Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Best of Batman & Superman: The Original Switcheroo

***It’s easy to put Batman and Superman against one another, as they’re so different. But those who truly understand them know that the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are better together! “Best of Batman & Superman” celebrates their best moments as a team!***

TITLE: World’s Finest Comics #77
AUTHOR: Edmond Hamilton
ARTISTS: Curt Swan, Stan Kaye (Inker)
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
ORIGINAL COVER PRICE: 10 cents
RELEASED: 1955

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

A few years back I spotlighted a story called “Super/Bat,” in which Batman gains Superman’s powers and the Man of Steel winds up powerless. It’s one of the more obvious stories you can do with these two heroes. But “Super/Bat” was hardly the first time it happened. For that, you’ve got to go back to 1955.

“The Super Bat-Man” is an oddity for this space, as it’s not what I would call a great work. At times it’s hardly even good. But it’s got a winning premise, and there’s some nice creativity on display here. It’s an intriguing “What if…?” story if nothing else.

Once again we’re with Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan as the evil Professor Pender’s “de-charging ray” robs Superman of his powers. And of course, he’s got a “super-charging ray” that grants someone super powers for a day. Within five pages, Batman is converting the Batmobile into a Supermobile, and turning the Batcave into the Supercave. Silly? Sure. Obvious? Probably. But why the hell not? Also, the guy can’t fly anymore! He’s gonna need a car.

As one might expect from a ’50s comic, this super-powered switcheroo becomes the fodder for campy comedy. Batman may be a martial arts master and the world’s greatest detective, but he apparently doesn’t know his own super strength. Complete with Robin under his arm, his landing in the Batcave shakes not only the cave, but all of Wayne Manor. He also breaks some household stuff. Again, silly and obvious.

There’s also an awkward panel in which Swan seemingly wasn’t sure whether he was drawing a Wayne Manor or a Batcave interior. We wind up with a bizarre backdrop that’s half of each (shown above).

What I appreciate more than anything about this story is the psychological effect it has on both characters. Because of their new situation, they now have to play by different rules, and have completely different mindsets. We see them do things they’d previously never have to do. Case in point: Superman technically has to lie by omission. To stop a pair of goons stealing a fur truck (Just go with it…), he bluffs by simply standing in the middle of the road. The crooks obviously think Superman can “wreck our truck — and maybe ourselves too!” But of course, Superman isn’t wrecking anything in his current state. It’s a clever, if not a little underhanded, way of getting Superman out of a bad situation.

Incidentally, I’m fascinated by how some of these stories treat Lois Lane. She’s portrayed as cunning and clever, which she should be. But Batman, and more notably Superman, either underestimate her or flat out treat her like an idiot. After Superman busts the fur bandits, Lois quite naturally asks him why he’s driving a car. His brilliant response (shown above)? “Just an — er — idea of mine! I’ll explain later! Bye Lois!” Yeah, because that could have worked.

Moving on to Batman, he uses his new powers as an opportunity to build on his image as an agent of terror by going to the next level with his bat iconography! Well…sort of. He uses two big pieces of metal to put out a gigantic fire. But of course, they just happen to be blue and shaped like Batarangs. So if it looks like a bat and flies like a bat…

So how does Superman get his powers back? Comic book science at it’s finest, folks. It turns out Pender’s de-charging ray sprayed fine Kryptonite dust on to Superman’s costume. So a quick costume change, and we’ve got our Man of Steel back. A hastily thrown together solution. But hey, they’ve only got 12 pages. They did what they could with what they had. And for what it’s worth, fine Kryptonite dust isn’t the worst route to take under the circumstances. It’s easy to explain and easy to do away with. Just fine for a short story like this.

I do, however, have to call BS on something Batman says on the final page. Once the day has been saved, he tells Superman he’s not sorry to lose his powers, as “being a Super-Batman is too much for me!” Nope. Not a chance he says that. Even Silver Age boy scout Batman would recognize how much good he could do with Superman’s abilities. He’d understand the need to let them go, but would quietly wish he could stay super.

The story ends on a really bizarre note, even by ’50s standards. Lois “deduces” that the entire power switcheroo was a hoax, and that our heroes simply switched costumes. No matter how you slice it, that just doesn’t make sense. If Superman and Batman switch costumes, that means Bruce Wayne is walking around without his mask on, and his double-life is over. Or is she saying that Clark was switching back and forth between the Superman costume and the Batsuit? If so…why? Why would he do that? What purpose would that serve?

Lois may be cunning and clever, but even she doesn’t get them all right…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood, Movies

Finding Nemo: A Horror Film

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Finding Nemo is a great movie. But it should really come with a parental warning. Not for the kids, but for the adults.

Before you’re a parent, Finding Nemo is a fun, heart-felt family movie. But as a father with introvert tendencies, Finding Nemo becomes a kind of horror movie.

Think about it: The kid gets abducted before the dad’s eyes by masked Australians dressed in black, and the only way to save him is to travel across the planet with some loud, ditsy broad who won’t stop singing and talking about whales. And apparently somebody slipped you a hallucinogen because everybody looks like a fish.

Honestly, it’s a degree or two away from being a Taken movie.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: DC Future State, Star Wars: The High Republic, and More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Dark Nights: Death Metal isn’t my thing. Just not my flavor of ice cream. But apparently it just changed the DC Universe on a cosmic level. So I had to do a little research.

Apparently, coming out of Death Metal, the DC Multiverse is now a DC Omniverse. An omniverse is, of course…*looks it up*…a universe that is spatiotemporally four-dimensional.” What does that mean? Apparently it means there are, like, a lot of alternate universes out there, and everything is canon somewhere.

That should be DC’s new tag line: “DC Comics: Where everything is canon somewhere!”

Out of Death Metal we go into Generations Shattered, and the two-month long Future State event, which shows us “glimpses into the possible unwritten worlds of tomorrow.” These Future State stories are taking over virtually all the main DC books until March. So whether we like the future or not, it’s here…

Oh, and Star Wars: The High Republic started this week too.

Oh, and there’s other stuff too.

Everybody gettin’ this, so far? Good. Now let’s dive in.

TITLE: Generations Shattered #1
AUTHORS: Dan Jurgens, Robert Venditti, Andy Schmidt
ARTISTS: Various. Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & Hi-Fi.
RELEASED: January 5, 2021

This one didn’t do it for me. Which was a surprise, as DC usually does pretty well with these one-shot event kick-offs (think DC Universe: Rebirth). Plus, the idea of all these heroes from various decades (’40s Batman, ’90s Steel, etc) coming together is pretty cool.

But while there’s tons of great artistic talent on display here, there’s a certain emptiness to Generations Shattered. I was left wanting more. And not in a good way.

Quite a shame. There was a lot of potential here.

TITLE: Star Wars: The High Republic #1
AUTHOR: Cavan Scott
ARTISTS: Ario Anindito, Mark Morales (Inker), Annalisa Leoni (Colorist), Ariana Maher (Letterer). Cover by Phil Noto.
RELEASED: January 6, 2021

This has more of a fantasy vibe than a traditional Star Wars book. Not the least of which because we’ve got a fairy-like alien on the opening pages.

This issue drew me in, but the hook wasn’t that strong. I’m wondering whether Yoda, who is in this issue, should have played a larger role. As the only character we know who’s alive during this time frame, he would have been the natural segue in, wouldn’t he?

TITLE: Future State: The Next Batman #1
AUTHOR: John Ridley, Brandon Thomas
ARTISTS: Nick Derington, Tamra Bonvillain (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by Jose O. Ladronn.
RELEASED: January 5, 2021

Right now, people should be reading anything that has John Ridley’s name on it. This is good stuff. Very street-level in both writing and art. I also love that the Santa Prisca gang wears ’90s style Bane masks.

The issue also does a lot of justice to the Outsiders, and oddly enough, the Peter Tomasi version of Arkham Knight from Detective Comics. That story didn’t do much for me. But the character feels like she belongs in this world.

TITLE: Star Wars #10
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
ARTISTS:
Jan Bazaldua, Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz & Rain Beredo.
RELEASED:
January 6, 2021

Spoiler alert: Luke Skywalker isn’t in this issue. So that’s a misleading cover, right there.

Put that aside, however, and this might be the best issue of the series thus far. We’ve got some good character stuff, including the exploration of the relationship between Lando and Lobot, the latter of whom doesn’t get played with that often. Han Solo’s absence leaves a big void in the Star Wars story that can be used for newer or lesser known characters. This issue is a textbook example of that.

TITLE: Future State: Wonder Woman #1
AUTHOR: Joelle Jones
ARTISTS: Jones, Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
RELEASED: January 5, 2021

This issue is pretty. That’s par for the course for a Jones & Bellaire book. Jones draws the underworld like a crowded city subway station, which is fun. Our new Wonder Woman, Yara Flor, also has a flying horse named Jerry. Because why not? There’s also humor injected into things, which is nice.

The thing is, I’m not really sure what to think of all this. The issue is fun, but there’s not much to get me invested in our new hero, or to make me want more. So I’m on the fence about coming back next time.

TITLE: Future State: Harley Quinn #1
AUTHOR: Stephanie Phillips
ARTISTS: Simone di Meo, Tamra Bonvillain (Colorist), Troy Peteri (Letters). Cover by Derrick Chew.
RELEASED: January 5, 2021

Simone di Meo and Tamra Bonvillain look good on Harley. They give this issue a feel akin to a much brighter Batman Beyond. They also give Professor Pyg a gas-mask-centered redesign that’s pretty cool.

The art is inspired, but the plot isn’t. An imprisoned Harley helping the police (who are aided by Scarecrow, oddly enough), track down Gotham City villains. It’s essentially a twist on the Hannibal Lecter character. Harley devotees may come back next issue. But I’ll pass, thanks.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

 


Posted in Television

Rob Watches Star Trek: A New Day, A New Generation

SERIES: Star Trek: The Next Generation
TITLE: S1.E1 & E2. “Encounter at Farpoint”
STARRING: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Denise Crosby, Michael Dorn
GUEST-STARRING: John de Lancie
WRITERS: Gene Roddenberry, D.C. Fontana
DIRECTOR:
Corey Allen
ORIGINAL AIR DATE:
September 28, 1987
SYNOPSIS:
Captain Picard and members of his crew argue the merits of humanity at Farpoint Station with a mysterious alien entity called Q.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

New Around here? Check out the “Rob Watches Star Trek” archive!

In years past, I’d tried to watch “Encounter at Farpoint” at least twice, maybe three or four times. But it just didn’t grab me. In fact, on at least one of those occasions I fell asleep. That’s a problem I didn’t expect to have, as so many people told me Star Trek: The Next Generation was the ideal gateway into Star Trek fandom.

Thankfully, I fared better this time.

So we start off with a slightly tweaked version of the “Space…the Final Frontier” intro from our new captain, Jean-Luc Picard, played by the great Patrick Stewart. The conception of Picard is interesting to me, as Kirk is such a tough act to follow. Reportedly, Gene Roddenberry wanted someone who was “masculine, virile, and had a lot of hair.” (So right out of the gate, I consider Picard to be a champion for bald-headed heroes everywhere…) In contrast to Kirk being more of an all-American hero type, Picard is portrayed as more of quiet, brooding Frenchman, who for some reason doesn’t speak with a French accent. Though apparently Stewart did try the accent at one point.

The episode doesn’t waste much time before getting into the action. We meet this strange person/entity called Q, we see what this new Enterprise can do as the saucer separates from the rest of the ship, and Picard and the crew soon find themselves arguing on humanity’s behalf in a kangaroo court in space. Not much of a mind for exposition, which is a little frustrating. But I confess this approach is for the best. Better to get on with the business of the plot than get bogged down with a bunch of information we’ll get eventually, anyway.

Picard refers to the simulated timeframe of the trial as “Mid  21st century. The post-atomic horror.” This would seem to imply we’re about to destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons. That’s kind of a downer…

Tasha Yar, the Enterprise’s security chief, says the court should get on its knees before what Starfleet is, and what it represents. But what is that, exactly? I assume it’s something along the lines of dedication to peace, justice, diversity, discovery, etc. Also, this woman seems shockingly impulsive for a security chief, or for that matter, a security guard. I confess, I took a bit of pleasure when Q froze her solid.

How can you tell this show was made in the ’90s? There’s an indoor shopping mall. Think there’s a Sears in there?

It looks like one of the elements we’ll be exploring is Picard’s solidarity. Note his interactions with Dr. Crusher and Wesley, and his flat out asking Riker to help him around children. There’s a parallel between he and Kirk there. Star Trek V looked a little more in-depth at Kirk not having a family of his own, believing he’d die alone, etc. Of course, the interesting factor there is that this episode predates Star Trek V by about two years. So the movie could very well have drawn inspiration from the show.

There’s also an interesting parallel between Picard and Data. The latter is, of course, a robot who longs to be human. But Picard is, deep down, someone who wants to be more human. He secretly wants more out of his life. Naturally, I suspect we’ll be exploring that as our series progresses.

While Star Trek starts in 2266, Star Trek: TNG begins in 2364. So we’re about a century ahead of where we started. Nevertheless, we get a cameo from a 137-year-old Bones. Apparently, he made it to the rank of admiral, which is odd considering he was talking about retirement in Star Trek VI. Chronologically, this is the character’s final appearance. And so I raise my glass to my favorite character from the original series, and the actor who played him for a quarter century.

While “Encounter at Farpoint” does its job in terms of setting up the show at large, I can’t say it did much for me personally. To be fair, it’s technically two episodes that were originally aired together as a movie. But bluntly put, it’s just not that good as a movie. For newcomers like me, I would suggest “Encounter at Farpoint” be kept divided. I understand TNG had much to establish early on. But there’s such a thing as throwing too much at the audience too soon.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Best of Batman & Superman: Comic Book Medical Science

***It’s easy to put Batman and Superman against one another, as they’re so different. But those who truly understand them know that the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are better together! “Best of Batman & Superman” celebrates their best moments as a team!***

TITLE: World’s Finest #75
AUTHOR: Bill Finger
ARTISTS: Curt Swan, Stan Kaye (Inker)
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
ORIGINAL COVER PRICE: 10 cents
RELEASED: 1955

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The more I read these old comics, the more obvious it becomes just how much Batman and Superman comics have changed. Specifically, how they’ve matured, and what segment of the audience they’re reaching for.

Case in point, the modern Batman/Superman series is written for teens and adults. But in 1955, World’s Finest #75 was clearly written for children.

In the modern era, our heroes are searching for traitors among them in Who Are the Secret Six? Or in more recent issues, getting introspective as they take on a bunch of cybernetic supervillains. The wacky, fun adventures are usually still there. But their sensibility skews older. World’s Finest #75, on the other hand, is at its core a pretty basic story about friendship and insecurity that kids can still relate to more than half a century later…

Written by Batman co-creator Bill Finger, our story sees the Caped Crusader break his leg in a fight with the treacherous “Purple Mask Mob.” With his partner on the sidelines, Robin needs a new cohort to help him catch the bad guys. But soon, Batman finds himself asking whether Robin prefers being partnered with the Man of Steel.

Robin is the oft-unsung hero of these early Superman/Batman stories. (Though he did get a date with Lois Lane that one time.) Going even as far back as the early covers for World’s Finest, Robin is right there with them. Heck, he’s often between them! And while the story is more about Batman than anything else, it all revolves around Robin. As a reader and someone who loves these characters, that’s gratifying to see.

The Purple Mask gang. Batman gets his leg broken not by the Joker, the Penguin, or the Riddler, but the god damn Purple Mask Gang. *face palm* I can’t imagine why they were never adapted into one of the movies.

One thing it will help to know coming into this story: It’s dripping with Silver Age camp. You’ll find no better example than Batman sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a cast on his leg, dressed in full superhero garb. There’s bad hokeyness, and then there’s good hokeyness. For yours truly, Batman’s wheelchair attire falls directly into the latter category. I can just picture him being so pathetically despondent after getting hurt that he refuses to take his costume off.

In the spirit of Silver Age camp, this story straddles an odd line between playing up Batman’s importance to the trio, and making him look like an oblivious buffoon. Come to think of it, Superman and Robin don’t come out looking too shiny either…

Our altered Dynamic Duo (Super Duo?) spent much of the story following the trail of the ever-elusive Purple Mask Mob. Meanwhile, the incapacitated-yet-still-costumed Batman continually asks them to bring back “trophies” from their various outings. Because apparently a T-Rex and a giant penny aren’t enough for the Batcave.

Then toward the end of the issue, as Superman and Robin are bamboozled as to the location of the gang’s hideout, Batman reveals some debris left on the so-called trophies have allowed to deduce the Purple Mask Mob’s location. In Superman’s own words, “How do you like that, Robin? He solves our case for us…at home, in a wheelchair!”

Pretty good, right? Finger and Swan shine a spotlight on what makes Batman different from other superheroes: His wits. But on the other end of the spectrum, while Batman can use tiny bits of hair and clay to locate a gang of crooks, he apparently can’t tell whether his leg is or isn’t broken.

That’s right, kids! Batman’s just fine! See, the “break” happened when Batman got some dust thrown in his face and fell out the window. (It happens.) The dust was apparently poisonous, and Superman and Robin needed to keep him out of action for a few days so his body can safely process the…poison? Wait, what? That’s not just comic book science, that’s comic book medical science!

It does, however, beg the question of why they couldn’t just tell Batman that he, you know, breathed in poison. Not to mention the question of how the world’s greatest detective couldn’t tell that his own leg wasn’t really broken.

So why, amidst all this silliness, do I consider this to be one of Batman and Superman’s finest tales? It all comes down to Batman’s insecurities, and Bill Finger knowing his audience.

Batman worrying about whether he’s being replaced by Superman is a story plucked straight from an elementary school playground. Think back: What happened when your best friend suddenly had a new buddy? You inevitably started to wonder if he/she liked this new person more than you, and if your friendship was being usurped.

Is it still a silly story by modern standards? Of course it is. But remember, these stories were written for kids back then. Like it or not, Bill Finger was smart enough to know this was something his readers could relate to.

It also plays into something I’ve always felt about this trio: Robin’s got the best gig in the world. Remember, Robin was originally created as a point-of-view character for young readers who wanted to fantasize about running around beating up bad guys with Batman. With World’s Finest, Robin got to do that, plus pal around with Superman! What kid wouldn’t want that?

Of course, we know what’s coming at the end. The once again bipedal Batman asks Robin if he’d rather be teaming with Superman, and the Boy Wonder affirms that, “We’ll always be a team!”

It’s such a weird story. Yet it’s so simple, kid friendly, and easy to access. It’s enough to make you wonder if major publishers like DC should get in touch with their roots a little more. In the ’70s, and especially the ’80s and ’90s, mainstream superhero comics matured to try and keep up with an aging audience. At one point, DC used the tag line, “DC Comics aren’t just for kids!”

Okay. Fair enough. But lets never forget: DC Comics was ultimately created for kids. The so-called “dark age” of comics is over, folks. We don’t have to make everything for the little ones, but let’s try a little harder to remember where we came from…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

 


Posted in Wrestling

WWE’s 10 Most Fascinating People 2020

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Who exactly are the “10 Most Fascinating People” in a given year? Every year when I do this list, I typically let the word fascinating speak for itself. But for 2020, a year like no other, let’s go ahead and expand on it.

Every week, these performers compete for our attention. Not just with opposing programming, but with each other. Everyone wants to be part of the story that’s the most dramatic, emotional, intriguing, inspiring, etc.

The list of WWE’s most fascinating people is a list of WWE wrestlers and personalities who, in my opinion, had the most interesting stories in a given year. They can be the culmination of a lifelong journey, as Drew McIntyre achieved this year. They can spark pressing questions, such as whether this is really the end for the Undertaker. One can even wind up on this list for the wrong reason, like Otis did with the Money in the Bank briefcase.

To put it simply: These are WWE’s most fascinating people of 2020, and these are their stories.

1. Drew McIntyre
In 2020, Drew McIntyre lived up to his old nickname and became WWE’s “chosen one,” winning the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar.

Unfortunately, it happened at just about the worst possible time.

The COVID-19 pandemic was in its early days when Wrestlemania XXXVI took place, and the world was still coming to grips with the new rules we were (and still are) all living under. WWE was holding its televised events, including Wrestlemania, inside the Performance Center in Orlando with no fans in attendance. Thus, Drew essentially had his crowning moment in a vacuum. One might even call him “the Pandemic Champion.”

But to his credit, he forged ahead. He played the stalwart babyface we all needed to see during such trying times. He was an optimistic, hopeful babyface champion hungry to prove himself against all challengers. Mere moments after beating Lesnar, McIntyre would beat back a challenge from the Big Show. He would go on to successfully defend against Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Dolph Ziggler, and Bobby Roode. He also retained twice over Randy Orton before dropping the belt to him at Hell in a Cell. Then on November 16, McIntyre would make Orton’s reign a short one, taking back the title in the main event of Raw.

Whether or not McIntyre is remembered as the champion of the “pandemic era” remains to be seen. But either way, one thing is certain: He’s been a champion we can be proud of.

2. Otis
Even if you see him strictly as a comedic character, it’s tough to deny Otis had a career year. Even if it didn’t necessarily end the way he’d have hoped.

Coming into 2020, Otis’ affection for Mandy Rose made him the lovable everyman in one of, if not the most interesting story on WWE television. The tale culminated at Wrestlemania, as Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler and got to kiss the girl. It would have been a tremendous Wrestlemania moment if there’d been fans in the building…

The subsequent decision to give Otis the Money in the Bank briefcase was puzzling. He was hot coming out of Wrestlemania. But a Heavyweight Title contender? Hardly. As such, the briefcase served to weigh Otis down more than elevate him, as fans were more interested in how WWE was going to get the briefcase off of him, as opposed to how and when he’d cash in.

It all came crashing down for Otis at Hell in a Cell. He lost the briefcase to the Miz in a match where his longtime tag partner Tucker turned on him. Adding insult to injury, both Tucker and Mandy were drafted to Raw, leaving Otis on Smackdown without his arch rival or his girlfriend.

Ouch.

3. MVP
Montel Vontavius Porter was a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble Match. Despite being eliminated in a matter of seconds, he stuck around and became an unlikely staple of Raw.

He quickly aligned himself with Bobby Lashley, guiding him in a brief quest for Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship. While Lashley would come up short, the duo would find new allies in Shelton Benjamin, and eventually Cedric Alexander. Together, they’ve formed the hottest, and certainly the most sharply dressed, faction WWE has seen in quite some time: The Hurt Business.

MVP’s staying power is lies almost entirely with the charisma and energy he brings to promos. But he’s also remained semi-active in the ring.

4. Dominik Mysterio
To say the very least, Dominik has come a long way since we saw him as the eight-year-old subject of a child custory storyline between his father Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero.

Now in his early 20s, Dominik began making appearances with his father last year, one of which saw him brutalized by Brock Lesnar. But in 2020 he established himself as a wrestler and television character by inserting himself into the feud between Rey and Seth Rollins. As a result, he was given the extremely unenviable task of having his first televised WWE match at Summerslam against Rollins. To Dominik’s eternal credit, I thought he and Rollins stole the show that night. Yes, their match had its fair share of “gaga,” including involvement by both Rey and Dominik’s mother Angie. And yes, Dominik was in good hands with Rollins. But in the end, that match told the best story that night. Much of that can be attributed to how good Dominik has become at such a young age.

Rey and Dominik were drafted to Smackdown in October, where the emphasis has been largely on Rey’s daughter Aliyah and her storyline with Murphy. Frankly, I don’t think it would hurt Dominik to spend some time apart from his father, perhaps in NXT. Though knowing how pro wrestling works, a father/son feud certainly isn’t out of the question. Especially as we move closer to Wrestlemania.

5. The Undertaker
This was the year the real-life Mark Calaway finally came out of the casket.

After his Boneyard Match with AJ Styles proved to be the unlikely show-stealer at Wrestlemania, the Undertaker went on an unprecedented media tour to promote Undertaker: The Last Ride, a documentary miniseries on the WWE Network. In the process, he pulled back the curtain on himself and the character in a way many have wanted for the better part of three decades. No one exploited the Dead Man’s new chatty demeanor more than WWE themselves, who produced numerous Undertaker-centric specials and interviews for the network. This included two lengthy interviews with Stone Cold Steve Austin.

It all culminated in a “final farewell” at Survivor Series, which marked the 30th anniversary of the character’s debut. His farewell address was short but sweet: “My time has come to let the Undertaker rest in peace.”

But as always, whether this truly is the end of the line for the Undertaker remains to be seen…

6. Roman Reigns
“The Big Dog” was absent for much of 2020 thanks to COVID-19. But when he made his return at Summerslam, he changed the entire landscape of Smackdown with both a new attitude and a new manager.

This year saw WWE give Roman Reigns the one thing they never gave to their last poster boy John Cena: A heel run. What’s more, a damn good heel run. At least thus far. Now a full-fledged Paul Heyman guy, and calling himself the “Tribal Chief,” Reigns quickly won the Universal Championship from Bray Wyatt. He went on to have two quality pay per view title matches with, of all people, Jey Uso. At Survivor Series, he once again stole the show in a champion vs. champion match with Drew McIntyre. He capped it off at TLC, retaining his title over Kevin Owens.

All the while, Reigns has been doing the best character work of his career. He projects a quiet and intimidating menace that has made him the most interest part of Smackdown for months now. Had we gotten this guy five years ago, Vince McMahon could very well have had the new mega-babyface he obviously wanted Reigns to be so badly.

7. Lana
The way things look now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Lana challenging for the Raw Women’s Title at Wrestlemania.

That may be blasphemous to some. But we all know WWE loves a good unlikely underdog story. And in trying to become a wrestler, the real-life CJ Perry is in fact an underdog. By her own admission, she’s not the most talented on the roster. While athletic, wrestling doesn’t come naturally to her. She’s also been the center of a few cringe-worthy storylines, not the least of which was her recent marriage storyline with Bobby Lashley. Did we mention her real-life husband, who now goes by Miro in AEW, was let go by WWE in April?

I invite those who would question Lana’s presence on this list to watch her episode of WWE Chronicle on the network. It’s a very revealing look into CJ Perry’s past, her mindset, and how hard she’s working to become a success in professional wrestling.

8. Randy Orton
This year, Randy Orton got back to doing what Randy Orton does best: Being a merciless, despicable heel. He does it better than just about anyone in the business today. So it’s not necessarily a surprise that in doing so, he became one of the centerpieces of Raw in 2020.

Much of it was familiar. He attacked legends like Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, delivering his signature punt to the head. There were plenty of RKOs out of nowhere. And indeed, Orton claimed yet another WWE Championship, defeating Drew McIntyre in a Hell in a Cell Match in October.

But what once again made Orton one of the most compelling villains in WWE was what he did with Edge early in the year. The night after Edge made one of the more emotional returns in recent memory, Orton met him in the ring and proposed they reform Rated RKO. It was all a trap, of course. Orton would beat down his former friend, capping it off with a brutal chair attack (What Edge used to call a one-man “Con-Chair-To.”) This sparked a feud that went into the spring, and included Orton hitting an RKO on Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix. They had a Last Man Standing Match at Wrestlemania, and followed it up with a match dubiously titled “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” in June. Edge would win the former, Orton the latter. A rubber match is almost undoubtedly in the works. No doubt when it does, Orton will be as formidable and dangerous as he’s ever been…

9. Bayley
In 2020, the Smackdown Women’s Division was all about Bayley, Sasha Banks, and when their inevitable implosion would happen. The powder keg finally blew in September when Bayley ambushed Banks in the ring.

So why put Bayley on the list and not Sasha? A few reasons…

Coming into 2020, the experiment of turning Bayley heel was still fairly new. What’s more, compared to Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch or NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley, she had by far the least buzz or momentum. Both Bayley and her championship were cold.

The alliance, and eventual feud, between Bayley and Banks revitalized the Bayley character as a villain, and thus revitalized the championship around her waist. Also a factor was the sheer length of Bayley’s run with the title. At 379 days, she’s the longest reigning Smackdown Women’s Champion of all time, and one of the longest of the modern era as well.

10. Edge
There was just something about seeing him come out at the Royal Rumble.

Edge had hit a spear during the Summerslam pre-show in 2019, which caused a little buzz about a return to the ring. That buzz increased tenfold when the wrestling news sites started reporting he’d be an entrant in the 2020 Royal Rumble Match. So it’s not like we had no clue he was coming…

But when his music hit that night, it had all the magic and grandeur it deserved. The “Rated R Superstar” had defied medical science and returned to the ring after nine years. And he wasn’t stopping with the Rumble.

The following night, Edge started a program with his former tag team partner Randy Orton that would extend into the summer. The two had a Last Man Standing Match at Wrestlemania, which would receive mixed reviews at best. They followed it up with a much better match, dubiously advertised as  “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” at Backlash. Sadly, Edge would suffer a torn triceps in that match that would leave him on the shelf for the rest of the year. But the smart bet is he and Orton will go one more round at this year’s Wrestlemania.

Assuming he can stay healthy, the best of Edge’s return has yet to come. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has largely robbed him of the chance to wrestle in front of live audiences again. He, and WWE at large, may fare better in 2021. Either way, he’s got a laundry list of big match opponents. From AJ Styles to Roman Reigns to Seth Rollins and beyond. With luck, Edge’s comeback tour has only just begun.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Jinny Hex, and More Catching Up

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This concludes most of our catching up period. Hopefully we’ll be back on schedule from here on out!

TITLE: Jinny Hex Special #1
AUTHOR: Magdalene Visaggio
ARTISTS: Gleb Melnikov, Luis Guerrero (Colorist), Gabriela Downie (Letterer) Cover by Nick Derington and Nick Filardi.
RELEASED: December 29, 2020

This book made me miss Young Justice a little more than I already do. I didn’t think that was possible.

I’m not sure Jinny Hex would be able to support her own series. But if she could, the first two issues would look something like this. We’ve got a story and villain that help us get to know her better, the introduction of a supporting character, and the seeds of a status quo. If you’re a fan of Jinny’s, this issue will please.

TITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue #1
AUTHOR: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Ty Templeton, Sean Parsons (Inker), Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Mirka Andolfo.
RELEASED: December 31, 2020

In the Arkham games, the Joker had a weird fascination with the Scarface puppet. This issue essentially gives us the DCAU version of that. You can tell they had fun writing those two together.

Still curious as to why they’re re-doing this story about Arnold Wesker going straight…

TITLE: Something is Killing the Children #13
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Werther Dell’Edera, Miquel Muerto (Colorist), Andworld Design (Letters)
RELEASED: December 23, 2020

I’m starting to wonder if Something is Killing the Children isn’t like The Walking Dead comic book, in that it’s better read in five or six-issue volumes as opposed to issue by issue. I’m finding that the book has started to lose me on a month-to-month basis, even though the story at large is still appealing. This isn’t a negative judgment on the book. Certain comics simply work better in fewer, larger doses.

TITLE: Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run #1 (of 2)
AUTHORS: Greg Rucka (Novel), Alec Worley, Edward Gauvin (Translation)
ARTISTS: Ingo Romling, Amauri Osorio (Letterer)
RELEASED: December 23, 2020

On one hand, this was a pleasant surprise, as I’ve read the Greg Rucka novel this issue is based on. On the other, Smuggler’s Run makes a slightly better novel than it does a comic.

Still, Ingo Romling’s animated style is a fun match for the Star Wars universe. Some really awesome shots of the Millennium Falcon. Granted, Han does look a little old on the cover.

TITLE: Batman/Superman #15
AUTHOR: Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS: Andrei Bressan, Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), John J. Hill (Letterer). Variant cover by Travis Charest.
RELEASED: December 22, 2020

A charming little story about Solomon Grundy, with some cameos by some D-list villains you don’t see too often. Namely Lock-Up and Lady Vic. It’s punctuated by a cute little moment between Clark and Bruce at the end.

This Travis Charest variant cover is awesome. We could very well see it again down the road as the cover to a trade or something.

TITLE: Batman #105
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Alvaro Martinez, Christian Duce. Variant cover by Francesco Mattina.
RELEASED: December 15, 2020

I’m having some trouble wrapping my head around the direction they’re taking Ghost-Maker, and how quickly this story is resolved. Based on what Tynion and the team have established up to this point, everything got wrapped up a little too neatly for me. I’m wondering if they were shorted an issue because the story needed to be done in time for Future State.

Still, Ghost-Maker is intersting enough. I’m curious to see where they take him.

TITLE: Mighty Morphin #2
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Marco Renna, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Katia Ranalli (Color Assistant), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Variant cover by Eleonora Carlini.
RELEASED: December 9, 2020

I appreciate whenever we see the Rangers in new environments we never saw on the show. So it’s nice to see them at a music festival in this issue.

Mighty Morphin #2 has really nice balance. We get a good blend of dialogue between the teens, Power Ranger action, and even some of Bulk & Skull. They can’t all be this evenly divided. But when they are, it’s generally a good thing.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Movies

Rob Watches Star Trek: It’s Never Goodbye…

***What happens when I, a 30-something-year-old fanboy, decide to look at the Star Trek franchise for the first time with an open heart? You get “Rob Watches Star Trek.”***

TITLE: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
STARRING: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Kim Cattrall, Christopher Plummer
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Meyer
WRITERS: Leonard Nimoy, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Nicholas Meyer, Denny Martin Flinn
STUDIOS: Paramount Pictures
RATED: PG
RUN-TIME: 110 min
RELEASED: December 6, 1991

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

New Around here? Check out the “Rob Watches Star Trek” archive!

As we reach the final movie to feature the original Star Trek cast in its entirety, I have to take my hat off to everything the franchise had achieved circa 1991. By this point, it had been more than 20 years since the original show ended. Yet these characters and this universe were still able to sustain themselves through six films, not to mention a short-lived animated show, and a hit spin-off in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the modern era, where Marvel has made expansive cinematic tie-in universes the “it” thing, can there be any doubt that Star Trek was ahead of its time? I think not. (On a side note, I never realized this movie did the whole autographs-on-the-credits thing so many years before Avengers: Endgame.)

I only wish these characters could have gone out on a higher note. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country isn’t a bad movie. But it doesn’t have the same epic feel as The Wrath of Khan, the light-hearted throwback appeal of The Voyage Home, or even the infamous reputation of The Final Frontier. It exists on an awkward level somewhere above mediocre, but below good.

After the destruction of a moon throws their empire into chaos, the notorious Klingon race seeks to make peace with the United Federation of Planets. Much to his dismay, Captain James T. Kirk is chosen to escort Klingon ambassadors to Earth so that peace talks may commence. But when the Enterprise inexplicably fires on the Klingons from out of nowhere, Kirk is framed and imprisoned on a frigid planet with Bones in tow. Now they must survive their new, hostile environment as Spock and the rest of the crew search for the truth.

I can’t even tell you how happy I was to see The Undiscovered Country do something its predecessors all failed to do: Give the proper emotional weight to the death of Kirk’s son David. After some of the things we saw on the show, Kirk has every reason not to trust the Klingons. But remember, David was killed by a Klingon in Star Trek III. As such, Kirk has just cause to flat out hate the Klingons. You’re not likely to find better fuel for drama than that. It’s not explored very much, but at least the film remembered that David existed. Is it a coincidence that it happened in a film that was directed and co-written by Nicholas Meyer, who directed David’s first appearance in The Wrath of Khan? Probably not.

Star Trek VI is full of Shakespearean quotes and Cold War allegories. That’s all well and good. I actually like the them being about how people chose to deal with change. I just don’t know that it made the most of its premise.

