A Star Wars #8 Review – Whiny Luke Skywalker Returns

Star Wars #8, 2015, Stuart ImmonenTITLE: Star Wars #8
AUTHOR: Jason Aaron
PENCILLER: Stuart Immonen
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: August 19, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

After last issue’s awesome glimpse into the journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi, there was a decent amount of hype heading into Star Wars #8. How would Luke use what he had learned from Obi-Wan’s writings? And what of Sana Solo, Han’s apparently estranged wife? What does the fall out from such an incredible revelation look like? And by the way, the Empire’s about to unleash Hell from on high, threatening to blow Han, Leia, and Sana to smithereens! After a prolonged wait, we were ready to see what happened next…

Damn it, Jason Aaron. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

Let’s go to Han, Leia and Sana first. The big revelation from issue #6 is followed up with what basically amounts to a teenage boy being confronted by his ex while he’s with his new girlfriend. Han says a lot of the clumsy dialogue you’d expect from such a scene.

  • “Sana. Where did you…how…how did you…?”Star-Wars-8-Han-Leia-Sana
  • “She’s not my wife! Leia, wait…”
  • “Leia, don’t listen to her. It was never like that…She’s not my wife!”
  • “Sana, stop this! What do you think you’re doing?”

And blah, blah, blah. We don’t learn much about Sana’s origins, here. Or how she came to be “married” to Han. She essentially comes off like a crazy scorned lover who’s out to o away with Leia and take Han back for herself. This motivation is fine. But what’s frustrating is that we learn so little about who this person is. She’s apparently a bounty hunter, and she allegedly has documents to back up her marriage claims. But we don’t get any hints about her history with Han. How they met, where she wants to take him back to, etc. We don’t need the whole story, obviously. But give us something to hold us over until we do get more definitive answers.

When we jump to Luke, he’s in his X-Wing with Artoo, which is where we left him at the end of issue #8. The vibe I got from that final page was that Obi-Wan’s journal gave him sort of a warm, fuzzy feeling about his mentor. But when we see him in this book, he’s almost whining about how the journal only contains stories, and nothing about “fighting with a lightsaber or using the force.” So at what point did he go from warm to whiny?

Star Wars #8, Nar ShaadaaLuke lands on Nar Shaddaa, a.k.a. “The Smuggler’s Moon,” in hopes of gaining transport to…well, I won’t spoil it. But it’s somewhere rich in Jedi history. So he walks into what he describes as the worst-looking bar around, totally outmatched. He winds up breaking out the lightsaber, which only serves to draw more unwanted attention. All in all, Luke comes off looking downright stupid, and in WAY over his head.

This book has been good about showing how young and inexperienced Luke is at this point in his life. We’ve seen him foolishly try to take on Darth Vader, blindly swing a lightsaber at Boba Fett (though that was pretty cool), and now this. Aaron needs to find the line between inexperienced and just plain stupid. After all, this guy is the main hero of the original trilogy. Even at a young age, Luke is at least competent, isn’t he? He had it together during the Battle of Yavin, as I recall.

This is Stuart Immonen’s first outing on Star Wars, and not surprisingly, he does fine. His more animated style takes some getting used to after six issues with John Cassaday, and last issue’s outing with Simone Bianchi. The best work he does with inker Wade Von Grawbadger and colorist Justin Ponsor occur when Luke breaks out the lightsaber in the bar, and we see the bar’s shadowy atmosphere contrast with the brightness of the blade. He’ll likely get even better once he’s had time to get used to this universe.

Compared to what Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca are turning in on Darth Vader, Star Wars continues to be the inferior book in terms of both consistency and quality. But it’s still worth picking up. Jason Aaron continues to get a lot wrong. But there’s also quite a bit he gets right.

Image 1 from dorksideoftheforce.com. Image 2 from marvel.com.

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Jon Stewart Takes a Plunge, A Night of Returns, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

John Cena, Jon Stewart, WWE Summerslam 2015By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I wasn’t disappointed with Summerslam, despite what many deem to be poor finishes to both Rollins vs. Cena, and Brock vs. Undertaker. The broadcast had a big fight feel to it, which is something most WWE pay per views have been lacking over the last several years. Over the last decade, perhaps. So I can’t complain.

We’ll get to some of those controversial finishes in a bit. But we’ve got no shortage of things to talk about here…

After costing John Cena his match at Summerslam, Jon Stewart gets an Attitude Adjustment. As far as publicity grabs go, it’s hard to top this one. You’ve probably got to go all the way back to the Mike Tyson stuff at Wrestlemania XIV to see WWE get celebrity involvement this good. Arguably the most culturally relevant talk show host in the last 20 years, Jon Stewart, gets physical with their biggest marquee talent, John Cena.

WWE Raw, August 24, 2015, Jon Stewart, Jon CenaSome fans balked at Stewart costing Cena the match at Summerslam. I say boo hoo, get over it. It’s pro wrestling. What did you expect?

Nice move by WWE pulling the Ric Flair card with Stewart’s motivation. This is something they can run with for quite awhile, and make that 16th title win actually mean something. And of course, they got Flair to trot out there and endorse Cena, which we knew was coming. In a perfect world, a heel Flair would take on a protege (Dolph Ziggler, perhaps?), and have him feud with Cena. That way, Cena has a road block in his way for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of heel moves, I really wish Flair hasn’t said that “God’s in the house tonight,” line. He used to talk like that in TNA, didn’t he? He was on the show as a babyface. But referring to yourself as God is pretty much the biggest heel move in the book.

The Dudley Boyz return and attack The New Day. Before we get into the Dudleys, it has to be said: That trombone entrance was classic. A comedy bit on Raw that was actually funny. Who’da thunk it? It’s no wonder these guys are hearing some cheers nowadays. They even got a “That was awesome!” chant.

The Dudley Boyz, Raw, August 24, 2015But of course, The Dudley Boyz returning from out of nowhere stole the segment, and perhaps the entire show. It’s tough to believe we haven’t seen these guys on WWE TV in about 10 years. As a longtime fan, it’s really gratifying to see they’re getting one last run on the big stage. I only wished Titus O’Neil would have kept his mouth shut during their big entrance. JBL was actually doing a decent job hyping them up, but Titus kept trying to talk over him.

I can only assume the reason it’s taken so long to get the Dudleys back after Bubba’s appearance in the Royal Rumble match had to do with them getting a deal that was right for them. The Dudleys are a legendary team with some nice Attitude Era name value. So I imagine WWE will get their money’s worth.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bubba Ray and D-Von evolve the act after all these years. Obviously Bubba, the former Bully Ray in TNA, has upped his game quite a bit since WWE fans last saw him. When they put a mic in his hands, things could get really interesting.

WWE Raw, August 24, 2015, StingSting surprises The Authority during Seth Rollins statue unveiling. Better late than never, I suppose. Did Summerslam need Sting? Not really. Would it have been cool to see him involved in the match with the Wyatts, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose? Absolutely. But at least this way, he’ll presumably get to main event a WWE pay per view against Rollins.

So it looks like it’s Sting vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship at Night of Champions. Naturally, Rollins isn’t going to lose the title to Sting. So that means Sting has to lose…again. Not to be presumptuous, but from a win/loss perspective, this guy just can’t catch a break. He makes his big debut against Triple H at Summerslam, and he loses. So now he gets a follow up match against Seth Rollins, and he’s presumably going to lose. At some point, Sting has to beat somebody, doesn’t he?

Hey, what about Bo Dallas? He seems like easy pickings these days…

After controversial Summerslam finish, Brock Lesnar takes Bo Dallas to “Suplex City.” Paul Heyman is probably one of the few performers on the planet who could come out at the top of the show every week and do that 20 minute promo spot without anyone getting tired of it.

WWE Raw, August 24, 2015, Brock Lesnar, Bo DallasDespite what WWE would have you believe, The Undertaker has tapped before. As I recall, there was a Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker match that ended in a simultaneous pinfall/submission finish. Angle had ‘Taker in a triangle choke, but his shoulders were down. As the ref counted three, ‘Taker tapped out.

This obviously isn’t the route many of us thought they’d go. Another Undertaker loss would have naturally led us to ‘Taker getting one last chance at Wrestlemania XXXII. But of course, now it’s the rubber match. Hell, Heyman kinda/sorta laid down the challenge tonight. I’m curious to see who Brock wrestles before we head to Dallas next Spring. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be Bo Dallas. His body bounced on that first suplex…

Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch appear on Miz TV. This segment came off heavily scripted. It seemed like the girls were reciting memorized dialogue. Although Paige’s stuff about this being “the era of the female athlete” was decent. I wish we could have heard from Becky a bit more. She didn’t get to say much, but she came off quirky.

Sadly, I had to mute the TV when the Bellas showed up. As I’ve said before, when the Bellas are on the mic, they get X-Pac heat from me.

PCB, WWE Raw, August 24, 2015Incidentally, Charlotte’s line about The Four Horsemen being “the greatest faction in WWE history” was a stinker. You’d think she, of all people, would know the Horsemen were an NWA/WCW group, as opposed to a WWE one. Is that nitpicking? Yes. Is she at fault? Not necessarily. But that still stuck out like a sore thumb.

Braun Stowman debuts on Raw as a member of The Wyatt Family. Who is Braun Stowman? Full disclosure: I have no idea. But he’s got the right look for The Wyatt Family, that’s for sure. It’s like he has the body of a fully grown man, but the face of a wide-eyed little boy. But what, if anything, does his appearance means for Erick Rowan’s future?

After the loss to Neville & Stephen Amell at Summerslam, Stardust attacks King Barrett before dodging a Red Arrow from Neville. Damn. Barret takes the pin at Summerslam, then gets beat up by his partner the next night. If Bo Dallas isn’t available, Barrett would be another sure fire victory for Sting. Nothing personal, but this guy has turned into one of WWE’s biggest losers.

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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A Review of Fear the Walking Dead, S1E1 – Anticipation and Frustration

Fear The Walking Dead, S1E1, GloriaBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The premiere of Fear the Walking Dead has some problems. But they’re problems that, in hindsight, you’d expect to have in the pilot of a Walking Dead prequel. Namely, the audience’s anticipation for zombie gore, and the frustration of having to wait so long for a human/zombie confrontation. They give us a very brief one in the opening scene, but then we don’t see another for almost the entirety of the episode.

But let’s pick things apart here, and take the good with the bad…

In the opening scene, Nick Clark, a college drop out and a drug addict, discovers a friend of his has become a zombie. This was a fairly strong opener, especially with the music. I’m a little bit worried that the strongly synthesized stuff will get old after awhile, though.

Fear the Walking Dead, premiere, AMCFear the Walking Dead stars a dysfunctional soon-to-be blended family. There’s a decent amount of cookie-cutter horror flick stuff in here. The bratty and troubled teenagers, the high school setting and authority figures, the dysfunctional family. I hate to make comparisons here, but I’ll argue The Walking Dead didn’t have this many horror tropes when it started. It started quite a few, but it didn’t contain a great many already-established ones. Whether that tarnishes this episode is up for interpretation, I suppose.

The opener notwithstanding, the show begins to hint at the larger outbreak about 20 minutes into the episode. Naturally, this episode set up the characters, the setting, etc. But considering we’re so used to The Walking Dead, and how that world works, it’s frustrating to see things begin at such a slow pace. After all, we already know much of what’s going to happen. It’s understandable, and I don’t fault the show for it. But there’s an undeniable “Get to the zombies!” urge in this episode.

Cliff, Nick’s soon-to-be stepfather, explores the church where he saw the zombie. He later returns with Madison, his fiance and Nick’s mother. This church brought back memories of Father Gabriel’s chapel. I highly doubt there’s any connection. But the whole church/zombies connection is cool.

Elizabeth Rodriguez, Fear the Walking DeadElizabeth Rodriguez portrays Liza, Cliff’s ex-wife, and mother to his son Chris. I didn’t realize Rodriguez also plays Daya’s mom on Orange is the New Black. Between these two gigs, she’s got a pretty sweet thing going for her.

Before giving him a bedpan to use, a nurse tells a restrained Nick “I take my dog out when I want to, not the other way around.” That was a really dumb line. A nurse would never say that to a patient in any capacity. Not one that has any bedside manner, anyway.

Panic begins to set in an at about the one hour mark, as a footage of a zombie attack emerges. I liked the way technology was used here. A simple viral video spreads panic. I’d rather not have waited an hour for it happen, but we got some nice suspense here.

Nick’s drug dealer Calvin attempts to shoot him. Nick winds up turning the gun on him and taking his life. Later, the body has disappeared from the murder scene. The episode closes when Cliff and Madison come across a zombified Calvin. Great way to end the episode. We knew Calvin a little bit, and to see him as a zombie set the stage very well. With luck, we won’t have to wait so long to actually see the monsters in future episodes. Those last two lines, followed by the shot of the city, were great.

“What the hell is happening?”
“I have no idea.”

Fear the Walking Dead, premiere, image 4Image 1 from abcnews.go.com. Image 2 from amc.com. Image 3 from ew.com. Image 4 from screenrant.com.

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Webcomic Wednesday: Family Man

Family Man, webcomicTITLE: Family Man
CREATOR/AUTHOR/ARTIST: Dylan Meconis
INTERNET DEBUT: February 21, 2006

By Levi Sweeney
Staff Writer, Grand X

It can be incredibly gratifying to spend time combing through the through the internet, then stumble upon something worth reading or watching, created by an individual of incredible artistic talent. Likewise, it can also be incredibly frustrating to find something that is so remarkably well crafted, yet reeks of needlessly lewd content. Family Man is one of these..

Scott McCloud has written that comics have the potential to dip into a potpourri of different mediums. Not all comics have to be about people with masks and superpowers fighting crime. There are pulpy adventure comics like The Adventures of Tintin, or comics that take outlandish subjects and ground them in another conventional genre (or perhaps multiple genres), i.e. what Supernatural Law did as an outlandish humor-horror courtroom drama.

Family Man, image 2But some comics take a premise that doesn’t seem as interesting and eye-catching as those two, and then makes a genuinely compelling story out of them. In this case, Family Man does exactly that with the rather esoteric subject of 18th century German academia.

To cut a long story short, a half-Jewish theology student named Luther Levy winds up recruited as a lecturer at a university several months after being expelled from his own alma mater. He gets to know the rector, romances the librarian, and struggles with the inner turmoil of someone dealing with a crisis of faith and identity. There are also werewolves.

On paper, this is potentially one of the greatest webcomics I’ve ever read. It’s dramatic, beautifully drawn, and blessed with probably the most original plot I’ve ever come across in all of comics. Dylan Meconis (a lady, as it happens) is a spectacularly gifted storyteller. Her panel logic is both easy to read, pretty to look at, and smartly crafted.

Family Man, image 3However, that is where the other side of the coin comes in. Despite bearing witness to a Meconis’ strong talent, I cannot in good conscience overlook Family Man‘s explicit and graphic nudity and sex. I know the comic is designed for “mature” readers, and is definitely NSFW. But really, I must ask: Why?

There is nothing in this comic concerning plot, story, and character development which was furthered by the nudity. I have no doubt that someone as talented as Meconis could have gotten across that Luther and Ariana were having an affair without getting up-close and personal. Including scenes that only succeeded in unnecessarily shrinking her audience and alienating and disgusting people like me.

It’s such a shame, because Family Man is still a remarkably intelligent piece of work. Considering the creator has a background in literature, history, and philosophy, she obviously knows her stuff. The idea of centering the plot around a university campus in 18th century Germany, in addition to the werewolf subplot, is a stroke of genius.

First, take the drama of the lone heretic struggling against the religious establishment (in a way that’s halfway interesting, no less), not forgetting the hectic family politics back home. Next, add in a bit of supernatural horror. Season with vintage college frat boy antics, courtesy of Lucien the Frenchman, and add an entirely black-and-white color pallet to taste. The result? Family Man, a webcomic that is admittedly compelling if frustratingly obscene.

Images courtesy of lutherlevy.com.

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WWE Summerslam 2015 Predictions – Part II of a Trilogy

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I’ve got to give WWE credit. These past several weeks, they’ve made Summerslam mean more than it has in years. They’ve got a huge main event, and a pretty big semi main event (if not a fairly underwhelming lower card), coverage from ESPN, and some celebrity involvement that could actually be fun to see.

Jon Stewart hosting Summerslam is a legitimately huge get for WWE. Not just that they got Jon Stewart, but that they got him fresh off his iconic Daily Show run. And the cool thing about Stewart is that he’ll legitimately have fun with this gig.

But let’s dive into the meat of the show…

WWE Summerslam 2015, Dolph Ziggler, RusevDolph Ziggler vs. Rusev

While I’m happy Summer Rae has something to do on TV these days, most of the stuff involving her, Lana, and Rusev, has been pretty cringeworthy in my opinion. What’s more, Mark Henry, once as monstrous a heel as I’ve ever seen, has been reduced to being Rusev’s TV program. I’m sure he’s fine with that, but still…

Heading into fall, I’m ready for Rusev and Lana to be back together. They make a great duo, and while Lana isn’t short on talent, she’s not going to be a Sable-like star for WWE. At least not right now. So I’m thinking Lana turns on Ziggler, giving the match to Rusev. Ziggler and Summer are both kicked to the curb, and our power couple is back together.

Prediction: Rusev

WWE Summerslam 2015, Miz, Ryback, Big ShowWWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Ryback (c) vs. The Big Show vs. The Miz

I hate to say it, but this was a lame duck match from the start. At least it was in terms of the build up. I just can’t say I have any kind of desire to see these three work. No disrespect intended, but I’m pretty sure the fans don’t either.

In any event, this match is obviously designed to give Ryback a big win, and establish him as more of a player. I stand by what I said last week though. If you want to give him a big moment, put him against The Big Show in a retirement match, and have him win. Show doesn’t actually have to retire. But it’ll get Ryback a hell of a pop.

Prediction: Ryback

WWE Summerslam 2015, tag matchFATAL FOURWAY TAG MATCH FOR WWE TAG TEAM TITLES:
The Prime Time Players (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores

Yeah, it’s time to put the titles back on The New Day. I’m very happy Titus O’Neil and Darren Young got to win the titles and have that on their resume. But it’s The New Day’s time.

I’m assuming this match is one fall to a finish. So I imagine the finish will be involve some kind of interaction between El Torito and Xavier Woods, leading up to a distraction finish where either Kofi or Big E. get the pin.

Prediction: The New Day

WWE Summerslam 2015 Divas elimination matchTHREE TEAM DIVA ELIMINATION MATCH:
Team Bella vs. Team B.A.D. vs. PCB

This match, and the tag match for that matter, are a little too crowded for me. I understand they wanted to have all the girls on the show. But why not just do a regular triple threat match, and maybe put the Diva’s Title on the line? This just seems like it’ll be a mess.

My hope is that something happens in this match that leads these ladies away from the team storyline, and more toward individual feuds. For instance, what if Becky were to pin Nikki Bella and win the match for her team? Now we’ve got a Diva’s Title match set for Night of Champions. I want to see that title actually mean something for the first time since its introduction. And with any luck, that’ll include a makeover for the belt. I’m going with PCB on this one, in the hopes that we see a continued improvement in the women’s division.

PREDICTION: PCB

WWE Summerslam 2015, Stardust, Stephen AmellStardust & King Barrett vs. Neville & Stephen Amell

In terms of this match, I’m more excited that Stardust is on a pay per view than anything else. Cody Rhodes is painfully underutilized by WWE, and big publicity grab like this is a big opportunity for him to show the world just how good he can be.

There’s really no mystery about who wins here. In WWE, celebs always wind up on top in the end. Unlike most of the other celebs who’ve wound up “wrestling” for the company (Kevin Federline, Seth Green, etc.), Amell is a natural athlete who will likely play his role just fine. I see this ending with Neville hitting the Red Arrow, and Amell covering Stardust for the win.

PREDICTION: Neville & Stephen Amell

Randy Orton vs. SheamusRandy Orton vs. Sheamus

UGH. Please. Make it stop. Make it end.

I’m assuming Randy Orton is going over here, as they’ve given him two big wins in recent weeks. He pinned Cesaro in a triple threat match, and this week he actually pinned Sheamus in a tag team match. I can only assume they’re keeping him strong in the event John Cena can’t wrestle the match, and Seth Rollins has to be put in to make this a three-way for the WWE Title. Classic WWE logic then dictates Sheamus will be one step closer to cashing in, perhaps as soon as this event’s match between Rollins and Cena. For whatever reason, WWE always jobs the Money in the Bank winner out before he cashes in. Why? Who knows. Either way, Orton wins. Now please, make this the blow off match!

Prediction: Randy Orton

WWE Summerslam 2015, Kevin Owens, CesaroCesaro vs. Kevin Owens

This could very well be the biggest weekend of Kevin Owens’ career. Saturday he’s in a ladder match with Finn Balor for the NXT Championship, and the very next night he’s working Cesaro. Say what you want about him seemingly being de-emphasized on TV recently, but the guy is in no shortage of high profile matches lately.

Sadly, I don’t see him beating either Balor or Cesaro. As Owens is essentially a main roster guy at this point, there’s no reason for him to take the NXT Title from a rising star like Finn Balor. As for Cesaro, WWE inexplicably had him pinned by Randy Orton last week. And of course Vince McMahon famously remarked that Cesaro has trouble connecting with the audience. But if I had to take a guess as to who WWE is looking to emphasize more these days, I’d guess Cesaro. And I’d say that’s the right move to make. Hopefully that “Cesaro Section” keeps growing.

PREDICTION: Cesaro

WWE Summerslam 2015, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Luke HarperRoman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper

This match sucks… Alright, maybe that’s not fair. But it could have been so much more.

Sting is just sitting on the sidelines doing nothing. After so many years, they finally got him, just to have him job to Triple H and then go away. This is one of the few times a six-man tag on pay per view would have been an ideal situation. Put Sting with Reigns and Ambrose, and put somebody, ANYBODY, with Wyatt and Harper. Bo Dallas is around. Damien Sandow is around. Even Curtis Axel could have worked. But nope. It’s simply a watered down Shield vs. Wyatt Family match.

Had Sting been with Reigns and Ambrose, I’d be inclined to give them the victory (Though with this creative team, you never know.). But now I’m leaning toward the Wyatts. I’m currently of the mindset that Reigns and Wyatt are going to have the cage at Hell in a Cell in October. So if the Wyatts somehow cheat to win here, this feud can continue. And after seeing Reigns’ match with Luke Harper this week, I’m perfectly fine with that. Those two had a really good match. Hopefully they can keep that momentum going, and get this match to overachieve.

PREDICTION: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper

WWE Summerslam 2015, John Cena, Seth RollinsTITLE-FOR-TITLE MATCH FOR WWE HEAVYWEIGHT AND UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena

When this match was made, I assumed it meant the United States Title was going away. Which admittedly would be a weird move, considering what John Cena and his open challenge matches have done for that belt since Wrestlemania. I suppose taking that title away from Cena would be an interesting way to put heat on Rollins. But it would rob WWE of the chance to put an up-and-comer over in a huge way.

So assuming they’re not going to get rid of the US Title, how do you get out of this match with both belts still intact? You could have Rollins be a double champion, I suppose. But that seems like a waste. A disqualification finish would get them out of the match. Of course, there’s always the Sheamus option…

Either way, I don’t see John Cena walking out of this show with this 16th Heavyweight Title. They only started really playing that up this week. The idea of Cena tying Ric Flair’s record needs to hang in the air for awhile. So while I can’t say for sure what’s going to happen with the US Title, the best prediction I can give at this point is Seth Rollins picks up the win.

PREDICTION: Seth Rollins

WWE Summerslam 2015, Brock Lesnar, The UndertakerBrock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

After The Undertaker hit yet another low blow on Brock this week, I’m convinced we’re getting a third another Undertaker/Lesnar match at Wrestlemania XXXII.

The story makes perfect sense. The Undertaker has never beaten Brock Lesnar in a one-on-one match. Brock took ‘Taker’s Wrestlemania undefeated streak from him. Now he wants revenge. The problem is, ‘Taker is convinced that he can’t beat Brock. Thus, the low blows. And things aren’t going to get any better when Brock beats the Dead Man cleanly at Summerslam.

So The Undertaker returns to Wrestlemania, in his home state of Texas no less, to challenge Brock to one last match, perhaps his last match. One last chance to slay the beast. If they tell the story well, it could be a fantastic build up. The only question is, how will ‘Taker’s body hold up against someone as physical as Lesnar?

There’s only one way to find out…

PREDICTION: Brock Lesnar

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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A Star Wars #7 Review – How to Un-Train Your Jedi

Star Wars #7 cover, John CassadayTITLE: Star Wars #7
AUTHOR: Jason Aaron
PENCILLER: Simone Bianchi. Cover by John Cassaday.
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: July 29, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This issue covers some really interesting ground that Star Wars media rarely touches: Obi-Wan Kenobi’s exile on Tatooine, and the agony he faces when he’s forced to stop being a hero.

Set a few years after Revenge of the Sith, this issue sees Mos Eisley in the midst of the “Great Drought.” Thugs working for Jabba the Hutt are ravaging the city stealing precious water from moisture farmers. And Obi-Wan Kenobi, once a great Jedi Knight, is forced to stand by and do nothing, for fear of exposing his identity. In Kenobi’s own words: “As hard as it was to become a Jedi…it was even harder to stop being one.”

Star Wars #7, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Simone BianchiThe contrast between how Simone Bianchi and John Cassaday draw Obi-Wan at this stage in his life is worth noting. On the cover, Cassaday goes the Alec Guinness route. The character doesn’t look like Guiness did in his pre-Star Wars career, but the art is clearly an attempt by Cassaday to de-age Guinness’ portrayal of the Kenobi character. Odd as it may sound, it works. As a longtime Star Wars fan, it evokes memories of how i imagined Obi-Wan might look in the prequels.

Bianchi, on the other hand, has a more neutral take. It doesn’t necessarily evoke Guinness or Ewan McGregor. But what it does evoke is great emotion. Bianchi makes great use of both shadow and expression to show us the character’s agony and loneliness, particularly on pages like the one above. There’s also fantastic panel with Obi-Wan simply sitting in the darkness of his hut, all alone. There’s a single text box that reads: “Ben the relic.”

From a writing perspective, my biggest complaint deals with a piece of Obi-Wan’s inner monologue early in the issue. It goes: “By the time of the great drought it had been years since I touched a lightsaber.” I don’t like that line. The overemphasis on lightsabers, as established in the prequels, has always bothered me. The idea that Obi-Wan references the lightsaber so readily when refering to his days as a Jedi harkens back to that, in my opinion. Thankfully, Aaron actually cancels out this problem by having Obi-Wan not actually use a lightsaber until the end of the book. This may be his best issue yet.

STar Wars #7, Simone Bianchi, Ben KenobiWhile the notion of Obi-Wan having a diary does have a bit of a hole in it, it’s a cool concept for a one-off every now and again. The “Ben Kenobi” era lasted about 18 years, and it’s very fertile ground for storytelling. Hopefully Aaron has at least a few ideas for future journal stories. Though with the recent revelation of Sana Solo, I doubt we’ll see another one for at least six months.

Image 1 from fanboysinc.com.  Image 2 from comicvine.com.

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Blatant Insubordination: HGTV, Aurora in Pink, and The Mockingbird Saga

House Hunter's InternationalBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

1. HGTV and Stress Porn

Mrs. Primary Ignition loves HGTV. She’ll often put it on while we’re in bed at night, and one or both of us is trying to doze off.

I hate HGTV. There, I said it.

If you’re a newlywed who hopes to be in the market for a house in the near future, HGTV is like stress porn. Plus, that network only seems to have one show. It’s on every time she flips to it: House Hunters International. Each episode takes a couple that wants to buy a homes, documents them being shown three locations, and then they pick one at the end.

Judging from the prices on some of these houses, and how finnicky some of the people are, this seems more like Yuppie TV than HGTV. As I write this there’s an episode on about a couple relocating to Guatemala. Words like “serenity,” “stunning,” and “paradise” are being tossed around. The first house they’re looking at is along the lake, with a bathroom overlooking three volcanoes. But the wife is worried the place might be too spacey…

I’ve actually been to Guatemala. About nine years ago I did some charity work there (Shout out to Potter’s House International.). I helped build homes for Guatemalans. They were shacks made of sheet metal. For people who lived either on or near a landfill. They dug through garbage on a daily basis.

But hey, it was still a landfill in paradise, right?

This is just proof we have too many channels…

Aurora in Pink, Pop! Vinyl2. Aurora in Pink

Last week I was tasked with buying presents for a five-year-old. She wanted some of those Pop! Vinyl figures you see everywhere, with the big black eyes. One of them was Princess Aurora from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. And she specifically had to be wearing a pink dress. The item was described to me as: “Aurora in Pink.”

Perhaps this was just a byproduct of me watching too much Craig Ferguson on YouTube, but that wording struck a chord with me. “Aurora in Pink” kind of sounds like something ladies have…doesn’t it? How the hell was supposed to go to a store and ask for that?

“Excuse me, I’m looking for Aurora in Pink.”
“You and me both, pal.”

Thankfully, Hot Topic had several in stock. Oddly enough, the other one my young friend wanted was Sadness from Inside Out. That’s another odd pairing. The discovery of Aurora in Pink isn’t normally accompanied by Sadness…is it?

Go Set A Watchman3. The Mockingbird Trilogy

Go Set A Watchman has been out for awhile now. Haven’t read it. Don’t intend to.

The backstory on that book is that it was allegedly Harper Lee’s first draft for To Kill A Mockingbird. Fittingly, many reviewers say it reads as such. The book has sparked controversy over its portrayal of an older Atticus Finch, as well as allegations of elder abuse, and the manipulation of the 89-year-old Lee to get the book published.

Earlier this year, Lee’s literary agent said the book was originally intended to be the final installment in a trilogy, with Mockingbird being the first book, and a second shorter book between them.

I’m very reluctant to accuse anybody of abusing or tricking someone who might be vulnerable. But that does sound like BS, doesn’t it? A Mockingbird trilogy? Really?

I know trilogies aren’t a new thing, and that three is a psychologically satisfying number. But considering how bereft we are of fresh ideas these days, trilogies more prevalent than ever. So much so that it’s obnoxious. Suzanne Collins just had to write three Hunger Games novels. Ditto for Veronica Roth and the Divergent series. Did we really need Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? And in Hollywood it’s even worse. The Hobbit, The Hangover, The Matrix, Christopher Nolan’s Batman flicks, etc.

Harper LeeI refuse to believe that Harper Lee, the woman who refused to release another book for over 60 years, intended for her grand literary masterpiece to be the first in a goddamn trilogy.

Now, if the book were written and published today? Maybe. Today everybody’s looking for the next big blockbuster book series, a la Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, so they can make a bunch of movies and rake in a bunch of money. To Kill A Mockingbird would instead be The Mockingbird Saga, Part I. Think of the casting choices!

Woody Harrelson as Atticus Finch!

Robert Pattinson as Boo Radley!

Shailene Woodley as Scout Finch!

And poor Tom Robinson? Why, Kevin Hart, of course!

Image 1 from crissle.tumblr.com. Image 2 from popvinyls.com. Image 4 from forbes.com.

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