The Flash Review – “Fastest Man Alive” S1E2

One red blur of a week later and we arrive at the second episode of The CW’s new show, The Flash. The pilot absolutely blew us away, and we expected nothing less in the episodes to come. For better or worse, that’s precisely what we got in “Fastest Man Alive.” We saw the creeping evolution of character development, and started peeling back the layers of a major story that will eventually trap us for good. For now, however, we are subject to the same formulaic approach that all superhero shows seem to be getting at.

We get the same ubiquitous superhero voiceover, which is kind of weird since the opening segment follows an actual “intro thingy,” making his off-hand comment about it all the more awkward. We are also allotted another bad guy, affected by the storm caused by the particle accelerator, who tests Barry’s superhero aptitude. It’s not that this hurt the show’s overall momentum, but I just expected a little more variation from the pilot in terms of where the heck we are going from here. The flashback scenes didn’t reveal much more than we couldn’t already assume ourselves, nor did the drawn out speeches (again, where Barry needed to be pep-talked into saving people) inspire anything that we couldn’t have gotten from a few episodes of subtle action.

And the not-father-of-the-year-award goes to.... Joe West!
And the not-father-of-the-year-award goes to…. Joe West!

I usually refer any out-of character or otherwise eye-rolling cornball tomfoolery as being “so C-Dub,” a characteristic we’ve been doling out since the days of Smallville. The amount of C-Dub-ness in “Fastest Man Alive” approached dangerous levels, far exceeding the pilot episode, which came off as spiriting and exciting. I can only hope that Barry won’t continually need pep talks to fight crime. Barry Allen is a bleeding heart with a great sense of humor, but there needs to be a better balance between the two qualities. A tragic Oliver Queen makes sense since, you know, he was tortured on a deserted island for five years; a tortured Barry Allen just doesn’t fit.

The areas where The Flash continues to impress are its amazing supporting cast and great special effects. Although Barry Allen is now 0 for 2 in keeping the bad guy alive, the bad guys that show up are convincingly creepy and – dare I say – relatable? The story of Multiplex is a very pliable tale of sorrow and revenge. The villains are also frightening people who wear the villain scowl very well. As Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin continue to search for more meta-humans, this made us wonder if any good people were struck by the particle-accelerator’s storm, or if it only spawned a ton of tragic criminals. Either way, successfully implementing these more obscure DC Comics villains is what makes The Flash more fun to watch than say Gotham, whose token bad guys look like they are pulled from a hat (still got my fingers crossed for Kite Man).

Barry and his trusty sidekicks.
Barry and his trusty sidekicks.

Cisco and Caitlin continue to provide back-up for Barry as he dashes in head-first to help people. Well, Cisco continues to dive in head-first and provide Barry with the toys (Cosmic Treadmill, anybody??) while Caitlin scolds disapprovingly. It’s worth noting that Flash looks to “help people” and “make a difference,” while other Leaguers in DC Comic books have the mantra to “bring justice” and “stop crime.” Barry’s greatest asset has always been his heart, and it is an endearing quality in the show… just not when it comes to Iris West. Comic book fans, and people you use their eyes or ears to watch the show, will know that Iris ultimately becomes Barry’s greatest love interest. With the flirtatious way she touches and looks at Barry, it’s remarkable how dense she is that he is Forever Alone in the friend-zone while she galavants with Detective Eddie Thawne. The story either needs to stop being about her, or make her more likable to the millions of viewers at home who fervently get the point.

Iris West has terrible taste in men who run fast.
Iris West has terrible taste in men who run fast.

Another win for The Flash were the short demonstrations of Barry’s power. Whether it’s saving people from a burning building, vibrating his hand to simulate a centrifuge on a test tube or going Keanu Reeves on 100 would-be Agent Smiths, there is no doubt that the producers on The Flash want to give the audience the full superhero effect. This is made even more tantalizing when you think that this is just the beginning. The full spectrum of Flash’s powers is ridiculously awesome and include: creating a nifty way to store his suit, running so fast he can turn back time, vibrating through objects and eating a restaurant full of tacos in one sitting.

Hush Comics gives “Fastest Man Alive” a B. Ultimately, The Flash is shaping up to be one of the better superhero television shows on TV. The supporting cast complements Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen very well, serving as both an emotional anchor, as well as a tactical one. However, there seems to be just too much of the same thing going on here as we gathered from the pilot. To a degree, that is one of the episode’s biggest strengths; we realize that Jesse Martin, who plays Detective Joe West, is Barry’s rock here, and the conversation the two of them share at the end of the episode solidifies that (it also whispers “DOOOOOM!” for Joe to me, but I am a cynic). I know there is so much more to explore, and that makes me all the more confident that The Flash will continue to impress.

All photos belong to The CW Network and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Cate Cameron and were originally found here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt (spoilers ahead)

The Treadmill!: Ah! The Cosmic Treadmill. First appearing in comic books over fifty years ago (Flash #125), the pretense of the treadmill is that Barry can run so fast on this treadmill that he not only alters the fabric of time but can use it to travel to alternate dimensions. Science, bitch! Seriously though, let’s see Superman do that!

Iris’ new career choice: “Oh I’ll just make one up.” Really, Iris? Ms. West’s new-found career as a journalist is off to one crappy start. In the comics, Iris becomes a tough-as-nails reporter, but it looks like she’s faking it until she makes it in The Flash.

Pew Pew: The gun shop that Multiplex robs is called Hex’s Gun Shop, inspired by the gunslinger Jonah Hex, who for some reason can’t catch a break (canceled comic book, horrible movie). It seems the writers have a soft spot for him.

Multiplex: The villain multiplex is one of the villains in the DC Universe I think deserves a little more credibility. He may be a complete rip off of Marvel’s Multiple Man, but Multiplex is one of Firestorm’s villains in the comics, Danton Black has ties to both the Suicide Squad and Caitlin Snow (in the way of Killer Frost). From Arrow, we know that the Suicide Squad already exists, but Black’s apparent “death” at the end of “Fastest Man Alive” sure nixed that possibility.

Wait, Ronnie?: Harrison Wells reveals that Caitlin’s ex-boyfriend was (is) named Ronnie. The internets have already swarmed over the fact that Ronnie Raymond will be reappearing, and it will be as one-half of Firestorm, but this is really the first confirmation from the show that Ronnie and Caitlin will likely share the same relationship as in the comic books.

“We were all struck by that lightning”: Barry’s cheesy speech at the end of the episode could have a more literal meaning to it than we think. We already suspect that Cisco and Caitlin will reveal themselves as meta-humans, and there’s no doubt that this weirdo Harrison Wells has some powers we haven’t been revealed yet.

Speaking of Harrison Wells: Looks like my theory last week of Wells being Barry Allen crashed and burned to the ground after he stabbed ol Staggsy in the final clip of this week. In spite of recent events, we have not always known Barry Allen of the future to be benevolent; in DC’s New52 installment of The Flash, Barry Allen comes back in time to kill the current day Barry Allen to prevent the Speed Force from collapsing. We’ll undoubtedly get more into the Speed Force in subsequent issues. But it seems prevalent to note that Wells is concerned for Barry’s safety, cautioning him to “know [his] limits” and “exercise restraint.” What investment could he possibly have in Barry Allen?

The Flash Review – “City of Heroes” S1E1

After months of waiting, The CW’s new series, The Flash, finally streaked across the small screen last night. For those not familiar with Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, he is a forensics scientist in Central City. He has obsessively been trying to prove his father’s innocence of his mother’s murder, and Detective West, who had taken Allen in after the tragedy, thinks that what Barry saw the night his mother died was a hallucination. After the success of Arrow, and the positive reception Allen (Grant Gustin) received from his cameo in Arrow‘s Season 2 episode, “The Scientist,” CW quickly green-lit a solo series for the Fastest Man Alive.

Rest assured, that was a really, really good idea. Like Oliver Queen before him, choosing a hero that everybody knows of, but that not many know intimately, has become the secret formula that nobody but The CW has seemed to figure out yet. From the get-go, we’re introduced to The Flash with the promo clip we saw months ago in a way that is completely reminiscent of Andrew Garfield’s voiceover in Amazing Spider-Man. The more I thought about it,  and the more we get to know Barry Allen, the more I realize that he is the Peter Parker of the DC world: he jokes all the time, he’s a goofy science kid, tragedy has left him with surrogate parents (although that doesn’t exactly narrow it down in the comic book world) and his heart of gold is his most endearing quality.

The Flash - "City of Heroes"
Barry Allen before the storm.

Fanboys will be instantly drawn to The Flash, as there are a profusion of Easter Eggs. And I mean real Easter Eggs, not the crap we get in Gotham. The tidbits we get in the pilot episode here are not shoved down our throat and they don’t take anything away from the enjoyment of the show – whether you’ve read Flash books or not. I will list out some of the more subtle ones we think are important (warning: there may be spoilers) after the reflection. Easter Eggs aside, this is one show that you can watch with absolutely no precursor. The events of the last Arrow episode Allen appeared in are fully explained here, so there is no need to catch up on Starling City’s happenings to understand what going on in Central City – although Steven Amell makes a much-anticipated cameo here to give Allen the proverbial thumbs-up. The particle accelerator that genius physicist Harrison Wells put into motion underwent catastrophic failure, causing Barry’s accident – being struck by lightening. Barry goes into a coma and wakes up nine months later in S.T.A.R. Labs with superpowers and super-abs. Count me in!

The Flash is why people come to the show, but they will stay for the supporting characters. There was not a single character that I felt was: out of place, over-acting or ridiculous in nature – and for a CW show, that says a lot. Arrow has fallen victim to the patented “Laurel gaping stare” far too many times to count, yet the swooning love interest here, Iris West, is a strong and rational character that makes decisions based on merit, and she is not a damsel in distress. Meanwhile, the S.T.A.R. Labs assistants, Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow, add both comedic relief and a staunch sense of tragedy – and Harrison Wells (played by Tom Cavanagh, or as I called him throughout the episode, “J.D.’s brother in Scrubs“) adds a bit of flavor to the show as well. Everything seems amazing at first, but there are stones left unturned, sideways glances between the S.T.A.R. Labs guys, and thanks to an insane reveal at the end, a lot of withheld information.

