Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Young Justice Issue 1 'Haunted' Review

I decided to give the new Young Justice comic book another shot – partly because I really enjoyed the first issue but mostly because of my weird Fandom OCD and the fact that this series covers things that happen in between the episodes. While the first issue takes place between the last two scenes of the one hour pilot this issue takes place right after the team meets Miss Martian at the end of the first episode. The plot revolves around Superboy officially moving into the cave. The panels with M’gann and Superboy going from room to room trying to pick out bedrooms for themselves since they’ll be the ones living there full time were fun. It amazes me how much less annoying M’gann is in the comics compared to how she is portrayed on the cartoon. I like that they put Snapper Carr in – I liked his involvement in the original series so I hope they find away to bring this incarnation into the fold more often. This idea that someone – either Superboy or Snapper are going to lead to the destruction of the Justice League is interesting (again I hope it’s Snapper so he can hang around more) and it plays in nicely with the theme of the cartoon. I don’t know how I feel about the Joker being in this issue, yes he plays an important role in the DCU in general but he’s not a Super-family villain, and he’s no where near powerful enough for him to knock Superboy down like he did. I still don’t know what to think about this series because the pacing is really off, but Superboy doesn’t talk much in this incarnation so for them to split the focus of the issue between M’gann who tends to babble, and Superboy who doesn’t speak much makes the Superboy centric pages too quick of a read. It actually only took me at most two minutes (more than likely less) to read this issue.

Young Justice #1 – Haunted: B

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MotUC: Shadow Beast: Action Figure Review

Today I’m going to look at the first ‘over-sized’ beast/figure that I own for the Masters of the Universe Classics line. I’ll be honest here; I wasn’t looking forward to this figure at all. There are some beasts I really want (Battle Cat, Panthor, Cringer, Spirit, Swiftwind, Clawdeen and Storm – so basically all the main steeds of the group leaders) but I don’t have any use for at least half of the animals. There’s just no attachment to this particular character for me and the 30 dollar price tag doesn’t help win it any points. The tagline ‘evil creature of darkness’ is really good.

The package is HUGE and that’s actually a bit of an understatement. Now I don’t have Gygor, Tytus, Battle Cat, Skeletor and Mo-Larr or the palace Guards two pack so I have no idea how much of a difference there is between the sizes of those packages. I can say that the white mailer box is big enough to actually fit two of the regular figures’ white mailer boxes in them comfortably. The actual package is big, a lot bigger than the regular figures but also there’s more free space in the package. I’m not entirely sure why they did that.

Now on to the bio:

Real Name: Varies
Great ape-like beasts who live in tribes throughout the dark hemisphere, Shadow Beasts can only come out in the absence of light. Originally created by Count Marzo as a weapon to use against his enemies, the beasts were driven back by Princes Keldor and Randor and forced to reside in the shadows of Mount Barathrum. There they developed a long standing hatred of both the Human and Gar race. Easily manipulated, the ever growing colony of Beasts was later controlled by Beast Man in the service of Skeletor to take down Eternos Palace. With their great strength and stealth-like appearance, Shadow Beasts are more than a match for heroic warriors!

The back of the package is a bit off. I’m not sure where they got the image of the Shadow Beasts from for the image in the bio but it’s nice nonetheless. I hate that after all this time that Mattel still cannot figure out how to place the correct figures on the back of packages. We have Skeletor, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops, Evil-Lyn, Webstor, Beast Man, Whiplash and Scareglow. Beat Man makes sense because he can control animals, Skeletor makes sense too, I guess you can justify Evil-Lyn because she freed Marzo. But the entire bio speaks about how Marzo created these beasts and how Randor and Keldor defeated them; it would make much more sense if the figures on the back were: Beast Man, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Count Marzo, King Randor, Keldor, Teela, He-Man and Man-at-Arms. If they didn’t want to have two versions of the same character on the package that’s fine but Marzo really needed to be on there especially over Scareglow.

The articulation is different than the standard figure. You have rotation on the feet, hands, head and thighs. The shoulders, elbows and bicep joints are the same as the regular figures. There is no articulation on the abs, waist or knees. The head is also not removable. Mattel has said that they needed to cast the larger figures differently in order to make them more affordable and that’s fine but at the same time it’s odd to see a figure like Battle Cat who is so articulated, Tytus who is really lacking in articulation and then the Shadow Beasts who should fall somewhere in between have the same articulation as the largest figure of the line. I guess the different casting is also why the plastic (on mine at least) in the torso area is rather squishy – if you listen carefully you can even hear the air move out of the joint holes if you squeeze the stomach.

There isn’t much new sculpting – Shadow Beasts basically share the same buck as Gygor only with new hands, feet and a new head. The feet came out really well and the hands are nice too but they seem a bit weird with just the three fingers. The head is much better than I thought it was going to be the horn isn’t too weird looking, but it is odd that the image they used in the bio has two horns yet the head only has one (the same can be said for the color differences between the bio image and then the images of the figure and the figure itself) my only wish for the head sculpt would have been that they made a hinged jaw.

There isn’t much in the way of accessories here. You’d think that would work against the figure because of all the armor pieces that came with Gygor but there really isn’t much else they could give the Shadow Bests aside from the club and the club is pretty amazing. It’s actually my favorite part of the entire figure. The detail on it is simply amazing it really does look like a ripped out part of a tree with metal spikes shoved into it.

Figure Rating: B
It would have been a C just because I’m so ‘meh’ about the figure in general but the club really saved it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Charmed Season 9 Issue 5 'Unnatural Resources' Review

Well now that I’m home I’m trying to play catch up and that brings me to Charmed Season 9 Issue 5 ‘Unnatural Resources.’ I’ve been a huge fan of  the use of history within this comic but at the same time I haven’t sat silently by and not voiced my thoughts on the history they’re choosing to leave out (for whatever reasons.) With this issue we do get a bit of a resolve with that when we finally see Grams and Billie for the first time this season - they were in the Book of Shadows along with Prue, Cole and the older versions of Chris and Wyatt but this is their first real appearances this year. There are more ties to the history when Piper uses Excalibur while Paige goes and collects small portions of magic from Billie, Mermaids, Leprechauns, Fairies, Nymphs and Unicorns.

I really liked this particular issue, but I think it might have been better suited as a double sized story – it would have helped to make certain things feel less rushed. Billie for example, it’s great that she’s here but when they’re going up against The Source and there’s this history of Prue dying because of it and how Billie ended up having to kill her own sister to save the world even something as simple as Paige trying to stop Billie from rejoining the fight by saying something like ‘haven’t both of our families lost enough already’ would have gone miles to make the story feel heavier than it is.

I get why they killed off Hogan, I mean this is the Source, and there’s multiple seasons worth of history establishing the fact that whenever he comes back someone HAS to die but again – rushed. There were a few unanswered questions like why Piper’s daughter Melinda can telekinetically orb; or what exactly Nina is; but I get the feeling that those two things will play larger roles in the near future. I do want an explanation as to why Paige named her children Tamora and Kat though; almost all of the kid’s names make sense except for those. There really isn’t anything much else to say that I haven’t said before: I want more Billie, and I actually like the idea of Tyler sticking around for a while but the problem is that he doesn’t really have established characters to interact with. He’s too young to spend all his time around Phoebe, Piper, Paige, Leo, Coop and Henry, he’s far too old to spend his time with all of the Halliwell kids and even if Billie was around more, or they brought back Future!Chris they’re both too to be around him.

Rating: A+

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chronological X-Men - Secret Wars II Part 1 Review

Secret Wars II (review part 1)

Dazzler #37 – The Girl in the Machine

Alison gets a call from an old friend of hers asking for help and Alison jumps at the chance to reconnect with her. The only problem is when she reaches Diana’s home she is told that Diana died over six months ago! We see the return of Revenge Inc which was nice but between their return, Diana’s involvement and the whole story behind Revenge Inc using Diana and giving her those operations that eventually caused her to be absorbed into this machine that apparently only she could use and then turn against them was a bit too much and it made it seem forced. This story could have easily been more than one issue, or they should have had a few things here and there that led up to it. Sure there’s the Revenge Inc thing, but we’ve never even heard of Diana Simon before this particular issue. It didn’t need to be a B or C plot in other issues, but at least one page or 2-3 panels here and there would have made this story better than it was.

Dazzler #38 – Challenge

See this right here – the few pages with O.Z. Chase and that mysterious man that we don’t see who suddenly turns to a pile of dust is exactly what I was talking about in the previous issue. There needs to be some kind of build up to the plots – it doesn’t need to have the bulk of an issue devoted to it, but it’s a perfect thing to put in to beef up stand alone stories, or filler issues. I was actually much more interested in the whole bounty hunter thing and that mysterious figure than I was about the main plot. It jumps around too much First Logan and Piotr are fighting Alison then it flashes back to Alison going to the X-Men wanting to train her new powers. There were just too many weird things. I understand Logan’s disgust at Alison wanting to train when she has no interest in being a super hero. I don’t understand why Piotr is all gaga over Alison when he’s busy ‘not loving’ Kitty. Rogue being all pro Alison is odd considering the two of them despise each other and I have no idea why Scott shows up out of the blue.

The New Mutants #29 – Meanwhile, Back at the Mansion…

Roberto and Amara are kidnapped by members of the Gladiators and it’s up to Sam and Illyana to save them. We see the return of the Gladiators from the Beauty and the Beast miniseries as well as Lila Cheney, Dazzler (obviously), Magneto and Lee Forrester. We have the first appearance of Guido Carosella AKA Strong Guy. Charles and the rest of the New Mutants are still on Muir Island so we basically only get Amara, Roberto, Sam and Illyana this time. There isn’t really much to say about this issue, Roberto and Amara stay with the Gladiators to save a bunch of runaway children; Charles contacts Magneto to let him know that the Beyonder has returned and charges Magneto to assemble a team to go up against him to save the world (Illyana and Sam join).

The Uncanny X-Men #195 – It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

We meet The Power Pack for the first time which I guess is okay – honestly I don’t feel one way or another about their appearance here. The X-Men are a little too old to be dealing with kids that young, it would have fit a bit better if this happened in The New Mutants title instead of Uncanny X-men but what can you do? The Morlocks are back: Annalee is still suffering from the murder of her children (they were killed in Uncanny X-Men #193), Leech, Callisto, Masque and Sunder we’ve seen before, I think this is the first time we’ve seen Ape or at the very least the first time Ape has had more than just a group shot in the X-Books I mean. Beautiful Dreamer, Erg and Tar Baby show up for the first time in this book. I’m not really sure where Kurt or Piotr are or why their absence means that Kitty is running point on this mission, especially over a tracker like Logan or a telepath like Rachel. It was a good issue though which is fine by me. Of course we have the build up to Secret Wars II here too because Rachel is summoned telepathically by Magneto ordering that she (how he knows about her I have no idea) and the rest of the X-Men return to the mansion immediately.

Secret Wars II #1 – Earthfall!

You know, I thought that the first Secret Wars series was packed with characters but this one takes the cake. This is just the first issue and we’ve got: The Beyonder, Molecule Man, Volcana, Wolfsbane, Warlock, Mirage, Cannonball, Magik, Captain America, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shadowcat, Magneto, Rogue, Rachel Summers, Iron Man (James), Tony Stark, Professor X, Moria MacTaggert, David Haller (Legion) Dazzler, Lila Cheney and Doug Ramsey *who for some reason is colored with black hair that makes him look like Roberto. We get a new character ‘Thundersword’ who is a TV writer who obtains a portion of the Beyonder’s power and pretty much goes crazy. I do like the idea of a potential inside joke looking back on it. The writer is sick of having to play by everyone’s rules and just wants to write what he wants to write. It’s funny once you consider that many X-book writers expressed their dislike of having to throw away their own plots to fit in with massive title wide crossovers and events. I like the concept of The Beyonder wanting to learn and grow but I think I need to see more of it before I can really judge it.

The New Mutants #30 – The Singer & Her Song
The New Mutants #31 – Saturday Night Fight

After having the evil portion of her soul pulled out into the open and becoming the demonic Darkchilde by the Beyonder Illyana transports herself, Rachel, Sam, Kitty and Dazzler to Limbo. Kitty manages to take Illyana’s Soulsword and use it on Illyana which effectively causes Darkchilde’s essence to retreat back into Illyana’s soul. From there the group returns to LA where they find that the Beyonder, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man and Lila Cheney have all vanished. Kitty steps up as the leader of the group and they make their way back to the Gladiators to try once again to free Roberto and Amara. The big reveal here is that the mysterious person that has been running the Gladiators is really Xi’an Coy Manh! Obviously they can’t give out all the details of her sudden resurrection or why she has changed not only in behavior but drastically in the looks department as well. What is kind of explained is why the sudden change in the Gladiators mindset; while it’s not expressly said I’m choosing to believe that is why they returned to their old ways. Ultimately Xi’an gets away and Kitty decides that the New Mutants need to go on their own and track down Karma while she, Rachel, and Alison reconnect with the X-Men.

Dazzler #37 – The Girl in the Machine: B
Dazzler #38 – Challenge: C
The New Mutants #29 – Meanwhile, Back at the Mansion…: B
The Uncanny X-Men #195 – It Was A Dark And Stormy Night: A
Secret Wars II #1 – Earthfall!: B
The New Mutants #30 – The Singer & Her Song: A
The New Mutants #31 – Saturday Night Fight: B

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Young Justice 106 Infiltrator Review

Well we finally got introduced to Artemis and I’m not impressed at all. First off she wasn’t in the first five episodes and there was a brief hint at her arrival with the arrow Robin found in the last episode but personally I think that they really botched her introduction. There was No introduction to her really – she actually joined the team OFF SCREEN. WTF? They feature her heavily in all the promotional spots and bumpers but they don’t have any establishing material other than the arrow from last episode? No random cutaways to her training with Green Arrow? No showing her meet Young Justice – there was nothing she wasn’t there and then she was. I think Wally said it best (and repeatedly): “WHO ARE YOU?”

Actually ‘who are you’ was sort of inadvertently the theme of this episode. There were many characters that I’m not familiar with (aside from Aqualad and Miss Martian) – we seethe League of Shadows that include Black Spider, Professor Ojo, Hook, Cheshire and Sensei. Sensei is working with The Light but we’re not meant to know if the rest of the League of Shadows knows this. Obviously we don’t know anything about Artemis but that’s because we’re not supposed to know. I don’t really feel one way or another about Dr. Roquette but I do get the sense that she’s supposed to be a one and done type of character so I’m okay with that.

I hate to say it but I really loved Cheshire. I don’t know anything about her character in the comic universe but I do remember hearing rumors that she was going to be the real identity of Artemis. Obviously that’s not true – but they do seem to know each other and that they’re working together. My best guess is that they’re sisters (since Artemis is supposed to also be half  Vietnamese like Cheshire) searching for their father (since when I read Cheshire’s Wikipedia page there was a lot of talk of her father)  and the Light is positioning Artemis to think that Green Arrow killed her father because he was an agent of The Light – but I’m thinking that ultimately it will turn out that Artemis (but not Cheshire since at the very best they would only be half sisters) will turn out to be Green Arrow’s illegitimate daughter (replacing Connor Hawke because really there isn’t any room for a 4th/5th archer in such a small cast.)

I’m not really sure where they’re going with it but there had to be a reason why Green Arrow took in Artemis and is passing her off as his niece especially considering that Red Arrow (Speedy’s new codename) can prove that she isn’t who she is claiming to be. I’d rather have Roy on the team than Artemis (I’ll still push for Arrowette over both of them though) and I think that will happen eventually. I don’t really see Artemis as a long term character especially considering other recurring characters have gotten much more screen time than her.

I don’t know what to really rate this episode. I like the series as much, if not more than I thought I would. At the same time I dislike Artemis as much, if not more than I thought I would but putting those opposing stances aside for a minute in general as a genre TV fan I really can’t get past Artemis’ introduction.

Oh – almost forgot – the pictures aren’t mine this time; I deleted the episode before I remembered to take stills of it. These come from

Rating: C

Friday, February 18, 2011

MotUC: She-Ra: Action Figure Review

Since I decided to try to review each of the Masters of the Universe Classics figures when I get them shipped to me each month now I figured I should use some down time to catch up on the previous figures that I have. Since this week Bow and the Shadow Beasts are coming I figured that now might as well be as good of a time as any to bust out the She-Ra figure since she’s the only other ‘Princess of Power’ figure that I haven’t reviewed yet.

The package is the same as any other faction character package. You get the standard blister with the bricks and since it’s a faction figure you get the ‘Princess of Power’ sticker. I like the sticker, but for some characters it will look odd. For some reason my camera decided that it really wanted to use the flash on these sets of pictures so you can’t really see the tagline on the front of the box its: Most Powerful Woman in the Universe. The characters on the back are actually all tied to She-Ra so that’s nice: He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Adora, King Randor, Hordak and She-Ra herself. It does seem a little odd to see both incarnations of Adora on the same package, I doubt that you’ll ever see He-Man, Battle Armor He-Man and Prince Adam all on one package together; but I guess they needed to fill it with some character that’s tied to her. I do like the added bonus of the picture of She-Ra riding Swift Wind but again it’s odd to see him on the package but not included in the bio or anything and there are other issues with this picture that I’ll get into in a little bit.

Now on to the bio:

Real Name: Adora of the House of Randor
Channeling the combined Power of the Universe and the Wisdom of the Elders of Eternia, Adora transforms into She-Ra, the most powerful woman in the Universe. Her strength comes not from brute force but from sheer will and her cunning magical powers and healing abilities. She also has the power to communicate telepathically with animals. As both She-Ra and Adora, she helped lead the Great Rebellion of Etheria against the Horde invaders. Later, when Hordak found an escape to Eternia, she followed him along with several of her friends and allies. Once there, the Princess of Power joined forces with the now renegade Masters of the Universe, who without King Randor had become outcasts in their own land, fighting against Hordak’s new tyranny!

With the bio – again it’s very odd that there is still no mention of Marlena – they’re running out of people that they can mention her in outside of an actual figure of herself – which I hope comes really soon. Anyway, I’m not sure that I like the idea that they up-played her magical abilities and made her strength seem more psychic than anything else. Theoretically I guess it makes sense since basically Adam and Adora pretty much split the power of Grayskull but it does raise an interesting question. If She-Ra’s powers are based off of will and mental abilities or even the magical powers, then why was Hordak able to mentally control Adora for all those years? I love the twist of the Rebellion moving to Eternia but the way the bio is written makes me worry if they intend on killing off Randor, or even possibly doing away with the secret identities. It would be hard to explain how Adora and She-Ra both travel to Eternia and set up shop there and have it not raise a few eyebrows for certain characters.

The articulation is pretty standard with the female buck: ball neck, swivel wrists, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge hips, swivel things, hinged knees, swivel calves, hinged ankles and rocker ankles. The difference is now on the ankles we have an internal rocker similar to the male figures. I don’t get why they did this because the female ankles were actually one of the best thinks about that particular design. The articulation in the torso, much like with the other females in the line remains completely useless, and actually with She-Ra’s skirt being sculpted the way it is somehow it manages to make that particular articulation point on this figure even more useless.

We do manage to get quite a bit of new sculpting here which is nice. The new boots are good but compared to the other females in the line it does come off as kind of plain, of course we get a new head sculpt, well actually two because of the alternate head. The dress is an all new sculpt and it’s actually done very well however the plastic it’s made out of is too thick and it made of a much too rigid plastic that severely limits the possibility of poses you can do and it makes her look a little too chunky. We get a new sculpt for She-Ra’s removable cape and a brand new shield.

We do get quite a bit of accessories here and almost all of them are new so that’s always a pluss too. Since the figure reused the basic female buck and we received a repainted version of the Sword of Protection that came with Adora they had more of a budget to use for new parts. The shield is nice and it has the same gem put in the top of the shield that is in the sword so there’s a tie in there. I get that they went with the gold versions to match the original toy in the 80s but I much rather would have had a more FILMation accurate silver sword and silver shield. I’ve already spoken about the boots and the dress so I won’t really go into them again, the cape is nice but it really is a pain to deal with when it comes to swapping out of heads. The heads, we have a style guide (A.K.A. FILMation) version of her head which is nice, but to me it looks a little bit off. The alternate head is more styled after the original figure’s head. It’s the same sculpt only instead we have a much larger mask that is removable and you can switch its positions to be either a tiara or a mask. Some people don’t like the sparkly decals but I like it on the mask. I actually prefer the toy head to the ‘modern’ head. We also get a nifty update on the weird comb the PoP figures came with back in the day. It still has the comb feature, which is now useless because of the females having sculpted hair instead of rooted, so instead the Four Horsemen decided to make it more of an axe. I actually really like the axe/comb but between the sword and shield She-Ra’s hands are full so there’s no room for the axe.

Like every MotUC figure She-Ra is not without her problems, and she actually seems to have the most. The ankles on mine are a little too loose and she randomly takes a dive off of the display shelf. The shield fits fine but I can see the potential to have a lot of paint rub so I just pose it in a way that it looks like she’s holding it instead of it being on her (her right fist actually fits perfectly between the two clamps.) The dress is a major issue for the rigidity and limits the possibility which I think is actually helping to make the ankle joints seem weaker than they actually are. The heads are great but the hair sculpt limits the poses you can do, and the neck peg is so flawed it’s almost too hard to talk about. The modern head is what most people will display her with, and that’s the head I have on her now. Mostly because I forgot to take a picture of the modern head or the axe and it took me a good 45 minutes just to get this head on the figure (all these months later) I’m afraid to take it off. The toy based head is much easier to get on and off, so easy in fact that when I opened the package I pulled the figure out and her head stayed in the package! There are a few paint scuffs; the only really bothersome one for me is the gold on her arm, which you can see in the pictures in this review. There are a lot of flaws here, and a lot of problems but I can’t help but really like the figure. But I think this is a case of not liking the figure for what it is but loving it for what it could have and should have been.

Hah, I go to post this and I got so far into it that I actually forgot to mention the giant hole in her head. I love both masks (the toy one actually more than the modern tiara) but I know many fans might want to display her without any sort of headgear and I feel sorry for them. Mattel issued a statement a long time ago about the hole in the head that was (it’s been a while so I don’t remember it word for word) basically ‘we don’t want you to display She-Ra without any headgear.’ There had to have been better ways to word that, plus why even say that at all? It’s one thing to say that the budget couldn’t allow for a third head, or an easier solution than the giant hole but to come out right and say we did it because we want to dictate the way you display her was over the line.

Figure Rating: B

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Young Justice 105 Schooled Review

Well this will be a short one but at least it will have my own screen caps in it. I managed to watch the most recent episode of Young Justice “Schooled.” I’ve got to admit I wasn’t fully invested in this episode for several reasons but it was still watchable. I do like that they broke up the team a bit and had Dick and Superboy share more scenes together – but I do really wish it was Tim and Kon. The idea of switching up some of the incarnations of the characters is starting to grow on me and I’m starting to try to be objective about Miss Martian. Aqualad isn’t growing on me yet but he doesn’t totally annoy me in this episode.

We get the introduction of Amazo and Professor Ivo. I didn’t really care with the choices of those two characters but I guess its okay. Maybe a different character would have come off better and still suited the plot. I mean come on we all know that the whole purpose of Amazo was to find a way to have Superboy start to accept the team as his friends and that he can’t do everything alone. But therein lies the problem – why is Black Canary training him? I get that the whole idea is that the strongest person doesn’t automatically always win but there should be a powerhouse training Superboy if for no other reason than him being so young and having to deal with this world.

The big missed opportunity here is because they insist on playing up the plot of Superboy desperately wanting to have a relationship with his ‘father’ Superman/Clark. There’s not much longer that they can play this out without having Superman/Clark/Kal-El – I don’t really know what to call him for this because they keep calling Superboy his ‘son’ yet they haven’t even given Superboy the ‘Kon-El’ name let alone gotten as far as making him Connor Kent – come off like a deadbeat father who is rejecting a son he didn’t knowingly create. All that’s missing is a mother running around asking for child support.

This would be the perfect opportunity to bring in Supergirl – I get that the incarnation that DC insists on shoving down our throats is the Kara Zor-El version and that we’d most likely get her over Linda Danvers or even the basic Matrix\Mae incarnation (and we would probably get Kara down the line anyway since she is in the Super Family and we might be getting Cassie/Wonder Girl down the line.) Hell I’d love Kara in this instance – it would be the perfect way to save the idea of Superman if Kara stepped up and had a relationship with Superboy and simply sat down and said ‘hey – Superman wants a family, I’m his cousin – he wants the connection but he needs time to adjust to the idea of having a ‘son’ that was created with the sole purpose of being used to kill him eventually; but we’re family too – lets have a relationship and show Superman that you’re more than the sum of your creation.’

We have yet another episode without Artemis in it but we do have a little bit of a build up to her arrival here. The team finds an arrow after their battle with Amazo and confronts the Justice League and find out that it isn’t Green Arrows – they assume that it belongs to Speedy and that he was looking out for them. So naturally it will end up being Artemis’ arrow and now Roy’s because that’s just the way those types of reveals are done.

Rating: B

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Batman: Under the Red Hood Movie Review

Another quickie here, today it’s one of the DC Animated movies: Batman: Under the Red Hood. I’ve wanted to watch this one for a while now and it was a nice little distraction from my current surroundings. I’m not really big on Batman comics – there are certain characters I enjoy a lot but not enough to get pulled into that universe so while I know the basics of the story I don’t know all of the itty bitty details. That being said the movie was still really enjoyable – much better than Batman: Gotham Knights.
The whole movie revolves around the time the Joker killed the second Robin (Jason Todd) and the aftermath of it. I know in the comics that eventually Jason comes back all dark and twisted as The Red Hood but I don’t know if Ra’s al Ghul or Black Mask were even involved in the comic book version of this story. What I did enjoy were the nods to the mythos; the shots of Talia, the mentions of the Joker crippling Barbara Gordon, the flashbacks to the past showing how different Jason was compared to Dick.

The animation was really good so there weren’t any complaints there. The casting – for the most part was also good. I didn’t really care for the voice of the Joker because Mark Hamill will always be the Joker to me. I was really surprised and pleased with Neil and Jensen’s voice acting. My only real complaint was that I felt the movie should be longer. I know that the DCU movies usually aren’t full length movies (more like between an hour – an hour and 20 minutes) but they really should have taken advantage of how hot the Batman franchise is now and just produce a longer animated film.
This is definitely one of my favorite DC animated movies – the other two being Wonder Woman and Green Lantern First Flight and then maybe- maybe either Public Enemies or Crisis on Two Earths but Under the Red Hood is far from being the worst and will most likely take top spot in my DCU favorites.

Oh before I forget, just like yesterday’s review these are images gathered from around the net because I don’t have the time or the ability to take screen caps myself. (Family emergency, spending most of my time in the hospital the past week or so now, so I’m working with limited resources here.)

Rating: A

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fanboys DVD Review

Before I start I’m going to give a bit of a disclaimer. I usually take pictures of things or screen caps myself but due to some personal stuff I’ve got going on right now that I’d rather not get into I didn’t have a chance to do that since I watched it in a not so ideal location at a not so ideal time so I just gathered the pictures off of the net. Actually this is going to be a really speedy review without going into too much detail because I really don’t feel up to it.

The movie revolves around a group of friends (one that has kind of drifted away and ‘grown up’) who decide to take a road trip and storm George Lucas’ ranch to see Star Wars Episode I before it gets released. On the way to the Ranch there are plenty of cameos and a lot of inside jokes – that I probably would have understood a lot better if I was a fan of the Star Wars franchise but when they weren’t throwing in-jokes there still were a lot of things that kept it funny.

The casting was really good but that’s because I already love Kristen Bell and I’ve liked quite a few things that Christopher Marquette has been in and despite Superman: Returns and Cavemen Sam Huntington has really started to grow on me. I don’t know – I just liked the cast, even people I don’t normally like I liked, it was odd. I just wish Kristen had more screen time.

Even though I’m trying to make this a quick one I do need to talk about the epic journey that it took to even get this movie made. I did a bit of reading up on it and wow. It was pushed back almost two years, the studio cut in and tried to get them to edit out the cancer story line and once that didn’t test well they brought the original director back in and gave him like two days to re-cut the movie. I say they should have left well enough alone and kept all of the cancer storyline in because in the brief time they had to change it back it only allowed for two comments that could have been taken as the group lying to Eric to try to manipulate him into patching things up with Linus and then all of them lying to the cops to get out of jail. It doesn’t really sink in until Linus is in the hospital and Carrie Fisher’s cameo as a doctor that it hits you that he really is dying.

I didn’t have a chance to watch the audio commentary (which honestly I rarely ever do watch them) but the other special features are great. I loved the little documentary web series that they put on the dvd. But lets be honest here, the entire dvd is worth it if for nothing more than Sam’s MTV Cribs style tour of his onset trailer and then Kristen Bell rapping. Even if the movie was total crap (which it really wasn’t) the entire thing would have been worth it for those two episodes of the web series alone.

Rating: BUY
Special Features: WATCH
Overall Rating: A+

Monday, February 14, 2011

Young Justice 104 Drop Zone Review

This episode of Young Justice introduces Bane, Sportsmaster, Mammoth, Shimmer and Kobra into the series. I’m okay with this because there needs to be a rotation of villains so things don’t get too boring but because of that plus the larger role Batman played in this particular episode as well as The Light we get yet one more episode without Artemis and we have our first episode without Speedy in it. I don’t mind the exclusion of Speedy since he’s only a supporting character but this type of mission really could have used an archer. The real problem is Artemis – I think it would have been much more effective if they left her out of the credits, mid-show bumpers and promotional photos until they introduced her. It’s just odd to have her so visible yet not be in the series yet.

So the main plot here revolves around Kobra creating a super venom that is a mixture of Bane’s Venom and Project Cadmus’ Blockbuster formula. It’s a good concept but I wish they focused a little bit more on how the Cult of the Kobra were able to retrieve the Blockbuster Formula in the first place. The Light show up again having sent Sportsmaster to retrieve the new formula – it’s a nice throw back to the first two episodes but I think that they should focus more on expanding the immediate universe first (focusing on YJ and The Light and Project Cadmus) instead of bringing in other characters just to bring them in and then use them as a way to expand the mythology even though they’re most likely ‘one and done’ characters. I mean sure they might bring back Bane or Kobra maybe even Sportsmaster but I really doubt we’ll see Mammoth or Shimmer again.

They toned down M’gaan a bit which is nice but I really hope they drop the whole ‘duh’ M’gaan thing – that’s only been featured in the past two episodes but I’m already really, really sick of that whole thing. I did like her scenes with Superboy even though there were really cliché but it’s fun watching the two of them try to figure out how to be human together. Aqualad as the leader? Yeah I don’t think I like that – that just means that he’ll be getting a bigger focus and I’m not entirely sold on him as a character yet – but I am hating him less as the episodes progress. The stealth costumes were a nice touch and I hope we see them again.

Rating: B