Friday, October 31, 2014

Clickbait and Misinformation

Why We Should Let The Studios Do Their Job

I'm more than excited, like everyone else, for the new Marvel and DC movies.  I have seen nearly every comic movie in theaters, particularly the newest ones.  I love everything Marvel and DC, and I look forward to the movie slates that have been announced.  I’m not an inside man, I don’t get emails and updates from Marvel/Disney Studios or the WB Studios; I read news and get my updates just like everyone else.  I have a want and a need to know the latest just like everyone else, but I have a small request from my fellow fan boys and more importantly the news websites and perpetrators of hype news.  Please settle down and let the studios do their jobs.

Sometimes I feel like it’s a misinformation roller coaster.  Keanu Reeves, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joaquin Phoenix, it’s confirmed its Phoenix, it’s confirmed its Cumberbatch, when nothing is confirmed from the studio.  The leaking of the Avengers trailer, the batmobile and Batfleck pics, and the list goes on.  I have a deep desire for the newest news like everyone else and I want to know these things, but I want to know from the studios, not from news websites that can’t confirm but have a strange need to be the first to report.  I understand the need to be prompt with news, especially in this day and age,  but I don’t get the need to hype the unconfirmed.  My inner sweaty nerd gets excited every time I hear a piece of news that pertains to the MCU or DCCU but I’m somewhat sick of the misleading and jumping to conclusions.

Avengers 1

I see three particular things that worry me about the way comic and news websites have been jumping to conclusions.  I wanted to get it off my chest.  I hope that everyone agrees and I welcome differing opinions.  Here are a few things that concern me.

The first thing is the spreading of misinformation.  Every time a site reports a piece of news that is unconfirmed they lose credibility.  This is a natural reaction to basically being lied to.  Sorry random news/comic news sites, but it’s true.  Every time they confirm something unconfirmed and get me excited, my excitement is less and less every other time I read their site.  It’s always in everyone’s best interest to tell the truth, it has been since the beginning of time.  The spread of disinformation is starting to make me cynical and critical when reading news.  I don't like the way news sites have become rumor mills.  I still think news sites should be held to a higher standard than a chat room.

The second problem I see is the way that Marvel and DC guard their ideas and properties.  During the big Marvel announcements they played around with us several times about some things like the names of projects.  They announced the name of Captain America 3 as Serpent Society before taking it back and revealing it to be Civil War.  I don’t hold it against Marvel at all, in fact I agree with it, they have to do something to stifle the misinformation and plug the leaks within their own studio.  It has gotten to the point where they can’t conduct business without having their necks breathed down and I feel like the only people that suffer are the consumers.  I’m glad that Marvel has so many ideas and a huge slate and I can wait to know for sure who is playing a character in a movie that is two to four years away.

The third problem I see is the fact that comic cons have made a living in all their versions of hall H and the big announcement from Marvel and DC.  Everyone loves the comic cons and they help smaller lesser known comics get foot traffic and some extra exposure.  The little guys deserve to be set up next to Marvel and DC and they deserve the foot traffic that may not have seen them otherwise.  It’s all part of the family and all part of the comic lifestyle that we all love, we need to let the studios do what they do so damn well and entertain us.  By letting Marvel and DC draw their fans, indie comics get the exposure benefits.  If Marvel announcements are drawing thousands of people and a slight percentage spends $5 or $10 on indie comics then it turns out to be a pretty nice win for those indie comic producers.


I love Benedict Cumberbatch and if he becomes Doctor Strange when it’s all said and done I will be ecstatic, but I can also wait to hear from Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios to tell me for sure.  I can wait for Comic Cons and official statements.  I can do without the misinformation and the jumping to conclusions because in the end I have loved everything they have done and I have faith I will love what they have planned.  Even though the big two are huge studios they’re still made up of people that are trying to create something worth while and they deserve the right to create without their ideas being passed as fact and the spread of disinformation.

This has been mostly a request for news sites and organizations to be more credible but also for fan boys and girls to be responsible about where they get their information and who they believe.  I know you love everything like I do, so do everything you can to support the process and the Comic Cons by stepping back and letting the studios do their best work without the perpetuation of disinformation.  I have a feeling that it will end up being primarily our responsibility until the news sites lose viewers.  Nothing motivates news sites like numbers, or in this case the loss of numbers.  In the end they will bounce back and the fans will start receiving real information again.  It will be a win win.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A Fractured House Review (Spoilers)

Mockingbird Steps In to Step Up the Female Badass-ery on Agents of SHIELD: A Fractured House

As usual with my reviews, there will be spoilers ahead. Please stop now if you haven't watched this episode yet.

Agents of Shield Fractured House Mockingbird

Agents of SHIELD continues to be good, not great, but still better than ever before. This week we saw Hydra lead an attack on the United Nations. The trouble is that they are impersonating SHIELD. So, all the nations of the world quickly jump on the hate train to put SHIELD down, led by Senator Christian Ward (Tim McKay), brother to former Agent turned Hydra, Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to review last week's episode "A Hen in the Wolf House" for the début of Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki). But nonetheless, I have been watching with excitement as Bobbi Morse has quickly become a leading character. At the same time, so has Lance Hunter (Nick Blood)... Lance is a decent character, but he just seems like the bad boy replacement for Ward. He is a bit two-dimensional, constantly playing up his role as the mercenary whose only allegiance is to money. Add in the obnoxious grudge match dynamic between Bobbi and Lance and I pretty much have no desire to watch his character. He did slightly redeem himself at the end, busting in on Hydra with a six-pack as if everything is cool.

In the world of the first season cast, we see Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) still struggling to deal with his brain damage. Things have gotten slightly more complicated since Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) has arrived back at the SHIELD HQ. Fitz feels that Simmons abandoned him when he needed her most.  He tries to open up to her and she only scoffs and walks away. Mack, ironically played by Henry Simmons, has become the new Simmons in the Fitz-Simmons duo. Over the last few episodes, Mack has made an effort to befriend Fitz and help him deal with fallout from his brain damage. He has been a true friend. Simmons is confronted by Mack and he tries to set her straight. It's a pretty touching scene where Mack tells Simmons he never knew the Fitz she knew, and this new guy is kinda weird, but he likes him. I enjoy the dynamic between the new Fitz-Simmons a bit more than I enjoy watching the old Fitz-Simmons work through their issues. I appreciate that the show runners wanted to set the stakes high and actually let us see a character (Fitz) truly get hurt, but the fallout is starting to drag on a bit. There was a good twist when we first realized that Fitz was imagining that Simmons was there. But then they let Fitz work through that and start to open up to his teammates. I think it's time to let the brain damage run its course and make Fitz useful or bench him.

