.  When he came back in he “killed” the Terminus man, but did he?  If the past is any lesson, unless you see the character die, they aren’t really dead.  I personally think that Tyreese let the man go.

And now for rapid fire thoughts on the other characters:

  • If Glenn is now the voice of reason, is he the next major player to die?  Dale and Hershel did.  Also, all the comic book foreshadowing of Glenn and a baseball bat is a little nerve wracking.
  • Rosita is still too clean.
  • The dirtier Maggie gets, the hotter she gets.
  • Bob has dual machetes.  Repeat.  Dual Machetes.
  • Michonne may not have her katana, but she is still a samurai with her double sided stick thing.
  • Eugene is still so full of bullshit.  Perhaps he was the janitor at a college science building?
  • The man that Rick saw at the butcher trough was Sam, the same man he met when he and Carol were on the road.  Then Sam’s throat got cut in the trough, thus severing their bond.
  • After the battle at Terminus, Carol washed her face mask off very quickly.
  • That zombie was totally giving its victim eskimo kisses, now deemed “zombie keeses” in my house.
  • Daryl and Carol 4eva.

With Carol helping take down Terminus and Rick being as bad ass as ever, our group was finally reunited, sans Beth.  BETH!  I feel like it will be a bit before we find out her fate.  But our group seems really big now.  It is a matter of time before someone dies, and I feel like it may be that time.  I hate to say it, but this horror show hasn’t killed off one of our own in a while.  It is bound to happen.

They really were fucking with the wrong people.
They really were fucking with the wrong people.

Our common theme in this episode was fire.  Terminus was on fire.  Zombies were on fire.  And Eugene claims to fight fire with fire.  There was also the smoke the group looked up at in the sky, reminiscent of last season’s smoke from the forest fire.  I know there is some significance here, but can’t place my finger on it.  If you know, tell me in the comments below.

What is hard to believe is that Terminus lasted only one episode, which makes it hard to predict what is to come.  What can be pondered on is with all the loose ends.  There are Terminus people still alive, especially Gareth.  Will those survivors leave their sanctuary?  Is the man in the shack really dead?  Michonne doesn’t have her katana and has risked her life for it before.  Does she plan on going back to get it?  Negan is teased.  Will he play a role later on this year?  Or will his character be developed in the already greenlit season 6?  But most importantly, in the post credit scene, why is Morgan not in his loft, what are those X-Men tree carvings he’s following and why is he dressed like Michonne was when we met her?  Will Morgan find Rick’s group?  And most importantly, is he sane?  Gah!  I can barely stand it. As a reader of the comics, I think I know these answers, but I have been proven wrong so many times, it’s all just speculation.

Hush Comics gives “No Sanctuary” a A for its use of suspense, having intense, non-stop action, and for Carol and Rick taking on the crazy cannibals like bosses.

all pictures belong to AMC Television and are credited to Gene Page.

So Far This Week… May 7th, 2014

Two more episodes of Arrow left this season. There’s a war afoot in Starling City and there aren’t enough expletives to iterate just how great this show has become. Even Laurel is getting her hands dirty! Check out “Streets of Fire on CW tonight.

I know a lot of people (including myself) were skeptical of the upcoming Gotham series, but when the full-length trailer for the series was released, I couldn’t help but get giddy!

The first chapter of the next saga in The Walking Dead novels, Descent, has been released for our reading pleasure. Considering the way the Governor series fizzled out and died, I’m not sold that this will reanimate the series.

Another alum from HBO’s The Wire has joined the cast for Season 5 of The Walking Dead. The lucky newcomer is Seth Gilliam, who played Sergeant Ellis Carver in The Wire AKA Literally, The Best Show Ever. It hasn’t been announced who he will play, but my guess is that Pastor Gabriel Stokes will be making his way into the series soon…

Speaking of The Walking Dead, two of our all-time favorite patriarchs are facing off in a stand-off of the ages. Rick Grimes meets Walter White in this hilarious edition of Epic Rap Battle. We’re taking Heisenberg all the way.

