(Submitted by Senor Prince Adam…Thanks for kicking ass, Kinky Kolleague! 🙂 xoxo)
“Rosemary’s just an average American co-ed bringing her boyfriend, Takehiko, home from college to meet her parents, who happen to be Satanists.” (Vertigo)
When I first started reading through this story, I thought that this was going to be a one off filler issue. Instead, what we get is a jaw dropping mythological twist and the setup for the next big arc. The issue starts off very casually enough. It’s about a boy and a girl, heading to a seemingly quaint town in New England, so the boy can meet the girl’s parents. You even see the girl warning the boy that her family is weird and to be prepared for anything. The stereotype is perpetuated by the boyfriends typical reaction of shrugging her warnings off as hyperbole. While this may sound like a typical romance story, it is anything but that. Shockingly, Rosemary and her parents. are part of a group of Satanists, living in the town of Devil’s Knob. Maybe the name of the town and the fact that this is a Lucifer comic book, should’ve made me think twice about writing this issue off as a romantic filler with some scares. As Rosemary tells her boyfriend the history of Satanism in the town, we the reader get just enough exposition that we need for the payoff for the rest of the story, we learn that a resident named Gordo, who started a church because he knew that if he ran a church, he’d never have to pay taxes, That reasoning is so humorous , yet so believable. I can imagine some lazy bastard doing this because he didn’t want to pay taxes. The fact that the church is in part a Satanic church and a club for Death Metal Band, serves the nature and tone of the comic book on the whole and the overall story. Rosemary tries to soften the idea of her parents being Satanists for her boyfriend Takehiko, by telling him that while there is a segment of Satanists who believe in a devil with horns and a pitchfork, for most, including Rosemary and her parents, Satanism is about physical gratification, putting yourself first, lusting after hot people, eating inappropriately, being a bitch or an asshole and treating it like a sacrament. Takehiko asks Rosemary if there are any true demonic or ghost stories associated with the church, she say yes. We then get the story that really kicks this comic into a high gear and it starts to have relevancy. During one of the parties, things got too crazy and the church/house burnt down with a drunk girl named Joanna Newton, who died inside. Gordo then, as folklore tells it, sold the girls soul for money to build a new church. If this were any standard romance story, the boyfriend would cut it and run. Instead, Takehiko says he’s looking forward to meeting her parents and attending their church function. He is ambushed by her parents and other members of the congregation, who are naked except for wearing robes and horns. They pull a blade on him, claiming to sacrifice him for Lucifer.
At this point, Takehiko snaps and calls them blasphemers and summons the supposedly dead Joanna Newton. Turns out Joanna survived the fire and managed to escape, after Gordo and the others left her for dead. This revelation means that, the deal Gordo made in exchange for her soul is incomplete. After learning the demon Gordo made a deal with was Asmodeus, Takehiko summons him. Here’s where the real twist comes in. Asmodeus is Lucifer’s brother and uncle to Takehiko, meaning Takehiko is the first born son of Lucifer. The book ends with Asmodeus ordering Takehiko to return to hell, allowing him to bring Rosemary, while he keeps Gordo as a slave, as a means to fulfill his deal. With Lucifer back in action, Asmodeus indicates it’s time to challenge Mazikeen for the throne and reclaim his birthright, becoming the King of Hell. I’ll be completely honest, I did not see that twist with Takehiko coming. The sad thing on my part, is that there were hints. For example, its mentioned that, his father was long gone and that eventually he would have to deal with the family business. These bits of writing were in bold, so I should’ve paid them more attention. Even worse, there were small demonic wings sprouting out of his back, as he was having sex. I’m going to use the fact that there was a sex scene and the fact that I was so engrossed in the backstory of the Satanic Church, thus I missed it. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. There was no mention of Lucifer having children in the first story arc and I don’t know enough about Neil Gaiman’s initial run of this series, Given that reasoning, I have to give credit to writer Holly Black, for writing such a fascinating and distracting story.
Art for this issue was drawn by Stephanie Hans. This is a different artist than the first story arc but I liked her work just as much, if not more. While I said that a page or two looked painted in the last story, this whole book had a painted look to it. Specifically, an oil paint style. I don’t think it is actually painted though as it’s not mentioned anywhere in the credits info. Also, they don’t mention a colorist, so I’m going to assume, that too, was done by Stephanie Hans. The opening scenes, with the young couple driving through a wintery New England, was idyllically picturesque. I know people who live in New Hampshire and winter’s can produce quite the snowfall, so this imagery has some accuracy to it. The flashback scenes to the drunken party had this purple filter to them. I’ve seen color pallets such as this used in films and television when people get piss drunk or sky high and I like that this book borrows stylistic choices from other media. The art for the fake Satanic sacrifice ritual poked fun at the stereotypes that are out there about Satanism. I like that the art and this book as a whole, is very self aware and does this sort of thing. While Lucifer and his son look nothing like the stereotypical version of the devil, I’m glad others like Asmodeus do have the more red skinned, horned demon look we are used to. Gives the book some variety. Regarding Takehiko’s red demonic looking wings, as opposed to Lucifer’s white angelic looking wings. I’m going to assume this is due to the fact that Takehiko’s mother is an ancient Japanese demon herself, while we must remember that Lucifer is in fact an angel. Once again there is plenty of nudity in this book and it is very naturalistic and never done to be in your face, or over the top.
This issue is a great example of what a stand alone issue after a main story arc should be. A more personal intimate story that gives the reader time to catch their breath, while at the same time, getting us excited for what’s to come. I am beyond excited for the Game of Thrones-like supernatural battle for the throne of hell, that is about to go down. This book may be about the devil but the quality of writing and art continues to be heavenly good! It’s worth your time and money. After reading this, I am definitely going to do a commentary article on the television series, after Season 3 concludes, especially with Smallville alumni Tom Welling on the series.
(Submitted by your Super Friend and mine, Mr. Doctor Prince Adam…Thanks, you Naughty Nerd, you! 😉 xoxo)
“No Angel is a cosmological and conspiratorial modern western with super power by way of The Da Vinci Code.” (Black Mask Studios)
No Angel is an independent comic book, written by the brother sister team of Eric Palicki and Adrianne Palicki. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Adrianne Palicki starred in the film Legion, played Mockingbird on Agents of SHIELD and starred in the pilot for the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman series, which never got off the ground. Her involvement is how this book got on my radar. Thee book starts out with an FBI agent based out of Chicago, returning home to the small town of Tucker’s Mill Wisconsin. Our protagonist Hannah Gregory, comes upon her old house with her high school friend, now the Sheriff. The house is now a cordoned off crime scene, as her father and brother have been murdered. While attending the funeral, Hannah meets a woman who had a relationship with her father. The woman suggest they should talk, handing Hannah a piece of paper. Hannah scolds the woman and demands she leaves. If this is sounding like a paint by the numbers CBS Drama, I thought the same thing at first and was quickly losing interest. However, the book quickly takes an interesting turn, when Hannah reads the note, which has a bible passage on it. This bible passage, tells of angels mating with humans. Curious, Hannah meets with Miriam Chapman, who tells Hannah that she and her father were indeed a couple, but it was more than just sex. Miriam and her father believed in the Nephilim , which are the children created from the unions of angels and humans. It turns out that these bible passages have truth to them and that Miriam and Hannah’s fathers research deduced that the bloodline of the Nephilim has survived and that they, along with their family members are descendants of angels. Adding to the mythology, is that Hannah has a half sister named Jessica. Due to the pairing of two descendants of the Nephilim, she is born complete with actual Angel wings. I’m sure there are films and television that flirt, or directly deal with the children of Angels and human fornication. I think the aforementioned Legion starring the co-writer of this book, dealt with a similar idea. Also, a recent issue of Lucifer, saw human and a demon give birth to Cain and Abel. Even Preacher has an angel and demon hooking up and creating a unique offspring. However, the idea of humans and angels getting together, coupled with the family drama, that originally had my interest waning, actually made the supernatural element more unique. The further mythology is cool as well. There are several other descendants of angels, that comprise a group know as the Eloise. The members/descendants of angels are from all denominations of religion, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. I love the decision that, while the conception of angels is rooted in Christian mythology, other religions are included as descendants of the Nephilim and in the group of believers known as the Elioud. Religion often divides amongst different denominations, so seeing them all come together under a common belief was a welcome change of pace from the reality we live in at times.
With the mythology now set, the revelation (no pun intended), that the death of Hannah’s father and brother was no random robbery is revealed. The murders were actually part of a string of murders of Elioud members that began 14 years ago, The killer is a man named Elliot. Elliot is a member of the group The Watchers, who believe in the Angel Azazel. According to The Watchers, Azazel understood the tyrannical potential of his fellow angels, went down to Earth and shared secrets with humanity about angels and helping them create weapons that could kill the angels. For his deeds, Azazel is punished, disfigured and cast out of heaven. He is chained and buried underground, However, he gets free by mutating into a horde of spiders. He and his followers drove the angels into disappearance. However, now that they are back via their descendants, The Watchers, via Elliot are back on the hunt. I loved the classical battle of good and evil, where the roles are so clearly defined. There’s no black and white and sometimes, that’s okay. Too many characters are shades of grey in modern stories. The rest of the book is a chase/hunt, with Elliot hunting Hannah and Jessica, while they race to evade him and try to protect other members of the Elioud. As a result, I agree with the description calling it a modern day western. In fact, it reminds me a little bit of Logan, with Hannah being this story’s Wolverine and Jessica being the Laura/X-23 character. There are deaths as a result of this chase. Miriam is killed by Elliot and when Eliot has a gun pointed at Hannah ready to pull the trigger, Jessica ignites a fire at the gas station, burning Elliot to death. Jessica is mortified by what she’s done, after her parents have raised her to be pious and live a peaceful life. Seeing her half sisters pain, Hannah tells a story about her time in the war in Baghdad, where to save her partner, she threw a grenade into the apartment the sniper was stationed in. Ultimately, she saves her partner and got a commendation for it, yet she was ultimately mortified when she realized the sniper was just a boy. The similarities between the two siblings actions, and reactions to the consequences of their actions, further bonds them. This is a big moment for Hannah because at the start of the book, she was very closed off towards her family. However, each issue showed a progression of Hannah opening up to the notion of a sister, accepting her as part of her family and the fact that she’s an angel, before finally accepting her role in Jessica’s life, post Miriam’s death. I loved the slow burn of this relationship. It would have been absolutely disingenuous if Hannah embraced and accepted Jessica straight away. I also really enjoyed the juxtaposition of Hannah’s war time flashbacks, with Jessica killing Elliot. This book manages to ground itself in the unfortunate reality of war, while telling a story with overt supernatural trappings. Not many movies, comic books, or television can balance both as good as it is here.
Art is drawn by Ari Syahrazad. His art is new to me but is very reminiscent of Michael Lark’s work on Daredevil, though that art is slightly more detailed. This book had everything, The dark, gritty, earthy look of war. You feel like you’re in Baghdad, and that your life is in danger, as you track Hannah and her fellow soldier through that warzone. The creepiest image is easily seeing spiders crawl out of Elliot’s eye socket’s and all over his face. The second creepiest is a young Elliot being indoctrinated into The Watchers, while staring at the strung up bones of Azazel. The opening of the door, to reveal Jessica, Hannah’s literal Angelic half sister looked both impressive as it should, yet rather small scale given the homely setting. It’s a very unique image to behold. We’ve got grit, we’ve got a creep factor, and we also have big action sequences. We’ve got a car chase shoot out, that looks like they could be Need for Speed concept art drawings. There’s also a gas station explosion and Elliott going down in flames, that would make Michael Bay and James Cameron’s testicles tingle. The artist can seemingly draw literally anything the writers throw at him.
I didn’t even know about this book, let alone have any expectations for it. Yet, here we are and I really liked it. This book was a four issue mini series but the ending implies that more is to come (no I won’t spoil the ending.) I definitely want more, especially after the end of the epilogue. So, do your part, buy this book and read it, so we can get a volume 2. Buy it because independent comic books don’t always get the love and exposure they deserve. More importantly, buy this book because it’s a fantastic story!
(Submitted by Senor SuperheroScifi himself, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Freak! 😉 xoxoxoxo))
GOTHAM Season 3, picks up right where the second season left off. The Indian Hill Monsters are on the loose. This includes Fish Mooney and Bruce Wayne’s doppelganger. Jim Gordon has once again left the GCPD and now freed from bureaucratic red tape, hunts down the “monster’s and solves other crimes as a bounty hunter. Meanwhile, Lieut.. Barnes and Detective Bullock try to maintain order in Gotham City and straighten out a police force in disarray. All the while, Leslie Thompkins has moved on from Jim Gordon, and is set to marry Mario Falcone, son of mob boss Carmine Falcone. The first half of the season is titled Mad City and sees the freaks from Indian Hill tracking down Hugo Strange, to discover why their powers are actually killing them. Each of the main characters are affected by this development, In his search for clues about the Indian Hill escapees, Jim Gordon teams up with photo journalist Valerie Vale to track them down. Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth are tracking Bruce’s Doppelganger, who is out on the streets, assuming his life and ruining his relationship with Selina Kyle. Penguin meanwhile, is using the Indian Hill chaos to make a bid for mayor, He gets Butch Galzean and his cronies to kill the other candidates, handing Penguin the mayoral seat. Edward Nygma is promoted in Penguin’s organization, leaving Butch out in the cold. Butch secretly joins the Red Hood Gang, and plots to kill Penguin. The show throws a curveball in the Penguin/Nygma relationship, by having Penguin in love with Nygma, However, in a soap opera type twist, Nygma falls in love with a librarian named Isabella, who looks exactly like Kris Kringle, the woman he killed last season. Penguin can’t handle Nygma being with anyone else, so he has Isabella’s breaks cut, causing her to die in a car accident. When Nygma discovers the truth behind Penguin’s motives and actions, he too, plots to drive Penguin mad, before killing him. Back to Gordon’s quest. His Bounty Hunter calling brings him into contact with Jervis Tetch, who comic fans will know as the Mad Hatter. Jervis is looking for his sister Alice, a patient at Indian Hill, who is on the lose and has a blood disease. In reality, Jervis is trying to find his sister to use her blood to infect citizens of Gotham, making them angrier, prone to more violence, and giving them enhanced strength. When Jervis finally finds his sister, he holds her captive and extracts her blood, against her will. At first, he infects Captain Barnes, who later becomes the villain known as the Executioner. In an altercation between Jim Gordon and Jervis Tetch, Alice is killed. Jervis escapes, and sets out for revenge against Jim Gordon. He infect Mario Falcone and kidnaps both Leslie Tompkins and Valerie Vale. Valerie ends up getting shot and wounded, before Jervis is ultimately apprehended and sent to Arkham. With that, the first half of the season known as Mad City ends.
The first half of Season 3 of Gotham was all over the place for me. Given all the hierarchy office politics and corruption Jim Gordon has had to put up with in the first two seasons, I like that he’s broken away and become a bounty hunter, It makes sense story wise, could be plausible for the hard boiled Year One esque Gordon we are presented with, and fits perfectly with the rough and tumble version played by Ben McKenzie. I even like the inclusion of Valerie Vale. Obviously for her familial connection to Vicki Vale. (the former is the latter’s aunt.) What I will say, is that Valerie Vale is tougher, and a better investigative reporter/photo journalist as played by Jamie Chung, than Vicki Vale played by Kim Basinger, Though, it was disappointing, that she was ultimately used as a plot device to prove to Jim Gordon, that he still ultimately loves Leslie Thompkins.. I though everything involving the Penguin and Edward Nygma was great. Penguin running for mayor was both a call back to Batman 66 and Batman Returns. Penguin being revealed as gay and in love with Edward Nygma, is an interesting change, that I’m totally okay with. You can see why Oswald would develop those feelings. Over the course of both seasons, Nygma is the only one that’s supported Oswald and they’ve helped each other in times of need. You get why Penguin goes overboard when Nygma rejects his proclamation of love. Though, having Nygma’s girlfriend killed is deplorable, and the schism between the two is meaningful. The escaped Indian Hill captives on the loose was almost pointless, save for Doppelganger Bruce being on the loose and Poison Ivy coming into contact with a metahuman’s who’s touch, steals her youth. However, Ivy wasn’t in his grasp long enough, and therefore only ages to a mid 20’s adult. The result is actress Maggie Geha assumes the role of Poison Ivy. She’s sexy, sultry and is able to pull off Ivy’s classic mesmerizing and control of men with ease. PS: I’m glad Fish Mooney finally 100% dies this season. It’s about damn time. I absolutely hated Jervis Tetch and the whole super blood virus plot point. It was ridiculously stupid and Mad Hatter was nothing more than a Riddler wannabe. However, this show already has a much more superior Riddler. Also, there’s a sexual tension that Jervis has for his sister Alice, which is extremely creepy. (Dear Gotham Writers, just because it works for Game of Thrones, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.)
Prior to the second half of the season truly kicking off, there’s a three episode interlude that deals with a cult dedicated to Jerome, who you’ll remember is GOTHAM’s version of the Joker. The Leader of this cult has obtained Jerome’s body and resurrects him in a very Frankenstein way. The result literally starts to peel Jerome’s face off. Before killing the underling that brought him back to life, Jerome’s face is stitched and stapled back on. This was horrifically gruesome and was a great callback to the Joker losing his face in the first arc of Detective Comics in the New 52. The show mixed new and old, once again, having Jerome commandeer a TV station to lure Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon to the Gotham fair grounds We saw Jerome commandeer a TV Station last season to get his message out there. Once again, this is a nod tp Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, while also honoring the Joker’s first appearance, where he interrupted a radio broadcast. Jerome is doing all this because Bruce and Gordon foiled his plan the first go around and, inadvertently led to his death. The Fairground setting also has ties to Batman lore, specifically, Batman: The Killing Joke. Much like in that book, where Batman and Joker fight in a Hall of Mirrors, so to, do Bruce and Jerome. The tension, hatred and frustration these two characters have historically had for each other, is beautifully recreated by David Mazouz and Cameron Monaghan The fight between the two was riveting. GOTHAM‘s Bruce Wayne goes full Ben Affleck Batman in the BvS where house scene, and Jerome taunts Bruce like Heath Ledger’s Joker did, in The Dark Knight. I genuinely believe that the performances by David and Cameron belong in the same sentence as those iconic moments in Batman on film lore. The two characters and actors and characters, are so dynamic and electric on screen together that before tis series comes to an end, I want a season long arc with the Bruce/Jerome conflict at its core.
With the Indian Hill Leftovers mostly dealt with, the second half of the season known as Heroes Rise elevates the rest of the season into high gear. Edward Nygma orchestrate a fake kidnapping, so he can separate himself from Penguin, and begins to torment mayor Cobblepot, hiring an actor to play the ghost of Penguin’s dead father. After driving Penguin mad, Edward Nygma steps out into the public as The Riddler, going about committing riddle base crimes. His emergence and criminal activity , leaves Penguin incensed, and starts another mob war, with the villains in Gotham choosing sides. Poison Ivy, Firefly and Mr. Freeze side with The Penguin, while Butch Galzean, Tabitha and Barbara Kean side with The Riddler. What ensues is very akin to the mob war currently going on in the comic books titled, A War of Jokes and Riddles. Though, in that story, it’s The Riddler vs The Joker. The end result of this war, is that there is a schism between Tabitha and Barbara, after she kills Butch. The two start fighting with Barbara getting electrocuted. This whole season has seen Barbara, Tabitha and Butch in the middle of this fracture between Riddler and Penguin’s relationship. Between last season and this season, Tabitha is clearly positioned as a prototype Catwoman, while Selina Kyle eventually transitions into that. Meanwhile, Barbara Kean has gotten crazier each season, going over the edge, specifically this season. What’s interesting is that the crazier she gets, the more I enjoy the character. She’s this show’s prototype Harley Quinn and the producers have hinted she may go full Harley Quinn in the near future. It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. If the show does go that route, good luck to Erin Richards trying to follow Margot Robbie. While Butch was shot and killed, as he’s being carted to the morgue, it is revealed that his birth name is Cyrus Gold, which suggests he is a comic book character, for whom death is not permanent. Here’s a hint: There’s a good chance he was born on a Monday! This was a shock, a true twist I was not expecting.
Speaking of the unexpected, this season, gives us an ultimate big bad for the season and the series in the first two season’s. As Bruce and Alfred are searching for his doppelganger, they discover that Hugo Strange isn’t the mastermind behind Indian Hill or Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murders. The group responsible for that, is a clandestine group known as the Court of Owls. The evil secret society has a council of members, comprised of Gotham City’s wealthiest and elite. They were the ones who hired Hugo Strange to raise the dead and imbue them with abilities. This was their attempt to find a means to eternal life. They put a hit on Thomas & Martha Wayne because they rebuked the Court, and threatened to expose them. They also had Jim Gordon’s uncle kill Jim’s father, for the same reasons. I like that this further ties Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne together, not just their future’s but their past as well. When Bruce and Alfred take their findings to Jim, he decides to infiltrate the Court of Owls, becoming a member, while Bruce & Alfred confront the Court’s presence in Wayne Enterprises. While Gordon infiltrates the Court of Owls, Bruce Wayne is kidnapped, and taken to what is sure to be Nada Parbat, where he is trained by an elderly shaman of sorts known as the Sensei, who further trains Bruce in the ways of martial arts, as well as using mystical mental techniques to purge him of the mental block Bruce can’t get over, which is his parents death. It is revealed that Sensei is apparently training and brainwashing Bruce Wayne so that he will become a tool to usher in Gotham’s destruction and rehabilitation. To bring about said destruction, the Court of Owls have found a way to synthesize the Alice Tetch blood virus and disperse it in the air. This begins to drive the citizens of Gotham mad, as they destroy each other and the city. Gordon, Bullock and Lucius Fox race against time to find a cure and stop mass dispersal of the virus. This plot point reminded me of the fear toxin/microwave emitter plot point in Batman Begins a little. When Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City, he is under the control of the Sensei, who has commanded Bruce to kill the Court of Owls. With some slicing and dicing, Bruce does so. Why would the Sensei order his employers dead? Well he did because, the person the Sensei is grooming Bruce Wayne for, is none other than Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s al Ghul has designs on Bruce Wayne being his successor, and truly being a part of Gotham’s rebirth and revitalization. To have Bruce prove his allegiance, Ra’s orders him to stab Alfred with a sword .Bruce does, but the sight of Alfred’s dying body snaps Bruce out of his hypnosis. He immediately places Alfred into a Lazarus pit, before taking him to a hospital. In the hospital as Alfred comes to, Bruce expresses his regret for killing the Court of Owls. Alfred tries to reassure Bruce, that he wasn’t of sound mind and wasn’t in control of his faculties and couldn’t be blamed for his actions. He reminds Bruce, that he has been training to help people and make a difference in Gotham and should refocus his efforts on that. The season ends with a mother, father, and daughter walking home in an alleyway. They are held at gunpoint and robbed. Suddenly, a trench coat, ski mask wearing vigilante, swoops down, gives the mugger a beating, coming to the rescue of the family. The mysterious figure leaps and climbs his way atop a Gotham City skyscraper, before pulling off the ski mask, to reveal that he is none other than Bruce Wayne.
I honestly absolutely loved the inclusion of the Court of Owls this season. The group is relatively new to the comic book world, first debuting in 2011’s New 52. Their interpretation, their longevity and control and secrecy within Gotham City is spot on, to Scott Snyder’s original creation. I also enjoy that the show retroactively inserts the Court of Owls into events of the past two season’s of the series. It gives their stated presence throughout Gotham City’s history actual legitimacy. The city of Gotham being such a character in its own right makes so much more sense with the Court of Owls being involved. It was exactly the same way in the comic books featuring the Court of Owls. As for Ra’s al Ghul, his brief appearance on the show was more exposition and set up for next season, but his motivations were spot on and his look, was spot on with the comic books, complete with green cape/cloak. There’s even a Lazarus Pit! As much as I love Liam Neeson in the role, Christopher Nolan’s neutered version of the character left a lot to be desired for me. It’s too early to say whether this version will be better, but, he’s off to a great start. As for Bruce Wayne suiting up in a trench coat and ski mask as Proto-Batman, I say if it’s fine for Tom Welling’s Clark Kent, then it’s fine for Bruce Wayne. Also, we’ve seen a makeshift pre-Batman in both Batman Begins and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. In my head canon, GOTHAM, is a prequel to Tim Burton’s Batman films, with the short lived Birds of Prey TV series, being a sequel to Batman Returns. Since we never saw Bruce Wayne’s early days, and full transition into Batman in Tim Burton’s film, I’m perfectly okay with the show experimenting with that going forward . No matter where your head canon places GOTHAM, for me it keeps getting better, and season 3 was not only its best, but it marked one of the best DC TV shows of the past season! Bring on Season 4!
(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)
“From James Asmus (Thief of Thieves, All-New Inhumans) and Carlos Magno (Lantern City, Planet of the Apes) comes the authorized origin of Kong. Two fractured and combative civilizations are forced to unite when their island is destroyed. Washing up on the shores of Skull Island, they must defend their people against an endless horde of dinosaurs and monsters. With the help of Kong lies hope for survival. Collects issue #1-4”(Boom Studios)
I know this is based on the original novels but seeing as I haven’t seen Kong: Skull Islandyet (I will now on Blu-Ray), I thought it might be advantageous to read this first. I’ll say this right off the start, I like this book. Now, while you don’t need a Kong origin story to enjoy the character, it is nice to have one. To know how he came to be and how he ends up on Skull Island. While Kong eventually becomes the last of his kind, before that he was part of a group of genetically manipulated and selectively bred apes. Sure, the creative team could have gone deeper into this but if you’re willing to accept Kong as an exceedingly large ape, you don’t really need much more. These apes were created by island dwellers, who have since split away from each other on separate sides of the island. When they come together to try and reunite their people again, they have two Apes known as Kong’s fight, as a form of entertainment and as a way for the winning Apes tribe’s to show superiority over the other. Writer James Asmus uses the way each tribe treats their Kong’s, to drum up specific emotions of the reader, for each tribe. The Atu treat the Apes as barbaric animals. It’s also mentioned but never shown, that they sometime whip and throw rocks, to get the Apes, to follow their commands. Meanwhile, the Tagu, specifically their Kong trainer Ewata, treats their Kong with compassion and respect, more like a human. We know who PETA would side with. Any human with a conscious in fact, should side with the Tagu tribe. It’s not only the treatment of the Kong that caused a schism between the groups. Religious and political ideologies also cause conflict. While the kings of both “royal families” practice traditional sacrifices and believe in multiple gods, Prince K’Reti believes in one God. This difference causes tension amongst the power brokers of the tribes, but trickles down to the tribes people as well. Even politically there is disparity. The Tagu are open and honest with their tribe, collaborating on political decisions. Meanwhile, the Atu hierarchy decides what they feel is best for the group and implements their decision. Case in point, the real reason the tribes have come together. Tribal scholars have informed both tribal leaders that volcanic lava is rising. The Tagu leaders want to warn their people, allowing them to prepare to evacuate the island for a new settlement. Yet, the Atu have already secretly started making evacuation plans, without informing their tribe as to why. Both tribe leaders make a pact to marry off their children, K’Reti and Usana, as a way of appeasing the gods and pooling their resources to get off the island, There’s only one problem, K’Reti is already secretly married to the aforementioned Ewata. Despite this, for the good of his people, he agrees to the marriage. When Ewata learns of the marriage, witnessing the royal ceremony, she is furious, resenting and giving her husband the cold shoulder.