Agents of Shield Fractured House Mac and Fitz

The Skye/Ward mind fuck games continue in the basement as Skye (Chloe Bennett) is tasked with getting any intel on Ward's brother Christian. Ward is just truly creepy this season. Not only does everything about him feel skeezy, but he is literally a creep at this point. He uses his every interaction with Skye to try to woo her back to him, saying weird ex-boyfriend shit like, "I'll never lie to you." Look, dude, you were a covert Hydra operative. I don't think that line is going to fly, like EVER. Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) finally tells him as much after striking a deal with Ward's brother. Sen. Christian Ward gets custody of his brother in exchange for calling the nations of the world off SHIELD's back. Seems legit.... NOT. How do you go from being attacked by supposed SHIELD agents one day to a week later being like "ok, they're cool." You don't. I don't think this episode weighed the gravity of this particular plot point very well.

Agents of Shield Fractured House Coulson Ward

Speaking of shitty plot points, we later see Bobbi Morse going "undercover" back into the confines of a Hydra held science lab. She is tasked with getting her hands on the latest Hydra weapon, which is something like a throwing star that causes your body to disintegrate once it hits you. She gets into the lab no problem and begins talking to Toshiro Mori, who created the weapons... in Japanese. Surprise! Oh and another surprise, Bobbi kisses the dude. How convenient since your ex-husband is watching this whole thing. Then, the two settle down for tea and decide to start talking in English. This whole scene felt forced and stupid. Bobbi waits all of three minutes before she tries to get Mori to give her some weapons. Sorry, Adrianne Palicki is smoking hot as Mockingbird, but I don't believe for a second any dude with some wits about him would fall for this. And it seems Mori doesn't as a huge fight ensues and the Agents come out on top.

The episode wraps up with a big Hydra/SHIELD throw down in a SHIELD safe house in Belgium. This scene is pretty awesome. We get to see May and Bobbi kicking a lot of ass, but Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) steals the show again here with her fight against Marcus Scarlotti, Whiplash in Marvel comics. Scarlotti (Falk Hentschel) wields a chain with a knife on the end for some pretty exciting fight choreography. In the end, the Agents defeat Hydra, but only after they lose 6 of their own red shirt, faceless agents. General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) seems to be coming around to SHIELD, offering a handshake and condolences to Agent May at the scene of the fight.

One last stinger scene teases more mystery surrounding the alien writing that is clearly the central theme of this season. A new and unknown character (Brian Van Holt) shows up at a tattoo parlor and removes his shirt to reveal the alien writing all over his torso. I'm sure we'll be learning more about this guy next week.

Overall, A Fractured House demonstrates how this show is still on the come up. The fight scenes, the character development, and the choice of new Marvel c-listers added to the cast are helping to make this show more of what comic book fans want. The failings of this show could be summed up in criticism any bad comic book would receive. Stop talking so much. I'm tired of watching guys in suits standing around giving big speeches about how SHIELD isn't going to let this or that happen. It's like who wants to read a comic book with hundreds of speech bubbles all over the page? Most people don't. Not because we don't like to read, but because that is not what the medium is best suited for. You have to strike the right balance between showing and telling. I think Agents of SHIELD still has some work to do to get there. I only say this because I find myself waiting for the episode to be over. Whereas with The Flash and even Gotham, I'm pretty hooked until the end of the episode. Agents of SHIELD has made good on its second chance, bouncing back from a lackluster season one and winning back critics and fans. Now it's time to see if they can kick that same process up a notch to make this show something GREAT.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Best Comic I Read Today Is . . . Rasputin #1

I’m a sucker for historical fiction, so when I saw that Rasputin #1, by Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo was “based upon true-ish events”, I had to pick it up.

Rasputin 1 cover

Rasputin #1 does what any good first issue will do – present the characters and provide a hook to keep the reader engaged and wanting to buy the next issue.  The hook here is that the framing sequence appears to be Rasputin, the “Mad Monk” himself, on the last day of his life, which he announces to the reader.  Then, through flashback, we learn a little bit about what made Rasputin into the man he would become.


We meet his abusive father and suffering mother, we are introduced to some strange power that the boy Rasputin has the ability to conjure, and a character meets his or her demise. The use of first person narrative, only evident in the framing sequences, sets a tone of foreboding and definitely accomplishes the goal of making the reader, and buyer, want to purchase the second issue.

If you do decide to give Rasputin a try, be sure to read the essay in the back where Alex Grecian explains the origin of the idea for this book, and tells a charming anecdote about when he died.


- Aloha -

GOTHAM: Spirit of the Goat

Holy Ghost on a Bicycle !

This week's episode of Gotham opens 10 years back with the boy scout of a police officer, Harvey Bullock, hunting down a serial killer named Randall Milky, aka "Spirit of the Goat". Before Bullock takes him down, the Spirit of the Goat shoots his partner Det. Dicks. I think the reason Bullock is a rusty angry cop is all laid out in this opening scene. Cutting back to the present, Nygma and Bullock are investigating a murder that strikes back dark memories of the Goat hanging girls as a sacrifice. The girl that was murdered that night was named Amanda Hastings and Bullock takes it upon himself to find her father to ask questions.


Barbara is back into the show, still nagging at Jim Gordon to tell her everything that he knows about crime, murderers and everything that an officer of the law needs to keep private. Barbara (my least favorite character) gets Jim to agree with her and promise to be more open with her about what goes on at work. Barbara then goes and finds Montoya trying to get her to back off Jim, saying that she will tell Montoya everything Jim tells her. Montoya not wanting to have anything to do with Barbara's arrangements, admits to Barbara there's a warrant for Jim Gordon's arrest. Meanwhile, my favorite part of this episode is there is a whole lot of riddles from Edward Nygma as we find out about his crush on a girl named Kringle. As Nygma researches the Spirit of the Goat case, he takes it upon himself to make an impression on Kringle by organizing her files lateral like. Kringle gets frustrated and tells him to take a hike. Although he doesn't get the lady, we do notice a black question mark on Nygma's white coffee cup. Gotham is still doing a great job planting the easter egg like clues on their characters.


The Penguin takes a quick break from his conniving to visit his mother.  Back at the nest, Oswald lets his mother dote on him as he claims that he will someday rule Gotham. He feels so good about it, he even lets his Mom give him a sponge bath. Forget the Spirit of the Goat—Oswald and his Mother’s relationship are by far the creepiest part of tonight’s episode. In the next scene we learn Det. Dicks now lives in a retirement home, bound to a wheelchair and a grudge against Bullock. Bullock and Dicks surmise that Milky could not have been the only Goat killer, and that he was just one member in a larger conspiracy. Bullock and Gordon find the new Goat Killer and arrest him. As they are watching the creep in the interrogation room, Bullock notices his hand twitch real fast and starts to put the pieces together, Robert Hastings, who was the father of Amanda Hastings, sees a female psychiatrist to help cope with his daughters death. As Bullock is questioning the psychiatrist, he notices Mr. Hastings hand start to twitch really fast. The psychiatrist admitted being the Spirit of the Goat and using the Hastings' maintenance crew as means of murder. Hypnotized Mr. Hastings attacks Bullock while the psychiatrist tries to escape. Bullock knocks out Mr. Hastings and shoots the psychiatrist in the back of the leg.

While young Bruce Wayne is working late nights, Selina Kyle is still purring around Wayne manor (which since episode one I still don't understand). Back at the GPD, Gordan is cuffed with Montoya and Allen accused of the murder of Cobblepot. As Bullock cuts in and screams Gordon's innocence, enter the Penguin. Walking into the police department Cobblepot looks right at Jim saying "Hello Jim, old friend." Although this was not my favorite episode, I am still convinced that Gotham is taking very small steps in the right direction.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Marvel Studios Reveals Phase 3 Movie Line-Up

All the Groundbreaking News from Marvel's October 28th Event:

Marvel Studios Movie Slate

Marvel Studios went REALLY BIG today with a huge announcement of every movie slated for the MCU through 2019.


Captain America 3 will be released May 6, 2016. The crowd was faked out at first by a false subtitle: Serpent Society. Beware! Some websites are still reporting this as the official subtitle. Rest assured, the real subtitle is Civil War. Later in the press Q & A, Kevin Feige elaborated on what Civil War will be for the MCU. 
"Civil War [is the] Civil War of the cinematic universe, which will be greatly inspired by the Civil War of the comic universe, but we have very different continuity there... This will be the Civil War based off of all the other films that you’ve seen up to this point, particularly Winter Soldier and particularly Age of Ultron.”

For those wondering how the Civil War story line is going to work in the MCU with so many missing factors from the comics, Feige gave us a vague idea:
"I don’t want to give too much away, but needless to say, the generalities of the act are the same. Something happens, perhaps it’s cumulative for things that have happened though all of the movies leading up to this point. It has made the governments of the world say 'we need to have some oversight of these guys. They need to report to somebody.' So it becomes more… it falls under that umbrella, rather than 'you have to take off your mask.' It’s not about the secret identity thing, as much as it is about, overall, who reports to who, and who can agree to oversight committee. Because as of now, in Avengers 2, there is no more security council, there is no SHIELD, obviously. Stark is paying for it, Captain America is running it, and things occur that will make governments begin to question."


November 4, 2016 will be Doctor Strange. Scott Derrickson will be directing. No casting announcements about Dr. Strange today surprisingly. Feige later says that casting has not been confirmed or they would have announced it today.


May 5, 2017...the untitled Guardians of the Galaxy sequel! Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot more to report on this one except that the studio has moved the date up a couple of months from the previously announced date of July 28, 2017.


July 28, 2017 - THOR: Ragnarok! Feige explains "Ragnarok means 'The end of all things'"


November 3, 2017...Black Panther! CROWD GOES CRAZY, Chadwick Boseman announced as Black Panther.


July 6, 2018...CAPTAIN MARVEL! This is pretty exciting news. Feige confirmed that this Captain Marvel will be Carol Danvers. Carol Corps rejoice!


November 2, 2018...THE INHUMANS


AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Part 1, May 4, 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2, May 3, 2019

Apparently, Dan Slott is a Twitter troll as he tweeted this ahead of the event:

There was MUCH speculation that Marvel would make an announcement concerning Spidey's movie rights. But, alas, there was no such luck this time around. The only response Feige gave to all the rumors was pretty much a non-answer:
“Anything that wasn’t specifically and obviously revealed today is either not true at all, or still rumor until it’s worked out,”

In fact, for as much great news as we got, there were quite a few missing pieces. We didn't get any confirmation on the casting of Dr. Strange and there was zero new info on Ant-Man either. As for all the open space in 2019 (and beyond) Feige had this to say:
“If there are more years after 2019, there are more movies after 2019,”

Writer Blocks – Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Volume 2 (part two)

The second half of Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Volume 2 is by far my favorite piece of work from Miller’s run as “writer / artist”. Daredevil issues # 174 – 182 not only conclude the Elektra Saga, they also introduce the visual storytelling techniques and narrative elements that would make Frank Miller become FRANK MILLER!

At this point in his artistic career, Miller began to employ a five-panel horizontal “wide screen” layout to his pages, beginning with page 5 of Daredevil #174.

daredevil _174 pag05BONA

As if to announce the film-like character of the design, Miller has Daredevil bounding through Times Square, in the middle panel actually paying homage to the films of the time: Thief, Eyewitness, Night Hawks and The Postman Always Rings Twice.  Here we also see the seeds of what Miller would do in his most popular work: Batman – The Dark Knight Returns.  Every page in that book is composed of four horizontal bars broken into sixteen panels, but four horizontal planes nonetheless.  Instead of the movie screens in Daredevil, Miller uses the television screen, naturally mimicking the emerging music video culture of the mid-1980’s, in Dark Knight Returns.  The television screen as window is used sparingly in this Daredevil volume, but it’s the movie screen that dominates the visual style.

The second narrative technique Miller begins is the elimination of thought balloons (remember those) and the omniscient narrator, electing to instead tell a story through inner monologue captions from a single narrator.  The most striking use of this, both thematically and visually, is “Spiked!” in Daredevil #179.  Miller begins the true development of one of his favorite characters, Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich, with the opening caption: “My name is Ben Urich. I’m a reporter.  This is my story.”


Note the continuation of the five-panel layout. The beauty of this technique is we are being told the story from a character who is not the lead, and who better to “report” on events than a reporter.  Especially striking is the font letterer Joe Rosen used for the text.  We can feel Urich typing this story in his mind, on the hunt for that elusive Pulitzer he knows he could win if he sold-out and revealed Daredevil’s secret identity, Matt Murdock.

Nowhere is the use of this narrative device more evident than in Daredevil #181, and its promise of an end to a major character.


Miller tells the story from the perspective of arch nemesis assassin Bullseye. It’s a tale of jealousy: Bullseye’s jealous that Elektra has replaced him as the Kingpin’s assassin.  It’s a tale of madness: both Bullseye’s homicidal tendencies and the dark shadow that would descend over Matt Murdock from this point forward.  But most importantly, it’s a tale of lost love.

This is a “Special Double-Sized Issue!”, and from the cover one would expect an epic twenty-page throw down between Elektra and Bullseye, but after eighteen pages of suspenseful build-up, the fight lasts just four pages before Bullseye delivers the chilling piece of dialogue:

“Put up . . . pretty good fight, toots . . . you’re pretty good . . . but me . . . I’m magic.”


Then performs his next trick . . .


This page, with its release of the built-up tension through an overt sexual image, would be shocking today, let alone when it was originally published in 1982. What was even more shocking for the time was the death of a character that had been such a narrative force.  Bullseye was a relatively minor villain.  Elektra was the love of Matt Murdock’s life.  Readers of the time must have assumed that it would be Bullseye who perished, not the striking and mysterious Elektra, with so much potential and so many more stories to tell.