Yeah, Mr. White! Science! A new horrifying species of wasp with the power to reanimate cockroaches has been successfully named the Dementor Wasp after its Harry Potter counterparts.

If you haven’t seen Amazing Spider-Man 2 yet, you gotta check it out! If for some reason you don’t want to, though, here are the post-credit scenes, which are for the upcoming X-Men movie (the Fox and Sony studios aren’t collaborating; this is more of a Marc Webb contractual agreement thing).

It’s Morphin’ Time! All the build up from celebrating the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers‘ 20th anniversary has culminated into a full-blown live-action reboot. Uh… Yay?

There’s no way you’ve had too much Batman in your life, right? With Son of Batman being released today, there’s already a sneak peek at the next DC Animated film, Batman: Assault on Arkham, coming out this August.

I know there’s been tons of news circulating about Batman’s 75th anniversary, but did you know this is also Marvel Comics’ 75th year in business? In November, Marvel will be releasing an omnibus in celebration. And they want YOUR input for what goes into it.

We didn’t catch this on time Sunday, but a full trailer for Star Wars: Rebels was released on the 4th. I’m super excited for this series and can’t wait to see Kanan in action. This looks even more promising than Clone Wars – and that’s saying a lot.

Star Wars Day might be over, but Vans keeps the force in their heart with a limited Star Wars line. Be a rebel and head over to Journeys to pick yourself up a pair.

I can’t put into words how excited I am for the next gen Batman game, Arkham Knight. Kevin Conroy comes along and makes it even worse by releasing this teaser. There’s gonna be big news at E3 this year.

Ew… Jimmy Fallon’s sleepover skits on The Tonight Show has become a household favorite of ours. This time, it was The Neighbors stars, Seth Rogan and Zac Efron. Ew.

The first issue of Burn the Orphanage: Reign of Terror dropped today. The over-the-top 80’s and 90’s video-game references helped me fall in love with Born to Lose, but the news of auctioning off original art towards cancer research is the real gem.

We Can Do It! Michonne

“We Can Do It!: Women in Comics, Television and Beyond” is Hush Comics’ answer to what women in comics mean to the world and to us  Visit our page every Monday to learn about a new super lady!

younerdlikeagirl

Who:

Michonne

Nicknames/Aliases:

None

Skills:

Mad Katana swinging, fencing in her younger days, combat, a vast knowledge of law, an art aficionado, and the ability to leave her emotions at the door.

Origin Story:

Oddly enough, Michonne’s history is a bit of a mystery.  In addition, Michonne’s history in the comic books is much different than it is in the TV Series of The Walking Dead.  In the comics, Michonne pre-zombie outbreak was a lawyer.  She had two daughters and a husband.  At some point she left her husband and got with Mike.  When the outbreak happened, she was not home.  She ran to the home she shared with Mike.  Mike’s friend Terry was there for protection.  Later, she goes out to scavenge for supplies and in her neighbors home finds the Katana.  The Katana.  What a lucky find!  Anyway, when she goes back home, she finds Mike and Terry have turned and she is forced to use them as a barrier between her and the other zombies.  She cuts off their arms and jaws and uses them for protection.  During the outbreak, her daughters were with a nanny and she has never seen them again.  Since finding Rick Grimes and his group, Michonne has become Rick’s number 2.  And I don’t mean girlfriend, I mean she is his warrior.  Michonne the Warrior… I like the ring of that.

Why is she important?:

Not only is Michonne the strongest female in both versions of The Walking Dead, she is also just the strongest character.  And that is straight from the source.  Creator Robert Kirkman has been quoted as such in his Letter Hacks.  For Michonne, her “stats” are kinda irrelevant, and this could be because The Walking Dead takes place in a time where gender and race don’t matter anymore.  But it does seem that whether Michonne was a man or a woman, black or white, is really a mute point.  What matters is that she is the baddest, ahem, man in the whole damn town.