I love how the story gives you the impossible with two giant genetically bred apes fighting. It gets us hooked on the spectacle, before grounding the story in real conflict such as religious and political differences. The people in the story may be tribal but here in 2017 real world, these issues are tenuous as ever. Keep in mind, the single issues of this book were published around the U.S. election. I don’t think these themes being at play in the book is a coincidence. I didn’t care for the secret marriage/arranged marriage love triangle between K’Reti, Ewata & Usana. It was a little to soap opera for my taste. The story gets extremely interesting, when the island begins to shake and the volcano is on the verge of eruption. The boats at the Tagu/Attu’s disposal are only enough to fit about half the inhabitants on the island, along with the Kong’s. There’s some heartbreaking and down right cruel moments as it is decided to who stays and who goes. As the survivors depart they veer off course and stumble upon Skull Island. Many of the characters are fearful of Skull Island. That’s because native storytellers have whispered about it being inhabited by monsters, as told by wounded and feverish survivors. I love how mysteriously the wrier treats Skull Island and that he makes its legend a tale told passed down through generations. It’s worth noting that the whole story we are reading is being transcribed a told by a native story teller, as we are reading it. I thought that was cool. There are monsters on Skull Island in fact. Specifically dinosaurs. There is no explanation as to how or why dinosaurs have survived on this island, however, once again, I say who cares. Is it really hard to believe dinosaurs exist in the same world as giant apes? I think not. Also, given that this story is being transcribed by native storytellers, it makes sense that they wouldn’t know the how’s or why’s about the dinosaurs.. The third act of the book sees the Kong’s and the newly united tribe fighting side by side, as they beat back the dinosaurs. The book ends with the Tagu/Atu temporarily gaining control of the island, with the hint that more monsters await them. We also have a murder mystery taking shape and a hint that Kong and crew will soon face more traditional human hunters we’ve become accustomed to in the books and films.
Art is drawn by Carlos Magno and I like it. The Tagu & Atu tribes have a Mayan look about them and it’s fascinating. It really solidifies the idea that these two tribes haven’t had any contact with the modern world. The only issue that I have with this section of the art, is that both tribes look identical and it makes telling them apart visually, nearly impossible. The Kong’s clashing together is the big, bombastic Earth shattering moment you’d expect and is deserving of the splash page it’s drawn on. These two particular Kong are distinguishable from each other but when they cluster together in a group, they too become indistinguishable from each other. The wide shot image of the volcano on the verge of eruption look as dangerous and foreboding, as two giant apes fighting. I loved the first view of Skull Island. There’s a mist in the air, the tide is rough and the skull formed in Skull Island, protruding and sticking out like a sore thumb, commanding attention on the page. The final battle between the Kong’s and the dinosaurs is the highlight of the book. The rage and the chaos of the Kong’s as they trample over rabid dinosaurs, get bitten by pterodactyls and then turn around and rip off T-Rex’s heads is pulse pounding and fun to behold. This is the closest thing to a Jurassic Park/Planet of the Apes crossover we will ever see, So I am going to continue enjoying this for as long as we can. This comic book was initially supposed to be a mini series but was since extended to a maxi series. This makes me happy because while it’s not anything ground-breaking, it’s amazing ape madness and a ton of fun! A definite must buy! I can’t wait to read more of Kong’s origin and see what happens next!
(Submitted by the illustrious Mr.Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)
Billy Kincaid, killed by Spawn, finds himself in Hell with other new arrivals. As they travel toward the Tower, they fall one by one to the horrors of the demonic realm. (Image)
This one-shot is written by comic book legend Alan Moore. Most people love him and think everything he touches is gold. I’m 50/50 on him. I both love his work, and hate some of his work. This book is essentially 22 pages of Billy Kincaid, child killer, traversing his way through hell. He’s joined by three other characters, two of which aren’t important at all, yet are only there for exposition purposes. In the Spawn mythology, or at least this issue written by Alan Moore, hell is composed of 10 different spheres. The characters in the book all have to climb up a tower and are randomly taken to their respective sphere. While I like this idea, some of it is too much of an obvious rip-off of Dante’s Inferno! We don’t get an explanation for all the spheres of hell, just the ones important to this book. The Sixth Sphere of Hell is the soul stealer sphere, which keeps souls as pets. The Tenth Sphere is the Prime Monad. Here, souls are picked to use a circuitry in hell’s macro computer. Then there’s the Eighth Sphere, where Billy Kincaid resides. In this sphere, the inhabitants basically are employees of the devil the same way the Violator was in the first four issues. The way that Billy Kincaid found out about his lot in hell is a fascinating twists. One of the inhabitants of hell travelling with Billy is a little girl. Of course, Mr. Kincaid being a murderous bastard attempts to kill the little girl. However, before he can choke the life out of her, the girl transforms into The Vindicator. The Vindicator introduces Billy Kincaid to this universes version of the devil, who we’ve seen in issues #1-4 of this book. The devil outfits Billy with the K3 – Myrlu, a neural parasite that morphs onto his body and forms a Spawn costume. Why does it do this? Ever since Billy Kincaid arrived in hell, he’s been having recurring nightmares of the way Spawn killed him. I love that even though he is living in hell, his personal hell is reliving his death at Spawn’s hands. After his crimes, he deserves such mental anguish. However, this parasite represents another blatant rip-off by Alan Moore. It’s the Venom symbiote. The other negative of this aspect of the story, aside from Billy Kincaid’s nightmare, we don’t actually get bonafide Al Simmons/Spawn scenes or for that matter, character development.
Once again, Todd McFarlane’s art is fantastic. I really liked the depiction of hell and its different spheres. The first sphere absolutely looked somewhat like classic depictions of the Garden of Eden. If it wasn’t for the drab colour palette and a lack of sunlight, you could almost confuse it for heaven. There’s also a metallic looking sphere of hell and a sphere that looks like the Himalayan Mountains. The striking image of a cold/freezing segment of hell is ironic and intriguing to look at. Despite these different depictions of hell, there’s a spectacular splash page featuring a vintage looking fire and brimstone version of hell, which happens to be the sphere Billy Kincaid resides in. The large tower, dead centre with the winding stairs looks daunting and physically strenuous for the souls to have to climb. This splash page was my favourite piece of art in the book. There’s also a demonic representation of Elvis, complete with devil horns, but it was a relatively small part of a panel, so it isn’t my standout piece of art for this issue. Although, a devilishly looking King of Rock & Roll is always a highlight, no matter how big or small the image. I was pleased to see the continuity in look between the monstrous looks of The Violator and the Vindicator. They look to be part of the same demonic family. Though, the eyes of the Vindicator look a little more bug like, making them slightly creepier. Billy Kincaid in a Spawn costume, looked like the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons cosplaying as Spawn. I don’t know if they’re going to try and make this character menacing but at this early point, he looks laughable, in a good way.
Personally, I didn’t need another issue about Billy Kincaid, featuring his travels in hell. Furthermore, this book has little to no Spawn at all. Still, there is plenty of world building of hell and this mythologies concepts of demons! Even without Spawn, this issues was far and away better than anything I’ve read in the last two issues of this series.
Ho-wdy, Kinky Homies! Last night, I watched the most bodacious of film sequels…
That’s f-right, eXXXcellent Ho-(rror Dudes! I revisited the Stygian nightmare fuel that is Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. And boy, is it strange! It’s loaded with creepy bunnies… …Killer Robots…
…The Devil himself…
…German Expressionist-Like Family Reunions…
…References to classic British cinema…
A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
…and bitchin’ “rap” tunes.
Yes, my darklings… Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is a delicious buffet table of radical ’90s weirdness (one we may get back to very soon ;)), and it gave us the seXXXiest Grim Reaper in the hereafter.
And modest, too!
When they say “bald is beautiful”, they’re clearly talkin’ ’bout his scythe-wieldin’ hunk!
First of all, the man takes his board games DEADly serious, like everyone should! (CLUE ain’t no laugin’ matter, son!!!! ;))
Secondly, he’s got killer rhymes! Raise the roof, you adorableAngel of Death, you…
Third(ly? :)) he’s clearly an Ingmar Bergman fan…
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Fourth(-ly? -ily? ;)), he’s frenemies with THE MOTHERFREAKIN’ CRYPTKEEPER! I mean, besides Arnold Schwarzenegger and the EC Ghoulunatics, who else has had the ho-nor of sharing the spotlight with Ol’ Crypty!? Why this happened, I will never know. But it’s pure magic nonetheless!
Last but not least, he bares a striking resemblance to Demon Knight star William Sadler, and if he ain’t an example of Manly Meatiness, I don’t know who is! 🙂 Party on, Grim! You make death feel so alive!!!! 😉 xoxo