Barry's Gang: Harrison Wells, Cisco Ramon, and Caitlin Snow
Barry’s Gang: Harrison Wells, Cisco Ramon, and Caitlin Snow

As it turns out, the storm caused by the particle accelerators explosion gave not only Barry Allen his powers, but what turns out to be scores of unknowns, as well. Among them is Clyde Mardon, known in the comics books as the deceased brother of the Weather Wizard. We can still tell, by the reaction of the news station and Detective West, that “meta-humans” are not of mainstream knowledge yet, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of The Flash’s rogues gallery pans out. Mardon is a great villain, who is callous in action and has a piercing hate stare that was convincingly frightening.

Cinematically, The Flash owns up to the source material and then some. Barry is not just a forensics assistant, but a damn good one. Thanks to some sweet effects, we are able to see inside the cogs turning inside the mind of a forensics scientist – C.S.I, eat my shorts. There are also some great Jesse Pinkman “Yeah! Science!” moments of the episode that assure me that I did not spend $80k on an engineering degree for nothing. Speaking of Breaking Bad, it seems that the idea of adding a filter to flashbacks has been adopted for The Flash, as well; as far as we are concerned, any show whose cinematography is inspired from the greatest show in history is alright in my book. From the slow-motion effects to the camera angle when Mardon robs the bank, it’s evident early on that CW is willing to put their money where their mouth is about making this show work.

The show borrows elements from its predecessors without feeling like a carbon copy; it actually helps connect the viewers to a show that they are already familiar with. For example, Iris’ position in the coffee shop is warmly nostalgic of Lana Lang’s job in Smallville. And Cisco’s extremely nerdy yet adorable demeanor (check out his awesome collection of t-shirts. Bazinga!) make you think he and Felicity from Arrow would make the cutest couple ever. Going back to the Spider-Man comparisons, there’s even a bit of a Captain Stacy thing going on with Detective West (doom ahead for West?). As much as the show combines different elements, it stands alone as a show about The Flash. Barry Allen is charming and funny, and the story is as true to the spirit of the character as I’ve seen on any television show so far. Now, that could have a lot to do with the fact that DC Comics legend Geoff Johns is credited as the series co-creator and executive producer. Johns has written some classic Flash material, and has been a contributor to almost a decade of DC/WB television. With him at the helm, there is absolutely no reason to worry about substance in the story going forward.

Barry and Iris chumming it up... without the "Laurel" gaze.
Barry and Iris chumming it up… without the “Laurel” gaze.

Hush Comics gives The Flash pilot, “City of Heroes” an A for its refreshing and accurate portrayal of one of the funnest characters in the DC Universe. While it was packed with little secrets for DC fanboys, it only slightly pulls back the curtain on the world of the man who is saving people in a flash. The pilot gives us plenty to look forward to in Season 1, and even though The Flash has one of the weaker rogues gallery in the DCU, we are looking forward to him and his band of merry misfits to thwart any danger that comes their way.

 

Easter Egg Hunt

Where is CSI?: You may recognize Jesse Martin, who plays Detective Joe West on The Flash, as Detective Ed Green from Law & Order. Martin played Green for almost ten years before leaving to tour with RENT as Tom Collins.

Grodd dammit!: While touring the remains of the S.T.A.R. Labs facility, Harrison Wells and Barry Allen pass a cage that has been broken open from the inside with the label “Grodd,” presumed to belong to Gorilla Grodd, a savage ape with far-superior intellect. That could probably come back to haunt them.

Who is the real Weather Wizard?: In the comic books, Clyde Mardon was a scientist that had discovered a way to control the weather, only to suffer a “heart attack” in his home. His brother Mark, who had escaped from prison, “found” Clyde’s notes and decided to use them to become the Weather Wizard. In the show, Clyde, who has seen Allen’s face, was conveniently shot and killed by West at the end of the episode. I’m predicting that Clyde could not have been the only Weather Wizard, who is a prominent villain of Flash’s. Who was flying the plane that Clyde escaped in? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was his brother, Mark.

Ferris Air: Green Lantern Hal Jordan got his not-so-humble beginnings as an ace pilot for Ferris Air. The appearance of this could mean that the Emerald Guardian is due to make an appearance on the show sooner or later. Allen and Jordan have always shared a great relationship (as have Jordan and Green Arrow, Oliver Queen), but I’m willing to bet that this was more of a shout-out to Geoff Johns, whose tenure on Green Lantern made him one of DC’s most popular heroes.

DC’s Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon: Oh yeah, that exists. Google that shit. DC is somewhat obsessed with the number 52. Listen and watch carefully, because this episode is littered with references to the magic number 52.

The Thawne Song: Thawne-Th-Thawne-Thawne-Thawne: Perhaps one of The Flash’s most formidable foes, Eobard Thawne is a time-traveling anti-Flash. There’s a big secret about him that you can find out by reading Flashpoint (one of my favorite graphic novels!), but just know that his guy is bad news. It would seem that his TV alter ego is Eddie Thawne, who has managed to steal Iris away from Barry, reads Barry’s blog on the regular and manages to know everything about Barry as it happens. There’s gotta be something to this “new guy” than meets the eyes.

Trying to resist the Impulse for puns… and failing: Before letting Allen test his full speed, he straps on two lightning-studded earpieces to his helmet to help resist sonic booms, or “battlefield impulse noise.” Kid Flash, Barry’s grandson from the future, has also gone by the name Impulse.

Don’t piss off the help: Allen’s companions at S.T.A.R. Labs correlate to fellow “meta-humans” in the DCU. In the comics, Cisco Ramon is Vibe, part-time breakdancer and full-time ass-kicker with the ability to emit shock waves. And Caitlin Snow is Killer Frost (there have been several Killer Frosts, but Snow is the most recent one), a not so nice villain that absorbs heat and spits it back out as cold. Caitlin already looks to be on the path to permanent piseed-offedness, so we might see her turn even more of a cold shoulder to S.T.A.R. Labs.

Just where is Starling City?: Luckily for us, almost every damn state in the country has a Central City. In the comics, it is referred to being in the middle of the country, from Ohio to Chicago to Missouri. However, when Allen takes a trip to Starling City in the show, Arrow says that it is just 600 miles away (lol “only”). We have previously thought Starling to be a West coast city (San Fran, Seattle) or an East coast city (Connecticut, Massachutesetts), but from this reference it looks like the most fitting location for Starling City must be something like Minneapolis. As many times as I’ve traveled there in the books, I realize that I have no idea where I’m going.

Legacy: The man that plays Henyr Allen, Barry’s father, was the star of the 1990’s Flash series. John Wesley Shipp does a great job here, which we can only assume was due to 25 years of practice.

Heroes raining from the sky: It looks as though the particle accelerator’s failure caused meta-humans to pop up left and right across the city, and that is the logical approach they will take to explain all these super-heroes and villains to emerge. It is an approach that reminds me of how the video-game DC Universe Online was explained, where nanobots were dropped around the world that gave people random powers all over the globe to help combat Brainiac’s invasion.

The “FUTURE”: Oh man, wasn’t that knowledge bomb at the end just spectacular? Just who the heck is this Harrison Wells guy and what horror does the future (spooky voice) hold? There are a few theories floating around, and thanks to the inclusion of time travel, the possibilities are endless:

Theory 1: Either Eddie Thawne is a smoke screen and Wells (who is not a real character on his own) is the real Reverse Flash, or Wells is related to Reverse Flash somehow. In the books, Eobard’s son, Thaddeus, becomes the villain Inertia. This is unlikely in the show since Wells looks considerably too old to be Eddie’s son, but with time travel, there are no rules.

Theory 2: Another DC magic word, “CRISIS,” insinuates that there will be some event relating to the book Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Barry Allen sacrifices himself to save the universe. As epic as this would be to see on TV, I feel that DC would want to avoid something as spoilerific as that.

My theory: Perhaps… Harrison Wells IS Barry Allen. The headline reads that The Flash has disappeared; this could be a literal translation, implying that he has traveled back in time. His insistence on testing Barry’s reaction early on in the goal of “unlocking mysteries,” his attempts to keep Barry from crime-fighting and his eventual encouragement suggests a personal investment in Barry; his hopeful glances at the paper ten years from now to see if circumstances have change further reinforce the theory that he is a good guy, contrary to the eerie music playing.

All photos belong to DC Entertainment.