In addition, she is important because of her relationship to The Governor.   TV viewers may be asking… what??? Well let me tell you, but not in great detail because this website is still rated PG-13.  Yes in the TV show, Michonne and The Governor  do have a connection, and not the good kind.  Fans cheered when she poked out his eye, murdered his daughter and then skewered him outside the prison.  Oh have you not seen TWD through the end of season 4A?  Spoiler alert…. Anyhow, in the comics, it is beyond all those things.  Like, Be. Yond.  The Governor is much worse.  And for Michonne, her hatred of him is deeply rooted.  At one point in the books, she is kidnapped by him, kept in Woodbury and kept as his rape slave.  It’s true.  Does this make her important?  Very much so.  Because when she is rescued by Rick and Glenn, she could have just left.  Instead, she fulfills everyone’s revenge fantasy and she doesn’t even blink.  Not only does she scoop out The Governor’s eye with a spoon, she chops off a few of his appendages.  I’ll let you imagine what those may be.

Most importantly, she gets out alive.  Is her psyche totally damaged?  It seems as though hers is an ebb and flow of really crazy and not so crazy.  When we meet her, she talks to her boyfriend.  Keep in mind her boyfriend is one of her zombie pets that she ended up killing when she met Rick and gang.  After her ordeal with The Governor, she is broken.  But she has always found a way to deal with her trauma.  And she can still kick some serious ass.

What she means to me:

To me, Michonne means we can all survive.  We make the choice of how we live in this world, no matter if it is with other people, or zombies, or both.  She has made some tough choices.  She lives with them and then she just keeps going.  She is strong physically and emotionally, but can show her vulnerability, too.  One of my favorite Michonne moments in the TV Series was in “Claimed” when she found the bloody pink room.  It would have pushed anyone to break down.  She shed a tear for the family in the room and the family she once had (a son in the show), but was still able to protect Carl, Rick’s son, from seeing the horrific scene.  Michonne says to world, men and women, that it is OK to be strong, logical and a woman.  Thank you, Michonne!

photos belong to Image Comics and AMC

written by Adrian Puryear

Comic Book Reviews 03-12-14

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:

Batman #29 – A

The Zero Year arc of Scott Synder’s Batman is taking forever. For almost a year (Batman #21) we’ve delved into the origin story of the Dark Knight, and there’s not a single thing wrong with that. Batman is one step closer to solving Nigma’s riddle, imagine that, or so he thinks. The pacing by Synder is magnificent – just fast enough to feel the intensity, but slow enough that we can appreciate the story. The real winner of this month’s Batman is artist Greg Capullo. This man can do it all. His signature style keeps getting more and more explosive, issue after issue. Definitely pick this one up! – S

Other Reviews:

DC/Vertigo:

Nightwing #29 – B+

If I didn’t already think so before, I am now convinced that no matter how far he tries to stake his own claim, Dick Grayson is more like Bruce Wayne than he would ever admit. This issue ends on a higher note than I would have expected which can only mean that something bad is going to happen. There is talk about the potential future of Nightwing, but if the writing continues to be this good, I wouldn’t mind whatever direction they decide to take. – R

Oh Kyle Higgins, we hardly knew ye! Higgin’s last issue of his run on Nightwing is touching and action-packed at the same time. Picking up where the previous issue left off, Nightwing goes after a young girl out to avenge her murdered parents. It’s a familiar concept for Nightwing, whose parents were murdered by mob boss Tony Zucco. We often hear about poor ol Bruce Wayne and how tragic his parents’ deaths were, but not enough about the Flying Graysons, so it’s really nice to see a spotlight on Dick’s growth. However, I’m gonna be so pissed if they’re just building him up to execute him in Forever Evil… – S

Superman – Wonder Woman #6 –  B+

In this issue of Superhero Days of Our Lives we find the Superman and Wonder Woman duo pitted against Zod and Faora in a battle royale for the future of Earth. As if that wasn’t soap opera enough for you, throw in a god who has a grudge against Superman and his relationship with the God of War and you have a recipe for daytime drama. All that being said this was yet another great issue and this book has been consistently good since its inception. The ending of this issue actually has what I considered an interesting nod to The Dark Knight Returns so be on the lookout for that.  – R

Batgirl #29 – C+

This issue seems to be a departure from the standard this series has set from the beginning. I’m not quite sure where the whole vampire hunter plot filler came from or why they chose to end it the way they did, but I can say that I am looking forward to moving past this. I did enjoy having strix around as a sidekick for batgirl and wouldn’t mind seeing more of her outside of the Birds of Prey. She is an interesting character and I think she is a particularly good fit with Barbara. I especially enjoy how her inability to talk works for comic effect whether it is in her mannerisms or her pen and paper style of communication. There is something hilarious about a trained killer that can go from ruthless with a sword to comedic just through the use of her “speech.” – R

Batman: Lil’ Gotham #12- C-

Did you know this was the last issue of the series?  Unless you really keep up, you wouldn’t know.  There was nothing final about this issue of Lil’ Gotham.  And other than no closure, this was a Christmas issue.  In the middle of March.  The whole thing was odd.  However, I will give it a C- minus because the series was a good intro to young and new fans to DC Comics.  There is always something bittersweet about the meaning of family, as was the moral for young Master Damian.  What better setting for family than Christmas?  It’s just unfortunate the issue wasn’t released earlier, or later depending on how much you loved the series.  Farewell, Lil’ Gotham.  – A

Justice League of America #13 – D-

If you look up anti-climactic in the dictionary, Stargirl stupid face will be sitting there, staring right back at you. It makes me a little depressed that this is the platform they chose to introduce Martian Manhunter, as well as expand upon Simon Baz. This series has flat-out sucked and I’m just glad it is finally over. We’ve successfully been duped into another cash grab crossover event. I feel used and dirty for reading the whole series. There’s nothing of value here except for the end reveal, which you could have just figured out in the next, and last, issue of Forever Evil. -S

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #32- A-

Oh, the joy of reading a new issue of TMNT. There’s no feeling quite like our heroes in a half-shell and their mis-adventures. This issue marks the end of the Northampton story arc, and with it, the brief stint of Ross Campbell’s art. Shame to say, as much as we love Mateus Santolouco’s gritty style, Campbell’s beautiful and crisp art was something I had never seen in a Turtle book before. I guess what happens in Northampton stays in Northampton. As the team, sans one white and purple fox (sad face), leaves the countryside, more united, and heads back to New York to face the Shredder, who has shackled the city under Foot rule (or so we assume).. The action in this issue is worth the price by itself, but there’s plenty to Cowabunga about this week. – S

Monster and Madman #1- B

From the creator of 30 Days of Night, Steve Niles, comes a new story of Frankenstein’s Monster after the events of Mary Shelley’s novel. The story in this issue introduces us to the character of Frankenstein’s Monster and gives us an idea of his psyche and how he will carry himself for the series. This shows us the Monster side of the coin in this issue and only at the end are we introduced to the Madman, Jack the Ripper. This issue is a great read for monster fans and of course fans of Steve Niles work and will likely be a much-underappreciated cult series. – JR

Crow #1- B-

Starting off another new series this week for IDW is The Crow Pestilence following the same story of a Crow bringing back a man from the dead who was scorned to avenge his losses.  The first issue gives us a good directive for the series and introduces us to the main character Salvador, a young boxer from Mexico, and shows us how he became The Crow and what path he is taking for avenging the loss of his family. Bringing in lots of criminals activity and drug lords it is very much reminiscent of the classic Brandon Lee film based off the old comic series of The Crow published by Caliber Press. This first issue is a good intro into a new series and will please most fans of the past incarnations of The Crow pleasantly. – JR

X-Files Conspiracy: The Crow #1 – C+

In part five of a six part series, The Lone Gunmen from The X-Files find themselves in contact with the spirit of The Crow. The crossover in this is in no way connected to The Crow Pestilence #1, which also came out this week, other than the Crow spirit which brings people back from the dead to get vengeance on those whom have hurt them. This issue like the four in the past (in which we have seen The Ghostbusters, TMNT, and Transformers) is a very nerd like dream we never thought we would see. It has a pretty simple plot that follows the basic premise of most of the past Crow comic books and films except it is all put into motion by The Lone Gunmen along their path to figure out the mystery of Skylogic Systems and to save the world. This issue includes a high-speed car chase, psychopathic NSA agents and of course some laughs due to Frohike, Langly and Byers. If you have read the rest of this series or enjoy either property this is a fun read but altogether is a bit light in content. – JR

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #123 (All Out War) –B+

This is the most entertaining issue since Negan used Holly as a Zombie Trojan Horse, see #119. Rick’s group has made it safely to The Hilltop where Maggie is in charge. They are unaware that The Saviors are preparing a massive offensive. Carl is reunited with Sophia, but he is too far removed from childhood to accept her friendship and lashes out. There is a genuine feeling of loneliness in their exchange, on both parts, and Carl is left alone, yet again. At this point he must feel like he doesn’t truly fit in anywhere and this may cause him to make yet another rash decision. Eugene and his group have escaped The Saviors prison with the help of some of their captors. This would not have been possible if Eugene hadn’t found his courage and become more of an Abraham in recent issues. The attack of Hilltop ensues and Negan commands Dwight to shoot Rick with an arrow, (bolt) covered in Walker guts. The last page gives us an unbelievable cliffhanger and now Rick’s life may actually be in the balance. I can’t wait for the next issue! – JS

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #24 (The Trial of Jean Grey 5 of 6) – A

Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with one of the most entertaining cross overs in recent comic history. The Trial of Jean Grey is the series every Marvel fanatic wanted to see, bravo Bendis. What more could you possibly want? Jean Grey is on trial for Galactic genocide. Personally, its about time. The Guardians of the Galaxy complete with Angela, showed up in the previous issue, see #23, to help Scott Summers get her back.  They invade the Shi’ar home world and…! The series will wrap up as a great lead in to The Guardians of The Galaxy movie this August. Plus, it’s rumored that the Phoenix may take Angela as a new host, hold on Marvel heads, it’s about to get real! – JS

Captain Marvel #1- A

Gush!  I loved this comic.  And if it hadn’t been for a fateful arm wrestling match between Sherif and I, it would have gotten pick of the week.  It has been a long time since I have read a comic I related to so much.  Am I a pilot or a captain? Do I live in the Statue of Liberty.  Well, no.  But I am a woman who dreams of a world out there.  Captain Marvel was smart.  We get a taste of the things to come from the beginning with a bar fight in space and then a nice little flashback about how our heroine got there in the first place.  And on top of a great story, the art is crisp and bright.  It is so vivid, it feels almost like TV.  How can I rave about this even more?  Let me count the ways…- A

Hawkeye #17 – A

How? How did this book even get made? Matt Fraction is an evil genius, and like Honey Badger, Fraction don’t give a s***. The entire issue is of a holiday-themed movie cartoon called “Winter Friends” that Hawkeye watches with his neighbor and he two children. The show is a hilarious parody of Clint Barton’s own adventures, with mirroring partners in justice. It left me with a smile in my heart; I haven’t enjoyed a whimsical issue like this since Scribblenauts: Unmasked. I don’t think you have to know a whole lot about the series other than who Hawkeye is – a superhero with no super-powers. I guarantee you’ll want to read the whole series if you pick this one up. – S

Deadpool #25 – B+

Call me Slade, but I think this might be the most enjoyable Deadpool issue I’ve ever read. The whole issue is about Deadpool and Crossbones, a mercenary sent to kill Deadpool before being humiliated by the Merc With A Mouth. The humor flows perfectly throughout, avoiding the sort of forced gag jokes Deadpool is accustomed to. I’m genuinely interested in what will happen next – culminating in Deadpool’s own wedding in issue #27. It also needs to be said that Agent Coulson and Deadpool need their own buddy cop movie. Those two are a hoot! – S

Secret Avengers #1 – B+

Apparently S.H.I.E.L.D isn’t clandestine enough. The Secret Avengers, written by Ales Kot and illustrated by Michael Walsh is a great read for nostalgic comic book heads. The panels are drawn in that Sunday morning comic strip format we learned to love as kids. You can almost smell the newsprint. Maria Hill, director of S.H.I.E.L.D has given orders to Phil Coulson, (isn’t he dead?) and Nick Fury to stop a killer robot, The Fury, on board one of their space stations. When things go bad she requests Spider Woman and Black Widow to lend a hand. Unfortunately they are steaming at a Russian Bathhouse on earth. Meanwhile, Hawkeye leads a platoon of homicidal A.I.M. agents straight to our super hero BFs. This may have something to do with M.O.D.O.K. and S.H.I.E.L.D teaming up. Overall it was a fun read. If you can’t get enough of Agent Coulson on Tuesday nights, this is your book! – JS

Black Widow #4- B

Black Widow finally started picking up the pace.  Rather than a bad guy of the week, we got a nice little cliffhanger.  Could this mean that our favorite Russian spy’s story is starting to develop?  Let’s hope so.  As always the artwork is just beautiful, and this week gave us some of the best fight scenes I’ve ever seen in a comic book.  There is something about this story that has yet to capture my full interest, though.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I really hope the direction of the story makes Natasha a little more relatable.- A

Wolverine #3 – B

I finished this issue with a sigh of relief; finally we are given a decent issue. I can honestly say that with all of the wolverine books out right now, this one has been my least favorite. I did enjoy the humor that they tried to infuse into the story this time around as well as showing us the origin of his new suit. It was also a pleasant surprise to see wolverine not as down in the dumps about his fate as he has been in the last 2 issues. – R

Superior Spider-Man #29 – C+

I’ve had such a love/hate relationship with the Superior series, where Octavius’ mind has taken over the body of Peter Parker. Not that Green Goblin has launched a city-wide take-over, everything is crumbling around Spider-Man. I’m not too sure that Otto has learned anything from his humbling humiliation at the hands of the Goblin Army, but I’m willing to stick around and see how this saga ends – and how the Amazing Spider-Man comes back. – S

Fantastic Four #2 –C-

I won’t waste your time, this book was boring. The Baxter building blows up and an alien force invades Manhattan…again. Yawn. The Fantastic Four are arguably the most unimportant group of super heroes ever assembled. Unless the good people at Marvel decide to kill off Johnny Storm, I’m not interested. One redeeming thing did happen though. Richards and Storm’s kid, Franklin, called The Thing, “Uncle Ben.” I thought that was hysterical. – JS

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 1 A , 2 B’s, 2 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.50

Marvel Comics: 3 A’s, 4 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 3.11

Independents: 1 A, 3 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.00

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 Elkhatib, John Soweto, Adrian Puryear, Robert Michael and Jacob Robinson

The Walking Dead Review “Claimed” S4E11

The next time you’re at a post-apocalyptic slumber party, remember to always make claimsies to the bed you were going to sleep on. If not, you might end up getting choked out and left for dead by your supposed buddies. As we sat on our couch and watched The Walking Dead this week (no choke-outs occurred… tonight), we were expecting more of a scattered view of the ensemble cast, similar to “Inmates”. Instead, “Claimed” focused in on two distinct groups – Abraham/Glenn and Rick/Michonne. We’re gonna skip around here in the interest of staying with a certain topic.

We still can’t stand Carl. Sorry, Chandler Riggs, don’t hate us! This kid couldn’t act his way out of a tub of chocolate pudding, which admittedly might be harder than it sounds. We’ve been fooled throughout the series into thinking that Riggs plays a good Carl because he only gets a few lines every episode, usually in childish rebellion. This season, when we got a real good look at him as an individual, his story has completely failed to come across as a genuine coming of age tale. We’re not completely turned off of Caaaarrrrl, but it’s gonna take some major convincing to get us to care about this kid again.

Carl and Michonne

“Claimed” depicts Michonne in a new light; we are exposed to a part of her that we had all but confirmed of her past – Michonne had a son, and his name was Andre. Carl spends the episode prying information from Michonne about her personal life and it’s convincingly heartfelt. Hush is extremely torn as to whether or not this new, sensitive portrayal of her is a good or bad thing.

Crazy Cheese

On one side of the coin, Michonne transcends gender. She’s a badass with a katana, and there is no gender associated with her. Men (and pugs) dress up as Michonne. Just an episode after she murders a herd of walkers, Michonne is brought to her emotional brink by a pink (pink… seriously?) room full of dead people who were once a family. Which to some may seem like a way for the show to make her seem weak just because she is a woman.  However, others in the Hush family feel that Michonne’s reactions were not weak, but rather essential character development.  Michonne is a bad-ass.  There isn’t a woman (or man) who watches the show and doesn’t want to go buy a katana.  But Michonne is more than that.  She is a mother, a lover, a fighter and a protector.  She is multi-faceted and utterly human.  It would only be in her nature to see that room that was more than just pink, it was the story of family who could not handle the world crumbling around them.  It was a family who lacked the strength Michonne has.  If Michonne had seen that room and not had an emotional reaction, she may not get empathy from the audience due to a lack of believability.

glenn and abe
Glenn lets big Abe have it

Let’s talk about the legend, the end-all, be-all solution to the zombie apocalypse. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eugene Porter. This motherfucker right here… This mullet-rockin dweeb in cargo shorts that haven’t been acceptable since 1998 is humanity’s last hope. It sounded a little far-fetched when I first read about it in the comic books, and I was skeptical. Now that I’ve heard it out loud, I can’t believe that Abraham and Rosita would ever believe him in the first place.

Nobody believes you, Eugene!
Nobody believes you, Eugene!

That’s not to say that Abraham and Rosita are unconvincing in their roles. Rosita does her best J.Lo/Tomb Raider impression, and is the best eye candy not named Lauren Cohan (Maggie). Anybody who takes the time to clean up like that, hoop earrings and all, is a great asset to have. Abraham plays soldier very well, blindingly following the “orders” from Eugene, who proudly proclaims, “I’m smarter than you.” Making a bit of comic-book prediction here, but we think Tara will soon switch teams and hook up with Abraham, ala Holly.

I hop she knows that she's not doing her back any favors.
I hope she knows that she’s not doing her back any favors.

The real winner of this episode is Rick. I often feel that Rick is expected to be the unquestioned leader. Since pre-Shane, really, we haven’t gotten a good look at Rick only trying to survive on his own. It reminded me a lot of “Nebraska” (S2E8), where he gunned down two men who threatened him in a bar. It’s a plain reminder that Rick Grimes is a force to be reckoned with when he is by himself. Although he unrealistically summoned his inner-superhero to do some damage on the scavengers, we really found ourselves rooting for Rick again – something we haven’t done since Rick led the charge to invade Woodbury and rescue Maggie and Glenn.

tumblr_n1hn8hsyvK1rzvnudo2_400

Hush Comics gives “Claimed” a solid B. Overall, we really enjoyed the unique cinematography in this episode, and we can appreciate what they are trying to build here. Unfortunately, it is absolutely killing the pace of the show. Having all the groups separated and clearly not all going to meet up again until the season finale without great character development feels wasteful.  We also feel, for the first time, that the connection of the show to the comic books is becoming problematic.  At this point, forcing the show to fit into the lore of the comics is stifling.  With the development of Carl being absolutely terrible and the journey to the sanctuary by all the separate groups, it is getting hard to relate to the characters or believe that they are even still surviving.  The show has lost its touch when it comes to thinking about human morality and interaction.

There is a typographer and marketer who survived the apocalypse
There is a typographer and marketer who survived the apocalypse

All photos and awesomeness credited to AMC Television.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear