I know, I know. In the world of fast paced media, this review is way too late to make any semblance of an impression. By now everyone and their grandma has probably watched Luke Cage. Or at least the people who follow this blog have seen it. I just haven’t been able to get around to this post because of the onslaught of TV shows that have been premiering. But alas, I was able to pull myself away from the screen and whip up this review.
That being said, I’m at a loss of what to say. Perhaps this is why I was delaying this post. Luke Cage was another well done Netflix show that found the perfect balance between fun heartfelt moments and raw crime fighting. Also, in a time where unarmed black men are being shot down in the street, Luke Cage touches on those hot button topics. Sort of. Or not at all? I don’t know.
I could give my thoughts on the “Black/Blue/All Lives Matter Movement” but that’s not what this blog is about. At the same time it’s so difficult avoid talking about these issues. Especially since Luke Cage is in part an ode to Blaxploitation films and explores black culture in Harlem, including the police’s role. I’m having a hard time finding the right words to touch on the complicated subject, so I won’t. Only a fool calls himself a wise man.
So I’m going to stick with what I know. Luke Cage as a comic book superhero show was pretty darn good. In fact I would go a step further and say that it was even better then Jessica Jones. It however does not beat Daredevil¸ which has found its stride. The reason I say it’s better than Jessica Jones is because the story has a much better pace. It felt like Jessica was spending 13 episodes chasing one guy, and because of that, it felt like a 13-hour long movie. However, Jessica Jones excelled in creating great complicated characters. Jessica is up there as one of my favorite MCU characters.
To reel my train of thought back in…Luke Cage had much better pacing and clear distinguished story arcs. You could stop watching after Episode Six and still feel like you saw a complete story. This made the show more enjoyable to watch and didn’t make me gouge my eyes out after a six hour binge session.
Unlike Jessica Jones, Luke started “doing his thing” immediately. Is superheroing a verb? Luke, like all our Netflix heroes is battling demons. But rather then dwell on it, Luke is pulled into action within the first few episodes, displaying his strength and invincibility. Throughout the season we see Luke kick ass in a raw street fighting style. This is probably because Luke didn’t have some ancient dojo master teaching him. The Luke Cage raid on Crispus was insane.
I want to be friends with Luke Cage. I’m new to Luke Cage’s story, having read very little about him. What I can say is that he seems like a great guy. His moral compass is true north and takes responsibility for his actions. Special thanks to Pops, rest in peace. But in all seriousness, Luke never once fired a gun throughout the whole season and never killed anyone. He shows discipline and compassion. I actually think that his personality is going to play a key role in The Defenders. He’s likely going to be the one to reign in The Defenders and keep them under control as the level headed voice of reason and stability.
I’m not sure if I like Diamondback as a villain. Cottonmouth and Councilwoman Mariah were great villains seeded in Harlem. They are complex characters with interesting back stories and motives. Then out of the blue comes William Stryker aka Diamondback. Where the hell did this guy come from? The fact that this guy happens to be Luke’s half-brother and a Harlem crime lord makes it even more ridiculous. Are we chalking it up a coincidence that he control’s Harlem, the same place where Luke winds up? Maybe his network is much bigger then Harlem, even so the happenstance is just too much for me to swallow. Diamondback, the half-brother-that-happens-to-become-a-successful-crime-lord was such a weak tie that it upsets me that we have to see him again. I’m sure the diehard fans could analyze the season and argue why it fits, but let’s be honest, just because the shirt fits doesn’t mean it looks good on you. I wanted less Diamondback and more Mariah/Cottomouth.
Sidebar: Luke makes multiple, and I mean MULTIPLE appearances on TV and even went viral assaulting police officers. I find it unbelievable that The Avengers have yet to acknowledge what’s happening literally in their backyard. The heads at MCU better come up with an explanation as to why Tony Stark hasn’t dropped by for a visit.
Another Sidebar: The fact that “Shades” needed to wear his Ray Bans Sunglasses 100% of the time and at night was ridiculous. Just…why?
In conclusion, aside from the groan-worthy connection between Luke and Diamondback, Luke Cage was enjoyable to watch. The fight scenes were great and the characters enjoyable. Misty Knight was another gem; fans are clamoring for more of her story. Claire is great as always. And Luke Cage is wining the hearts of many. I’m at the edge of my seat in anticipation of The Defenders especially since Sigourney Weaver has been brought on board as the main villain! Till next time friends!
Screw the canon, screw the Cinematic Universes, Logan is going to give us just what we need: an uninhibited standalone superhero movie. The new trailer was just released and it spits in the face in conventional superhero movies. I have always been a proponent of decent crossovers and universe continuity, but I never realized how satisfying a standalone movie could be in a time of superhero glut. That was until I saw the new Logan trailer released yesterday.
It’s clear that the producers didn’t want to hassle with the continuity and intricacies of the X-Men universe, instead they chose to focus on Hugh Jackman’s most famous role: Wolverine. They wanted to write a script that perfectly suits Jackman/Logan, and by the first looks of it, they are going to succeed. Patrick Stewart makes an appearance as a key staple and beloved character, Charles Xavier aka Professor X. The girl, a now rare mutant, many presume to be X-23, Logan’s protégée in the comics.
I think it’s important that Wolverine gets the standalone film that he deserves. I felt X-Men Origins: Wolverine was decent for the most part (except Deadpool). Strike that, Deadpool ruined that whole movie. The Wolverine didn’t capture Logan’s grit and wasn’t memorable, I only watched it once. And, all these films had to carefully fit with in the X-Men universe. Until, X-Men: Days of Future Past said screw all of it. DoFP said any story continuity error or stretch is excusable because you have no idea what timeline it is (ya sucker). The whole timeline configuration, canon argument has me all out of sorts so I just let it roll off my back. Logan, however looks to simply shuffle past all that confusion to deliver a swan song (regardless of whatever timeline it may be).
Sidebar: I still don’t understand the timelines and DoFP and honestly, probably never will.
Many are talking about the choice to use the Johnny Cash song “Hurt,” which perfectly captures the rough road that Logan has traveled; Some are even saying it’s an ode to the Western. I definitely got the vibe that this Logan has seen some shit. I’m curious as to what happened to cause a grim defeated look on our hero. Looks like everyone is dead and Logan isn’t healing like he used to. The synopsis says mutants are dying out and that Xavier needs Logan’s help to protect a girl from becoming a weapon. Seems simple enough, no time travel or Gods, just a good old fashioned thrill ride.
The movie trailer doesn’t feel a superhero movie to me, and that’s fine. Part of the reason the superhero movie has taken off is not because of the flashy effects or action, but because they’re great stories. (Old Man) Logan, and overall Wolverine, is just another great piece of storytelling from the Marvel vault. I’m not sure how much will be drawn from the comics -- I assume very little, the comics are crazy messed up -- but the premise alone is enticing enough.
I am truly sad to see Hugh Jackman go but I understand that all good things must come to an end. Rest easy about timelines, let’s just enjoy this standalone movie and arguably one of the best characters that Marvel has to offer.
It pains me to admit it, but I was wrong. Specifically, I was wrong about Legends of Tomorrow. I gave it a half a season and then called it quits. The time travel stories were too convoluted and the wrong characters took up screen time. And I got bored. So when I wrote in my post discussing Superhero TV Season, I called for Legends of Tomorrow to be cancelled outright. I wasn’t going to give Season Two a shot, until I got called out…by the White Canary herself, Caity Lotz.
Fellow Twitter Nerd @remdogg105 was live tweeting the Legends of Tomorrow Premiere. I told him that I had given up on the show and wondered if it was worth watching. Then Sara Lance stepped in with a simple succinct tweet:
Hard to argue with her. Especially since The White Canary is my favorite character on the show. The White Canary and Rem convinced me that the show is worth another shot.
Legends of Tomorrow stepped it up. The show reduced the team size to allow for better screen times for each member. I don’t know what happened to the Hawk-couple or Captain Cold but I’m not too torn up about it. Perusing the interwebs, I read that the producers write the show so that Legends will have a flexible cast and acts as an anthology of sorts. Also, the plot is much clearer as to how things will play out in Arrowverse. Eobard Thawne is screwing things up and the Legends need to stop him. This plays into the much larger multi-verse mega crossover that the CW has planned and boy am I excited. The episode was fun and didn’t have too many “eye-rolling” moments like Season One. The great thing about follow-up seasons is that producers can evolve the show and find out what worked and what didn’t.
Plus, the Justice Society of America is making an appearance! One of the more obscure comics that I read is the 90s Starman (I have the whole series run) so I’m curious about Stargirl and her portrayal. Also, if you ever get the chance, read the 90s Starman featuring Jack Knight, it’s such a great unique take on being a superhero and taking up the family mantle. Especially, if you’re sick of dudes in spandex.
I’ve only watched one episode, but I’m in. In the brief stretch, I saw a cameo appearance, two major villains, several great fight scenes, Albert Einstein being a horndog and a new super team. And as Rem so aptly put it, a hot lesbian scene. This show is funny and packed with the things we love, action, wit and cool characters. Caity and Rem, I’m sorry to have doubted you, I simply strayed. I’ll add this to the list of shows I need to watch, hopefully five superhero shows isn’t overkill.
Excelsior my friends!
Supergirl is the latest addition to the CW Arrowverse, after a trying first season on CBS. I cannot stress how disappointing the first season was. It was a villain of the week style that featured a doe eyed girl that just doesn’t quite know what to do with herself. If you take away the superpowers this show is basically “small town girl tries to work in the big city for magazine company.” Take a minute to see the clichés present. I got so bored that I couldn’t even finish out the season. I eventually caught up on Netflix, the lack of commercials making the show less painful.
And I get it, the show needed to find its footing, establish a fan base and grow the character. This is Greg Berlanti’s style and it worked for Arrow and Flash. My one criticism is that the showrunners haven’t allowed Supergirl to grow to be the badass that she is. I’m all for the female empowerment metaphor prominent throughout the series, my criticism is lets actually empower her.
Her character development is so incredibly slow that even at the start of Season Two, Kara Danvers still is unsure of herself and her goals. The episode ended with her supposedly establishing her convictions, but we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out. My hope is that Supergirl starts facing some real challenges (political, moral, ethical) and becomes more dynamic as a result. Imagine if Kara dealt with similar issues to that of Superman in Batman vs Superman. Maybe not as depressing but rather a better balance between “Zach Snyder” and “Saturday cartoon.”
As for the Season Two Premiere, I worry about the overshadowing of Superman. I wrote about this before, in brief. To expand my point: I’ve been chomping at the bit to make Kara/Supergirl stronger and more dynamic of a character, if Supes is taking up screen time, it will be hard for the show to develop Supergirl. Character growth comes from struggle and overcoming obstacles, if Superman is there to help her, we might not see that growth.
Don’t get me wrong, the episode itself was actually awesome! Despite my reservations about Kara’s character development, the episode was really fun to watch. I’m a huge sucker for team-ups, as are many, and I think the showrunners know that. Also, it’s hard for Clark to be MIA for a whole season without explanation. Now the CW will get a ratings boost and cover that question. I’m actually pretty satisfied with Superman’s line of reasoning for avoiding the DEO.
Whoever was in charge of casting Superman nailed it. Tyler Hoechilin perfectly captured both Clark Kent, the lovable goof, and Superman the symbol of truth, justice and the American Way. The two Kryptonians had great screen chemistry with funny banter and charming moments throughout. It’s going to be fun to watch the family reunion this season. The space plane scene was a great moment in the show.
To Recap: The show needs to develop and grow Kara Danvers, give her better challenges much like Arrow. The depiction of Superman was spot on and the team ups were fun to watch. However, there is a risk that Superman will overshadow Kara’s growth.
I have a much better feeling about this season and I will be watching for sure. The potential of Flashpoint and all of the crossovers/team-ups make this a season to remember. Also, if the Berlanti formula holds true, we’ll be seeing some better, more complicated stories soon. I give Season Two my seal of approval and recommend you should tune in.
Till next time!
I was recently asked on Twitter to review an Indie Comic. I love comics both indie and mainstream so I was glad to do so. I think it is so important that indie comics get the attention they deserve. They are not bound by any rules and are not scrambling to meet growing expectations. They are comics in the purest form, created by writers and artist un-inhibited by “corporate.” I encourage people to spend money on these indies so that creators can create more quality works. Especially if you want a break from the mainstream stories.
That being said, it’s incredibly ironic that the first indie comic I am reviewing is Whatever Happened to The Archetype!?, a love letter to the classic superhero archetype.
The writer, Stu Perrins, is fairly overt in pointing out what kind of journey you’re going to take. The comic opens on an elderly Christopher Quin recounting his heroic past. Quin, now retired, laments how people forgot about his alter ego, the now mythological Archetype. Quin then gives us his origin story. And it’s exactly what you would expect. Quin is an advance alien (who happens to look human) who was an exploratory pilot who crash landed on Earth. Quin finds himself in the midst of World War II and is asked to help stop the madness. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
If this story wasn’t literally called Whatever Happened to The Archetype I would’ve quit reading then and there. However, because Perrins opted to call our hero “The Archetype,” he knows full well that he is calling upon the most classic of superhero origins. The story also features a typical female lead. Stephanie is a beautiful, strong woman that strives be independent, much like Lois Lane or Peggy Carter. Naturally, the archetype hero and archetype strong female begin falling for each other. The story concludes with a classic “To Be Continued…” as another powered being drops out of the sky.
Any comic nerd worth their salt knows the classic devices being used in Perrin’s story. However, I find myself questioning why we’re reading this story. We know all the archetypes…why reread them again? Perrins fails to explain why he’s taken us down this all-too-familiar path in the first issue. In Alan Moore’s The Watchmen, Alan explores classic archetypes but with the added twist that the heroes are incredibly human, flawed and can even be dark. I’m struggling to find that same twist or catch in Whatever Happened to The Archetype!?. I may need to read on to Issue #2 to understand Perrin’s creative direction.
However, if Perrins continues to shovel the same typical superhero story, as a tribute to the archetypal heroes of old, then I’ll spend my money elsewhere. It’s the duty of comics to push the boundary of what is possible. What if Superman, as a baby, landed in Soviet Russia? What if heroes killed for justice? What if our superheroes retired and the replacements sucked? (Superman: Red Son, Punisher, Kingdom Come).
Without that great twist or catch, Perrin’s story is going to lose readers.
The art is pretty good. You can tell that this was labor of love for Ron Gravelle. Gravelle’s attention to detail is astounding. He chose to go a charcoal-grayscale style that you can tell is extremely difficult to master. I especially loved his depictions of outer space and futuristic tech. However, I’m not sure I agree with his choice of hyper-realism when depicting characters. Especially since the classic comics never went that far. This split between prototypical storytelling and unique realistic art is a bit of a clash of theme. But Gravelle is talented, that’s for sure.
Overall, I feel that this series holds a lot of promise if Perrins can find a way to reel people in. If it really is just a tribute to the archetype superhero, then you may find the story to be slow moving and a redundant read. Perhaps Perrins has a master plan in the works, but he better start dropping hints soon, or readers are going to get bored. Remember, it is important for indie comics to push the limits of potential and develop unique stories that DC and Marvel won’t bother with.
It is also the duty of indie comics to proof read their stories. The spelling typo on page 21 is quite glaring and shows that the editor of this story has a ways to go. I’m not sure if Insane Comics is to blame, or if they’re simply distribution. Either way, it’s a bad look.
I’ll give Perrins the benefit of doubt and read the next issue. Perhaps, you’ll do the same. Or if you just really like archetypes and don’t want to step out of the box, then I highly recommend this comic.
Images used with permission from the author, Stu Perrins and Insane Comics LLC
The Flash premiered last night kicking off the CW season of super heroes. Below are my quick reactions to the episode.
First off, I need to preface by saying I did not read the Flashpoint Story from the comics, which I’m told is a modern classic. Articles reviewing it say that it is the most monumental plot line in recent DC history, responsible for the DC’s New 52 and Rebirth. So fans are freaking out of the implications of Flash’s actions in the Arrowverse.
Having read the synopsis of Flashpoint I’m kicking myself for not investing more into the DC universe back when this was going on in 2011. Fortunately, Flashpoint Paradox is on Netflix which I’m told is an easy watch that’ll get me up to speed. This may be moot because Grant Gustin says the show is going to do it differently, but I’m sure the themes will remain.
“Flashpoint” the episode did a great job of not wasting time. The showrunners could’ve bounced Barry around his new universe (where Nora is alive) for a couple of episodes. Thank Odin they didn’t. There is no point in viewers investing time in a timeline that will be wiped out of existence as soon as Barry realized his mistake. Instead, they set Flashpoint up, executed it (and Nora) all in one episode. Now viewers can jump back to the timeline we all know and love with promises of a few surprises, including Supergirl.
The episode was well done and to the point and left with a great cliffhanger. What is next for this Universe? Instead of sticking to conventional story telling formats (See: Super Stories – Television), Greg Berlanti and Crew will have a near blank canvas to come up with new and awesome storylines and even heroes. Also I cannot wait for the next crossover!
If you’re looking for a reason to jump into the CW-Arrowverse the time is absolutely now. In fact, because the way Flash concluded, you could probably skip it and just know that the universe has been slightly altered. Or if you want to see Cisco be a douche and Barry take down another speedster (*yawn*) fire up the old Hulu account.
The episode wasn’t great in fact alone it was pretty mediocre. The episode was great because the implications of Barry’s actions created near infinite number of story possibilities. The show runners made a fresh slate, let’s hope they make the most of it.
My recent posts have me absolutely raving about the new Ghost Rider in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. I think the character will breathe life into the show. Ghost Rider by far one of the best alternative anti-heroes ever created by Marvel. Yes, the “sold his sold his soul to the devil” is a cliché plot.
In fact it’s so cliché even I wrote a story with that same premise.
The great thing about Ghost Rider is his hardcore edge. Yes, The Punisher is similar but with Ghost Rider it’s on a whole different level, a supernatural demonic level. Also, a flaming skull? I’ll take that over spandex any day. I actually have read vary little Ghost Rider to be frank. But what I have read has been fun. I recently acquired a few miscellaneous copies in a very sketchy LetGo deal. Any trades that occur out of the trunk of two cars and a Wal-Mart parking lot is sketchy. I’m going to write more about my escapades in a blog to come soon.
Actually, 60% of my exposure to Ghost Rider is thanks to one man. Nicholas Cage. That’s right, the meme himself influenced my Ghost Rider fandom and was actually my first exposure to the story. Laugh all you want but, that movie came out when I was 13 years old and I thought it was great.
Well guess what, it’s still great.
I fired up Hulu and enjoyed a pre-Marvel Studios masterpiece. I think now I’m drawn the “it’s so bad it’s good” aspect of the film, when as a young scrap I thought the flaming skull was cool (I still do). Plot holes aside, were are graced with several gems including Nic Cage shouting BOO into a mirror, a henchman shouting for help to his comrades in one scene and they literally disappeared in the next shot for no reason, and Fat Amy herself doing an interview describing Ghost Rider. The same one from Pitch Perfect. Don’t believe me? Google it.
As for plotholes, the film never explained:
Plot holes and choice acting aside, you have to love the movie for its willingness to be fun, wild and semi-action packed. Watching Eva Mendes get sloshed and then asking the waiter if she was pretty was hilarious (he said meh), Johnny shouting “BLEAHH” in to the mirror was equally dumb and funny.
Oh and the fight scenes where actually really well done! Ghost Rider actually smoked the "Fallen" henchmen with ease like a badass. We saw cool powers at play and pretty decent special effects.
This film was back in the glory days when people expected very little out of a Marvel film, so writers and directors could do what they want. This is opposed to nowadays where studios either suck the soul out of directors (Joss Wheeden – Age of Ultron) or try to mimic a successful film style only to find it doesn’t fit. I’m looking at you Zach Snyder, you need to chill out.
So if you’re looking for that classic Marvel feel without all the corporate hogtying, I highly encourage you to reminisce and watch Ghost Rider.
Till next time!