Comic Book Reviews 05-28-14

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:

Deadly Class #5 – A

Just go to your local comic book store and give all your money to Rick Remender, who is also writing the wildly successful Black Science. This book is so unique; from the art and panel layout to the subject matter, I feel like I’m experiencing something new every issue I read. The story is coming as it pleases, and that suits it just fine. We’re getting an in-depth look into the psyche of Marcus, this time as he comes down from his high. While the psychedelic color scheme is beautiful, it doesn’t make me want to ever drop aid. Deadly Class remains one of my favorite books, and it’s in no rush to get where it wants to go, so just sit back and enjoy the ride. – Sherif

Man this issue was absolutely crazy! From opening to close I was hooked and I didn’t want it to end. It has been a long time since I have seen a comic so creative in design and with every panel I had a big smile on my face! I just enjoy everything Deadly Class has to offer and the character development that happens with its characters every week, especially Marcus. When issue 6 comes out I must read it day one especially due to the way they ended this issue. It has been a while since a comic has done to me what Deadly Class continually does to me. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So if you are looking for a great comic, with great art, great story, and amazing creativity, Deadly Class is calling your name. – Evan

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #5 – C+

This series is very entertaining but man is it hard to imagine the crew after the events of Serenity. Although we get to see Mal being a bad ass in this issue, the ultimate story seems slow and there is only one issue left in this mini series. Hopefully we will see more of Captain Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, and River but up to now this series is entertaining to huge fans of this previous TV series and film but ultimately will be lost among those just browsing for a new series to read. – Jacob

 

DC Comics:

Batman #31 – A-

These two guys (artist Greg Capullo and writer Scott Snyder) are the best creative team in comic books. It’s ben a total pleasure reading Zero Year, which feels like a true origin story. As Gotham lay in ruin, Batman must find a way to free the city from Nygma’s rule. After getting knocked off his horse a few times, it looks like Bats is ready to kick some ASS. From dirt bike stunts to lighting a freaking lion on fire, Batman is back in full effect. Deeper still, we get into some embarrassing high school moments, which don’t make a lot of sense… but it’s a small setback in an otherwise superb book. – Sherif

The Flash #31 – B-

This new arc that started one issue ago is really intriguing. Barry Allen has traveled back in time to correct all his mistakes, and plans to cap it all off by murdering himself. It much be a much darker future that Barry comes from. We’re given a deep look into Barry’s relationship with a young Wally West, who has lost his mother in Forever Evil and Iris has looked to Barry to provide some male role model influence, to no avail. There isn’t a whole lot that happens, but future Flash’s run-in with Mirror Master is worth the price of admission – especially when you consider the outcome. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #8 – C+

This weekly series is doing a great job of trying to fit everything into this love letter to the Dark Knight. This week, the GCPD take a definitive stance on Batman, but our new Lt. Bard looks to be following in the footsteps on Jim Gordon. He seems like a good guy, but his timely appearance in Gotham can’t be a coincidence. I’m not a huge fan of the hulkish way Batman is drawn in this issue, but the variety between issues is a better thing than it is worse. Considering we’re eight issues in, nothing has really happened since the second issue, something I can’t really get behind if I’m paying $3 per week to read it. – Sherif

Suicide Squad #30 – C

Don’t cry, folks! Issue #30 might be the “final issue,” but a little teaser tells us that the series will be rebooted soon. Most of the characters in Task Force X have grown in the past year: Manta helped save the world, Harley got her own series (who knows how long that will last), and Amanda Waller turned from full authority to no authority in no time. I lost favor with this book early on, but with the right creative team, Suicide Squad could be a must-read book next time around. – Sherif

Nightwing #30 – D

If this feels like a terrible way to wrap up the Nightwing saga, that’s because it is terrible. From the clunky looking art style to the ridiculously long fight scene, this issue felt like a total after-thought – a way to rope fans into reading Grayson without having to explain any of the crazy shit that has happened in Forever Evil when the series debuts in July. Everything about #30 was supposed to be heavy on emotion. Dick Grayson is faking his death to investigate an underground conspiracy to annihilate super-heroes, and Batman is testing his mettle to see if he can still hang. I found it really awkward since they have full discussions while they beat the crap out of each other, especially when those conversations contain terribly placed quotes ripped straight from Nolan’s trilogy. If you’re looking for a true sendoff for Nightwing, check out Nightwing #29, written by Kyle Higgins, because you aren’t going to find it here. – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

Samurai Jack #8 – B+

As a Samurai Jack and overall Genndy Tartakovsky fan this issue is wonderful to me and fully deserving of an A but because this issue actually does not feature any dialogue. I give it a B, because unless you are a fan of the show, an issue with no dialogue could seem a bit off putting. This is definitely something the show would do often and carry an entire episode off of no dialogue and I feel this issue does that wonderfully. The art, intensity and great fighting from the series is all there as well which make it a absolute must have comic for fans but maybe could be one skipped along the paths of issues as it seems to be a one off story and there will likely be dialogue back in the next issue. – Jacob

X-Files Season 10 #12- B-

Although this series has been great, there sure are a lot of dead people involved. Well, at least people we thought were dead… So this series has been odd that way almost like it is trying to fix everything wrong with season 9 of the TV series. Even though this is the case, Season 10 has been very enjoyable. It is great to see these characters, as always, but if you were just coming into this series as a former fan or a new one, it would be pretty confusing. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

C.O.W.L. #1– B

This comic is pretty dope! And it’s not like the typical comic dopeness in my opinion. Yes it’s about superheroes, fighting crime, and protecting the city. However, this comic feels more “real” if that makes sense. It kind of reminds me of the Watchmen. With these superheroes being hired by a government entity to combat the crime in Chicago it has more of an authentic feel to it and I find that pretty interesting. Also, I saw something in this comic that I’ve never seen, nor ever thought I would see in a comic book. A superhero peeing on a person in the street. Yeah, that happened. – Evan

Trees #1– B

Okay, this is going to sound weird, but don’t let the fact that Trees doesn’t make sense keep you from reading it. It’s written by Warren Ellis, who has a huge cult following for writing unique stuff (NextwaveMinistry of SpaceFreakAngels, also the current Moon Knight series), so don’t let the obscurity turn you off. Titanic-scale other-world life have decided to make Earth their home, planting themselves in our civilization like… well, trees. The beings aren’t really aware of our presence, but their slightest movements result in massacres. It’s a clear parallel to how we treat the environment around us, but that doesn’t mean the weird sci-fi book won’t blow me away. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

Ms. Marvel #4 – A-

It’s no secret that Hush Comics loves Ms. Marvel. The series has been the perfect blend of teenage angst and cultural commentary, but this month’s issue kicks it into high gear. There’s a subtle discussion about how Ms. Marvel doesn’t have to be the blonde-haired “real hero” people expect. We discover more about Kamala’s powers, and finally give Ms. Marvel her first villain. She’s a far cry from the superhero she will undoubtedly one day become, so to mix it up with a villain who looks pretty capable will be scary. The progression of the story into a deeper conspiracy is totally natural, and I can’t wait to see her fight crime in her burkini. “Die! Spooky Robot Thingy!” – Sherif

Oh snap! Looks like the average every day blonde-haired Ms. Marvel is out and Kamala is in! I love to see this story continue to progress and it is exciting to see the character of Kamala develop in such a real way. Her caution and courage play well together and now that she is stepping out and no longer relying on her shape shifting I think the audience is in for a real treat. We don’t know who this villain is but I’m willing to bet that in this next issue we are going to see some pretty crazy stuff between Ms. Marvel (in Kamala form) and The Inventor. – Evan

Guardians of the Galaxy #15 – B-

Filthy Earthers. The Guardians of the Galaxy have been captured. One by one, they were sold off. We don’t find out who did this, but the whole thing smells like a conspiracy. Speaking of conspiracy, how do you put Captain Marvel on the cover and not include her in the issue at all? It will be interesting to see how they each individually deal with their own personal hell – and see how Venom fits into all of this. There is enough momentum and action to carry what is a very vague storyline thus far. – Sherif

Deadpool #29 – C-

I gotta give some credit to the writers for attempting a deeper story here, but at the end of the day, Deadpool needs slapstick humor and violence to get by. No matter how intriguing the story may be, if one of those elements is missing, it’s likely to disappoint. With this being an Original Sin tie-in – like practically every other Marvel book right now is – I expected more of a punch with the reveal, but instead we get a big, fat filler. Sadly, it reminds me of DC’s Harley Quinn series, which is not a compliment. – Sherif

 

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 and Evan Lowe and Jacob Robinson

So Far This Week…May 28, 2014

Oh my stars and garters, Hushsters! We’ve skipped an entire week of news. In our defense, we were a little busy. We took a trip to Houston to visit Taylor Lowe, where we went to Comicpalooza. Not only was it a great time, but it was also kind of a milestone moment for us. We went as press for the first time, interviewed Batman artist Greg Capullo (also a first), met Stan “The Man” Lee, geeked out at the Buffy panel, and lots more. Check back on the site, or here for more of our Comicpalooza stuff, including a James Marsters panel and an in-depth synopsis of the weekend.

 

LeVar Burton is Kickstarting to relaunch Reading Rainbow. Will it work? Hell yeah it will; the campaign is “flying twice as high,” already shattering it’s $1,000,000 goal in less than 24 hours. “Take a look; it’s in a book. Reading Raaaainbow!”

X-Men: Days of Future Past was released this past weekend. It was “cool,” but we weren’t really that impressed. Here is my full review (SPOILER FREE) of the movie. On the bright side, they’ve released what the special edition Blu-Ray set will look like (August release?) and we will definitely be picking that up.

Sad times, as we lost one of the world’s greatest poets and civil rights’ activists in Maya Angelou.

A bunch of peeps are being cast for Season 5 of Game of Thrones. If you’re a book noob like me, then you probably don’t know who any of these guys are.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are better at acting than you are.

The Hateful Eight will start filming in November. The Quentin Tarantino film was canned previously when the script was leaked, but the director has since had a change of heart.

There goes more of that #SixSeasonsAndAMovie Community talk, with Hulu being the newest candidate to pick up the freshly canceled show.

Don’t say Denzel is an too old to kick ass… speaking of, when did Hit-Girl start looking like that?

My most anticipated game of the summer came out yesterday. Watch Dogs promises to be an open world adventure of hacking goodness – the game has already broken the company’s record for single-day sales (the same company that owns Assassin’s Creed, mind you). The release hasn’t been smooth sailing, though, as bomb threats and crippling glitches have slowed it down. Hopefully we can sit down and murder this game to have a review to you in the next couple weeks.

If you’re already over hacking, then check out this extended trailer for Arkham Knight, complete with gameplay.

We like to think our Game of Thrones reviews are decent, but let’s be honest: if we could watch Seth Rogan and Snoop Dogg get high and then review GoT every week, we probably wouldn’t write them anymore.

Boardwalk Empire alumnus Charlie Cox will be playing lead Matt Murdock in the Netflix original Marvel series, Daredevil. I loved his work on Boardwalk, so I think this is a great pick-up.

DC Comics has gone through quite the transformation since they launched 52 new books in 2011… but here we are in 2014, and they’re close to canceling 52 books in three years. Yikes.

The guy who played Barry Allen in the 1991 series has been cast as Barry Allen’s father in the new Flash TV Series.

Comic book legend Alan Moore is launching a mobile app called Electricomics, designed to help self-publish independent creators. This could be the answer to what creators do after ComiXology was acquired by Amazon earlier in the year.

Ben Templesmith is releasing his Kickstarter-backed The Squidder, a four issue series post-apocalyptic tale.

Here are this year’s Television Critics Award nominationsOrange is the New Black getting a nomination is HUGE. Could online streaming television really be the future of how we watch shows?

Marvel is looking to do something superhero-ey, but not what you’d expect. Grab your 3D printer and get ready to recharge your imagination with Big Hero 6.

Ooh! That reminds me, ComiXology is giving away a free comic book each day for 20 days. We are currently on day three, where you can pick up My Little Pony: Pony Tales Vol. 1. Check back each day; they occasionally have cool stuff, too (if My Little Pony isn’t your thang).

That Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist webseries we were talking about a while ago? Yeah, well it’s out. And it’s the shit. Devour it all right now.

Here’s Johnny! Depp plays Whitey in next month’s documentary, WHITEY: America vs. James Bulgar.

Jaden Smith wore a Batman costume to Kim K.’s wedding. And it was white. Who wears white on the brides day? Really?

The Mad Men mid-season finale involved a very odd musical number.

The Batman vs. Superman film finally got a full title, Dawn of Justice.

BATMAN… IN SPACE!!! LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham was announced. We’re just add that to the list of things we’re going to go broke for.

 

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear

 

Comic Book Reviews 04-30-14

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:

Funny Panel 5-2-14

Amazing Spider-Man #1 – A

Welcome back, Peter Parker! This week has been the best for Spider-Man. Peter has just got his bearings back as the web crawler and he is happy as ever to be back in the driver’s seat of his own life – even if he has no idea what happened during Otto’s reign as the Superior Spider-Man. There’s a lot of fallout here, and while some of it is explained to new readers, the point of this issue is to sit back and let the experience flow over you. There’s plenty of time to catch up to how messed up Otto left things in his stead, but for now, enjoy this love letter to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. – Sherif

Talk about getting things started off with a bang! I really enjoyed Superior Spider and the changes that Doc Ock brought to Peter Parker’s character, but I never realized how much I missed the genuinely hilarious humor until this issue. This issue had me laughing almost from start to finish. It should be interesting to see how his not knowing what happened while he was gone will make for some interesting and surely hilarious situations. It is hinted at that he may have to dig into the mind of Octavius to gather some information about the last few months so that could potentially be interesting. The other big unknown is Dr. Ock’s girlfriend that he was living with and left behind. I don’t see how she could ever replace Mary Jane but I don’t see any reason for Peter not to at least give it a shot. I figure that she will figure out he isn’t the same person and they will end up splitting up. This issue was amazing and surprisingly a good jumping in point for new readers as the beginning gives a small history lesson. – Robert

For the return of Peter Parker this comic was just okay; in the book’s defense, I haven’t read any of Superior, so the subtleties are lost on me. I like the fact that Peter is trying to figure out all that happened while he was gone and that so much of his life has changed; however, I have no idea what direction this comic is going. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong about the comic, it told a decent story, brought back Spider-Man in classic Spidey fashion, some good ol’ web slinging action, but there was no kick. No punch, no defining moment to bring it all together. Still it was a good read, and I would like to continue to see Peter Parker continue on his journey back to life. – Evan

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4 – B+

The fourth issue of this series is filled with references to the show and film from past characters to Wash’s dinosaurs in the cockpit. In this issue we see River dreaming and figuring out there were many others imprisoned inside the laboratory she was tested on. After this happens, Jubal Early knocks nearly everyone out and ties them up but Kaylee shows up and knocks him out with a wrench. Once everything is back to normal they drop Jubal out on a planet and continue to the Lab but they have to stop and sadly team up with the Operative from the film because he is the only person who can help them get into the lab. Meanwhile while all this is happening, Zoe is throw into a prison and kicks the crap out of a fellow prisoner (it’s about time we saw her be her normal awesome self) before he beats the crap out of another person. The crew gets to the lab and right as they make it to the door a ship shows up and Jubal seems to distract and fight off these guards while River and the crew fight their way into the lab where the scientist who tested on River is waiting. He compliments, insults and says all sorts of stuff to them only to release the other girls he tested on and finished before River warns everyone to run. This series is just great for anyone who was a fan of the series and movie but can definitely see how anyone who had not seen either would be totally lost; although, I am not sure why you would read this series if you had not seen either. – Jacob

V-Wars #1 – C+

A world war against a fabled monster? The actual title? If this doesn’t scream World War Z rip-off, then I don’t know what will. There are some different plot points, most pronounced being that the vampires are sentient, and that there is a bigger conspiracy to fuel the war with the living and the undead. I wouldn’t call this a total loss; the art and the explicit story carried my interest through the whole issue, but I see this being much more of a guilty pleasure read than the next big thing. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo:

Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs Bane #1 – A-

Well, the big DC event, Forever Evil, is drawing to a close – except, the final issuehasn’t been published. I guess we can assume that the JL takes care of business and Batman returns home to Gotham to clean up the mess. Only thing is, Bane has actually been doing a good job of it. He took out the trash and now has a legion of Talons patrolling the streets. However, this is Batman’s house. We get a good old fashion ass-kicking between Bane and the Bats, in all its onomatopoeic splendor. The one-shot wasn’t supposed to be much more than the signal that the Bat is back in town. – Sherif

Batman: Eternal #4 – B+

Four issues in and Eternal is building a complex story, and doing it without having to bounce off of several other Bat-titles. The pre-Batman side of Gotham – the corruption and scandal in the justice system are coming out of the woodwork now that Jim Gordon is locked up. It’s a scary and uncertain time, and even though Batman thinks he has things under control, the looming danger is not good for anybody. I really like the appearance of Bagirl here, too, and to see her clash with the Dark Knight makes my stomach drop. This series continues to impress. – Sherif

The thought of Commissioner Gordon being locked up in Blackgate makes me both worried and excited at the same time. I’m worried because I can’t recall a time where he was ever killed and this could be a perfect time to do it. I get excited thinking about it because he was former special forces and I think it would be a cool opportunity to show just how much of a badass he actually is. He wouldn’t have to hold back the way a typical officer would so we could show some potentially badass scenes of him beating up multiple inmates or thwarting assassination attempts. The plot with Batgirl spiraling out of control seems almost too cliché so I hope they have something else planned for that. Batman is business as usual which means that they have something planned to turn that upside down shortly. – Robert

Things are getting juicy. With Batgirl on the case to search for who set up her father, things are going to get very messy and/or fantastic. However, can she do it fast enough to keep her father alive seeing that he has a new home at Blackgate? This is a solid story and I can’t wait to see more. So many different things are happening with Batman and Falcone, the Penguin, Pyg, Gordon, the G.C.P.D. and so much more it’s all very exciting. I think this next issue will be something special and I cannot wait to see what becomes of Gordon. – Evan

The Flash Annual #3 – B

The Flash is really gaining some traction. After the largely successful Flashpoint arc in 2011 and news of his own CW show, the third Annual kicks off a pretty intense arc. Switching between the present and twenty years in the future, Annual #3 gives us our first New 52 Wally West (who some may remember as the Flash in the Justice League cartoon). The future that Flash finds himself in, who is blue in color and seemingly unstable from decades of abusing the Speed Force, is a dark one in which future Barry Allen must cross a certain line with Gorilla Grodd. If you haven’t been sold on The Flash series, then this issue should push you right over the fence. – Sherif

IDW Comics:

X-Files: Season 10 #11- A

This is the type of X-Files I remember! Although it involves Saudi Arabia and terrorists blowing up a oil refinery, this is the type of mystery, who dun-it type of story that encompassed the series so well. In this issue we see Mulder and Scully visiting Saudi Arabia because of a weird case and instantly Mulder thinks things are fishy because of the footage they show him of the incident. He of course sends it to the trusty Lone Gunmen and as they analyze it they figure out a mysterious figure appears out of nowhere after an explosion. Scully goes to visit the hospital that is holding the people who were injured in the incident and is quickly rushed out of one room when she then pulls a fire alarm and goes into another where another injured man is who tells her a man blew everything up. We go back to Mulder who was talking to the Lone Gunmen in a computer lab when he notices men behind who start shooting at him and as he flees he jumps out of window and a s he lands a man is standing there who knows who he is and tells him not to do it making Mulder wonder who he is. The man lowers his scarf and it is Krychek, whom if you watched the show you know as one of the main antagonists along with The Cigarette Smoking Man. This leads me to wonder where this new arc is leading and it will likely be one where if you have not read any of the rest of this series, this is a good place to start. – Jacob

Dexter’s Laboratory #1- B

It is great to see new Dexter’s Laboratory in any capacity, but IDW is turning almost all of Genndy Tartakovsky’s classic cartoons into comics, which is great for me. This short run of Dexter’s Lab is all about Dexter finding out a way to finally get rid of Dee Dee. It starts with him having a whole planned out morning to have his intelligence increased to the maximum amount possible, with Dee Dee out for her dance recital, Dexter thinks he is safe to start his experiment but then Dee Dee shows up right before he starts because she forgot her shoes and she of course destroys everything. This infuriates Dexter and he wishes he was an only child which gives him an idea for an invention to grant wishes. He then waits until bedtime and uses his invention and both his and Dee Dee’s rooms light up and then To Dee Continued… This is definitely going to be an enjoyable series helping to lead up to the giant crossover event of all the Cartoon Network shows that IDW is planning and Much like Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack and Rocky and Bullwinkle IDW is bring back childhood nostalgia like crazy. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Black Science #6 – A-

This issue marks the end of the first arc in Rick Remender’s Black Science, and damn is it good. The story has been going at breakneck speed since the first panel, and wraps up with literally no room to catch your breath. Remender has slowly been feeding us background information on the major conspiracy, but with the crazy turn of events at the end of this issue, there are limitless possibilities as to where this story will go from now on. – Sherif

Southern Bastards #1 – B+

Jason Aaron, the guy who brought us Amazing X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men, returns to give us Southern Bastards, a tale about a man who returns to his hometown forty years after his daddy, the town Sheriff, died. He immediately finds out that the town is not what it was; it’s now controlled by a man who goes by the name Coach Boss and some type of Confederate gang. There’s a fair amount of mystery around it, but there is enough here to make me want to buy the next issue. I mean, any book that begins with a dog taking a shit screams gold, right? – Sherif

Dream Police #1 – B+

What is happening?!?! I have no idea but I think it’s awesome. There is so much happening and so many components to this dream world. Dream Police, architects, shifters, nightmares, all of this is just crazy. I’ll be honest, I’ll probably have to re-read this comic several times to fully understand what is going on. Nevertheless, I think the concept is awesome, almost Matrix-like. Dream police that are supposed to make sure people dreams go the way they are supposed to, seems like a heavy job but Joe and Frank…or Katie…or whoever make it look easy. This comic is very interesting to me and for those who have a wild imagination, this one is for you. – Evan

Deadly Class #3 – B-

Deadly Class continues to impress me. Even though this issue wasn’t as action-packed or full of violence, it has some really great story-telling and character development. It’s obvious what is happening to Marcus mentally after what he did in the last issue; however, there are still so many mysteries surrounding his new life and what will become of it. The way the story is told through the eyes of a drugged up kid who claims to be the “Acid King” then instantly regrets it, allows us to see what sort of mind-frame Marcus is in. And I love it! Still a big fan of this comic and can’t wait to see what comes next. – Evan

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #26 – B+

As the team regroups from the events in The Trial of Jean Grey, we get some great introspection of Jean Grey and an awkwardly fruitful conversation between her and the present day Scott Summers. It was like a Dear John letter for all the long-time X-Men fans out there. Artist Stuart Immomen and his team put together one of the most beautiful issues All-New X-Men has seen thus far, and the cliff-hanger we leave on is an instant sell for the next issue. – Sherif

Wolverine #5 – C+

This issue was basically filler – which is fine because we are starting a new arc – but I was hoping for a little more in terms of content. We do, however, get a few new facts about Logan this issue. We find out that he is being poisoned by the Adamantium in his body and now he has a tattoo of a Rose on his arm. It is hinted that there is a deeper meaning to the rose but is never actually stated explicitly. I’m not sure if we are supposed to know or not but I am sure they will point out exactly what it means eventually. I’m curious to see whether or not the tattoo will stay when his powers inevitably return. It seems this is really just the beginning of a new arc so we shall see where things will go from here but the writing has gotten steadily better since the start and hopefully will continue the pattern from here on out. – Robert

Hulk #2 – D+

This series seems to be rather bland as it is going on. After the first issue it was kind of exciting to fantasize about what would happen to Hulk when he is smarter than Bruce Banner now. But after this issue it seems like nobody in this book knows what is going on. Although I still love Hulk and will read this series to see where it goes, it is definitely one of the weaker series for this character so far. In this issue whoever shot and kidnapped Banner revives Abomination and sends him out to find Banner. Maria Hill starts ripping into Bruce Banner when she finds out Abomination is coming so he can turn into Hulk and as soon as Abomination shows up. A huge fight ensues and everyone flees but one dumb local guy who argues with Maria Hill until some weird robots show up and are about to shoot down both of them. So not a whole much happened in this book to further the story itself but we got to see Hulk fight for the first time and maybe Abomination will have just as much brain damage as Bruce Banner or something… – Jacob

They said in Tropic Thunder that you never go full retard but that is exactly what has happened here. Why they thought that taking one of the most brilliant minds of the Marvel universe and turning him into the retarded character Ben Stiller played in that movie was a good idea is beyond me. I can’t even begin to imagine how they are going to repair his mind but they had better do it quickly because retard Bruce Banner getting mad at a sandwich container and destroying a whole town isn’t going to hold anyone’s interest for very long. If Barbara Gordon can walk again then Bruce Banner should be creating his Bannertech in no time. – Robert

Man, this comic just kind of sucks. And that is coming from a Hulk fan. Personally I think the story is pretty stupid, and it just doesn’t play as something exciting or interesting. Bruce Banner with brain damage is simply Bruce Banner who acts like he is five and it all is just dumb, dumb, dumb. And it makes me sad. The only thing about this comic that keeps me going is that I want to know who did this to Banner. But the story, the action, the “mystery” that ended this issue just has no substance to me. I hope and pray that this comic will get better, but I do not have high hopes for it. – Evan

Origin II #5 – D

I can’t help but wonder what the hell the purpose of this whole sequel to the original Origin was really for. I guessed a few reviews ago that it would show the start of the feud between Sabertooth and Wolverine and it appears that was exactly what they decided to do here. Sabertooth is a central character to the Wolverine mythos, especially lately, but I don’t really feel like they did a great job showing the beginning of a feud that lasts a few centuries. I don’t think they introduced a conflict big enough to hate someone for over a hundred years. I mean it is borderline ridiculous to think that someone could hate someone so much, over a woman no less, that either would devote the next few hundred years of their life trying to make the others life hell. This is especially true for Wolverine seeing as how he has had numerous other lovers that he has loved arguably even more than this chick. All that being said, this entire series felt like a wasted opportunity that doesn’t even begin to stand up to the original. This should have been renamed something else as opposed to being the sequel to one of his greatest storylines. – Robert

I’m really disappointed with the way this mini-series ended. Matter of fact, aside from a solid #1, I’m disappointed in everything about it. Aside from a few stand-out panels, there was nothing about this story that drew me in. The attempt to capitalize on the success of Origin failed mightily, and you’re probably better off skipping this entire installment. – Sherif

 

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.

Comic Book Reviews 04-23-14

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:

Elektra #1 – A-

This is dope. The debut of Elektra is good for so many different reasons. Number one, it’s not all action; the dialog and monologs are amazing. Number two, the way the panels flow, and the artistic approach from Michael Del Mundo is very unique. It’s elegant yet edgy and it makes me feel all tingly in my eyeballs. With Elektra coming to fate with who she thinks she is and always be, that assassin mentality is going to come up a lot as the story progresses, and I am looking forward to it. – E

Take that Jennifer Garner! Elektra #1 surpasses all my expectations and engages me throughout the book. As far as the premise of the book goes, there’s a textbook mysterious introduction and a set-up for Elektra’s next contract. Unlike the movie, I feel like this is the right time for an Elektra book, and that she won’t need to ride on the coattails of Daredevil to do so. To me, this is every bit the depth and beauty that we were supposed to see from the Black Widow series, right down to the comparison of gorgeous artwork. Definitely pick this book up! – S

I think the artwork on the first pages where she is dancing as a ballerina that slowly shifts to her killing members of the hand is probably one of the best ways to sum up Elektra as a character. She is a pretty awesome character, but I am left wondering where marvel is going with some of the decisions they’ve made regarding who to give their own series. I’m not saying that she isn’t worthy of her own book but I don’t see how she has enough content to keep a consistently good story going for very long. I would love to be proven wrong and the idea of a ninja chick that has no remorse sounds pretty awesome in theory. I just hope this doesn’t turn out like the movie. – R

Other Reviews:

BOOM! Studios:

Evil Empire #2 – B

You know that knot you get in your stomach when you know something terrible is about to happen? Reading this book is giving me those, but in a good way. I have no idea who is behind the mass chaos going on right now – hell, I’m not sure I want to find out. I really like that the story is staying grounded. Focusing on a singer with a political agenda keeps it tied to the big players, but isn’t too wrapped up in the details that we don’t see what the everyday person is going through. I can’t wait for them to burn it the f*** down! This is an independent book you gotta give a try. – S

Dark Horse Comics:

Tomb Raider #3 – B

It looks like we are headed back to Yamatai to continue the adventure of the video game. I think it will be interesting to see how they decide to depict the island now that Lara is a seasoned adventurer. It should also be interesting to see how the island has changed if at all. I am expecting there to be some sort of hallucinations of people that died during the game or since we are dealing with the supernatural, I expect to see the dead come back to life…… and promptly be killed again. Either way it’s Lara Croft and being the sucker that I am for all things Tomb Raider, I will continue to eat up everything they put out regarding her. – R

Star Wars: Legacy #14 – B

Somebody over at Dark Horse must be reading my reviews because Star Wars: Legacy is finally starting to feel like a true-blue Star Wars story.  As opposed to the first ten or so issues, Bechko (author) is taking time to highlight character qualities.  The main conflict has also shifted to reflect this.  Instead of Ania dealing with a galaxy scale issue, she’s now focused on saving her own skin against some very interesting adversity.  Now that the story’s been tempered I’m excited to keep reading Legacy. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Flash #30 – A-

Flash has gotten kind of a raw deal as a second-tier hero in the New 52, but a new creative team in Van Jensen (w), Norm Rapmund (a) & Brett Booth (a) has given me something to cheer on, for once. If you haven’t read Forever Evil, you might be a little confused by the fallout, but it probably won’t keep you from enjoying this issue. While Barry Allen is psychiatrically evaluating for PTSD, we get a deep look into not just his psyche, but how the entire city is recovering from the devastation the Syndicate wrought upon it. Oh, and the reveal at the end that DC has been teasing for months makes me extremely excited for the series going forward (blue speedster!). – S

Batman: Eternal #3 – B+

Shit is about to go down. With Gordan out of the picture, Carmine Falcone is slowly putting what seems to be years of planning into action. This will all of course lead to all-out war for Batman which I’m sure will lead to a long and awesome plot. I wouldn’t mind if they took a character that has been given a spotlight for a reason and made said person the next Robin. It was bound to happen sooner or later. At least until Damian finds a way to return. Things are starting to heat up for Batman and I am looking forward to seeing where they take this plot line, it has a sort of throwback feel to the time when Batman was just starting out and being chased by the police. – R

Things are getting exciting in Gotham City. With war on the horizon, and more corruption than not, things are going to get crazy. There is so much to this story that still warrants questions. What really happened to Commissioner Gordon? What is going on with Cluemaster and his posse? How can Batman possibly do this all by himself? This comic is exciting, and I can’t wait for the next issues. They should be jam-packed with action and make Gotham City a city from hell. Whooo! – E

If Gotham City were a High School, Eternal serves as it’s reunion party. In just three issues, we’ve seen a crazy plot twist, met a ensemble of villains and still have no idea how we end up at the flash-forward scene at the start of the series. Stephanie Brown (pre-New 52 Batgirl, Robin, Spoiler) makes an appearance and gets way over her head when she comes home to her criminal father, the Cluemaster, discussing schemes with his team of no-gooders. It made me realize just how awkward it would be to come home and find my dad in a mask and cape discussing dastardly deeds. This has quickly shed the label of weekly money-grab series and is becoming one of the best issues out each week. – S

Secret Origins #1 – B-

This entire issue felt like a copy and paste job, it must have been a slow month over at DC. The only reason I rated this so high was because of how much I enjoyed the dual perspectives of Superman’s story. I really felt that it was absolutely amazing. The other two were blatant copy and pastes of multiple panels and the only reason I am so sure is because I recently caught up on those two books in the last month so it is fresh in my mind. I hope they don’t do this with all the issues but I get the feeling that it might come down to that. This would make a great collection or a great way to introduce someone to multiple characters at once. This could make a very cool collector’s edition if they do it right in the future. – R

Superman #30 – C+

Honestly, I’ve been estranged to all the Super-books for almost two years. Without a solid identity behind the character or story arcs to help me get behind (the exception being Superman/Wonder Woman and Superman: Unchained), I really wasn’t sold on his New 52 incarnation. Issue #30 was actually a great jumping on point for me; it gave plenty of background information and alluded to a new, terrifying danger. It won’t sell you or I any harder on the Man of Steel, but it doesn’t make me want to stop reading either. – S

Red Lanterns #30 – C

The Red Lantern Corps have been little more than a gang of misfits in the DC Universe. Since their leader, Atrocitus, was over-thrown earlier in the series, the group that is now headed by ex-Green Lantern Guy Gardner and Supergirl have been floating around with no real direction. Well, that changes this issue when Atrocitus and Dex-Starr (that cat is one bad MF) resurface on a nearby planet. With all the other great books out, I’m not sure I would invest time in this one, but anything with a killer cat Red Lantern on the cover is worth a little investigation. – S

Justice League: United #0 – C-

Eh, I really didn’t find anything special about this comic at all. With the Justice League of Canada set out to solve the mystery of a disappearance, I would think this comic would make me more excited, but it simply didn’t. I can’t really say much about it besides that it has the potential to get better. Now that Hawkman and other characters have entered the mix hopefully this giant mystery will actually become interesting. – E

Allow DC to officially introduce you to the C team. The New 52 introduction to Adam Strange was really lame. Aliens are attacking, or something, and while Animal Man and Stargirl (seriously? She’s still around?) are signing autographs, a mysterious device transports them and Strange to an alien attack, or something. Overall, this prequel issue did nothing to make me want to keep reading anything right of the number line. Of course, there is the fact that Jeff Lemire is writing it, and patience always rewards Lemire readings, so I will give it another shot. – S

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #33 – B

A new issue for the turtles and a brand new story arc! Mateus Santolouco takes the reigns of art again and although I absolutely love the way he draws humans and the environment, his Turtles always seem a little bit off to me when compared to other artists in this series. This issue continues after the events of Northampton with the turtles finally back in New York and training up for the inevitable battle with the foot. This issue doesn’t focus on the turtles much though as we see Casey trying to feel welcome back into the city knowing his dad, Hun is still out being the usual jerk he is. Hun goes to confront Angel and try and find Casey and ends up starting a useless brawl at a bar and finding Angel only to have Casey show up and stop the fight. After the conversation between Casey and his dad, Casey decides to help his friends and Hun leaves crumpling up a picture of him and Casey starting off this new arc by showing that any hope that Hun would become a good dad is gone and the Foot are stronger with him and the turtles are stronger with Casey. – JR

Welcome to New York City! The turtles have regrouped after their retreat in Northampton, but their fight is far from over. Mateus Santolouco returns, as does the gritty New York cityscape. The city is overtaken by the Foot and the Heroes in a Half-shell regain their footing to prepare for the long road ahead of them. There isn’t a whole lot of umph, and I think that is partly because the new appeal of Northampton has worn off as we return to New York, a fairly familiar concept. This would be a great time to start reading Turtles if you haven’t already, but don’t expect it to knock your socks off immediately. – S

Danger Girl: Mayday #1 – B

I have to admit I was a little shocked when I saw this on the list for reading this week. I read Danger Girl as a kid and really liked the video game for the PSone. All I can really remember is that they were kind of Charlie’s Angels wannabes  or something. So many years later and all I can remember was they were animated chicks with big boobs and cleavage, what more was there really to remember as a teenage boy? This issue didn’t do a very good job of explaining anything and it didn’t actually introduce all of the main characters. That being said, the artwork is amazing and follows the original pretty well and If they authors do it right, this could shape up to be a pretty awesome book. – R

Whoa, this comic seems to be running a million miles a minute. I can honestly say there wasn’t a dull point in this comic. With badass pirates or weapons dealers, or whatever they are, and a war island that seems to be on fire, boring won’t be part of the tour. This comic intrigues me. There seems to be so much going on, all surrounding this one girl, who the world seems to fear. But who is she? Why was she in the water? I don’t know, but I do know one thing. If you want a non-stop action-packed book, this is for you. – E

7th Sword #1 – C

Here’s a little bit of information about me.  I live and breathe all things sci-fi.  Also, if I chose any era of history to have lived in it would be Feudal Era Japan so that I could learn the ways of Bushido.  Imagine my excitement when 7th Sword introduced a merging of my two greatest interests.  Imagine my disappointment when issue #1 delivers flat, cliché and boring content.  Maybe my bar was set to high (I’ll blame George Lucas for that one), but for a concept rarely explored in the entertainment realm I found 7th Sword to be completely unoriginal from the get go.  There was action, plot staging, character focus and all the other essentials… but nothing stood out.  Nothing really grabbed me.  I’ve learned it’s hard to judge a series by its first issue, so I’m not writing this series off just yet.  – T

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #126 – C-

The twenty pages to issue 126, the conclusion to the twelve part series All Out War, will either completely bum you out or excite you about future issues. The war is over. Negan has been defeated, Dwight is now leader of The Saviors, and Rick has plans to rebuild society. In a Joe Clark-like speech he pronounces that, “We can remake the world we remember-we can make it better.” His optimism is reassuring, although I’m not sure if that’s why I read a comic titled, The Walking Dead. Spoiler Alert! I think the decision to leave Negan alive benefits the Kingdom as a whole, but leaves Carl and Maggie in limbo as Glen’s brutal murder will go unpunished. Negan as a prisoner will still be a threat, but he may yet serve a purpose to Rick Grimes. Whew, can we have our Zombies back now? – JS

WAR!! HUH!! What is it good for?!?! Absolutely NOTHING!…  That’s pretty much the feeling I have at the conclusion of The Walking Dead: All Out War arch.  Reflecting back on the genesis of Rick & team’s conquest against Negan I struggle in finding how the story has grown.  There were exciting moments, loved ones were lost and lessons were learned.  But ignoring all the events in-between Negan’s intro and issue #126, I can’t say anything pivotal occurred (excluding the death of you know who… sniff, sniff).  From the way I see things, TWD has peaked and is riding a steady plateau downhill.  Short of significant framework changes, I think this series will work its way to the bottom of comic fan’s reading pile.  All that said, I’m still interested to see what’s over the horizon.  The Walking Dead is my most read comic series – from issue #1 to today.  I have a soft spot in my heart for it.  My collection is sure to continue growing for a while. – T

Meh. I was waiting for the plunge, but The Walking Dead stays in the kiddie side of the pool, pissing itself over and over each issue. Playing it safe isn’t really what The Walking Dead is made out of, but I can try to see where the book is going with the move to end All Out War. I’m not angry by the lack of climax, but I suppose I’m just used to the disappointment. – S

Marvel:

Dexter Down Under  #3 – B+

Finally we get a little action outta this story. Things start to heat up for Dexter and its leading to a sort of hunter being the hunted scenario. This is an interesting situation to put Dexter in considering that he is in a foreign country and a foreign environment. I think it will be interesting to see how he is able to get outta this situation and still slab somebody up. Otherwise there isn’t much in the way of plot development, just a bit of filler leading to the major finale that is bound to happen. – R

Daredevil #2 – B

Oh yeah, I knew it wouldn’t take long for Matt Murdock to get his hands dirty again. After revealing his identity to the world and relocating to San Francisco, things are already off to a busy start. I’m really loving the writing; each arch feels like it progresses at its own pace, always fitting whatever length the story needs it to be (as opposed to wrapping the story up to fit the six-issue norm). Daredevil’s newest foe has the same handicap as he, but there’s a twist.  – S

Overall, a decent comic this week for Daredevil. I do like the introduction to the Shroud and how interesting his story already is. Being similar to Matt Murdock in several different ways, he could prove to be a true competitor for him. I’m really interested in learning more about the Shroud and his involvement with the city. It should make for some exciting stuff. – E

Original Sin #0 – B-

I like this comic for the sake that it focuses on two characters we don’t see a lot of, Nova and The Watcher. This comic is a great place to start if you are looking to pick up a new comic. The backstories are provided on both Nova and The Watcher and it is intriguing to see how it has shaped their future. I liked this comic and hope to see more out of it. I don’t know how the series will play out in the long run, but I do have hopes that it can become something great. – E

He/It speaks! Mark Waid (DaredevilIndestructible Hulk) uses one of Marvel’s most innocent superheroes, Nova, to bring a prelude to the next big thing, Original Sin. Nova’s charisma carries the issue and got me legitimately interested in the upcoming event. The Watcher, although very stoic, is well-intentioned, and the reasoning behind him watching over the Marvel U (all of them) seems genuine and not some galactic B.S. like they usually come up with. New readers shouldn’t be intimidated; there is plenty of background and there’s a fair chance it won’t make sense to anybody else, but it will be fun. – S

The prequel to the next big Marvel event is here in Original Sin #0! Not much is set up here in the grand scale of things that you can see other than The Watcher playing a big role in the happenings of the series. This issues shows us Nova and how he has dealt with his dad’s disappearance as well as how fascinated he is with the Watcher. We learn a little bit more of exactly why The Watcher does what he does and never involves himself in the actions of all the things that have happened in the Marvel Universe. After The Watcher shows Nova every possible Marvel Universe and why he watches each one constantly he reveals Nova’s dad is still alive and he fly’s off in excitement. All of this hints that the event that makes The Watcher watch everything is what is or will cause the original sin this series is titled after. – JR

This seems like it has the potential to tell an interesting story but it is definitely too early to tell. The prospect of an African-American Captain America and The Thing as Doctor Doom definitely has the potential to be pretty awesome. I just hope that they don’t go too crazy with the whole alternate universe thing. I’m not really sure where this story is going but if it has Nova in it then I definitely want to keep reading. – R

Guardians of the Galaxy #14 – B

Okay Guardians fans! Even though this issue seemed a little slow, a ton actually happened. Gamora faces her unknown assailant, and this bounty-hunter does not disappoint. His motivation has been sketchy until this point, but he has a reputation to uphold, and the Badoon want their revenge! Dun dun duuun. Star-lord has been taken into custody by his father and they have a Wonder Years parental moment on his prison bed. Peter is declared an enemy of the empire but there is help on the way! But my absolute favorite part of this issue came with Flash Thompson, as Venom, and Drax on an alien world. When entering a bar, Flash is refused service because of his “parasite.” The bartender says,  “I know what that is, I know where it came from.” Drax also hints to knowledge of the symboite’s origin. This information made me go nuts! As a McFarlane fan, anything concerning Venom folk-lore is a prized possession. Let’s hope this new twist is explored. – JS

Venom joins the Guardians in this latest adventure. Similar to the Trial of Jean Grey in All-New X-Men, somebody has paid handsomely to capture each of the Guardians and bring them to justice. Coincidentally, this is also the 100th issue ever printed of Guardians of the Galaxy, so there are two additional stories in the back of the book – one of them a Groot origin story (chock-full of dialog). The Guardians will be glad they picked up Venom and Captain Marvel, because I feel this will be a ridiculously awesome team-up. Unfortunately, the issue just felt a little thrown together and might not resonate with non-fans. – S

Superior Spider-Man Team Up #12 – C

Peter Parker is back in control of his body, and will return to Amazing Spider-Man #1 next week, after a 31 issue run of Otto Octavius at the helm. This final issue of Superior is an ode to Doc Ock and sacrifice to remove himself from the equation as Spider-Man to save the woman he loves. Comic book deaths never last forever, but this was a pretty classy way for Otto to bow out. As far as goodbyes, they lay the emotion on a little thick for an evil genius sociopath that screwed up pretty much every aspect of Peter’s life, but if you can take it at face value, it’s not so bad. – S

Iron Patriot #2 – C

Two issues in and we have somehow managed to already destroy the Iron Patriot armor? What the Hell? And I haven’t followed War Machine throughout the years so if the enemy at the very end of the book is supposed to be familiar in some way, I would have appreciated a name drop or something. I know it’s supposed to be the style, but something about the artwork feels sloppy to me. I’m guessing that being a government agent means he has more than one suit but this could be a cool opportunity to take the old War Machine armor and retool it to become the Iron Patriot. – R

The United States is under siege, the Washington monument is a smoldering heap, there is civil unrest from Dallas to New Orleans and James Rhodes is in danger. Drowning in his armor beneath the ocean’s surface he must find a way to save the country and rescue his kidnapped father and niece. Side note; I enjoy how Lili is written; let’s hope she matures in this title and gets her own book someday. The real threat is revealed to James in the last panel, hopefully the PLOT will be revealed next issue. – JS

ONI Press:

The Bunker #3 – B

This is one of the most exciting independent books on the shelves. A group of friends uncover the secret to their futures, and the part they play in the end of the world. That was just the first issue. Since then, we’ve been chipping away at each character’s past and how they intend to shape the future. What makes this even better is that everybody distrusts one another, and keeps secrets from each other to benefit themselves and/or the world from their friends. Bunker keeps me on my toes consistently, and while it won’t top your all-time list, I implore everybody to read it. – S

 

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 ElkhatibEvan LoweAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe, Robert Michael, John Soweto and Jacob Robinson

So Far this Week… February 12, 2014

With the expansion of Hush Comics, we have decided to give bi-weekly news updates.  Anything we find news-worthy will be posted here bi-weekly.  Have anything to add?  Post it in the comments!

R.I.P., Shirley Temple. May the afterlife be full of maraschino cherries and lemon-lime soda.

Jimmy Palmiotti, DC Comics writer, is trying to launch an independent graphic novel through Kickstarter called, get this, Denver. Set in a future where Denver remains the last city in a world submerged by water (now tell me Global warming isn’t real!), Denver is about a whole new type of apocalypse. Check out this interview detailing the process.

If you weren’t sold on a Tarzan reboot that star’s Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L Jackson and Christoph Waltz, the inclusion of The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Margot Robbie as Jane will have your jaw on the ground and your wallet in the air.

Speaking of Sam Jackson, this BAMF went all Black History Month on Sam Rubin during a TV interview for mistaking a commercial Laurence Fishburne did as Jackson’s. While I think that Rubin was just a victim of circumstance – the circumstance being that he told the angriest black man in Hollywood that he looks like another famous black man, it sheds some light on the portrayal of black celebrities among the media. Do you remember when George Stephanopoulos mistook Celtics’ legend Bill Russell for Morgan Freeman?

The hilarious Englishman John Oliver or Daily Show and Community fame will be getting his own HBO show called Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It sounds like it will be the same format as Jon Stewart’s show, but with more foul language and obscenities – just the way we like it.

The Protector 2, starring Muy Thai legend and actor Tony Jaa, will be released March 27th (date varies). If you don’t know who Tony Jaa is, take ten minutes out of your day to watch this. This guy is 38 years old and still kicking ass. Oh yeah, Wu-Tang legend The RZA will also be acting in the film!

All-New Ghost Rider is coming out in May, and it’s not the Johnny Blaze we know. Check out this feature on the amazing new approach to a classic Marvel character.

For people looking for a reason to cut out cable/dish, Apple TV may be releasing a version that can stream live TV. I’m pretty skeptical, but it sounds like we’re on the right track.

Stephen King’s It was one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen. Alright, I have have been seven when I saw it – give me a break. A reboot has been in the works for almost two years, but director Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) has confirmed that it’s happening.

Now that Nikita is over, lead actress Maggie Q has found a new gig as a Chinese pirate queen Ching Shih in the limited series Red Flag. Shih was a real pirate in the 1800’s who rose through the ranks as a prostitute (they don’t call ’em working girls for nothing). This is in addition to her role of Tori Wu in the upcoming film-adaptation of Divergent.

Guess what Batman: Arkham Origins fans? WB Games has heard your complaints, and they don’t care about your problems. They’re too busy making the next Mr. Freeze DLC. It’s an added frustration to a game that has been riddled (get it?) with issues since it launched in October.

Mob City no mo.’  The TNT mini-series centered around mob life in LA during the 30’s and 40’s has been cancelled. It bums me out because John Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead) and friends acted their butts off in this noir Frank Darabont production, and I felt the show could have gone a lot further if renewed.

DC Comics and Robot Chicken are teaming up, once again, to release DC Comics Special: Villains in Paradise. There will also be accompanying variants for special DC Comics issues in March. Check em out here.

There have been several additional castings for Fox’s Gotham show, including: Alfred Pennyworth, Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin), Captain Sarah Essen (Gordon’s coworker and eventual spouse), and Barbara Kean (Gordon’s spouse-to-be and soon ex-spouse).

In the upcoming Flash series (just a pilot at this point), Tom Cavanagh will play Harrison Wells, genius physicist of S.T.A.R. Labs. It’s a huge jump from his portrayal as the title character of Ed, or as JD’s brother in Scrubs, but I think it’s a good call. Also, the original Flash from the 1970’s series will be making an appearance on the show. Our bet is that he will play the first Flash, Jay Garrick.

They just can’t let How I Met Your Mother go. A lead character has been cast for the spin-off, titled How I Met Your Dad. With HIMYM ending on March 31, I think it’s too soon to be moving on to a spin-off.

Joss Whedon and Co. have begun filming Avengers: Age of Ultron, slated to hit theaters in May 2015.

New York’s Fashion Week displayed some of the freshest dresses this side of the galaxy. Check out the Star Wars-themed dresses here.

Would you sleep with Scarlett Johansson, even if it meant being trapped in goo and preyed on by an alien? What, did I lose you after “Johansson?” Well then, you might want to check out Under the Skin, coming to theaters everywhere April 11. Leave you girlfriends at home.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, along with their 50/50 director Jonathan Levine, will reunite to bring holiday cheer back to the world in Xmas.

Yee-haw! Star Wars fans, saddle up and get ready for Kanan, the cowboy Jedi (although, aren’t they all space cowboys?). Voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., Kanan will debut in the upcoming Disney animated series, Star Wars: Rebels.

 

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

So Far this Week… February 5, 2014

With the expansion of Hush Comics, we have decided to give bi-weekly news updates.  Anything we find news-worthy will be posted here bi-weekly.  Have anything to add?  Post it in the comments!

This week, we’re excited about several new books out, but none moreso than Ms. Marvel, which has been rebooted and features a young Muslim girl as the superhero. Read this article by The Washington Post to see why this is a BFD.

The Lex Luthor story line in the new Batman vs. Superman movie is going to be similar to something we’ve seen before.

The late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman still had a vital scene to film to complete the Mockingjay – Part II film. So what are they to do? Three words: C.G.I.

Kick-Ass news! John Romita Jr. will be coming to DC Comics to do Superman with Geoff Johns this summer. The team-up could give the Man of Steel a much-needed boost.

Voting for the 2014 Comic Alliance Readers’ Choice Awards ends soon! Go vote and feel validated!

Can anybody smell what The Rock is cooking? You can’t just Tweet out #JohnStewartCanStillWhupSupermansAss without people thinking that you will be playing the Green Lantern John Stewart in an upcoming movie.

The fairy-tale world is on fire right now – figuratively, of course. Zooey Deschanel will be producing an animated sitcom called Queen of Everything to FOX.

Long-running show Psych has been cancelled just a couple months into their eight season; the last episode airs March 26th.

Try to keep up here. The Flash’s new spin-off series, which begins filming in March, has found an actress to play Iris West, who is the love interest of Barry Allen, who is the Flash (shhhh!); her name is Candice Patton and she was in a show called The Game they also chose Broadway actor Carlos Valdez, who will play Vibe, a young and inexperienced hero who can emit powerful vibrations from his arms. He must be a hit with the ladies… Whoo, that was fast.

The next-gen release of Disney Infinity 2 will feature both Marvel and Star Wars characters. If you were looking for an excuse to buy the game, there it is!

Speaking of Star Wars, Disney has already announced that they will introduce the brand-new Star Wars Rebels series by way of original Disney Channel movie this Summer.

Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the clouds aw-Kahhhhn!!! Benedict Cumberbatch stopped by to join the cast of Sesame Street.

Bill Nye, who is like, the Guy, when it comes to science, had a debate with best-selling Christian author Ken Ham to discuss Evolutionism vs Creationism. It’s a lengthy and intelligent debate held by NPR, so get some sleep, get your grand-dad’s pipe out and watch the debate here.

It might be the news about how crappy Sochi is doing, I was just thinking the other day that there haven’t been any good movies about an Olympic tragedy in a while. Enter Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill,  who will both co-star in a film about the 1996 Atlanta bomber.

Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry will be its own $15 downloadable game, meaning you won’t have to buy AC4 to get in on the action. I hope they do this with every game’s DLC going forward. Arrrrrr.

FX’s Archer is about to dead a whole lot better, as The Walking Dead‘s Lauren Cohan (Maggie) will be joining the show for multiple episodes. She describes her character as “a wealthy corrupt President’s wife who is vaguely European.” SOLD.

If you’ve read our “Shut Up and Take My Money” article on RetroFit gaming systems, then you will geek out when the RetroFit TRIO comes out in the next couple months.

So… who is going to beat the living f*** out of George Zimmerman? There were apparently 15,000 people who applied to fight Zimmerman. What a scumbag… Details of the fight will be announced in a week.

Ubisoft had a little debacle with the trademark name of their high-profile game Watch Dogs when somebody had fraudulently filed to dissolve the trademark name of the upcoming game. Ubisoft is trying to correct the issue and it should not impede the game’s release.

They’re talking about another Duke Nukem game. Oh God, Why?? Just let it die!

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear

Justice League Flashpoint Paradox Review

DC has no shortage of stories set in an alternate universe, with most of the play going to Infinite CrisisCrisis on Infinite Earths, and other Elseworld stories. So when Geoff Johns came out with the Flashpoint arc in 2011, fans were initially skeptical. Not only was Johns trying to reconstruct the DC comic lore, but he was doing it with Flash at the helm. While Barry Allen has been a staple character in the Justice League since his mid-1950’s induction into DC Comics, he remains out of the spotlight. The premise of the Flashpoint storyline is that, in a desperate move to change events in time to save his mother from being murdered, he taps into the Speed Force (it’s a long story; basically, the best way I can describe the Speed Force is an energy that the Flash can pull from to manipulate time… or some crazy shit like that), unknowingly creating a Butterfly Effect, saving his mother but putting himself right in the middle of a world war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Flash has found himself in a world without allies and without his powers. It’s a bit far-fetched of a story, but it really works out. So many questions about the DC Universe that begin with “What if” are addressed in the Flashpoint Paradox. What if Hal Jordan never was given a Green Lantern ring? What if Superman’s Kryptonian shuttle passed Smallville and landed in the hands of the government? What if Aquaman and Wonder Woman never got to interact with humanity before their rise to power? Maybe it’s just the fanboy in me, but there’s just something thrilling about not knowing what will happen next – an entire realm of new possible outcomes.

Everything that makes the book work shows up in the film. Foremost, the Flash is an excellent leading character. He’s charismatic, witty and is the one voice of hope in a universe full of darkness. Plus, he can run really fast. But really, it’s Flashpoint Batman that steals the show. Batman (who is not Bruce Wayne in this world) is one of the most rugged and dangerous characters I’ve ever seen. He’s missing the high-tech gadgetry, but he more than makes up for it by being a total badass. Even the President respects his gangster. The rest of the Justice League is also in full effect. Flashpoint Aquaman and Wonder Woman could easily hold their own movie. As the two juggernauts clashed, I almost forgot I was watching a DC Animated movie. Professor Zoom AKA The Reverse Flash AKA… (this could take a while; he has a lot of nicknames) … AKA Thaddeus Thawne plays a crafty villain that is obsessed with bringing down the Flash, even at the expense of destroying the world (Sheesh dude, get a hobby). He presents the perfect match for Flash, as he can manipulate the Speed Force to make it appear that he is going faster or slower. He’s the yin to Flash’s yang and they play off each other well.

I bet the first time The Flash and The Reverse Flash met, it was just like this.
I bet the first time The Flash and The Reverse Flash met, it was just like this.

The biggest note of discussion with this film is the decidedly adult nature it takes on. Not only is it darker than the comics it adapts from, but it is the darkest DC Animated film released yet. There are tons of violent deaths, and nobody is off-limits. It’s like I was watching The Wire. While some might see this as unnecessary, I feel that the violence and tragedy add to the gravity of the film. It’s not for the faint of heart, and definitely not a family-friendly movie, but the anime-style brutality made me feel more in touch with the characters and the stakes they were fighting for. The animation is complemented by nuanced changes in the storyline to make things fit more cohesively. Die-hard fans can tell, but there are several events that allude to several of the spin-off stories that come from Flashpoint, chronicling the stories of the Justice League in this alternate timeline from hell. On the other hand, though, some of the subtleties may fall off the deaf ears of many of the casual fans that look to these movies to learn more about comic books.

Overall, this is one of my favorite graphic novel movie adaptations that DC Animated has done. It has a solid storyline and a great voice acting cast to carry it throughout the amazing action scenes and large-scale thrills. Its mature content and subtle hints may turn off some casual fans, but do pay homage to the grave nature of the source material. If you want to broaden your horizons in the comic book world and aren’t afraid of graphic violence, this is the DC Animated film you have been waiting for.

 
SCORECARD:
Category Explanation Score
Plot One of the best alternate universe stories I’ve ever read, there are a few points in the film you can’t really understand unless you’ve read the source material. 8/10
Voice-acting An All-Star cast creates believable characters that carry themselves. 10/10
Representation of Source Material Flashpoint does a solid job of taking the source material and bringing it to life, keeping some of the most memorable moments intact. 10/10
Animation The hardcore and anime-like feel of the film fit the dark storyline. They also do a great job of making the Flash’s animations clean. 8/10
Sound Effects and Music Hero-certified music and cool time-warping sound effects fit the ambiance 8/10
Captivity Flashpoint is broken up into enough segments that it never feels like it’s as far along as it really is. 10/10
Overall awesomeness There is nothing about this film that does not kick total ass. 10/10
Creativity Even though it’s a remake of a graphic novel, the genius that is Geoff Johns crafted an amazing story that explores an alternate universe with no reservations. 10/10
Replayability I’ve seen the Flashpoint Paradox three times already, and there are more details to catch everytime 9/10
Special Features A feature on the Rogues Gallery, a scientific breakdown of the Speedforce and some great DC Vault episodes make this an excellent showcase of The Flash 10/10
 
 
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IF YOU LIKED THIS, CHECK THESE OUT:
Justice League: Doom (film)
 
All the Flashpoint books!
 
NEXT FOR DC ANIMATED:
Justice League: War will be DC Animated’s first New 52 movie and will reprise the first storyline of Jim Lee and Geoff John’s Justice League. All that I have on my wish list is that it’s animated by Jim Lee (I’m kind of obsessed with his art) and that I get to see the animated version of this. It’s already been released that Whedon alum Alan Tudyk is voicing Superman and DC Animated veteran Jay Oliva will be directing. Check out the teaser trailer at the link below.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib