BoXXX Office Awesomeness: Wonder Woman Decapitates Deadpool

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Kinky Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

In the last couple of weeks, Wonder Woman has been getting more and more competition for box office dollars. Cars 3, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Despicable Me 3 have all entered the marketplace, yet Wonder Woman has remained a steady earner. Its biggest competition has arrived in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming. The film is great and there was no doubt it would be #1 this weekend. To give you an idea of how good it’s doing, the second Spider-Man reboot in 15 years webbed up $117 Million, which is second among Spider- Man films. Worldwide, the film has garnered a total of over $250 Million after just 3 day. Again, the film deserves every bit of money it’s making and you can read my review to see why. However, despite the arrival of the web slinger and losing 313 theatre screens, Wonder Woman is still kicking box office ass! In her 6th weekend of release, Wonder Woman made another $10,135,000 in North America. That brings its domestic total to $368,786,191 after 38 days of release! Wonder Woman has decapitated Deadpool’s entire domestic box office run and sits 2nd on the list of superhero origin films, behind only Sam Raimi’s original Spider- Man film. That amount also means that domestically, Wonder Woman is the second highest grossing superhero film of all time that doesn’t feature Batman, Superman or Spider-Man. Exact foreign figures for the weekend aren’t available, however, internationally the film made another $17,000,000 in the last week, to bring the foreign totals to $377,000,000. Worldwide, the film has secured a grand total of $745,786,191. While Wonder Woman passed Suicide Squad domestically about a week and a half ago, it has now passed it worldwide as well. Wonder Woman now sits 4th on the list of all time box office earners in Warner Brothers history behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.  Wonder Woman looks like she will hit at least one more domestic milestone and one more worldwide accolade, which I will report on as it happens, there is no stopping DC Comics’ Amazonian Princess and Queen of the Superheroes!

Ho-stess’s Note: Even Deadpool had to give the Goddess props. 🙂 xo

Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

WARNING TO ALL YE WHO ENTERETH: This post contains #SPOILERS. Just scroll on down to the Marvel Universe Live stuffs if that sorta thing upsets ya. 🙂

(Review submitted with all the love by our Superheroic Ho-mie, Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

“Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.” (Sony/Marvel)

After his fantastically energetic extended cameo in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man gets his first solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We get two prologues before hitting “present day”, which as stated, is several months after Civil War.  The first prologue is set shortly after the first Avengers film.  We see Adrian Toomes and his cleanup crew, removing debris and alien technology from the destruction sites. We see that he is so excited by landing this government job, because it puts food on the table for his wife and daughter, as well as providing for his whole crew.  However, they lose the contract when Tony Stark funds the government owned “Damage Control”, to clean up super heroic messes and such. We then see a flash forward to present day, where we learn and see that Adrian Toomes and crew have been stealing weaponry from superhero/supervillain skirmishes, propagating some for themselves, and selling other weaponry to criminals on the black market. Meanwhile, the flashback with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, actually ties into his appearance in Civil War.  The flashbacks are actually self-shot home movies, of his “trip” to Berlin.  You actually see him getting his upgraded suit from Tony Stark via Happy Hogan, as well as P.O.V. shots of the airport battle in Civil War.  These are a way to catch the audience up on where we last saw Peter, but done in an inventive and unique way. These flashbacks are great because they show us our villain’s motivations for what he is doing, and give us a glimpse into how much Peter Parker loves being Spider-Man.

Our main story picks up with Peter Parker being left back in Queen’s and dealing with being a high school student, while also dealing with being a Spider-Man that has to deal with more street level crime.  First of all, I love that this film really stayed in Queen’s as much as it could.  It gave this film a much more intimate feeling over previous installments.  Peter Parker being in high school felt like a naturalistic part of his daily routine, as opposed to being scenes that were shoehorned into the other films because the character was supposed to be 15.  I think it helps, that the actor playing our hero, as well as his classmates were actually teenaged, as opposed to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who both had Wellingitis.  That is to say, they were both 25, cast to play a 15 year old, just as Tom Welling was on Smallville.  I also appreciated that this iteration of Peter Parker wasn’t overtly geeky, or overly hipster, like our previous versions of Peter Parker.  Tom Holland plays an average teenager who takes his high school happenings and everyday situations to the extreme, and makes everything seem like the biggest deal and sometimes the end of the world.  Peter Parker’s best friend in this is Ned played by Jacob Batalon.  The character as played by the actor, is the quintessential best bud and sidekick.  The character is a gamer and total Star Wars fanboy.  Sure, the idea that the two friends spend their after school time building a LEGO Death Star, felt a little all too obvious and convenient, given the Marvel/Disney and Disney/Star Wars connection, but it felt like something two modern day teen fanboys would absolutely do.  There is no spider-bite or death of Uncle Ben in this film.  Instead, that sort of exposition, comes from Ned, once he accidentally discovers Peter Parker is Spider-Man.  We learn of the spider bite and Peter’s abilities through Ned’s endless questions. The exchanges are so naturalistic yet humorous.  There’s a lot of humor in this film, yet never once does it go overboard like Guardians of the Galaxy 2, or feel forced like in the Thor movies.  Liz Allen played by Laura Harrier is the object of Peter Parker’s affection in this film.  She is the popular girl, with a type A personality.  Sure, she and Peter admit that they both liked each other and went to the homecoming dance together but I never felt a spark, or connection between these characters.  No offence to the actress, she did okay with what was asked of her.  Story wise, once we learn that Liz Allen is really Liz Toomes, daughter of the Vulture, any chance the two had at a relationship was gone.  I really did like the character of Michelle played by Zendaya.  This character is very intellectual and is a bit of a loner, playing it off as if she doesn’t really care about hanging out, or being around her classmates. She’s a bit of an introvert, who is lost in her reading. The banter and animosity between she and Peter, gives off a vibe of a love/hate relationship, which definitely hints at something more later on.  Flash Thompson is played by Tony Revolori.  This Flash is not the big hulking jock of a bully like in previous installments, or the comic books.  Instead, he’s more of a verbal insulter, who tries to break Peter down emotionally, not physically.  He’s still a sleaze bag.  The young actor plays that well and you won’t be able to stand him over the course of the film.

Marisa Tomei, returns from her Civil War role of Aunt May.  This Aunt May is more active in the film and in Peter’s life.  We see very simple scenes of them sharing a family dinner.  You even see her helping him learn how to do a tie, teaching him how to dance, and giving him pointers how to treat Liz on their homecoming date.  Marisa Tomei seems to be playing this younger version of Aunt May as a big sister, which makes sense, given the smaller age gap between the two actors.  Though, Marisa Tomei does let the parental Aunt mode kick in, when Peter gets home late and hasn’t been answering his phone. She raises her voice at him, telling him he can’t do that and that between the two of them, that’s not okay.  Even though Uncle Ben isn’t mentioned by name, the tone in her voice and the pain in her face, clearly makes it know, this reaction is a reaction to Ben’s death.  It’s really powerful acting by Marisa Tomei.  As was known when this project was announced and as the trailers went out of their way to point out, Robert Downey Jr. is in this film as Tony Stark/Iron-Man.  He’s at his snarky, fast talking best in this film.  The trailers for this film had me worried that this film would turn into Iron-Man 4, featuring Spider-Man.  However, happily, that’s not the case at all.  We see Iron-Man as a mentor/father figure/ big brother to Peter Parker.  You can tell that Tony Stark has a love for Peter, but in typical Stark fashion, he’ll never outright admit it.  He gave Peter the costume upgrade, to make him a more effective hero but also to keep him safe. Yet still, he tells Peter to stay safe, by sticking close to home grown, street level issues.  The suit upgrades include different shapes and modes of webbing.  The spider symbol is actually a mini drone/ tracker.  There’s also an interrogation mode, which allows Peter to disguise his voice a la Batman, to intimidate his enemies.  There’s a lethal mode, to deal with the extremely dangerous villains and lest we forget, the web wings from the early comic books, which allow him to glide.  I thought all these enhancements by Tony to the costume would minimize Peter Parker’s intelligence but the way Robert Downey Jr. and the film itself handles it, is just Tony being overprotective.  In fact, the film makes a point to show Peter’s intelligence, by showing him secretly brewing his webbing in science class.  We also see Peter disabling the trackers and security measures Tony put into the Spider-Man costume.  Iron-Man does save and assists Spider-Man twice in the film but it never feels like belittling and minimizing the character to me.  His biggest contribution happens of screen, after he realizes that Peter is too reliant on the costume and its gadgets, so he takes it away.  This forces Peter to go back to his homemade costume and find the hero within, which he ultimately does. While this is a Spider-Man film, Tony Stark does seems to resolve some father issues he had in Civil War and there is even a progression of his relationship with Pepper Potts that carries over from that film, which I won’t spoil.

Nearly all of the action beats are tied to our villain, Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton.  As hard as it is for me to see Michael Keaton as anything but Batman or Beetlejuice, he is absolutely fantastic as the Vulture.  He’s easily the best villain in the MCU since Loki and he might even be better than Loki.  As I mentioned earlier, the cleanup contract is so important to him, as he’s trying to provide for his family, as are his crew.  When he loses that contract to the joint venture of Stark Industries and the government, he feels pushed aside and stepped on by “the man.”  This is why he hates The Avengers and turns to the black market to sell stolen alien weaponry.  He’s not a one dimensional, over the top, mustache twirling villain, which has become the norm in the MCU. What the script and Michael Keaton convey so well, is that while Adrian Toomes motivations are relatable, his actions remain 100% wrong and the viewer never over sympathizes with him.  This is a mistake the Sam Raimi films made with Dock Ock and Sandman.  They became too sympathetic, to the point where I gave their actions a pass.  While Michael Keaton was great throughout, his best scene happens with Peter Parker when both men are out of costume.  I won’t spoil it but I guarantee it will make your spine tingle. Michael Keaton is particularly chilling in this scene.  The Vulture’s crew introduces other villains, namely the Shocker and the Prowler.  They’re not overly developed. They’re more in service to the Vulture, which I prefer.  The Prowler is of course the uncle of Miles Morales.  There is a small nod to him in the film, which could open the door for Ultimate Spider-Man in the future of the MCU.

In addition to Peter Parker, Tom Holland excels as his costumed alter-ego Spider-Man.  He’s got the inherent goodness and altruistic nature that Tobey Maguire had and he’s got the incessant quipping, which was present in Andrew Garfield’s take on the character.  Mixed in with Tom Holland’s youthful excitement and energy and what you have is the most screen accurate Spider-Man to his comic book counterpart, when it comes to live action portrayals.  The action scenes aren’t just randomly inserted into this film to fill an action quota, instead they service and enhance our hero’s journey.  What’s also unique is that Spider-Man is wearing his fancy superhero attire, in the first two acts, when he is more of an unpolished hero, while wearing his makeshift home-made costume for the third act, when he becomes the full-fledged hero. Usually, it’s the other way around in superhero films.  The early action beats are definitely smaller scale.  We see Spider-Man stopping a bike theft, bank robbery, and we even see him giving an elderly lady directions.  There’s situational humor present in the film when Spider – Man seemingly thwarts a car robbery but in fact, it was just a guy who’d been locked out of his car.  The way the onlookers yelled at Spidey and defended their neighbors innocence, really sold the tight knit community feel of this Queen’s neighborhood.  Also, Stan Lee gets a rare cameo where he speaks, which is nice.  When the Vulture first swoops in grabbing Spider-Man, preventing him from chasing down his crew, the frantic, up-close perspective of the scenes, looks like a brief moment that belongs in a horror film.  The Ferry sequence and the plane fight with The Vulture, as well as the Washington Monument Rescue are the 3 stars of this film, as far as action goes.  The Ferry Sequence has a moment were Spider-Man is trying to hold the Ferry together in one piece, His positioning, actions and pose are eerily similar to Spider-Man 2, when he tries to stop the train from crashing. The scene showcases how effective, yet inexperienced this Spider-Man is.  Seeing Spider-Man crawl up the Washington monument, leap from the top of it, using his web wings to clear a helicopter was so damn epic.  Not quite as epic as Superman’s first flight in Man of Steel, but a pretty close second.  The plane fight between Spider-Man and the Vulture was unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Spider-Man film.  Not only do they fight inside of the plane but on top of the plane as well.  It took eleven years, but we finally have a scene that surpasses the Superman Returns flight rescue. Kudos goes to the costume designer, who actually made the Vulture’s costume intimidating and menacing, as opposed to looking ridiculous like it does in the comic books.

Spider-Man: Homecoming just feels right.  For the first time in six films, Spider-Man feels like he’s right where he belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The plot and the reason why Spider-Man is taking on the Vulture is very straight forward.  Instead, this movie focuses on getting the characters right.  In this area, the film 100% succeeds.  My previous favourite Spider-Man film was Spider-Man 2, however, I think Spider-Man: Homecoming slightly surpasses it.  In terms of MCU solo films, this ranks 2nd, behind only the first Iron-Man.  In terms of my favourite summer movies, this ranks 2nd behind Wonder Woman and is definitely a MUST SEE film.

Ho-stess’s PS- I saw SMHC last night, and agree wholeblackheartedly with Mr. P’s review…Ho-wever, I saw Marvel Universe Live on Tour today, and have to say THAT is the Marvel production we should all be talking about. #GreatestShowInTheGalaXXXy!! 🙂 xoxo

Kinky Komic Book Review: Spawn #8

(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.

Wonder Woman Flies By Batman V Superman To Become #1 DCEU Film In North America!

(Submitted by Prince Adam, who is adorably ecstatic about this news!! 😉 xoxo)

Remember last week, when I cautioned not to underestimate Wonder Woman? Well, I should have taken my own advice. Over the weekend, the film brought in another $16,100,000 at the North American Box Office, to raise its domestic earnings to $346,644,475. That figure means that Patty Jenkins directed Wonder Woman film, has surpassed both Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, to become the top grossing DC Extended Universe film in North America. Look, as much as I love Wonder Woman, even I didn’t think that was possible, when you consider that it started $30 Million behind Suicide Squad and $63 Million behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, after opening weekend. Not only that, the Gal Gadot led film has also surpassed the domestic totals of Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man 3. In terms of superhero origin films, it ranks 3rd behind only Spider-Man and Deadpool. While weekend specific international figures haven’t been made available, I can tell you that Wonder Woman’s foreign figure has risen to $361,800,000. That brings the films worldwide total to a spectacular sum of $708,444,475. Keep in mind that Wonder Woman has only been out for a month and still needs to open in Japan. There are still records to be broken and I’ll update you on the films progress again next week, but you can’t help but marvel at what a wonderful success this is for DC Films and the comic book superhero film genre as a whole.

#SuperheroSaturday Comic Book Review: Injustice Gods Among Us #7-9

(Submitted by out freaky friend, Mr. Dr. Prince Adam III…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

This trilogy of issues starts with a U.S. Missile strike in Bialya, on a stronghold of a Rebel Leader.  Before the missile could hit its target Superman intercepts it, destroying the missile.  While Superman was determined to stop the loss of any more life, after the tragedy that killed Lois and his unborn baby, the U.S. Military and government, all the way up to the President are furious that Superman’s actions have compromised their efforts in the region.  Fearing that Superman is on a dangerous road to totalitarian rule, the government puts off the books military personal in the charge of Mirror Master, in the hope of reigning Superman in.  Their plan is to kidnap the Kent’s, trapping them in a mirror dimension.  They then blackmail Superman, that if he doesn’t end this “My Way or the High Way” war on crime, his parents will be killed and pieces of their bodies will be sent to him. This only enrages Superman further, who quickly turns to Flash to learn more about Mirror Master.  Meanwhile, at the Justice League watchtower, Wonder Woman requests the help of the rest of the Justice League’s help in the search for Mirror Master and Clark’s parents. While the rest of the Superfriends, sans Batman and Green Arrow, who have defected, go on supervillain shakedown duty. Wonder Woman goes to another war torn area of the Middle East, Kandaq. There she literally gets right in the middle of a battle between fighter jets and tanks.  After decimating the heavy artillery, she urges the soldiers on foot to lay down their weapons, in a cease fire, while a peaceful dialogue can put an end to the conflict.  As this is unfolding, the God of War, Ares appears on the battlefield. After revelling in Diana’s handy work, he questions her about a potential romantic relationship with Superman. The snark in his comments offends Wonder Woman, they fight, so she cuts off his hand and impales him with her sword, leaving him alive, but pinned to the ground.  She then leaves the warzone with Superman in toe.  The book ends with Batman waiting for the President in the White House. He tells the President that he knows he ordered the kidnapping of the Kent’s.  While Batman, doesn’t agree with that tactic, he tells the President that Superman does need to be held in check, and that he is forming a resistance.

There are two reasons I came back to this book now. The first is that I wanted another book featuring Wonder Woman to read. Second, the sequel game and comic book for this franchise is out. The sooner I read this, the faster I get to play the new game.  I’m now 9 issues into this book and while I know where Superman ultimately gets to, as of this moment in the story, I don’t disagree with his stance or more aggressive tactics.  I don’t hold killing the Joker against Superman.  Now I’m not saying every superhero should start picking off their villains.  However, had Batman killed the Joker long ago, Jason Todd wouldn’t have been beaten to death and Barbara Gordon wouldn’t have been raped or killed.  Comic books like this raise a question about our heroes.  In scenario’s like this, with exceptionally vile villains like The Joker, is it okay for our heroes to cross that line and kill?  Secondly, he what I just realised about this book is that it is the Bizarro Dark Knight Returns.  In that book, the government is worried about Batman going over the edge, with Superman having to step in and reign him in.  Here, it is the exact opposit.  It’s kind of sad that it took me so long to put that together, but it seems extra awesome now that I have.  In the scene where Wonder Woman rallies the Justice League around Superman’s cause.  Even though some of his teammates find his actions towards the Joker questionable. They all rally because of Wonder Woman’s call to arms.  It speaks to what a respected leader she is amongst the group. She is no 1B leader. She’s every bit the leader of the JLA as Superman is.  Wonder Woman has always been a character that preached peace and love first and foremost, with fighting always being a last resort. For now, at this juncture of the story, that character tenant is upheld.  When she does let loose in the Kandaq warzone, the way she just dismantles the armed and air weaponry and gets those soldiers to stand down is impressive. It will give added presence to the name Wonder Woman.  Ares’ presence in these issues is definitely the highlight for me.  His concern over a romantic union between Superman and Diana is genius.  The idea that their union could bring about a true end to conflict and war, thereby rendering him useless and moot. Tom Taylor writes the fierce and all powerful Ares, as worried and emotionally distraught over this scenario. By the end of the last issue, Ares is very different then the brash, authoritative and condescending Olympian God, when he first entered the story.

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Jheremy Raapack is back on art for these issues and these three stories are his best work in my opinion.  I’m almost certain that Zack Snyder used this artwork as a reference image for the Africa sequence in Batman v Superman: The Ultimate Edition. The way Superman defuse that missile and the look on his face as he approaches it, looks identical in the film as it does in this book.    This artist has done great things for Mirror Master’s visual credibility.  I’ll take the supped up rogue SWAT guy with a mask, over the traditional green looking long johns, any day of the week.  His mirror dimension is described and looks like 10 square kilometers of reflective sky.  That’s fantastic because it doesn’t just look like a household mirror, while also being difficult to locate for Superman, and metahuman’s like The Flash.  It’s also tricky for readers to spot, as it could be literally anywhere on the page.  The best imagery of these three books is Wonder Woman slicing the tail end of a fighter jet with her sword and head butting a tank. Yes, I said head butting a tank.   I’m not all that fond of Wonder Woman wearing pants though. Partially because I love her film costume and have it stuck in my head.  Also though, because putting pants on her was often done to appease complaints that her outfit was to scantily clad.  I think that’s the type of censorship her creator would have been against.  As for Ares, he looks like a cross between Savatar from season 3 of The Flash and a Spartan soldier, in black armor.  I had hoped hope he looked even more similar to this in the movie.

Every time I read this book, I end up kicking myself for leaving it alone for so long.  The first nine issues are so good, some of the best comics I’ve read.  So good, that I’m curious to know if the rest of Volume 1 and the current sequel are as good as this. I’ll definitely find out more quickly, as I plan on making this book a frequent habit. First though, it’s time for a few more theater screenings of Wonder Woman.

 

Wonder Woman Leaves The Mummy In Her Dust Retaining #1 Spot at the Box Office!

(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xo)

Over the weekend, Universal Studio’s launched its connected series of classic Monster Films with a reboot of The Mummy, While I enjoyed what turned out to be a flawed, yet entertaining film and hope it’s worldwide box office is good enough for the Dark Universe to continue, the North American box office was still fixated on the power and grace of Wonder Woman. In the U.S. and Canada, the superhero origin story collected another $58,520,627.  This coupled with strong weekday performances has led the Patty Jenkins directed film to a 10 day domestic total of $206,343,175. That number means Wonder Woman has surpassed the lifetime domestic output of Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Ant-Man, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men, X-Men First Class, and Superman Returns.  As I write this, it is likely surpassing the total domestic gross of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.  Other Batman films, whose total Wonder Woman has absolutely eclipsed are Batman Returns and Batman Forever. As far as second weekend grosses go, Wonder Woman ranks third amongst all DC Comics films, behind only The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.  However, against her fellow DCEU Films Wonder Woman’s second weekend haul, outperformed Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.  The reason this was possible is due to the fact that Wonder Woman only suffered a miniscule 43. 3% decline in business.  The only other superhero film able to hold that well during its second weekend, after opening on a traditional Friday was Sam Raimi’s Spider- Man in 2002. Internationally, Wonder Woman dipped a normal $58.1 Million.  This represents a 54% decline from last week. Therefore, Wonder Woman’s international intake stands at, 230,200,000. Added together Wonder Woman has ricocheted a total of $436,543,175 off of her bracelets and into Warner Brother’s bank vault.  I’ll be back next week to see how Wonder Woman fares against another new release, that being the animated threequel Cars 3.  No matter what happens, there’s no doubt that when it comes to box office, Wonder Woman has got legs and she knows how to use them.

 

#SuperheroSaturday Movie Review: Wonder Woman!!!!!!!!!!

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (Submitted with all the love by our Heroic Ho-mie, Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“An Amazon princess (Gal Gadot) finds her idyllic life on an island occupied only by female warriors interrupted when a pilot (Chris Pine) crash-lands nearby. After rescuing him, she learns that World War I is engulfing the planet, and vows to use her superpowers to restore peace. Directed by Patty Jenkins” (DC Entertainment)

Wonder Woman is an iconic character of the DC library.  She is part of the famed Trinity, along with Batman and Superman. She certainly holds her own place in popular culture.  However, despite appearing in a popular live action TV series, and a slew of animated series including Super Friends and Justice League, when it comes to live action film, Wonder Woman hasn’t enjoyed the spotlight as her Trinity counterparts have.  She made her feature film debut in a fantastic extended cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, 75 years after her inception, Themyscira’s favourite daughter is finally headlining her own live action film.  While this is obviously part of DCEU cannon, the references and nods were thankfully kept to a minimum.  Those references actually bookend the film, featuring the World War 1 photo we saw in BvS. The film starts with a delivery of the original photo in a frame, courtesy of a Wayne Enterprises delivery truck. In it, Bruce Wayne sends a letter saying; “Maybe one day, you’ll tell me your story.” This gets Diana thinking about her past and is our entry way into her origin story.  From there the story takes us to Themyscira, eventually to “Man’s World”. Specifically London, and ultimately to the front lines of World War 1.  Much like with Man of Steel’s depiction of Krypton, the scene’s set on Themyscira made me want an entire movie set there.  If you though Baby Groot was the cutest character, you’d see in a superhero film this year, little Diana will prove you wrong.  Seeing her watch the other Amazon’s train and she is mimicking their movements and also when she bargain with her mother to let her train, even if she doesn’t use the weapons with the sharp edges is just too damn cute.  Her mother says she is not meant to be a warrior and tells her the story of her people.   Ares corrupted humanity with evil and hatred and tries to overthrow the gods by killing his brothers and father.  Before his death, Zeus uses all of his power to create the Amazon’s and the private island of Themyscira for the Amazon’s to live away from the now corrupt Mankind.  Zeus creates an invisible barrier on Themyscira to keep men and Ares from finding it.  Despite Hippolyta’s protesting, young Diana begins secretly training with her Aunt Antiope.  After finding out, Hippolyta reluctantly agrees for Diana to train, in case Ares should ever return again. Diana is trained harder than the other women on the island and there is a great training montage that takes you from little Diana training, transitions to teenage Diana, and ultimately ending with Gal Gadot.  I loved this training montage, because it shows you how skilled and intense the Amazon’s are and how exceptionally gifted Diana is throughout her training.  Also, the film gives you her training, without wasting too much time on it.  These sequences are all phenomenal. When Hippolyta tells Diana the story of their people, the books images actually move. It is so inventive and unique. Almost as if a renaissance painting had been turned into a motion comic book. The idea of Diana sneaking off to train comes right from “The Lend of Wonder Woman.”  Difference being the film has Antiope train her, while in the book it was Alicippe. During her training, we find out why Hippolyta was fearful of letting Diana train.  While Diana was told that she was formed in clay and brought to life by Zeus, we later learn Hippolyta had sex with Zeus and Diana is their daughter. During her training, her natural enhanced ability when funneled through the gauntlets creates a blast after deflecting Antiope’s sword, which hurls her aunt backwards.  The film respects the history of the character by acknowledging the clay origin and the demi-God origin.  Though, I’m glad they went with the daughter of Zeus, New 52 origin, as that one is my personal preference.

The invisible barrier of Themyscira gets breached of course to allow Steve Trevor onto Paradise Island.  However, along with Steve Trevor comes a boat load of German soldiers chasing him. Since I didn’t see an explanation as to how Steve Trevor breached the barrier, or I was too mesmerized by the beauty of Themyscira itself, I’ll just assume it’s like some kind of Bermuda Triangle incident.  The arrival of Steve Trevor and his would be assailant’s, leads to one of the many great action sequences of the film.  The beach battle between the Amazons and the German’s is an incredible sequence. It looks like a hybrid between battles in 300 mixed with Gladiator. I loved how the Amazon’s fought. There was a lot of areal movement and spinning. The battle wasn’t always taking place in an upright position. The parkour aspects of the fight, combined with Zack Snyder style slow-mo, really made this fight look extra special. There’s juxtaposition of the beauty of Themyscira and the brutality of war. You could see the influence of “Man’s World” instantly tarnishing Themyscira a little bit. In addition to a cool action sequence, this scene offers up a huge moment in Diana’s development that furthers her character. During the fight, Diana’s aunt and mentor, Antiope takes a bullet to save her life. This is the first time in her life she has experienced death. Not only that but death at the hands of war. This event shakes Diana at her core. This, plus Steve telling the Amazon’s his whole story, when under the influence of the Lasso of Hestia.  He tells her, that before his plane got stranded, he was on his way back to his British General to hand over the secret plans of the Germans, who are concocting mustard gas and other poisons to prevent German surrender and turn the tide of the war. The two people spearheading this endeavour are General Ludendorff and his chief scientist Dr. Maru, aka Doctor Poison. Diana no longer glorifies or welcomes battle and warfare.  She believes Ludendorff is Ares and implores the Amazon’s to head to “Man’s World” and defeat Ares. Hippolyta emphatically says no and forbids Diana to go. Much like with her training, Diana takes the lasso of truth and the Godkiller sword, adorns the famous Wonder Woman “costume” and plans to head off to London with Steve Trevor.  The superhero costume was never explained, except for the tiara, lasso, and the Godkiller sword.  The tiara was given to Diana following Antiope’s death. Almost a rite of passage if you will.  It was already discussed that the lasso is from Hestia, and its ability is pretty straight forward, it compels those in its grasp to be honest, pure of heart and tell the truth. The Godkiller is said to be a gift from Zeus that can kill Ares, However, as we discover, that gift from Zeus, the Godkiller, is in fact Wonder Woman herself.  Much like with her training, Hippolyta, gives into Diana, allowing her to leave with Steve.  There’s a touching moment where mother and daughter build farewell to each other. This is also the first two shining example of Diana’s compassion.  That she is willing to sacrifice all she knows and those she loves, to save humanity, shows her inherent inclination for heroism, before she starts truly kicking ass! This was the first time I teared up in the film. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright were excellent in their limited screen time! Can’t wait to see them back in the prologue for Justice League.

One of the reason this film works is because of the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.  He being her conduit to man’s world and she being so naïve and innocent, makes for some real heartfelt and humorous moments.  This interaction starts on Themyscira after the beach fight when Steve Trevor is bathing in what essentially is the Themyscira grotto.  As he’s getting out, Diana walks in on him! She looks at him and asks; “What’s that?” Steve believes she is asking about his package, while she is curious about his watch. There’s another scene on the boat where Diana asks Steve if he is going to sleep with her or not.  She innocently and literally is thinking about sleeping, while Steve is apprehensive because of the sexual connotations “sleeping with someone” has in “Man’s World.”  When Diana senses Steve’s apprehension, she tells him she’s read books about sex and that while men are needed for reproduction, they aren’t needed for pleasure. There’s more to these scenes but I don’t want to ruin the moment.  I thought the sexual innuendo was handled tastefully.  Adults would get the jokes, but they’d go over younger kid’s heads.  This is a sharp contrast to Guardians of the Galaxy’s overuse and overt dick jokes in the span of one scene.  Gal Gadot sells that innocence and naiveté because that’s how she comes off in interviews.  It’s so endearing.  The way Chris Pine conveys male cockiness, but awkwardness over his sexual tension towards Diana, is among one of his best performances. There are two scenes where Diana is completely awestruck by the newness and wonders of “Man’s World,” Along their travels, Steve and Diana come across a mother and her baby.  Diana immediately runs towards the baby jubilantly screaming “BABY!”, as it was the first time she had ever seen a baby.  That jubilation felt so justified and honest, which surely has something to do with Gal having two children, one of which is a relative newborn.  I’ve seen mothers react to their child or others’ children, as if they are the first they’ve ever seen, so that reaction felt complete and utterly believable. The other moment, is when Diana tries ice cream for the very first time.  She says; “This is wonderful” and tells the vendor that he “should be very proud.” I don’t care if you’re a man, woman or child, Gal Gadot’s Diana was every one of us trying ice cream for the first time. Especially since it was European ice cream.  Director Patty Jenkins has said that Superman (1978) made her want to be a filmmaker. As such, there are a couple of nods to the Christopher Reeve film.  There’s the alley sequence that we saw part of in the trailer, where she saves Steve with her bracelets, from being shot. The scene is almost identical to Clark Kent stopping a bullet from hitting Lois Lane with his hand. There’s also the scene where Diana struggles getting through the revolving doors with her sword. This is similar to Clark stumbling through the revolving door of the Daily Planet, while holding his coat. These are great nods to the original Superman movie, while putting a Wonder Woman spin on it.  If only Bryan Singer understood the fine line between homage, which is what Patty Jenkins does here and plagiarism, which constituted 90% of Superman Returns, maybe that movie would’ve actually been good. There is one portion of Diana discovering “Man’s World” that didn’t work as well for me! These scenes involve Diana shopping for a new wardrobe with Etta Candy. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes all land and Lucy Davis is incredibly funny. I even liked that Etta assisted them in locating the location of Ludendorff and Dr. Poison.  However, one of the central aspects of the Etta Candy character is her close friendship with Diana. Naturally, that’s not there yet, as they just met.  However, there’s no real inkling that much of a friendship is percolating or developing by the last frame of the World War 1 moments in the film. If the sequel doesn’t take place during a period setting, allowing a friendship to fully develop, than I feel an opportunity has been wasted and I feel for Lucy Davis.

The movie really hits another level, when Steve brings his findings about the secret gas being developed and urges his General’s to send him and a covert team to stop these nefarious plans.  The General and the rest of the Imperial War Cabinet deny his request, fearing that it would hinder the signing of the armistice with Germany.  Steve insists that Ludendorff will finish developing and deploy the gas killing many soldiers and innocents. The General’s response is simply; “They’re soldiers, they die….It’s what they do.  This response sets Diana off. She bursts into the room and verbally unleashes on the entire cabinet.  She calls them all cowards and insists that a real General would stand and fight with their soldiers, not dismiss their lives as beneath those they serve.  The energy, ferocity and conviction that Gal Gadot delivered these lines with were so rousing, that the people in my screening where all cheering.  The attitude presented by the general, seems to echo in certain news outlets covering soldiers fighting abroad today.  The fact that those people fighting are humans who are putting their life on the line for our freedoms, sometimes seems like an afterthought the way war is covered by media and governments alike. I think that partially played into the reaction at my first screening.  Diana is infuriated with Steve for seemingly going along with his General’s orders and blames human apathy as the reason Ares is able to force humans into warfare. Sensing Diana is losing faith in him, Steve wraps his arm with the lasso and reveals that he is going against his general’s orders, and with the secretive backing of Sir Patrick Morgan, the man who put forth, crafted and is negotiating the armistice.  The team Steve assembles doesn’t get as much focus as Steve and Diana, yet I liked each character and on some level, hoped and wished we could spend more time on them.  The team consists of Sameer, a spy, Charlie a marksman, and Chief, a smuggler.  Each character is going through their own issues. Sameer wants to be an actor, but is shunned by the acting community due to his skin color. Charlie is suffering from PTSD and can no longer truly hit his target. The Chief has now been reduced to selling furs and other antiquities from first nation’s people to make ends meet during wartime.  What I loved about these characters, was that they aren’t necessarily the best of humanity in terms of their past deeds, but they are coming together for the greater good of humanity,  These people reaffirm Diana’s conviction about saving humanity and blaming Ares for the horrors of war. More so, what I adore about these characters, is how compassionate Diana is to them, as she learns of their hardships.  This is specifically true of Sameer and Charlie. Diana not in so many words, tells Sameer that nothing should stand in the way of his dreams, especially skin colour.  When Charlie has a panic attack and misses his shot, he later refuses to go further with the group, because he is no use to them.  Diana protests and insists they will need his singing talent, to lift their spirits after the battle is fought.  Gal Gadot was so reassuring and nurturing to this band of ragtag soldiers.  It was the exact trait Alex Ross keyed in on in his over-sized comic book, Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth.

So I told you Gal Gadot was great portraying Diana’s naiveté, conviction and compassion but how does she stack up as a badass warrior!? She was brilliant! We get to see Gal’s Wonder Woman in all her kick ass glory when the crew arrives at the heart of the Western Front in Belgium. They get slowed down by the enemy trenches but when Wonder Woman hears that innocents are being harmed as a result of not being able to cross “enemy lines” for basic life necessities, she takes action. The allied soldiers had tried countless times to cross “No Man’s Land” and free the village. Wonder Woman takes it upon herself to cross “No Man’s Land”, deflecting their bullets so that the Allies cross behind her and together, they liberate the village.  This is Diana’s debut as Wonder Woman and when you see it, you will have goosebumps.  Yes there’s some slow-mo in this scene, but it works brilliantly as the bullets bounce off her bracelets and then when she holds her position, blocking bullets with her shield.  The score in this scene by Rupert Gregson-Williams is slow, almost somber at first, highlighting the horrors of war, then it becomes operatic as the slow-mo kicks in.  Once Wonder Woman and the allies cross enemy lines, the scene transitions to the full liberation of the village from the German’s.  Here, we see Wonder Woman smash through a bell tower, using her now famous leg kick/sweep we’ve seen in the trailers. There’s even a moment where Wonder Woman body checks a tank and throws it over her head, before whipping and wrangling in German soldiers with her lasso.  The tank scene was obviously inspired by the scene where Wonder Woman head-butts a tank, in volume 1 of the Injustice Gods Among Us comic book. To make this extend scene even more exciting, the score ratchets up to eleven, by featuring Wonder Woman’s entrance theme from BvS aka, the “Is She With You” scene.  As far as superhero debut scenes go, this is right up there with Superman rescuing Lois and the helicopter in 78, saving the plane in Superman Returns, and his first flight in Man of Steel. As far as a pure fight scene, it stands alongside Batman’s warehouse fight from “Dawn of Justice.”  If anything, I’d rank Wonder Woman’s higher because it’s happening in a real world time period and setting, and because of the emotional significance and power, that Wonder Woman conquering “No Man’s Land” has.  This massive action sequence ends with the villagers applauding and adoring Wonder Woman, and features her, Steve and the others taking that famous photo that bookends this film and first appeared in BvS.  Seeing this moment actually take place, brings both films full circle.

Before I get into the third act of this film, I must discuss the previously mentioned villains.  Those of course being General Ludendorff and Doctor Maru. It’s quite unique that Patty Jenkins used a real life historical general for the piece. It blends the fantasy of Wonder Woman with the reality of World War 1. I though his reasoning for enlisting Dr. Poison to make the mustard gas was believable. He was disenfranchised with the German’s agreeing to surrender and wanted to prove that was the wrong choice and that the German’s could with the war with this new gas weaponry. After all, wasn’t Hitler’s rise to power and the start of World War 2 partly due to the bitterness over Germany’s surrender in World War 1?  Dr. Maru’s reasoning for siding with Ludendorff was far more flimsy for me.  After being burned and scarred, she assists Ludendorff with the gas, because she feels she’s been wronged and because Ludendorff was the only man, who gave her attention.  She was by far the weakest character in the film for me.  The film sold me on Diana’s belief that Ludendorff was Ares. I thought Danny Huston played dastardly evil, cruel and heartless well, even if his accent was a bit much on occasion. I didn’t bat an eye when he sniffed Dr. Poison’s gas. I though Areas would have to do something to restore his strength, since he likely lost his ability when Zeus struck him down from Olympus. Further cementing the Ludendorff/Ares connection for me, was the fact that he released the gas on the village Wonder Woman and the others liberated earlier in the film. Horrified, Wonder Woman squares off with Ludendorff, eventually stabbing him straight through the heart.  I thought, much like Diana did, that once Ludendorff died, Ares wold revert to his true form and that would be the beginning of the end of the war. That didn’t happen, leaving Diana almost traumatized. Steve tries to snap her out of it by telling her, that it wasn’t Ares who was responsible for the war, that it was mankind, He stresses that mankind is capable of evil and this was their doing, not to be blamed on Ares. Diana at one point is so shaken, that she reiterates her mother’s claim that mankind don’t deserve the Amazonian’s help. Steve tries to convince Diana that it’s not about human’s deserving Wonder Woman’s help, but rather whether she believes humanity is deserving of her help. He then goes off to complete the next phase of his mission.  Chris Pine delivered that line incredibly, with such power and resonance.  For me, this was Chris Pine’s greatest performance. There was so much range here.  I think he channeled two iconic Harrison Ford performances. I saw bits of Han Solo and Indiana Jones in his Steve Trevor. I loved every bit of his character.

As for Ares, he is the villain behind the curtain, but it’s obviously not Ludendorff. In a Batman Begins esque twist, Sir Patrick Morgan appears, revealing himself as Ares.  He tells Diana that the reason he was the one who proposed peace, was because he knew that humanity would reject it and revert to their base instinct of war.  He reiterates that he just whispers in their ear, telling them formula’s and such and lets them decide for themselves.  He’s put all this in motion, to show Diana that humanity doesn’t deserve the help of the God’s and that they should remake the Earth as a home for the God’s. Diana refuses and the two begin an epic battle. I was happy that in this moment, Ares took his true form and appeared in his comic book accurate God of War armor.  The fight is darkly lit and there’s fire everywhere.  I love that each fight sequence has a different color pallet.  This led to each one having a uniqueness, which sometimes lacks in the superhero genre. The Themyscira battle is so brightly lit, almost like the battle is taking place on heavenly terrain.  No Man’s land has a grey, Earthy, muddy look to it, while the battle with Aries looked like hell on Earth. At one point Diana is trapped in metallic debris, which calls to mind any cover or page that featured Diana in chains or bound.  As she sees the other members of her team destroying Dr. Maru’s lab, she also sees Steve in a bomber plane, filled with the gas, where he shoots himself, creating an explosion and destroying the gas.  Upon seeing this, Diana remembers when Steve told her he loved her.  These two factors, lead Wonder Woman to channel all her power and energy to destroy Ares, but not before telling him that she decides to stand with humanity, not because they deserve it but because she believes in love.  As I was crying at the beauty of that statement, the war ends and the film ends with present day Diana thanking Bruce Wayne via email for the picture, before flying to where she hears trouble, to save the day as Wonder Woman.

Director Patty Jenkins made a Wonder Woman film that had everything I wanted in a Wonder Woman film.  She made a movie about an Amazonian Warrior but a film that doesn’t glorify war but instead uses this Wonder Woman to inspire peace and love.  I can’t praise Gal Gadot enough. She embodies every facet of this character and now her performance is as iconic and career defining, as Christopher Reeve’s Superman performance.  If you don’t love Gal Gadot after seeing this move, there is seriously something wrong with you.  Now that I’ve seen Wonder Woman, not only is it the best of the current DCEU Films, it’s one of the best DC Comics films too. Check that, it’s one of my favourite superhero films ever made! As far as Superhero Origin Films, it’s my favourite, edging out Batman Begins and Superman: The Movie! Go see it, it truly is WONDERFUL!

Kinky Komic Review: Hellboy – The Corpse

(Submitted by my Wonder Twin, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, my hellishly heroic ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

The third volume of Hellboy consists of several short stories, so I decided to review them each on their own. This first story takes us to 1959 in Ireland, where Hellboy is brought in to investigate a child abduction case. However, when he arrives at the home, the child is in her crib. However, the child’s mother believes that the baby is not her daughter Alice Monaghan, citing that the baby says awful things and laughs at her, when her husband is away. Hellboy believes the mother and burns the child with a hot iron, forcing it to reveal it’s true form. Being a supernatural/horror book, that form is that of a fairy. This fairy named Gruagach instructs Hellboy that baby Alice is being held by other fairies. He confronts them and they offer him a deal; In exchange for burying one of their deceased brethren on the holy ground of one of three possible Christian churches, they will allow Hellboy to return the child to her parents. At two of the churches, the dead spirits rose up shouting; “No Room”, preventing Hellboy from burying the deceased skeleton. When they reach the ruins of a castle with a Christian cemetery, Hellboy is confronted by a disgruntled Gruagach who is furious over being burned with an iron and wants revenge. Things gets really weird when our angry fairy summons a Pig-Man to rise from deep underground, and battle Hellboy. Hellboy is able to defeat this strange adversary, while in the nick of time honoring his deal to bury the corpse the other farriers entrusted him with and returns Alice to the loving home of her parents.

After two volumes of Hellboy battling Rasputin and mystical Nazis, this was a weird and refreshing change of pace. When reading Hellboy, I’ve come to expect the unique and strange. Between his coworkers Abe Sapien, the mystical Nazi’s and the lizard creature in last volume, who knows what we’ll see our favorite horned paranormal investigator take on. Despite all this, I’ll be honest and say I did not expect we’d get a story with fairies. What Mignola does well, is once again balancing something as mystical as fairies, with a real world earth bound fear/predicament as child abduction. In the forward to this graphic novel, Mignola mentioned being influenced by Irish folktale for this story, which is something that definitely shines through in the work. The way the fairies spoke read like an Irish dialect. That, coupled with the fact that the fairies were little people, and that the corpse requested to be buried with gold had me thinking of them as leprechauns more than fairies. Once I made that connection, I instantly developed a craving for Lucky Charms cereal. The best parts of the story for me, was the banter between Hellboy and the corpse that he was tasked with burying, They argued about every possible detail along their journey, From everything to how Hellboy carried the corpse, to the road Hellboy took to eventually get to their destination. This reminded me of a relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild. As both get older, the little habits each have start to get on the other’s nerves, as they spend more time together. The Pig-Man creature cane across like a creepier more demonic version of lesser Batman villain Professor Pyg. I also couldn’t stop thinking of that Seinfeld episode where the gang were at the hospital, and Kramer was convinced he saw an actual man-pig hybrid.

As is usual with Mike Mignola, he also does the art. Superman’s signature pose is his hands on his hips, Batman’s is being crouched on a gargoyle and we all know Wonder Woman is a badass no matter what pose she assumes. Hellboy’s signature pose appears to be carrying a skeletal corpse on his back, as it’s happened in two of three graphic novels. While there are fairies, they aren’t your traditional fairies. In fact, the fairies look like the progeny of Golem and a Leprechaun. Try and get that image out of your head. Mignola’s art isn’t as hyper detailed as more current comic book artists, yet his rendition of Ireland, especially the castle ruins really looks great and makes me want to visit there. Well, that and the fact that Game of Thrones films there. Mike Mignola’s art looking so good is dependent on the work of the colorist. Matthew Hollingsworth was responsible for that aspect of this particular story. I loved the use of black, and then highlighting certain traits of Hellboy, while most of a panel is shrouded in darkness. Specifically in this book I liked how the orange/yellow of Hellboy’s eyes became more vibrant and noticeable when he was angered or frustrated. Even in comic books, the eyes can be the window to the soul.

This story was a quieter, more intimate story featuring Hellboy. I also liked that it was a Hellboy standalone story, in the truest sense of the word, as it solely focused on Hellboy, leaving out his associates in the BPRD. This story is by no means a game changer in the grand scheme of the stories relating to Volume 1 & 2, but it’s a nice little respite, while still giving you a Hellboy fix, as the next epic scale story surely approaches. Definitely worth a read.

#MightyMorphinMonday: Power Rangers (2017)

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

“A group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.” (Lionsgate/Saban)

As I mentioned in my Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic book review, I loved this television series as a kid. This movie stars the same characters in the original show, with different actors in the Zord’s, turning what was essentially a campy live action Saturday morning cartoon, into a live action science fiction, action adventure superhero film. While there is a shift in tone, to something that takes it source material a little more seriously, the core essential elements of the brand are upheld and respected. The Rangers are still teenagers under the guidance of Zordon, with the help of his assistant, talking robot Alpha 5. The Power Rangers derive their power from power coins which connect them to the morphing grid. They still are the pilots of Zord’s aka mechanical dinosaurs that can join together to form a giant robot known as a Megazord. Their main goal is to protect the zeo crystal and the world from Rita Repulsa, the sworn enemy of Zordon, who is aided by her putty patrol and Goldar, her chief lieutenant. With the core retained and carried over, the filmmakers still managed to deviate and change elements within the core ideas and those decisions, I feel, make major improvements. One aspect I absolutely loved is the back story and history of the Power Rangers. The Power Rangers go back all the way to pre historic earth. These alien warriors were charged with protecting the relatively young Earth and the life forms on it. The dominant life form at this time being the dinosaurs, which explains why the Zord’s take the form of those animals. In this iteration, Zordon is the leader of that team of Rangers, the red ranger. One of his teammates was Rita Repulsa, the Green Ranger. However, a power hungry Rita Repulsa betrays them in an effort to steal their power coins, the source of their power. However, Zordon hides the power coins, instructing Alpha 5 to cause a meteor strike from their ship. This results in Zordon’s death and sends Rita to the bottom of the ocean. The fallout of all this is the extinction of the dinosaurs. What I love bout all this is that, in the show Rita created the Green Ranger, so it’s serendipitous that in this take, she is the Green Ranger. It also gives Zordon and Rita a deeper connection and fuel for their hatred. Tying the original team of Power Rangers, to the time of the dinosaurs, not only explains why the Zord’s are dinosaurs, the film also makes Zordon and by extension Alpha 5, somewhat responsible for the dinosaurs extinction. That was surprising. I like that the filmmakers actually created an alien language for Zordon and Rita to speak. It makes the events of the scenario and the story conceit more believable. Most films don’t go that extra mile and just have the aliens speak English as if it’s some intergalactic and universal language.

The TV Series boasted that the Power Rangers were “teenagers with attitude.” Yet given the nature of the show, we got the most cookie cutter Leave it to Beaver kids you could possibly have. This film actually gives us teenagers with attitude, or at least ones dealing with issues. Jason was a football star in the making, who ruined his career after a prank gone wrong led to a car accident, ending his playing days. Kimberly Hart was a bit of a cyber bully of sorts, who sent nude photos of a fellow student throughout her previous school. Now in a new environment, she is the one who is ostracised by classmates. Billy Cranston is a science nerd whose experiment caused a minor explosion on school property. The added intrigue for this character is that he has Autism. These 3 Rangers meet in Saturday after school detention. It has a very Breakfast Club feel to it, which I think is great and highly appropriate, given they are teenagers. Trini, the yellow Ranger is dealing with her sexual orientation and struggling with coming out to her family, while Zack, the Black Ranger, frequently skips school, to take care of his ailing mother. These two outsiders often skip school and hang out in the Angel Grove gold mines or mountainous regions. While they all go to the same school, they aren’t necessarily friends and don’t know each other very well. That’s great for this film because the best part is the interactions between the Power Rangers. You see their friendships grow and you watch them become a team. They need to be in tune with each other to morph and to pilot the Megazord, so when all that finally happens in the third act of the film it’s earned. For the most, I’ve got nothing but praise for the young cast. Dacre Montgomery and Ludi Lin were solid. I thought both actors were believable in conveying their character various issues but I didn’t buy them 100% as outcasts or “teens with altitude.” The two best of our young cast are Naomi Scott and RJ Cyler. I had a huge crush on the original pink ranger as a kid, so any actress who can get me to totally invest in her take on a character is doing a good job. I really believed she was remorseful for her past deeds and was trying to escape the shackles of her past. RJ Cyler highlights how intelligent and uniquely awesome people with Autism are. I find people with disabilities are highly under-represented on film and when we are, we’re all painted with the same brush. Here though, this character is given his due. Not only is he incredibly smart, but he is the audiences conduit to what it would feel like to be a Power Ranger and how cool it would be. He’s the first one to morph and is actually the glue that ultimately binds the team together, allowing them to become the heroes they’re supposed to be. As a kid I didn’t care for the Blue Ranger, but in this film he was my favorite. Part of that is how the character is written, but a lot of that comes down to the actor’s performance. The weakest of our heroes in terms of performance and character is Becky G, as the Yellow Ranger. First off, her struggle with revealing her sexual orientation to her parents is only glossed over, while every other character got more screen time. Also, the actor is a pop singer by trade, and only a select few have been able to make the transition with any success. Unfortunately for Becky G, I don’t think she will join that club!

Elizabeth Banks relished her role as villain Rita Repulsa. Yes, her plan was straight forward, almost “mustache twirly” at times but I felt it was written that way on purpose as homage to the source material. Yes, Ms. Banks chews scenery and goes over the top, but she’s far less ridiculous than the Enchantress (the only thing I really didn’t like about Suicide Squad). Elizabeth Banks was genuinely frightening as Rita and in those moments she was money! (See what I did there… Money in the Bank). Bryan Cranston as Zordon was stunt legacy casting, as he voiced monster roles in the original show, but it is genius casting. His Zordon is confused at the complicated inner workings of the teenage mind. He’s stern, when the teenagers aren’t grasping what they need to learn, yet he is calming and compassionate when the need arises. Having Zordon be a former Power Ranger who experienced failure, makes his bond with the team feel stronger. He’s no longer just the man behind the curtain. He’s not an all-knowing Wizard of Oz fraud. Let’s look at the visuals and action in this film. Gone are the spandex costumes and in its place is an armor with an alien look and feel to it. The updated design still honors the original concept but ultimately makes so much more sense, since the original team were in fact aliens in the film. The Power Rangers command center being Zordon’s old ship also makes sense. I also think it being buried deep underneath the Angel Grove gold mines, where the meteors strike at the beginning of the film took place is a more practical story point. While I though the exterior of the TV show’s command center looked cool, largely because it looked like an Egyptian pyramid, its location never made sense. Rita Repulsa’s wardrobe is a definite improvement over the television predecessor. Since she was once the Green Ranger, I like that her outfit is essentially a defunct, dark and twisted take on the Green Ranger armor. Her armor has morphed to fit the characters personality. Goldar’s redesign seemed a little too much for my liking. He was literally a giant liquid gold monster. He reminded me of the golden fountain in the Ferrero Rocher chocolate commercials. Just imagine that fountain could walk and you’ll get what I’m talking about. Given the success of the Planet of the Apes franchise, there’s no reason they couldn’t have gone with a talking gorilla in gold armor like the original show. The Megazord forming and fighting looked great. There’s even a nod to the original show in that it forms in the cover of fire, from the bottom of the damage from the Angel Grove goldmine. The fighting between the Megazord and Goldar was very clear and concise. I appreciated that I could actually clearly see fighting moves being performed. This isn’t always the case in some movies, like Transformers or Pacific Rim. There’s even a joke about the Transformers film in the third act fight that got a laugh out of me. While the fighting between the Megazord and Goldar was well done, the hand to hand combat between the Power Rangers and Rita’s Putty Patrol as she attempt to steal the Zeo Crystal leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not that the fighting was bad, it’s just there wasn’t enough of it to really judge. That’s a shame, especially since the cast said they worked hard at martial arts training for the film.

As a fan of the original show, I was worried that this franchise had passed its exploration date in terms of appeal with modern day film fans, who weren’t already fans of the property. I was worried the filmmakers would change the DNA of the property so much, that it wouldn’t feel like a Power Rangers. However, the film stays true to the most important part of the concept and for my money, the changes made the Power Rangers better. As is sometimes the case with origin stories, the action beats and fighting sequences are less than I expected, though the Megazord battle does satiate that need to a degree. However, the focus was clearly on the characters and the team dynamics of the Power Rangers and in that department the film succeeds. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the franchise, or totally oblivious to it, give the film a look for yourself. I think you’ll have a morphenomenal good time at the movies or watching it from the comfort of your own home when released digitally and on Blu-Ray.

#ThemysciraThursday Comic Book Review: The Legend of Wonder Woman #1-9

(Rejoice, Kinky Ho-s, as our long awaited Wondy movie is now just around the corner…Prasie Hera! 😉 Here to help us get properly prepped for the Wondrousness is our resident SuperheoSciFi Guru, Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“On the hidden island of Themyscira, the Amazons, led by Queen Hippolyta, live in a kingdom of peace, protected by the gods. But the balance is upset when Hippolyta is granted what no immortal may have: a child, given life from the clay of the island. She is the princess Diana, who alone can sense the evil that is infesting the Amazon’s home.” (DC Entertainment)

The first nine issues of this digital first comic book retrace Wonder Woman’s origins and time on Themyscira. Many elements from the other Wonder Woman origin story I reviewed for you (Wonder Woman: The True Amazon) overlap in this story, but the perspective is different and makes this story unique. What I notice here is that while man’s world was full of hate and war, Hippolyta, along with her sisters forged her nation of woman who spoke of love and compassion, but were equally as mighty with their sword and axes. However, unlike the men, the Amazon’s were never inherently cruel. Impressed with this balance, Zeus granted Hippolyta and her sister’s immortality so that they would be able to oversee the growth and prosperity of the Amazon’s. As years pass, Hippolyta is filled with sorrow because immortals cannot give birth. Her festering anguish led her astray. During the invasion of Hercules, she had a sexual tryst with Theseus, allowing Hercules’ army to gain the upper hand leading to the defeat and death of one of Hippolyta’s sister, Penthesilea. After seeing the results of her indiscretion, she chose to abandon her longing for children and while her Amazon sisterhood were upset that she betrayed them, they chose her to lead them back to peace and prosperity as their Queen. Meanwhile, in the heavens, the gods were at war with a Titan. While they defeated the Titan, the battle ravaged the Earth, so the gods created an island sequestered away from humanity to prevent further disaster. Zeus invites the Amazon’s to live on a piece of said island known as Themyscira, in exchange for making it a place of peace and provide worship to the gods. To seal the deal, Zeus promises to give souls of daughters to mortal Amazons, once every 10 years. Still left childless, it is the mystical sands and wishing of Hippolyta that bring Diana into this world. I find in this book compared to most others, the Amazon’s are far more harmonious with the ancient gods. Most books don’t showcase the Amazons as being so submissive and worshiping the Gods in such detail. So much so, that Hippolyta’s sisters align themselves with worshiping and being somewhat of an emissary of those gods. However, while men are shown for their propensity for hatred and warfare, this books puts the blame for the suffering and devastation in Man’s world on the gods. This book also clearly identifies the Amazon’s as human beings who are granted immortality and extra ability. I think that past iterations of Wonder Woman stories have made them quasi god-like in their own right, however when doing that, it makes the presence of the gods somewhat moot. I didn’t like Diana’s clay origin this time around. The clay being able to bring Diana to life because Hippolyta essentially thinks/wills her into being, basically makes her a Green Lantern minus the ring, or his duties. Diana being given life by the gods, makes her extra special in my book.

Speaking of Diana, she is much more the traditional one we are used to, as opposed to the bitchy spoiled brat from Wonder Woman: A True Amazon. Here, Diana has a strong unwavering desire to join the military of Paradise Island and commence her training. However, her mother would rather groom her to be future Queen so she can win favor from the gods, ultimately being granted immortality by the gods. While mother and daughter are at odds over this, they share the same reasoning; to protect the other. Hippolyta worries that Diana’s mortality will be tested if she joins the warrior ranks, while Diana wants to use her training and warrior status to protect her mother and home world from a dark mystical threat, only she seems to sense. In this segment of the story, ultimately Diana pretends to abide her mother’s wishes, while secretly training with Alicippe. While Diana feels disheartened for disobeying her mother, it turns out she knew all along and despite her misgivings, allowed Alicippe to continue her training because it makes Diana happen. During her training, Diana learns that her mother was the fiercest warrior the Amazon’s have ever known. Thus, Diana realizes her mother’s concern for her because she’s fought in battle and knows the costs. Still, this only brings Diana closer to her mother, strengthening her resolve to fight alongside her fellow warriors. Honestly, of all the Wonder Woman stories I’ve read, this one makes me feel the most genuine and invested in the mother/daughter bond of Hippolyta and Diana. The arrival of Steve Trevor on Themyscira is more purposeful and serves an added purpose in this story. It seems as though whatever great dark threat Diana sensed was to plague Themyscira, actually pulled Steve Trevor’s plane towards the island. Think of it kind of like the Bermuda Triangle myth. I think I like this idea better, then it just being a happy accident. When Hippolyta’s sisters learn of the plane crash, they plan to use a “wild man” scampering unchecked around the island, to discredit Hippolyta’s leadership, and take her place as Queen. One of the sisters even contemplates murder. However, their plan is thwarted by Diana and Alicippe, with Alicippe ultimately losing her life in the process. I love that there is jealousy and resent among Hippolyta’s sisters. Look, I can suspend disbelieve that most women can live on an island and live in harmony together. But I’ve known too many woman who hold grudges and “hate” each other, for the most ridiculous of reasons. So it makes sense that if one sister was favored by Zeus over others, there would be some anger and jealousy at play. The gladiator games that bring Wonder Woman to man’s world are not a mere commemorative ceremony in this book. Here, the winner gets to decide the fate of the intruder Steve Trever. Diana of course wins the event and decides to escort Steve home. I like that the Amazon gladiatorial tournament had more stakes involved then just being something ritualistic. While we never see Wonder Woman in costume yet, she is given her heroic wardrobe by her mother and it’s confirmed that in this iteration, the gods have embed the elements of her heroic costume with blessings, that when worn, give Diana her extraordinary abilities. In previous iterations, her divine birth has been the cause of her abilities. Truly, I’m fine with both interpretations. The relationship/infatuation is just started/teased here between Diana and Steve. It seems as though they are going to expand that over the course of several issues. I prefer this, rather than having it force fed to us in one shot.

The art drawn by Ray Dillon. The art is much more modern looking than the last Wonder Woman graphic novel I reviewed here. It also has a little bit of an animated feel to it, without ever veering into overly cartoonish. Diana, as she ages from childhood to adulthood, looks like our very own Miss Kinky Horror. That’s perfectly fine by me by the way. My favourite page is the splash page of the gods battling Titan at the top portion of the page, while the Earth is being ravaged by volcanic eruption and flooding as a result of their war. It’s powerful and mythic imagery that highlights the powers of the Gods. I noted that the gladiatorial games as drawn in Wonder Woman: A True Amazon looked like Ben Hur. The gladiatorial tournament in The Legend of Wonder Woman visually reminds me of 300! A huge part of the beauty of this art is the colors. The shot of Pegasus prancing elegantly with sunlight shining in behind is literally the most beautiful shot I’ve seen in a comic book over the last year. Also, the cloud of darkness engulfing Themyscira is perfectly creepy and menacing. If you had any doubt that Themyscira is the most beautiful location in the DC Universe, this book will confirm it.

This is a fantastic read. You may feel as though you know Wonder Woman’s origin, but the twists to familiar scenarios, a deeper connection between mother and daughter, and spectacular looking art makes this a must read for Wonder Woman fans everywhere. Now I don’t know specific details of the Wonder Woman film, but there are scenes from the trailers that seem to be pulled right out of this book. For that reason, I recommend reading this book, as a pre-movie ritual leading up to your viewing of the film. For myself, the week leading up to the release, I plan on doing a Wonder Woman marathon consisting of, the television series, episodes of the Justice League animated series and a stack of comic books. PS: The wait is almost over my friends!