And that is the brilliance that was Frank Miller in the 1980’s:  taking established norms and subverting them, evolving them, and creating them to serve the story he needed to tell.

I really miss that guy.

Next Week – The Conclusion


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Infected Review

A Review of The Infected from Hound Comics

After doing the review on Salvagers, I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of another Hound Comic, The Infected.  I had issues buying the Salvagers comic from and ended up purchasing it on Amazon, but has restored its online store.  So if you like my review and want to check out The Infected or other titles from Hound, Hound has their store up again and most of their titles on Amazon.

Of course the first thing that sticks out when looking at any comic book is the cover.  At first glance I saw this cover done by Dave Mims and thought to myself that it looked fairly simple to draw, but nothing could further from the truth.  There are sharp lines defining the facial features and bodies of the three main characters and the three monsters type things that make up the cover.  As I read on I realized how intricate the drawings really are.  The art makes me think of something you would see as a doodle but as I examined them I started to see how the seemingly unnecessary lines actually add to the feel and are almost essential to the makeup of the art.  In some cases the lines are hard and thick, in others loose and passive.  Overall the art is pretty fantastic and outside of the conventional norm of most comics.  I think that is the reason it threw me off a little.  Even though the style caught me off guard at first, I found myself liking it more and more as I read on.


One of my pet peeves with comics is the huge world that just is, with no real explanation of how it came about, but the writer Chris Hartmann addressed that immediately with the first page being six dialog boxes explaining the world he is setting up.  Hartmann explains that in May of 2020 an infection spread through a place called Tower City causing the super human population to turn to flesh eating monsters.  With only two dialog boxes, Hartmann was able to pull me into the story.  I commend the idea because nowadays it’s really hard to spin a super hero or super powered story without treading in someone else’s territory.

After Hartmann explains how the normal humans have quarantined the city he picks things up with a "28 Days Later" type scenario.  The main character wakes up to a barren and ravished world around him.  During his aimless walking, trying to compute what was going on, he finally stumbled into a road where he is spotted by three soldiers in a Humvee.  Clearly the sight of other living things got the guy excited, but the excitement was short, they decided he was a threat and started to shoot.  The soldiers chase him down an alley and get ready to finish him when he is saved by a big burley looking guy.  As I look at the panel of the man that saved the main character I realize that he will be the no nonsense muscles of the story as he stands holding a smoking cigar and his pistol.


As the two characters evaluate each other the big guy explains the situation to the main character as he turns to leave.  The main character reveals his name is Jacob while he tags along with his big guy and gets the full history of the downfall of the city.  The two guys end up making their way through a building into a safe house and pass through dead bodies that make Jacob throw up.  I like the way Hartmann paints the picture of the world and sets up the two main characters dynamic together.

As the two guys make it to a jail cell, the only safe place to sleep, the big guy hands Jacob a gun and explains how to kill them.  Aim for the heart and the head!  Of course, the head and the heart, where else is there to aim when taking down a bad guy or monster.  At this point in the story I was a bit curious about the supers and how their powers work as they’re infected.  Mr. Hartmann must have known what I was thinking because the big guy explains to Jacob that they lose their powers after infection so all he has to do is stay away from them and shoot straight to stay alive.

Mr. Mims art draws me into the story with the way he lays out the chill scene as they lie down for the night and continue to talk.  Jacob sits with his hands behind his head relaxing while the big guy smokes with his eyes closed.  I like this page because I can feel the characters need to relax and process the events, especially Jacob, but also the fact that it sets up the stage for the big guy to open up.  As they lie there the big guy reveals that his name is John Winters and people call him Freedom.  Jacob asks why he didn’t run and wondered if he was a super but he explains that he isn’t a super and he isn’t the type to run.  In this page I get a good feel for Freedom and what he is all about, the hardest guy in the room but he still has a heart and cares about people.

Jacob snaps awake and asks Freedom if he heard what he heard.  At this point Jacob already heard something earlier but now the voice or noise got to him enough to get him paranoid.  Jacob hears more noises and rouses Freedom to his feet to go check it out.  The final panel on the page is a head-on of the two men holding their guns up and walking towards the noises that Jacob heard.  I really love the panel and the way Mims sets up the two men.  I feel like Freedom has always been solid and BA standing tall and mean mugging while he smokes, but what I like the most is the transformation of Jacob as a gets harder and harder alongside Freedom.

Jacob was right, he did hear something.  He heard a girl named Chloe.  They turned a corner to see her standing there.  Jacob recognizes her immediately and she recognizes him as well.  No sooner than Jacob and Chloe recognize each other a huge monster turns up behind the two guys.  The huge monster picks Freedom up and tosses him across the room knocking him out.  Jacob and Chloe get backed into a corner where Jacob tries his best to shield her from the monster.  At this point Jacob is hearing voices still and their calling to him and he feels like they want to help them.  As they stand in the corner waiting for the giant monster to attack another monster comes to their rescue, but from the looks of the panels it’s possible that Jacob is controlling the monster because as the monster reaches through the belly of the bigger monster Jacob is reaching out towards it as if they were going to high five.  The strain of whatever was happening knocks Jacob out, but Freedom wakes up in time to get rid of the remaining monster.



Hartmann and Mims leave us with Freedom telling Chloe to get him up because they can’t stick around and wait for more monsters.  Freedom says, “And I don’t feel like dying tonight.”  Pretty epic send off.

The feel of the book and the flow seems right to me and Mr. Hartmann does a great job of setting up the characters.  Jacob grabs me right away with the "28 Days Later" scene of waking up to chaos and death all around.  Freedom is compelling because any story is best served with a really hardcore guy leading the charge against the enemy or threat.  I like how Chloe is introduced towards the end and the way  Hartmann sets up Jacob hearing voices, I feel like it leaves plenty to look forward to for the next issue.  Hartmann and Mims have a good concept and story that they collaborate well in telling.  I will certainly be checking out the next issue.  If you liked the review I suggest you check it out as well!

Here are a few links for your purchasing pleasures, Get it straight from Hound Comics or on Amazon.

Happy reading everyone!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

5 Questions with Ben Hunzeker


We're excited to sit down with Ben Hunzeker today for a brief interview about why he makes comics and why inspires him. Ben is currently working on covers for Sonic the Hedgehog.
1. What were your favorite comic books growing up?

I would have to go with Xenon by Masaomi Kanzaki, Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo and Appleseed by Masamune Shiro. I was a big time fan of their work starting in the late 80's. For the American side the early run on The New Mutants and DC's Warlord.
2. What books out now get the old creative juices flowing?

The Japanese series Robot from DMP is a great anthology. It is an awesome mix of styles in art and story telling.
3. Any "guilty pleasure" comics on your personal pull list?

Anything Silverstri picks up the pencil for. In the last 10 years his work has just become so loose and detailed that its like pure chocolate on my brain. Art books from other countries [are] also a guilty pleasure.

4. Outside of comic books, what media do you find inspirational?

Traditional mediums such as oils and watercolor in the hands of masters [are] always mind blowing to me. From classical types like John Singer Sargent to more modern painters like Brian Stelfreeze and Katsuya Terada.
5. What advice would you offer to writers/artists/creators on the ground level working to break into the industry and/or get their own book out there?

Learn your craft from someone who is doing it for a living before you try to get in. YouTube is great and online lessons are everywhere but hands on training and experience will make the difference. Also, don't skip out on college because everyone says you don't need it. Go to school for a degree that you can use like Business, English or even Animation. These degrees will give you experience you can't get otherwise and provide you additional skill sets that will make you more marketable to better paying clients.


Ben Hunzeker

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 Reasons Comic Book Stories are Dominating Hollywood

Hollywood Can't Get Enough of Comic Book Stories... Here's Why:

I know what you must be thinking: here is another comic book nerd jumping on a soapbox about his beloved books. I assure you this is far from the truth. Although I may be considered a comic book nerd in some circles, my level of nerdy-ness hardly scratches the surface. I did read comics as a kid but I also spent the majority of my younger years playing sports and watching TV like a good consumer American. I started with older TV shows like Batman and X-Men from the 90’s and I soon graduated to the real thing, the glorious paper backs of my teens and early 20’s. The savior of my imagination, and the paper friend I so desperately needed and didn’t even know. I was starving for something to satisfy my deep-seated nerd gene, my mutation of normal TV and book consumption. I admire comic book writers, and artists for that matter, but here are 5 reasons why I think the stories of comic book writers are in such high demand.

X-Men1 movie
5. The writing formats are very similar and sometimes exactly alike.

I attempted a short stint in film school. The one class that I enjoyed the most was screenplay writing. (I’m a writer and I like the writing class, go figure). We were all poor college students and none of us wanted to buy real script writing programs. So, we all used a very nice and very free version of a script writing program. We learned from this program there were a few formats to work in, two of them being “Film” and “Comic Book.” These two formats are considerably similar. The film format begins with a scene, and that begins with the scene description; so if it’s inside you put int. for interior, if it is outside you put ext. for exterior, than begin with the characters and surroundings of the scene. I know it sounds kind of complicated but think of some of your favorite movies, watch the opening credits, and imagine this concept, I bet it seems easier then. Comic books are nearly exactly alike in this aspect. Comic books have pages instead of scenes and each page has a certain number of panels. Instead of starting with the scene you start with a page, instead of describing the scene you describe each panel of the page, but in essence each panel of a comic is like a scene to a movie, each describing a certain action complete with character dialog.
4. What is a Comic book besides a visual ride similar to movies?

Every comic book I have ever seen, even underground and slightly sub-par books, have a considerable amount of time put into the visual aspect of it. Artists of all kinds from penciler’s to inkers, to colorists, even letterers (Yes there are artists that do nothing but letters), and everyone in between spend countless hours getting visually stunning pages done to the best of their abilities. Just because it’s a flimsy little paperback throw away doesn’t mean that time and effort were not given in abundance. I feel this is similar to film. Countless days and nights spent setting up cameras and imagining the right angle to catch a shot, all in hopes of having a perfect one to three second clip capturing a feel or making a point through visuals.

Comic book and film writers both pour their hearts onto paper and write lively and engaging dialog just to hand it over to the “creative” teams in charge of capturing those thoughts and feelings and putting them into something the consumer can look at visually and be moved by. I totally feel that a movie producer or director can take a comic book and turn it into a movie without even changing the dialog; the only real difference would be the fact that movies would have to move and show more of the scene instead of capturing the mood with only one to five panels.
3. Exciting and wonderful storylines, dare I say, better than a lot of movies.

That’s right Hollywood, I said it. I know some really awesome screen writers will probably ban me from the special little writers club in Hollyweird now, and hang me from the rafters at the Emmy’s, Golden Globes or Academy Awards, but it had to be said. Comic book writers know storylines and they have been responsible for some of the most influential story arcs of all times, never shying away from new ground, pushing the limits of what is acceptable, even doing what film writers do, but better. Who can deny the intricacies of the love triangle between Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey? I mean seriously, all of the lovey dovey, ooh and awe of a typical love story without the 120 minutes of the mushy Notebook-like crap in between. In fact, it fills the rest of the time with ass kicking adventure coupled with special abilities and makes for a much more interesting watch. So, in other words, it does what a movie is supposed to, it entertains, and it has the possibilities to hit on all major plot designs like love, drama, action and everything in between.
2. Longevity of the characters, ideas, and story arcs.

Keeping with the theme that comic books hit on all the kinds of points that movies do; things like love, drama, politics, current affairs etc…it’s easy to plunge these characters into today’s new and updated roles even though the characters themselves are ancient in terms of ideas. Superman first appeared in June of 1938, Batman in May of 1939, and X-Men September of 1963. In terms of characters, they have been done and redone like most things in Hollywood. In 1938, The Adventures of Robin Hood was a success and it wasn’t the first time. At least two other renditions of the classic story were made between the early 1900’s and 1938. Similar to Robin Hood, Batman and other comic heroes have seen similar fates, re-dos and reimaginings of the classic characters. This just goest to show that a good idea is a good idea and people can get behind good ideas like the Dark Knight over Tim Burton’s “Cirque du Soleil” Batman. I’m talking longevity people. Do you think Christian Bale was sitting around the house as a child watching Adam West on TV thinking, “I’m going to make that guy’s Batman look seriously silly one day?” Probably not. But when the opportunity came, he nailed his part and redid an iconic character seamlessly. These characters are timeless and can be done over and over, but so can the general story arcs. The idea of the Joker and the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents is amazing and has been done in several different ways. Just look at the idea of the Punisher having his family murdered in front of him and being shot before being left for dead. These ideas have been used by Hollywood and tweaked enough to not be considered thievery, but us true comic fans know a theft when we see one.

Hulk Image
1. Box Office Gold, AKA Money.

I know that number one really lacks the luster of the first four but you have to understand one very important thing, money makes the world go round. That is doubly true in Hollywood. The first X-Men movie premiered in July of 2000 and grossed 150 million dollars at the box office, then X2: X-Men United premiered in May of 2003 and grossed 214 million just shy of 215 million. This trend was just the beginning, comic book adaptations that were not even that good made money hand over fist for various different Hollywood studios. Even before the early 2000’s break out  franchises like X-Men and Spider-Man grossing no less than 157 million (the first X-Men), movies like Men in Black in 1997 were making millions. In fact, the first Batman movie from Tim Burton in 1989 made over 250 million, and that movie was really, super, massively, hardcore, cheesy.

Between the writing styles being similar, the visual aspect being similar, and the longevity of story arcs and characters being similar, comic book writers should have a place at the big boy table with all the good writers in Hollywood. In some cases, these Hollywood guys owe their careers to comic book writers, particular Stan Lee. Where would Hollywood be without the drawing power of Avengers grossing over 620 million and clearing 200 million opening day? I can tell you this: those movie goers wouldn’t have been going to see The Cabin in the Woods if the Avengers movie was never made.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Starburn #1 - Indie Comic Book Review

Starburn is an Action-Packed Romp Through Outer Space... with Pirates!

Starburn, written by Kelly Bender with illustrations by Brian Balondo, is an excellent first outing for this new series from Markosia. Captain Aphi and his crew, containing a blend of human looking and alien members, are space pirates. The premise for the book isn't wildly original but it's very well done. The pacing of the book is just right, giving us enough exposure to get to know the crew, but not beating us over the head with it either. On top that, all the characters emote and interact in ways that we get a feel for their personalities and the dynamic between the crew pretty quickly as well. To give you a brief idea of the plot without spoiling anything, our crew finds themselves on a very lucrative mission with unknown cargo to retrieve. Their client has offered to pay them three times the going rate, so you know something's up. On arrival, the Starburn crew quickly learn they are transporting a person and not a thing. And then the going gets rough. I'll leave it there so we stay out of spoiler territory.

STARBURN Page 11The art of Starburn is quite good. The illustrations of Balondo with the inks of Cristian Docolomansky are crisp and consistent. The color work of Laura Lee helps elevate the book to the pro level. So many of the indie sci-fi books I've read lately seem to get stalled in the black and white or grey scale mode. While I can appreciate a comic that's in black and white, it's definitely more enticing to read a full color book created by talented people. Even the lettering by Nic J Shaw is done well and feels progressive, opting for a bubble/tail style that I've only seen from VC's Clayton Cowles.

Overall, this book feels like it has a story with legs and art that is up to snuff. Starburn is slated for a release in early 2015, so stay tuned to Markosia for an official announcement on the publish date. Markosia books now featured prominently on iTunes, iBooks, Comics + and DriveThruComics, and will be featuring on many other platforms over the next year, so watch this space for more announcements.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Flash - Things You Can't Outrun Review (Spoilers)

Things You Can't Outrun i.e. Poison Gas and Emotional Baggage

the flash things you cant outrun

This week, The Flash returned for its third installment, "Things You Can't Outrun." The title is a not-so-overt nod to our antagonist, The Mist (guest star Anthony Carrigan), as well as our cast of protagonists' emotional baggage. Barry faces off against a new meta-human. (Noticing a pattern here?) Kyle Nimbus was a criminal on death row. While he was literally being executed for his crimes, he went through the meta-human transition. As a result of his exposure to deadly gas during the STAR Labs "accident," he gains superpowers which enable him to become poison gas. And what does a homicidal maniac do with poison gas powers you ask? Revenge? Give this reader a cookie! So, surprise, surprise, the former death row convict is on a mission to kill everyone who put him away, including Barry's father figure, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). Joe was the arresting officer on the Nimbus case, so naturally, he becomes the final kill on The Mist's death list. This story also dealt heavily with the fallout from the particle accelerator accident, focusing on Caitlin's (Danielle Panabaker) loss of her fiancé Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell, cousin to the Amell of Arrow fame).

The action in this episode centered around the first super power foil that we've seen on the show so far (don't worry, I'm sure there are plenty more to come). Barry found himself useless to fight The Mist in his gaseous state and nearly dies when Nimbus "gasses"  him for the first time. But thanks to a scene worthy of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, Caitlin takes a serious needle to Barry's chest to avert certain death. While the super power foil is an overly used trope, it works well on this episode to set up an excellent super-powered battle as the climax. We see The Flash and The Mist pushing the limits of their powers against each other. This is a result of Caitlin and Dr. Well's advice for Barry to push The Mist to exhaust himself. They claim that since gas is the least stable state of matter, it will be very difficult for Nimbus to keep it up. So Barry runs. And The Mist goes all green smoke monster on him for a while. Somehow, even on a TV budget, this fight was really enthralling. In a superhero storyline what else do you want to see more than large volumes of super powers? Nothing, I tell you. NOTHING!

the flash things you cant outrun joe west

At the onset of the last fight, Nimbus gasses Joe and for a minute there, I thought they might actually let him die. NOPE! The Flash delivers the one and only dose of "poison gas antidote" just in the nick of time to save Det. West. After pushing Nimbus to stay gaseous for sometime, The Mist runs out of steam leaving himself open for a concussion-inducing slug from The Flash. So, what does one do with a meta-human after besting him in physical combat you ask? Good question! This week's meta-human villain opened up a new aspect to the operations of STAR Labs. To incarcerate The Mist (and presumably a number of future baddies to come), STAR Labs opts to turn their ruined particle accelerator into a subterranean high-tech version of Arkham Asylum. A super villain prison buried underneath STAR Labs, what could go wrong? Meanwhile, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) continued to please as the comic book fan analogue, giving Nimbus his super-villain namesake without missing a beat.

All of our protagonist characters (except for the two-dimensional Iris and Eddie) faced the darkness in their past head on in this episode. Joe finally owns up to the fact that Barry's father has been wrongfully accused and incarcerated for 14 years. Caitlin and Cisco deal with what seems to be a mild case of PTSD from the night of the accident at STAR Labs. Barry continues to wrestle with the murder of his mother. And later in the episode we see Barry's father commiserate with him for the first time. The character development here is thoughtful and heartfelt, but beginning to wear thin. The Flash has gotten us to care about the characters, so hopefully in episode four and beyond we will see the balance shift to less character development. It's time to let some of the sob stories go to the back burner or they may begin to feel forced or tired. The Flash has proven to have a handle on its pacing so far, but the emotional back stories are the first sign of stumbling, although a minor one. With Arrow team-ups coming just around the bend, a shift to more action-based and world-building storylines will be a welcome injection of excitement after this week's episode.

The Flash is riding high as The CW just order an additional nine episodes bring the show's first season to a full 22 episodes. The Flash airs Tuesday Nights on The CW.

Side notes:

Did anyone else notice the 52 placards on the walls at STAR Labs this week?

Also, Dr. Wells continues to increase the sci-fi creepy factor week after week.

What do you think it's like to crop dust someone as the Flash? Do you think they would even smell your fart? Or do you just crop dust 3 square miles of the city because you can cover so much ground with a single SPD?

The Best Comic I Read Today Is . . . Zero #11

Zero, written by Ales Kot, is the story of Edward Zero who “was a secret agent.  He quit the Agency.  This is the story of his life.” This is also one of the best comic books currently being published.


Zero is a book that I always want and need to read twice, and this month’s was no exception.  However, this month I also needed to go back and read issue #10, paying special attention to the dates.  Issue #11 takes place four years after the previous issue, which is nothing new as the story jumps through Edward Zero’s life in an apparently random nature that is carefully plotted by Kot to serve the overarching premise and theme of the work.

The first six pages, taking place over three days, set the tone. Edward appears to have found happiness, which is amazing if you’ve read the previous ten issues and understand what this man has seen and done.  Then the situation begins to acquire a feeling of menace on “Day Four”, leading to a well paced action sequence and a two word final page that makes it difficult to wait until next month.  Of course, knowing the nature of the storytelling devices being employed, next issue will probably be a tale of Edward’s youth, and that will only heighten the drama of what occurred.

This month’s chapter was illustrated by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, who captures the tone of this installment beautifully. Zero is a disjointed narrative, employing a different art team for every issue, and each individual artistic style reflects the theme Kot is conveying through a minimalist narrative, followed by instances of verbose philosophical exploration.

Zero isn’t a book you can just “jump into”.  It is dense and cinematic and cerebral and well worth the multiple readings each issue demands.  Please, I beg you, read the first collected edition, An Emergency, that reprints issues 1 – 5.

Zero Vol 1

You won't be disappointed.

- Aloha -


Do Not Breathe The Green Pollution!

GOTHAM has finally got a good steady fight in process. Opening the show is Alfred being frustrated at young Bruce for spending so much time on files and folders to try and solve his parents murder. Our villain this week is a man that has a couple of screws loose. Carrying around a small vile of green liquid that says "Breath Me." Once this green liquid is inhaled it causes you to lose your mind and become super strong and crazy. Stan Topolski is a super smart scientist, an ex employer at Welzyne labs. Edward Nigma (the Riddler) cracks the case on Viper, stating that the drug uses DNA and breaks down calcium in your body causing you to go insane, and soon after your skeleton crumbles and you suffocate to death. (Talk about a bad trip).

Gotham - Viper

Maroni finds out about The Penguin's and Gordon's secret and is now using the Penguin as bait towards Falcone. Maroni and Jim Gordon speaking to each other was interesting because the story he had to tell had to match up with the Penguins to see if he was telling the truth. Maroni takes out a hit on a casino owned by Falcone with the help of Penguin. Maroni is bringing Penguin closer and closer into his mob.

Gotham - Viper

Fish Mooney is still training Liza as her weapon towards Falcone by teaching her how to speak sexy and like the music Falcone does. Mooney is having a romance with a Russian mob leader that Falcone knows nothing about. This was interesting because as a viewer I am unsure how serious that romance is or if she is just sneaking her way more into being the Queen of Gotham. At the end of the episode Liza is listening to the song getting Falcone interested as they sit and listen to the song together. Liza and Falcone's relationship is going to be fun to watch as the series goes on.

Gordon and Harvey are working better as a team and I like what the writers are doing putting in fun scenes between the two. For example, the two buying hamburgers on the street and having fun conversations. With the drug named Viper, Batman fans can't help to think about Bane with the Venom injection. Stan tries poisoning the Bruce Wayne foundation at a dinner part but is quickly shot down by Gordon and Harvey.

This episode, Gotham really started to gel. The lack of Barbara was a plus. But the character development of Gordon and Harvey is finally starting work. The impending gang war is heating up and actually starting to have some interesting pieces in play. A young Bruce finally came out of his shell (or his manor rather) and became worth watching for the first time. And Alfred getting on board with Bruce at the end of the episode was pretty priceless.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CW Picks Up Full Season of The Flash

The Flash Continues DC's TV Winning Streak

Today, CW President Mark Pedowitz's press release revealed that the network will be ordering an extra nine episodes of The Flash for a full season run totaling 22 episodes.

The Flash

The press release reads:
"We have had a fantastic start to our season this year, with THE FLASH launching as our most-watched series première ever, and JANE THE VIRGIN recognized as the best new show this season by critics across the country. Over the past three seasons, we have made it our mission to grow and to broaden out our audience, and to keep raising the bar with the quality and impact of our new shows, and THE FLASH and JANE have both exceeded our expectations on all counts. I'm thrilled to announce full season orders for both of these terrific new series."

While Marvel may have the heavyweight championship title at the box office, DC seems to know what they are doing when it comes to the small screen. With Arrow in its third season, Gotham winning ratings over at Fox, and now a full season of The Flash, DC is definitely doing something right. And that's not to mention, we still have Constantine to première on NBC next week, and a Supergirl show is also in the works from the show runners of Arrow and The Flash.

The Flash airs Tuesdays on CW.

Hoverboards are Coming! Just in Time for the Future!

Nerd's Rejoice! Hoverboards are Here!

Hendo corporation has launched a Kickstarter campaign for an actual, working Hoverboard. This is real people!

From the Kickstarter campaign, you can read a statement for Hendo:
So where does the HENDO hoverboard stand today? Well, about 1 inch off the ground. As you can see from the video above, the prototype is real and it works! But to see it hover in person, and better yet, to defy gravity by riding it, is something you need to experience as well.

With the support of the Kickstarter community, we all can. We need your help to put the finishing touches on the Hendo Hoverboard, to help us produce them, and to create places to ride them.

Looks like if everything goes to plan, we'll have that hoverboard just in time for the date that Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future II.

Back to the Future - Hoverboard

As you may have seen, there are redundant hoaxes that have occured on social media, touting "this day" (whatever the day was at the time) as the date that Marty McFly travels to in the future. But, we still aren't there yet. The actual date is one year from today. And it looks like Hendo is in the business of making dreams come true. I doubt they will have any trouble getting funding for a project like this.

Apparently, there are some pretty serious limitations to the Hendo Hoverboard. The original design was meant to help save buildings from earthquakes. If you consider how that technology works, then you can imagine how limited this version of our coveted hoverboard will be. That being said, in the hands of some of the skateboarding and snowboarding greats, who knows what they might be able to pull off!

Luckily, with the future just around the corner, our fashion sense is MUCH better than they were expecting in that 80's influenced flick.

Back to the Future II Wardrobe - Hoverboards

Writer Blocks – Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Volume 2 (part one)

Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Volume 2 collects the entire Elektra Saga, Daredevil #168 through #182, originally published from 1981 to 1982.  This is a large volume and can be broken into two parts: the introduction of Elektra and rise of the Kingpin as the primary antagonist in Daredevil’s life, and the Elektra Saga’s endgame.


Elektra was a revelation in 1981 – a strong, independent, deadly female character in a comic book. Daredevil’s equal in physical ability, it is revealed, through an almost entire issue flashback, that they knew each other and were lovers while in college.  Before the flashback, Elektra is introduced to the reader by saving Daredevil’s life.  This was a new concept in the early 1980’s, a time when most female characters were regulated to the “damsel in distress” role, what would later be termed “women in refrigerators”. Frank Miller broke that mold, and Elektra became the focus of the book, supplanting Daredevil as the character a reader truly cared about.

The influence, almost reverence that Miller has for Will Eisner can be seen in the splash-page innovations within Daredevil, incorporating the issue title and creator credits into the panel itself. 


This is an art almost completely lost in today’s world of movie-like credits pages. The last time I remember seeing this was in the New 52 Flash by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul.


As a writer, these issues taught me about the use of time as a tool to tell the story. Miller would alternate between tight, multiple paneled pages to create tension and evoke mood to wide-screen panorama shots for dynamic action and fight sequences. But it was his use of silence – the way he’d couple that silence with a cinematic frame-by-frame depiction of events – that was the true way Miller created the passage of time to build tension. The best example of this, from the first half of Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Volume 2, is the penultimate page of Daredevil #169, appropriately titled Devils.


Daredevil, our hero, is contemplating leaving his hated rival, Bullseye, to die on the train tracks. Of course he won’t do it, but the last eight panels, beginning with Daredevil’s thought of “I hate you”, with their use of time and light to create tension, makes the reader wonder –

“Is this hero starting to go over the edge?”

Next Week – he will!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gorillaz 2016 Speculation Flying on Internet Hype

Gorillaz 2016 Release in the Works?

Gorillaz 2016

The Internet is absolutely buzzing with speculation about a Gorillaz 2016 release. All citing a singular article from The Sydney Morning Herald, music and news sites including,, and SPIN are reporting that Damon Albarn is confirming a new Gorillaz album for 2016. Unfortunately, the article in question doesn't actually have any quotes from Albarn about a forthcoming Gorillaz 2016 release. The article simple offers the information without context or follow-up. There's a lot of focus on the "reactivating" part of the news, but that's  simply because there is no other information to go off right now.
A serial collaborator who has released a dozen albums since Blur's last album, Think Tank, in 2003, Albarn is currently writing a West End theatre musical adaptation of a children's book, is in the process of reactivating Gorillaz for a 2016 release and is trying to find time to record a new The Good, the Bad & The Queen album, which he says is fully written.

In April 2014, NME ran an article quoting Albarn
I could put a Gorillaz record out next week; I've got enough stuff I haven't finished.

Gorillaz 2016 Albern HewlettThis news may not have come as a huge surprise to fans of Albarn. The musician is wildly prolific, producing projects ranging in scope from pop records to operas and musicals. Just in the realm of pop and rock music, Albarn is involved with numerous different bands including Blur, The Good, The Bad and The Queen, Rocket Juice & the Moon on top of his own solo endeavors. Anyone who has followed Albarn's discography could probably guess that another Gorillaz' release would most likely occur. The main barrier to that happening was a rather public split between Albarn and co-founder and animator, Jamie Hewlett. The exciting news from the NME article was that apparently Hewlett and Albarn have reconciled:
There are points in every relationship where they fall out with people that they're close to and then theyreconcile, hopefully, and actually, you know the relationship's probably in a healthier place as a result of that,

While I'll be eagerly awaiting more details, but just the possibility of a new Gorillaz album in the works is exciting news.

Robin Rises

It looks like there’s some Robins in the air.

Throughout the years, The Caped Crusader has had many sidekicks but all have shared one name: Robin.

Batman’s famous sidekick has been in the headlines today. Rumors range from the character appearing in the film, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to returning in the latest issue of Batman and Robin, issue 38.

Jena MaloneThe latest film will have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and now, Robin. However, it won’t be Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, or the latest crimefighter, Damian Wayne. It will be a female, and possibly, Carrie Kelley. We do know that this movie is heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s comic The Dark Knight Returns which features a female Robin but we don’t know if the movie will have Carrie or just a version of her. NBC is currently reporting that Hunger Games: Cathing Fire actress, Jena Malone, will be Batman’s sidekick.

In other news, Batman and Robin writer Peter J. Tomasi has posted a photo on Instagram page of issue 38’s cover, which reveals Damian Wayne as Robin. (Spolier alert) Damian, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Gul, was killed by The Heretic in Batman Incorporated. Since then, Batman has teamed up with various allies which have included Aquaman and Wonder Woman to recover Damian’s body from Raja al Gul in the comic arc titled Robin Rises.  This title has lead many to believe that Damian will return and with Tomasi’s latest photos, those rumors may have been confirmed.  However, this may just be a ruse and the cover may be a way to honor and remember Damian as Robin.

Batman and Robin, issue 38 cover.batman-and-robin-38

Friday, October 17, 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Face My Enemies Review

Episode 4 of Season 2, "Face My Enemies" Proves This Show Can Be Good

Spoilers ahead. Stop now if you haven't watched yet!

My Tuesday afternoons are getting a bit difficult for decision making. Before the Fall TV season began, I would just turn on Chopped re-runs and zone out. But with Agents of SHIELD and The Flash both airing at the same time in my market, I'm having a hard time choosing what to watch. After The Flash premiered, I was hooked. I thought, "Sorry, Marvel, but DC wins this one." Then I watch episode 4 of Agents and I almost changed my mind... (not quite though).

Agent Melinda May - Agents of SHIELD Face My Enemies

This week's episode brought A LOT of ass whooping, and it was truly great. Director Coulson has been drawing crazy alien (presumed Kree) writings. We don't know why he is doing this, but apparently he can't help himself. At the top of the episode we learn of a prized painting that was the one remaining item that survived a burning church. The painting also happens to have this alien writing on the back. So, of course, the Agents of SHIELD are on a mission to scoop it. A nice little spy caper kicks off the first part of the episode. The team works together to get Coulson and May access to a fancy charity event where the painting is being auctioned. They run into General Talbot pretty quickly, blowing their cover. And then they find out that he's not actually Garrett at all, but a Hydra stand-in. Here's where the "face" my enemies part comes into play. The Hydra agents have some unexplained tech that they stick to their face and take on the identities of Garrett and later Agent May. The special effects are pretty decent this episode. Especially the climatic fight scene between May and her doppelganger. Who am I kidding, that shit was AWESOME. This fight scene has really raised the bar for this show. As you might guess, after a lot of ass kicking, the Agents recover the painting and some team bonding ensues in the final piece of the episode. Fitz, who has been struggling with brain damage and seeing hallucinations of Simmons, finally comes around and has a beer with the guys. It was pretty touching.

The character development on Agents has really come a long way. I'm actually starting to care about these characters as people. And with special effects and fight choreography that went into this episode, Agents of SHIELD is looking a real winner for the first time. I have to admit, The Flash will get my viewership in Tuesday nights, but I'm going to be damn sure to watch Agents on Demand as soon as possible on Wednesday.