TV Show Review: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Episode 11 “Chapter Eleven: A Midwinter’s Tale”

Hey guys! Happy Friday! So there’s a bit of change for today. I’ve said a few times that I was going to review How the Grinch Stole Christmas from 2000 today. I put on Netflix to watch it, having seen it on there a few times when I went on to watch something else, and it wasn’t there. I searched for it and it’s not there. So instead I’m going to review the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Christmas special. So let’s get into it!

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Titled “Chapter Eleven: A Midwinter’s Tale”, this Christmas special was actually pretty good. In fact it actually made the first season’s finale much better in terms of what Sabrina did in order to save Greendale from the Dark Lord. It turns out that Sabrina signing her name in the Book of the Beast didn’t negate her deal with Father Blackwell, and she’s still going to the Academy on the weekends while going to Baxter High during the regular school week. She also doesn’t seem to have any hidden agenda or anything like that. She just signed the book and there doesn’t seem to be any direct consequences of that action.

Also I think the writers and producers of the show took to heart the criticisms people had about this show. I know it addressed some of the problems I had with it. Aunt Zelda is more likeable in this special than she was in all of season 1, Ms. Wardwell is back pulling strings behind the scenes, Ambrose is a more fun character, and they seem to have, at least for this special, dropped the Feminist undertones the first season had as well. They weren’t super in your face with that as some other shows and movies have been in more recent times, but, it was still there, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with Feminism, or any political agendas there is something wrong when a director, producer, and/or writer is just interested in pushing their political agenda, and not interested in telling a good story or writing believable characters.

I’m still a bit wary about Harvey and where they seem to be going with him, but, hopefully season 2 fleshes that out more once it starts in April. This was actually the most fun I had watching this show since the pilot. Partly because I watched the entire ten episode first season over the course of five days with only a two day break in between episode 2 and episode 3, and as I said in my review of the first season, I’m not accustomed to watching a show that’s as dark in tone as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is.

So basically it’s the Winter Solstice/Christmas time and the Spellmans are preparing for a festive season. Sabrina decides to have a seance so she can talk to her mom, and that’s what she does, though Wardwell attempts to distrupt the proceedings, with minor success. There’s also a demon who disguises himself as a shopping mall Santa and kidnaps the teens who are hired to be his Elves and turns them into dolls. Susie gets captured and after dealing with a witch who takes orphan children and gives them a home as ghost children, the Spellmans team up with said witch and save Susie from the demon.

There’s a little bit more to the episode than that, but, that’s the gist of the episode. It was good. It was less gory and cringey than the entirety of the first season, and like I said, I had a lot of fun watching it. Which is more than I can say about the first season, which wasn’t as fun to watch just because there were so many disturbing moments over those first ten episodes. I don’t know if I’m going to watch season 2, just because I don’t know if the things they did to make this episode better will carry over to the season, but, unlike other shows that have Christmas specials that air after the season has ended (I’m looking at you Power Rangers) this episode seems to be in continuity with the rest of the show and acts as a bridge between seasons 1 and 2, so this is probably just a glimpse at what they have in store for us for the second season, which drops in April, instead of October 2019, like I thought it was going to.

That’s it for me for 2018 guys. I hope you all have a wonderful end of the year, however you celebrate it, Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas, and I will see you all in the New Year. I’m aiming to start making content on the blog again on January 4th, so join me then for my first review of 2019. I’m also going to focus heavily on franchises that I love like Star Wars, Star Trek, DC Comics, Archie Comics, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Power Rangers. Starting in 2019 I’m going to start a review series on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I’m going to review the movie and all six seasons of the show, which is on Netflix right now, and I’m also going to do season reviews of Young JusticeJustice League Unlimited and Batman: The Animated Series. So look forward to all of that in 2019. I’ll also let you know when I come back in 2019 how I’m going to tackle these franchises, beyond what I’ve mentioned here. So until then have a wonderful holiday and I will see you all in 2019. Take care!

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TV Show Review: Arrowverse Crossover #6 – Elseworlds

Hey guys! How’s it going? I’m feeling better today, but I’m still not feeling 100% better from this cold or virus or whatever it is I’ve had since the weekend. I am well enough however to be on here talking to you guys about the sixth annual Arrowverse crossover, Elseworlds. Which I am so excited to talk about because oh my goodness, it was awesome! So let’s get into it!

DC Elseworlds

When The CW announced that the title for the crossover this year was going to be Elseworlds, I was extremely wary. I was wary because Elseworlds was an imprint that DC had in the ’90s where anything was possible. Batman and Captain America could team up, Batman could be a vampire or a pirate or could operate in the Victorian era, and Superman could be raised in the Soviet Union instead of the United States of America, and it wouldn’t affect the continuity of the main comics that DC was publishing at that time. Which, for the Arrowverse means the crossover would probably be set on an alternate Earth where Oliver Queen became the Flash and Barry Allen was the Green Arrow and being that these shows aren’t watched primarily by people who read the comic books, or are reading current, but haven’t gone back and read stuff that DC had put out in the late ’80s, the ’90s, and the early 2000’s (Elseworlds ran from 1989 until 2003). I had no reason to worry because the title of the crossover has no meaning here. It’s there as a title, but that’s it.

Before I start to geek out and gush about everything, I want to talk a little bit about what I didn’t like about the crossover, because there are a couple of minor things that disappointed me about this year’s crossover. The middle part that happened on Arrow was the weakest part of the crossover. It was weak because while it introduced Gotham City into the Arrowverse finally, and introduced the best version of Batwoman, a character I haven’t really liked in the comics since Kate Kane was introduced in 2006, I have ever seen in any medium, I typically do not like prolonged battles that take place in Arkham Asylum, and this one was pointless.

I also do not like that they had Nora Fries, the wife of Victor Fries a.k.a. Mr. Freeze, one of Batman’s major villains, as an inmate at Arkham Asylum, while Mr. Freeze is an inmate at Arkham. The origin Paul Dini wrote for Mr. Freeze for the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Heart of Ice” and then was appropriated for both the 1997 movie Batman & Robin and then for the main DC Universe version of the character, is one of the best origin stories of a villain ever. So to have that negated by having Nora Fries be an inmate/villain with Victor is a bit unnecessary. Now that could be a storyline that’s going to come up on Batwoman once that show airs (if it airs) and they might do something really interesting with that dynamic on that show, but as a small element in a crossover, it wasn’t necessary to have Nora Fries be an actual character, and then tease Mr. Freeze when Nora uses his cold gun. I would’ve liked it better if they’d just had Nora Fries be Mrs. Freeze like how J. Michael Straczynski made Lex Luthor a woman in the graphic novel series Superman: Earth One. That was fascinating and it could’ve been a neat role reversal here. Instead they used the character, who is merely a catalyst for the character of Mr. Freeze in the comics and every other medium the character has appeared in after 1992, and then teased the actual character of Mr. Freeze.

The final thing I didn’t like about this episode is Felicity. Once again we’ve got the bitter, angry Felicity that was the worst part of Arrow season 4, and once again they’ve dragged the baggage of Arrow into the crossover and used it horribly. Everything going on on The Flash and on Supergirl was put aside for this crossover. There was no mention of Nora West-Allen and the thing we saw at the end of the 100th episode, there was no mention of Sherloque and his suspicion of her, there was just whatever was happening for the crossover. Same with whatever’s happening on Supergirl. Clark and Kara talk about it a little bit before Barry and Oliver arrive on Earth-38, but otherwise there’s no mention of it. But, Arrow has to wallow in it’s drama and that’s why sooo many people have stopped watching the show. There’s still plenty of people, like myself, who still watch it on a weekly basis, or binge a batch of episodes at a time, but there’s also plenty of people who stopped watching it because they couldn’t stand the unnecessary drama on the show. So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into everything else!

Okay, so my absolute favourite part was seeing Green Arrow, the Flash, Superman and Supergirl fighting Amazo! Up until this episode Professor Ivo was connected to the events in the flashbacks during Arrow season 2, and everything going on with the Mirakuru and Deathstroke in that season, and Amazo was just the name of the ship that Ivo and his men used to get to Lian Yu. But, finally we got the actual robot, Amazo, one of the Justice League’s villains, and the battle was glorious. I geeked out hard when I saw Superman fighting alongside the Flash and Green Arrow finally. That was beautiful. And then in part three when Deegan (disguised as Superman) got Amazo back and Brainiac 5 (Brainy to all of you who watch Supergirl still) went to fight him, and we saw Martian Manhunter fighting alongside everyone, and then the ending happened and we saw J’onn J’onzz standing beside Superman, Supergirl, the Flash and Green Arrow, my entire geek self just lost it with excitement, because THAT is why I am a fan of DC Comics and why I love The FlashDC’s Legends of Tomorrow and want to love Arrow and Supergirl. Seeing those characters together on screen in live action, even if some of them are characters I’m not super familiar with, is exciting.

Batwoman is a bit of an enigma (don’t fight me on my choice of words) because they honestly did not do as much with her as I thought they were going to, especially since they’re setting her up for her own show. However, Ruby Rose did an amazing performance both in and out of the Batwoman costume, and I’m cautiously optimistic that Batwoman is going to be a great show. I’m still holding my breath on that because, once again, The CW can’t use Batman since Gotham is still on for one more season, and so they’re either going to go one of two ways. 1) they’re going to make Batwoman exactly like she is in the comics, and in the animated movie, Batman: Bad Blood in which case I will not be watching because I find that character to be boring and predictable or 2) they’re just going to make her be the Batman, giving her all of Bruce’s traits, character issues, and villains, and as a fan of Batman, I don’t just want a Batman series with a woman in the lead role anymore than I wanted all of Batman’s villains showing up on Gotham when Bruce Wayne is still a kid. Let Batwoman be Batwoman, with her own motivations, her own insecurities and her own villains and don’t squander it like you did Arrow and season 3 of Supergirl. Especially since, from a business standpoint, Batwoman is not a marketable character.

Batwoman is a character that could be very interesting and could appeal to a large audience, but she’s not. She has her fans, but she’s not universally loved and the version they’re using here is really only 12 years old. She was only created in 2006 for the series, 52, which followed Infinite Crisis, and she was used sparingly until 2011 when she got her own comic book series, which was promptly cancelled after the zero issue because, the New 52 started and all of the DC books were being relaunched. Then she got another series, that lasted 41 issues (including a second zero issue in 2012). She then became a co-star alongside Batman in Detective Comics when DC Rebirth started in 2016.

That’s all fine. DC’s biggest mistake was not jumping on putting her in other media once she was created back in 2006. People who don’t read comic books don’t know who this character is and probably don’t care. Especially if they didn’t watch this crossover because they don’t watch these shows. So it’ll be interesting to see how the Batwoman TV show does once it starts airing. I hope it’ll be successful, but chances are it won’t be. Especially if they use her origins from the comics, because she has a military background and is at odds with her father and to me that’s not an interesting character. She’s also a Lesbian in the comics, which could work if Berlanti handles it the way he handled Alex and Maggie on Supergirl and Sara on Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Also they made a big deal out of bringing John Wesley Shipp in as his version of Barry Allen/the Flash from the 1990 TV series, The Flash, even setting him up on his own Earth in the Arrowverse Multiverse, Earth-90. He’s in exactly three minutes of the end of part 2, which was this week’s episode of Arrow, and that’s it. The Monitor zaps him away and we never see him again. It was awesome to see him standing beside Supergirl, Earth-1 Flash, and Green Arrow though. And it also got me thinking that Smallville and The Flash (1990) take place on the same Earth, which would explain why Bart Allen is the sole Speedster on Smallville, with Barry having retired at some point before the pilot of Smallville.

Before I go, because I could talk about this crossover for hours and hours, but my word count is already at almost 1700 words, and I need to eat dinner (over 1700 words now), I would like to say…I KNEW IT! At the end of Arrow when Oliver and Barry meet the Monitor, Mar-Novu (the Monitor) says that a Crisis is coming. Okay we’ve kind of known that since season 1 of The Flash. But in the season premiere of this season of The Flash, the holographic image of the newspaper article that mentions the mission where the Flash disappeared during a battle against some external threat which a team of superheroes, including Green Arrow, Hawkman, Hawkgirl and the Atom, was fighting, had it’s date changed from 2024 to 2019. Okay, great, but what does that have to do with this crossover?

At the end of Supergirl there appeared a title card that said, “Coming in Fall 2019…Crisis on Infinite Earths“. Which is probably the biggest crossover you could do on these shows, because you need Green Arrow, Black Canary, Spartan, Mr. Terrific, Wild Dog, Speedy, Arsenal, the Flash, Killer Frost, Vibe, the Elongated Man, Kid Flash, White Canary, the Atom, Nate, Zari, Vixen, Constantine (if he’s still around), Heat Wave, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Supergirl, Guardian, Superman, Martian Manhunter, Batwoman, and, hopefully, Batman to fight this sort of threat.

But, in the original comic book version from 1985, both Barry Allen/the Flash and Kara Zor-El/Supergirl sacrificed themselves to save the Multiverse from destruction. So, does that mean that they’re going to cancel Supergirl after this season and then bring in those characters for a four way crossover between Arrow (if that show doesn’t end this season), The FlashDC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman? Because I could see them retooling The Flash so that Wally replaces Barry as the Flash, though there’s been no evidence that Wally replaces Barry after Barry disappears during the Crisis originally mentioned in the pilot as happening in 2024. But, this could also be a way to reverse a lot of convoluted history within certain shows. It could bring Laurel and Tommy back from the dead, it could bring Martin Stein back from the dead and either give Martin and Jax their powers back, restoring Firestorm, or bring back Ronnie Raymond and merge him with Stein or Jax to make a new version of Firestorm, and it could undo a lot of the bad decisions that writers on all of the shows have done, making new story possibilities. Especially if Arrow continues on into an eighth season, because that show needs to be fixed. Badly. So there’s tons of possibilities by doing an adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths next year.

Overall I loved this crossover. Part 2 was iffy, just because of the show it was shot for, and I’m still not sure that Batwoman is a show I’m going to watch, but, I liked the character in this crossover, and I’m going to at least watch the first episode to see what they do with her outside of this little bubble that she was introduced in. This was the most fun with a crossover I’ve had since they first had Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin show up on Arrow back during that show’s third season and the first season of The Flash. The past three crossovers have gotten pretty dark and crazy as there were too many characters, even though they tried to minimize the number of characters they used in them and they were heavy even on the lighter, more fun shows like The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

Alright that is it for me for now. Apologies for this lengthy dissertation on this year’s Arrowverse crossover, but, I had a lot of fun watching it this year, and I needed to talk about it. I’m finished now. I will be back tomorrow with my review of How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey. So until then have a great evening and I will talk to you all later. May the Force be with you! Live Long and Prosper! Take care!

TV Show Review: Doctor Who Series 11 Overview

Hey guys! How’s it going? I’ve got a cold or a virus of some sort, and it’s been kicking my butt for the last couple of days. Which is why you didn’t get this overview yesterday as I’d planned. But, I’m feeling well enough to string together a few coherent sentences so here’s the overview for Doctor Who series 11. Let’s get into it!

Doctor Who

Having never seen a full season of Doctor Who before this, I don’t have anything to compare this season to in terms of quality of the writing or performances or anything like that, so this is just me talking about the season on it’s own. As a whole, I enjoyed it. I mean some episodes weren’t great, but none of them made me want to stop watching the show, even though there were a few that could easily have done that. But they didn’t.

This is the first Doctor that I’ve spent any kind of time with on the first run. I’ve seen a couple of Matt Smith episodes and I’ve seen six William Hartnell First Doctor episodes, but they’re all ones that I watched after the fact on DVD (Hartnell) or on reruns on Space Channel (Smith). So in a way, even though Matt Smith was my introductory Doctor, Jodie Whittaker is my Doctor simply because I’ve watched her entire run so far and so I’ve seen far more episodes with her as the Doctor than I have of any other Doctor in the show’s history and in my history as a viewer of the show.

The Companions were pretty great. I mean Clara Oswald will probably always be my favourite of the Companions, because aside from the three in this season, she’s the only one I’ve spent a lot of time with given she’s been in every Matt Smith episode I’ve seen, including The Day of the Doctor, and in the half of a Peter Capaldi episode that I saw shortly after I saw the Matt Smith episodes on Space. But I really enjoyed the three we got this season. Yaz was great, but she didn’t have a whole lot to do, whereas Ryan and Graham had a lot to do because of Grace getting killed in the season opener, and them having to deal with the grief of losing her throughout the season, culminating in the finale. I really like Yaz though, even though, as I said, she didn’t have as much to do this season as Ryan and Graham did.

Because I don’t really have anything to compare it to, I’m not going to say whether Chris Chibnall’s writing is good or bad. I’ve seen one episode written by Russell T. Davies, and only a handful written by Steven Moffatt (the previous showrunners of the series) and I’ve only seen six Classic Doctor Who episodes, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. However, I will say that I appreciated the less serialized nature of the season in comparison to the heavily serialized nature of shows like ArrowThe Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. I watched every episode of Doctor Who this season, but if I’d missed one it wouldn’t’ve mattered too much in the grand scheme of things. Which is nice, because I don’t always feel like watching a show, and I want to be able to miss it and it not mattering, which I can’t do with most of the shows I watch outside of Doctor WhoThe Orville, and The Goldbergs.

I’m not going to say much more than that on this season of Doctor Who. As a first season of a show to get into, without going back and starting from season 1, this was pretty solid. Like I said, there were a few episodes that were just okay to me, but there weren’t any that I hated. And aside from having two Companions overshadowing the third, the group dynamics this season were great.

So that is it for me for today folks, but I will be back on Thursday with my review of the 2018 Arrowverse crossover, “Elseworlds” and then Friday is my final day on the blog for 2018 and I will be reviewing How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey. So until then have a great rest of your day and I will talk to you soon. Take care!

Final posts of 2018 to come out next week

Hey guys! How’s it going? I’m doing pretty well. So, as you may have noticed, I didn’t end up getting any blog posts out this week. I took the week off so I could enjoy my birthday and just do my own thing for the week. With series 11 of Doctor Who ending on Sunday night and the annual Arrowverse crossover between ArrowThe Flash and Supergirl airing next week, I decided to get reviews of those done and then sign off for 2018.

Originally I wasn’t going to review the crossover this year, but, decided to do it anyway, because it’s absolutely bonkers this year. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow isn’t involved in the crossover this year, but, the other three shows are, and there’s a lot of stuff going on that I’m going to be way too excited about to not talk about on here. Plus I don’t get the channel that Supergirl airs on here in Canada, and with The Flash on Netflix now (here in Canada) I’m not able to watch it over the three evenings the crossover is airing on. So I’m planning on buying the episodes on iTunes and then just binge the whole thing. And then I will do the review. So that’s the plan for the crossover.

As I said when the season started, I’m going to review series 11 of Doctor Who after the season finale airs on Sunday night. That will be Monday’s post. I’ve enjoyed this season of Doctor Who, and because it’s the first season of the show I’ve ever watched from start to finish, I have thoughts on it and would like to share them with you.

That’s all I really wanted to say this week. Being the end of the year, I just decided to take this week off and recharge my batteries for next week which will have three full days of movie and TV show reviews. I’m planning on reviewing the 2000 film, How the Grinch Stole Christmas which stars Jim Carrey as the Grinch. That’s the movie I had planned on reviewing today to wrap up the year here on The Review Basement, but, with the crossover and the season finale of Doctor Who next week, I just thought I’d take the week off, enjoy my birthday, and then review all of that next week to wrap up the year. So until then have a great weekend and I will see you back here on Monday with my review of Doctor Who series 11. Take care!

Movie Review: Iron Man (2008)

“I am Iron Man”. Ten years ago, with these words, Robert Downey Jr., playing Tony Stark/Iron Man, launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turned Marvel into a household name outside of the comic book reading community. Hey guys! Happy Friday! Also, it’s the final day of November. How’d that happen? So, today I’m going to be talking about the movie that started the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, Iron Man. First, let’s do a little history lesson.

Tales of Suspense #39

Iron Man was first created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby in 1963, first appearing in Tales of Suspense #39. This was in the heyday of Marvel Comics when characters like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four were all being created. Characters that didn’t fall under the mold set by DC (then known as National Allied Publications) in decades previous. According to the Iron Man page on Wikipedia, the late Stan Lee wanted to come up with a character that the young readers of Marvel comics wouldn’t like, because he was involved with the war (in this case, Vietnam) and people were sick of war by 1963.

Iron Man #1

Iron Man became popular enough to get his own comic book series and in 1968, Iron Man #1 hit the stands. The first series ran 332 issues before being cancelled and starting with a brand new number one issue.

Iron Man (1966 cartoon)

In other media, Iron Man has appeared in several cartoons over the decades. The first being a series of thirteen short cartoons that ran during a show called The Marvel Super Heroes, a thirty minute series featuring the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, and the Sub-Mariner. The animation was minimal and not much happened in these seven minute episodes, but, it probably captured the attention of kids in the ’60s, much like the Filmation cartoons based on DC Comics characters did around the same time.

Iron Man - The Animated Series

The second cartoon was a half hour, Saturday Morning Cartoon airing in Syndication from 1994 to 1995. The ’90s was a huge time for Marvel Comics characters when it came to animated TV shows featuring them. Starting with X-Men in 1992, these cartoons appeared on Fox Kids and in syndication throughout the ’90s. Except for Spider-Man, which also began airing in 1994, I didn’t watch any of these shows growing up in the ’90s. In fact, I didn’t know who Iron Man was until the first movie came out in 2008. Outside of a few Star Trek comics published by Marvel, and a few Spider-Man comics, I didn’t read Marvel at all. Which leads me to the 2008 movie, and the subject of this review.

Iron Man

As I mentioned above, I didn’t know who Iron Man was until this movie came out in 2008. I don’t even know how I found out about the movie in the first place. I was just starting my second semester of college when the trailer dropped in February of 2008, only three months before the movie was released. So I don’t even think I saw the trailer or any TV spots. I think Brad told me about the movie, since he was the only person I was hanging out with at that time outside of people I met in my college programs. It was a character I was completely unfamiliar with, being a Marvel character, and I chose not to see it in theatres that summer, instead choosing to go see the then latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, and the then latest Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Clone Wars instead. A decision I don’t regret in the slightest. I’m not a big Marvel fan, in case you didn’t notice.

However, I did see the movie on DVD in the fall of 2008. With a friend of mine from school. Her name was Jackie, and I’d asked my mom to rent a movie (remember when we could do that boys and girls?) for us while I was in class. There wasn’t much choice so my mom picked Iron Man for us. After class was over, Jackie drove me home and we stopped for pizza on the way to my place. We spent the evening eating pizza and watching the movie. I liked it at the time, but, I didn’t get how important this movie would be. I wasn’t on YouTube yet at this point. Well, I watched videos on YouTube, mostly music videos from my favourite artists, but, I wasn’t ON YouTube yet as a subscriber to any particular channels. So I had no idea that this movie had become a big thing for the geeky community, particularly to the readers and fans of Marvel Comics. I liked the movie though and that’s all I really cared about at the time.

Watching the movie for this review was my first time watching it in ten years. And I still liked it even though I’d forgotten what had happened in it outside of the broad strokes of Tony Stark becoming Iron Man and fighting Obadiah Stane. For example I forgot that Coulson had a fairly big role in this movie. I knew he appeared in it, but, didn’t remember that he had as big of a role in it as he does. Which is great, because I like Clark Gregg a lot as an actor, and getting to see the first time he played the character of Agent Phil Coulson, a role that he’s really made his own on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. over the last five years, was awesome.

As a villain, Stane almost feels inconsequential. Primarily because we know he’s not going to kill Tony, but also because, in comparison to the other villains that we’ve had in the MCU since then, he’s not that big of a threat. In fact, he kind of reminds me of Yellow Jacket from Ant-Man (2015). I know, that’s a weird comparison, but, honestly it’s true. Yellow Jacket was Ant-Man’s opposite as the Iron Monger (Obadiah Stane) is to Iron Man.

One of the things I was surprised about upon this viewing of the movie, my second, is how much is really set up for the future of the MCU. Coulson is introduced, as I mentioned earlier. However, there’s a quick shot where Rhodey (James Rhodes), played by Terrence Howard in this movie, looks at Tony’s Iron Man Mark II prototype suit (the silver one) and says, “Next time baby!” before leaving Tony’s house to help out Tony against the Iron Monger, as if they had put this into the movie as a tease for Rhodey to become the Iron Patriot/War Machine in  Iron Man 2 which came out in 2010. And let’s not forget the end credits scene where Samuel L. Jackson makes his first appearance as Nick Fury, the directory of S.H.I.E.L.D. That’s where we got hints that this was going to be something big, even though Marvel Studios had no idea whether or not this movie was going to do well at the box office, or if they’d be able to get this shared movie universe off the ground.

Thinking back to 2008, having that end credits scene was a bold move. Disney hadn’t bought Marvel Comics yet, Marvel Studios was a small independent production studio, and the movie licensing/distribution rights for various Marvel properties were spread out across four different studios, with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor at Paramount Studios, the Hulk at Universal Studios, Spider-Man at Sony, and Daredevil, Elektra, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men at 20th Century Fox with Blade possibly still at New Line Cinema, which is owned by Warner Bros. and the Punisher at Lionsgate Films.

As a result there was no way Marvel Studios could’ve known they were going to get to make a sequel to Iron Man let alone an entire universe of films and TV shows. And yet they teased the audience with that end credits scene, which is something they’ve been doing ever since. As much as I’m not a Marvel fan, I’m glad Iron Man was successful and that Marvel Studios got to launch this incredible (no pun intended) line of films and TV shows. I’ve been exposed to more comic book characters than I might’ve been otherwise, from both DC and Marvel, had I not seen these movies, or if they’d not been made in the first place. And while I still don’t plan on picking up a Captain America comic, an Iron Man comic, a Thor comic, an Avengers comic, or any other Marvel books outside of Spider-Man and X-Men ones, I get why people love Marvel so much. It’s not my thing (I’m first and foremost a fan of particular characters rather than publishers or universes), but I’m glad it’s getting these characters out there for people to experience, even if they never pick up a comic book in their entire lives.

So that’s Iron Man folks. It’s still a great movie, though it’s a lot cheesier than I remember it being. It’s also more of a set up film for Tony Stark as a character, given how much more emotional weight the character has in later MCU films, including, but not limited to, Iron Man 2The Avengers, and Iron Man 3. If you haven’t seen it yet…what rock do you live under and is there room for me? Ahem…if you haven’t seen it yet, I would highly recommend it. Especially if you’re a fan of the later movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s the perfect setup movie.

Alrighty that is it for me for this week guys. I’ll be back next week for the blog’s final week of 2018 before it goes on it’s Holiday hiatus. I’ll have a major update for you on Monday, a book review for you on Wednesday, and a holiday movie review for you next Friday. So until then have a great weekend and I will see you all next week. Take care!

 

Comic Book Review: Gen13 #1

Hey guys! How’s it going? I’m actually doing pretty well. It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another book review. However, I’m not reviewing a novel and this isn’t a Book Rewind. Today I’m going to be reviewing a comic book. That’s right, I’m bringing back comic reviews. I’ve missed talking about the comics in my collection, so I’ve decided to start this up again. It’s not going to be a daily thing. It’s going to be a bi-weekly thing, alternating with Book Rewinds. Today I’m going to be talking about Gen13 #1 written by Gail Simone, with art by Talent Caldwell and Matt Banning. First a little history.

Gen13 (v1) #1

Gen13 is a group of teenage superheroes who were created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi for Image Comics in 1994. First appearing in Gen13 #1, these kids were created by a secret government organization and were the children of Team 7, another group of superheroes created by Jim Lee. The first series only ran for five issues.

Gen13 (v2) #1

In 1995, Gen13 restarted with a brand new number one issue. This time by Brandon Choi and J. Scott Campbell. It was the same team, but this time the series continued on from where issue #5 of the original mini-series left off. Now, this series came out in the ’90s and so there was a lot of characters created that wouldn’t’ve been allowed at DC or Marvel at the time as the Comics Code Authority hadn’t been modified to allow more explicit material to be drawn in comics or on comic book covers. Image Comics didn’t follow the Comics Code so they had the room to spread their wings in this regard. As a result there are covers that are gratuitous and a bit uncomfortable to look at today. As you might’ve seen from the cover of the first issue of the original 1994 series. In other words they weren’t really intended for children. Instead they were intended for the older readers who’d grown up with comics in the ’70s and ’80s and no longer wanted to read the safer books that DC and Marvel were putting out. They wanted something a little more risque so to speak.

Gen13 (v3) #1

After an 80 issue run, thirty-six of them being published by Image, Gen13 restarted yet again, this time at WildStorm, an imprint that had moved from Image Comics over to DC Comics and had picked up Gen13 after issue #36 of the second series. This time there was a new team of kids, under the mentorship of Caitlin Fairchild, one of the original team members, as the rest of the original team had supposedly been blown up at the end of the second series. This third series was initially written by Chris Claremont, who’d helped to revitalize the X-Men in the late ’70s and again in the early ’90s over at Marvel Comics. This series only lasted for a total of 17 issues, including a zero issue before being cancelled. However, this leads into the issue I’m talking about today.

Gen13 Volume 1 - Best of a Bad Lot

I read this issue from the trade paperback, Gen13: Best of a Bad Lot which collects issues 1 to 6 of the 2006 series by Gail Simone. The trade is pretty decent, though it’s just the issues along with their covers as chapter stops and no additional material. But, that was par for the course in the late 2000’s, with the exception of a few Batman collections.

Gen13 (v4) #1

As you can see, issue #1 of this version of Gen13 is an outright reboot. When Brad lent me the two trades that I mentioned in Monday’s Weekly Update, I thought it was simply a continuation of the first three series. It’s not. It’s a complete and total reboot with the original team as teenagers again, and their origins brought out of the ’90s and into 2006. Sort of. There’s still some gratuitous material in the book, but it’s not as explicit as it would’ve been in the ’90s, and it’s more to highlight that Gen13 was created by a secret criminal organization within the government, rather than by the government itself as they were in their original origins. So while it’s still uncomfortable to read, it’s not as uncomfortable as it could’ve been under a different writer. And that’s because Gail Simone is a good writer, even if I don’t really care for her work, which is something else that I brought up in my post from Monday.

Gen13 (v4) #1 (variant cover #1)

Up until a few months ago when I started watching ComicPop! and their show, Back Issues on YouTube, I had never heard of Gen13 before, and I’d never read their comic before. I’m not a huge fan of Image Comics. I mean I like Spawn and I like Invincible, but I’ve never been super interested in what Image Comics does as a company and I didn’t really know what WildStorm was, so they weren’t companies that I was drawn to. But, when I watched the episode of Back Issues where Sal Crivelli (the main host of ComicPop!) talked about the original five issue series of Gen13, I became interested in the concept, if only to see if it was as bad as he was saying it was. And yeah, it’s bad.

Gen13 (v4) #1 (variant cover #2)

Gen13 is a really bad comic. It’s an interesting premise, even though it’s been done in several different ways over the years, but it’s also stupid. And I really enjoyed this iteration of it. Like I said I’ve never read the original runs of the series, and I don’t think I will unless I find an issue cheap at a comic book sale, geek sale or in the back issue bins at a comic book store (probably not the one I go to regularly, but, maybe at another one), or if I find a trade paperback collection of the first mini-series or one of the other series. But this was a fun read. I really liked the main characters. The bad guys and their benefactors are skeevy and actually horrible people, but I like Fairchild, Grunge, Freefall, Rainmaker, and Burnout.

It actually kind of reminded me of a lot of the YA fantasy and science fiction novels, where the teenaged protagonists are ordinary kids, going about their daily lives when something happens and suddenly they get super powers, or it’s revealed their parents weren’t who the teen thought they were, or they were actually grown in a secret facility somewhere by a secret government agency. Ironically enough, this issue, and this series as a whole, combines all of those elements into a single story.

Talent Caldwell and Matt Banning’s art is really good. It’s actually better than what is seen just on the covers I’ve shown you here during the history part of this review. Then again the artwork in Image Comics from the ’90s isn’t great to begin with, so I’m not surprised that the covers aren’t great either. Here though, the cover, and the interior art is pretty great.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of Gail Simone’s work, if only because I didn’t appreciate her taking Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair and making her Batgirl again, and then going as dark as she went with the character at the start of the New 52. Having said that, I would like to say that I enjoyed her work here. It’s cheesy, but not unreadable. Her main characters are likable, but they feel like real people, even if I doubt I would ever hang out with any of them regularly, and she wrote really good villains, even if they were horrible people.

Gen13 (v4) #1

And that was Gen13 #1. I would recommend you pick the issue up and give it a read. Especially if you can’t track down any of the earlier Gen13 comics, or you don’t want to read ’90s comics again. This is a perfect jumping on point. As I said, it’s collected in the trade paperback, Gen13 Volume 1: Best of a Bad Lot, which you should be able to still get at a comic book store or even a bookstore like Indigo Books (in Canada) or Barnes & Noble (in the U.S.), unless it’s out of print. If it is out of print, look for it at comic book conventions and sales like the ones Brad and I frequent, or Amazon or eBay. It should be easy enough to find.

That’s it for me for today people. I’ll be back on Friday with my review of the 2008 movie that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man. So until then have a great day and I will talk to you all later. Take care!

Weekly Update: November 19th to 25th

Hey guys! Happy Monday! I hope everybody had a great weekend. I had a nice, quiet weekend. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything on the weekend, I just spent it at home, doing pretty much nothing all weekend. Which is nice, because the next two weekends are going to be busy. But I’ll get into that a little bit later. It’s time for another weekly update. This week is going to be shorter as I didn’t watch a whole lot of TV, I didn’t watch any movies and didn’t read very much. So let’s get into it, with things that I watched.

Doctor Who

First up is Doctor Who. I didn’t watch last week’s episode until Tuesday, just because Katie had been over on Sunday and I didn’t know what time she’d be leaving. The episode was called “Kerblam!” and I quite liked it. I mean it was a bit weird, but I really like how the 13th Doctor operates when she and her Companions are somewhere in the galaxy. It was also a little unsettling given the postal strikes going on here in Canada the last little while, but I thought it was interesting to see that intergalactic mail delivery is a thing in the Doctor Who universe. Last night’s episode was pretty interesting too. Mainly because Alan Cumming (Spy KidsThe Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, and Tin Man) appeared as King James. He’s one those actors who I haven’t seen in a lot of things, but I’ve enjoyed it when they are in something I’ve seen. It was a pretty big coincidence though that only two or three weeks after DC’s Legends of Tomorrow did an episode about the Salem Witch Trials, Doctor Who happened to do an episode about witch trials in England around the same time. I still think Legends was the better episode only because it was more fun because of the Fairy Godmother character and having a prison full of an extra-terrestrial army is a bit unbelievable even for a Science Fiction TV series. Or maybe I just don’t like the historical episodes of Doctor Who as much as I do the intergalactic episodes. Either way, I didn’t like this week’s episode as much as I did last week’s.

It

Before I get on to talk about last week’s episodes of Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, I would like to talk about something that happened on Tuesday while I was watching Doctor Who. Back in October Channel Awesome, the network that is the home of the Nostalgia Critic on YouTube, did a giveaway on Twitter. The giveaway item was a copy of the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Steelbook edition of the 2017 movie adaptation of the Stephen King novel, It, which I reviewed on the blog a while back (the novel, not the movie). I’ve never seen the movie before and I liked the novel so much that I decided to enter the giveaway, figuring the odds of me winning the giveaway were slim. I won and the steelbook arrived in the mail last week and my dad brought it home when he checked the mail on his way home from work on Tuesday. So I received it while I was watching last week’s episode of Doctor Who. There’s some decent bonus features included with this set, including an interview with Stephen King, which was pretty cool to watch. Thanks to Channel Awesome and the Nostalgia Critic for choosing me for the winner of the giveaway. It’s an awesome thing to win.

Arrow Season 7

I’m really getting tired of Oliver being in prison. I know I say this every week, but I have a feeling that this week is when Oliver is getting out of prison due to what happened at the end of last week’s episode, and the fact that it’s only two weeks until the crossover and we know that Oliver is back on the streets as Green Arrow by then. Which actually makes next week’s episode really awkward, since, just from the title, we’re going to find out who the new Green Arrow is. I have my suspicions as to who it is because, again, certain things happened in last week’s episode that makes it look like it could be a certain pre-established character, or at the very least one of the characters that haven’t been introduced yet. We’ll see what happens though.

Last week’s episode was pretty good. They finally caught Ricardo Diaz, though I hope that doesn’t last long, otherwise it’s going to become another season six situation where they changed villains mid-season because they didn’t know what else to do with Cayden James last season, since they’d already done a few things with him in season 5 in between Prometheus stuff. As much as I don’t like Diaz, I hope they have more interesting things to do with him before they’re done with him.

The flash forwards are a bit weird though. Mainly because I can’t see how they’re connected to the stuff going on in the present day. There’s little hints, but the flashbacks in seasons 1-5 at least somewhat made sense when connecting them to the present day storylines of each season, even if there wasn’t a complete connection between the two storylines every episode. And unlike with those flashbacks, I don’t know what the end result of these flash forwards will be. Hopefully something cool, but, it has to do with Felicity, so I’m not holding my breath. She’s a great character, and Emily Bett Rickards plays her extremely well, the writers and producers just haven’t handled her well since season 2 in my opinion. Not for any particular reason, but when you have a character that’s retooled from the source material (she was Ronnie Raymond’s step mom in the ’80s Firestorm comic) and integrate her into the world of a character she’s not from originally, that can be really hard. Maybe even harder than adapting the characters from the comic the show is based on. And they tried a lot of things with her because Felicity was one of the breakout characters back in season 1, along with Diggle, but most of what they did ended up not working very well and were abandoned quickly.

In addition to the current season, I went back and watched some older episodes on DVD and Blu-ray on Friday. Including some season 5 episodes and a couple of season 1 episodes. It was weird seeing the original lair and seeing Oliver in the original costume and being referred to as the Hood was weird too. But it was fun going back and watching those old episodes.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Of course Nate’s father, Hank is secretly an evil government agent. Or at the very least someone with his own agenda. That doesn’t really bug me that much, but given that in earlier seasons we’ve had a clear cut villain (Vandal Savage in season 1, the Legion of Doom in season 2, and Mallus in season 3), having it here as something for the Legends to deal with at a later time, seemingly in place of a clear cut villain (to be honest, I’ve never watched Constantine so I don’t know if what’s been hinted at in terms of the season big bad is from his show or not) is what bugs me about that. Just because I feel like there’s already too much family drama on the other Arrowverse shows and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has always avoided injecting too much of that into it. It was a pretty funny episode though between Thanksgiving at Nate’s parents place, Thanksgiving at the Time Bureau, and the Japanese Kaiju movie in the middle of all of it. That was actually the best part.

The Flash (2014 Series)

I’m not going to talk about The Flash too much this week, mainly because I haven’t seen last week’s episode yet. And the reason I haven’t seen it yet is because it hasn’t been put on Netflix yet. I don’t know if that’s because of American Thanksgiving last week happening on Thursday, the day episodes are put up (for The Flash) or what, but, it still hasn’t been put up as of 12:30 this afternoon when I checked to see if Netflix has updated the episode list yet. So, depending on how that goes, I’ll have two episodes to talk about next week. So let’s move on to things I read last week because there also wasn’t a new episode of The Goldbergs last week.

Batman - Hush - Absolute Edition

When Brad, Jonathan and I went to the Ottawa Comiccon Holiday Edition Brad lent me Absolute Batman: Hush, this massive hardcover edition of the storyline from Batman #608 to Batman #619, “Hush” by Jeph Loeb and art by Jim Lee. I really enjoyed reading it and I liked the drawn out pace of the story, mainly because that’s how I envisioned “Hush” being adapted for a Batman live action TV show. My problem with it is the character of Hush himself. Comic book fans say that Hush is the greatest Batman villain of all time. I actually felt he was underused. That’s mainly because he manipulates things behind the scenes and we don’t see him until more than halfway through the story arc. And then the ending annoyed me too, but I’m planning on reviewing this story arc at some point down the line, so I won’t say too much about it here.

Gen13 Volume 1 - Best of a Bad Lot        Gen13 Volume 2 - Road Trip

Brad also lent me the first two trade paperback volumes of the 2007 comic reboot of the Jim Lee created comic book series, Gen13. I’m not going to say much about it here, except that I enjoyed reading them. It’s actually a pretty bad comic book and I still can’t seem to get into Gail Simone’s writing. She’s a great writer, but I didn’t like her work on Batgirl from the New 52 in 2011, and it’s not great here either. It could just be that I didn’t like that DC reversed Barbara Gordon’s physical disability, which allowed her to stop being Oracle and become Batgirl again, something they said they would never do,  and Gen13 was a bad comic created in the ’90s, and revamping it for a 2007 audience doesn’t elevate it from being a bad comic. I hear her work on Birds of Prey was really solid though, so maybe I need to pick that up in order to read good writing from Gail Simone. Anyway Gen13 was a fun read, despite it being bad. It was actually pretty funny in places too. I might reread these two volumes this week and do a review of them on Wednesday. We’ll see.

Odyssey Classic - The Borrowers

I finally finished The Borrowers last week. As I mentioned in last week’s update, I had planned on doing a review of the book on Wednesday, but I honestly didn’t have enough to say to warrant a full review. It’s the first book in a series, and it feels like it. It’s all set up with no pay off and I felt that I couldn’t write a decent review of the book so I chose to forego that little piece of business. It was good, and I enjoyed it, but I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if I’d read it when I was a kid rather than as an adult.

The Ring Goes South

I’m still reading The Ring Goes South. I’m on page 237 out of 253 pages, so I’m almost finished. I just didn’t really feel like reading it much last week. Mainly because I was busy reading Absolute Batman: Hush and Gen13 as well as finishing The Borrowers and starting the next book I’d like to talk about.

Charlotte's Web

And that book is Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I think I read this book when I was a kid, but I don’t remember reading it. I do remember watching the 1973 Hanna-Barbera animated movie when I was a kid. I also remember seeing a stage play version of the story when I was in Kindergarten or grade 1 as a class field trip. The animated movie was one of my favourite movies when I was a kid. I’ve never owned it on VHS, DVD, or Blu-ray, but we rented it on VHS a number of times, I also watched it at the hospital at least once, maybe twice, and it was on TV a lot when I was a kid too. The book is good so far and it’s going pretty much how I remember the story going from watching the movie so many times. I’m probably not going to review it though unless I get more thoughts on it as I continue reading it. I’m only on page 42 so we’ll see how that goes.

I think that’s pretty much it for today guys. I didn’t do a whole lot last week, and I don’t have much going on this week. I did my groceries this morning and I don’t have any appointments or plans this week until Saturday, but I’ll talk about that next week. For now have a great evening and I will see you back here on Wednesday with another review or Book Rewind, depending on whether I feel like rereading Gen13 or not and then my review of Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, will be up on Friday, though I may watch the movie on Thursday night rather than on Friday morning. So until then have a great evening and I will talk to you later. Take care!