For my money, the most interesting part of the movie is Kirk being framed for the murder of the Klingon ambassadors. If I’ve got the keys to Star Trek VI, I make that the core of the movie. We’d be with Kirk at the prison colony has he wrestles with Bones over whether the Klingons deserved to die for all they’d done. Meanwhile, Spock and the others work to solve the mystery of who did attack the ambassadors. They ultimately springing Kirk and Bones from the prison during Kirk’s fight with the big alien brute (Whose genitals are mysteriously on his knees…?). The Enterprise then brings the culprit to the peace talks between the Klingons and the Federation, clearing Kirk’s name. Thus, we have a more exciting and character-driven movie that’s a little more sleek in terms of its story structure.

Incidentally, is that Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation that we see representing Kirk and Bones at their trial? *Googles it* Ohhhhhh, okay. So it’s Worf’s ancestor…who is also named Worf? Go figure.

So how does Star Trek VI fare as a swan song for Kirk, Spock, and the crew? Meh. Kirk’s quoting of Peter Pan was a nice little moment. But the Earth didn’t exactly move for me. But after more than 20 years, and all that had been done with these characters, how does one even begin to tell a farewell story that does justice to them all? What’s more, a story that definitively and convincingly says farewell? It’s a tall task by anyone’s standards.

Plus, one can argue it’s all for naught anyway. While this was indeed the last time the crew was all together, Kirk and a few others were in 1994’s Star Trek Generations. And of course, we’d see Spock many years later in the J.J. Abrams movies. 

That’s the thing about beloved and iconic characters like these. It’s never goodbye. Not really. There’s always another story to tell, and another adventure to go on…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Best of Batman & Superman: The Cruise of a Lifetime

***It’s easy to put Batman and Superman against one another, as they’re so different. But those who truly understand them know that the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are better together! “Best of Batman & Superman” celebrates their best moments as a team!***

TITLE: Superman #76
AUTHOR: Edmond Hamilton
ARTISTS: Curt Swan, John Fischetti (Inker). Cover by Win Mortimer.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
ORIGINAL COVER PRICE: 10 cents
RELEASED: 1952

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Published in 1952, Superman #76 is generally considered to be the first “proper” meeting of Batman and Superman. Granted, they’d been appearing on comic book covers together since the 40s. They’d also appeared together with the Justice Society in the pages of All-Star Comics. Batman and Robin had also made guest appearances on The Adventures of Superman radio show. But often, when historians are asked, “When did Batman and Superman meet in the comics?”, they point to this issue.

Put on your writer/editor hat for a moment: You want to have Superman and Batman, the two biggest and most popular superheroes in the world, meet for the “first time.” Where and how does it happen? In Metropolis? Gotham City? During a battle against Lex Luthor? The Joker? How did they discover one another’s identities? Did Superman use his x-ray vision? Did Batman brilliantly deduce that Clark Kent is Superman? There are a litany of possibilities. So what did they go with…?

Superman and Batman met on a cruise ship.

That’s right, folks. They met and even discovered one another’s identities aboard a goddamn cruise ship. What’s more, in it’s own little way, it worked. It was kind of a genius move, actually.

Written by Edmond Hamilton and drawn by Curt Swan, “The Mightiest Team in the World” kicks off with Batman and Robin doing something unthinkable by today’s standards: Taking a vacation. As Dick Grayson prepares to visit relatives upstate, Bruce Wayne is about to take “a real vacation, on a coastal cruise! I’ll just relax and forget crime for a change!”

Clearly pre-Silver Age heroes knew how to balance business and pleasure, as Clark Kent is about to vacation on the same cruise. And wouldn’t you know it, he winds up sharing a room with Bruce Wayne!

Then, via the magical serendipity of fiction, a jewel thief blows up a nearby tanker truck and uses the diversion to make off with a shipment of diamonds. Naturally, our heroes are keen to jump into action. Feigning fatigue, Bruce kills the lights, prompting both men to do their superhero quick-change.

But low and behold, the light from the flames shines through the window, revealing Bruce Wayne to be Batman and Clark Kent as Superman!

I used to balk at what, in hindsight, is a pretty historic moment. But I’ve found the more years go by, the more I soften on it. As a 30-something adult, I’ve actually come to appreciate it quite a bit.

One of the cardinal sins of a Superman/Batman story, for my money, is making one hero look superior to the other. These two men should stand on equal footing. If you can’t manage that, then you shouldn’t be writing the two characters together.

With this issue, the revelation is pure happenstance. We don’t have Superman peeking under Batman’s cowl with his x-ray vision. Batman doesn’t concoct some conniving scheme to discover Clark’s secret. It’s simply fate that they discover one another’s identities by accident in a moment of heroism. In that sense, it’s kind of perfect…

What’s more, they don’t spend a lot of time digesting it or brooding over it. They recognize they still have work to do, and they get to it.

Obviously our villain is meant to be the jewel thief, who has stowed away on the cruise ship. But I’d argue another character is perhaps inadvertently placed in an opposing role: Lois Lane. After seeing Superman and Batman on board the ship, Lois comes aboard looking for the story. Our heroes now have to keep her at bay while searching for the jewel thief.

After giving Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne a sea-sickness alibi, our heroes try pawning Batman off on Lois. The idea is that if Superman pretends to be jealous, “she’d be too occupied for amateur detective work!” But Lois is on to them. She pretends to actually be enamored with the Caped Crusader, which in turn actually does make the Man of Steel jealous.

Considering some of the stories we’d later get in books like Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane, it’s not necessarily surprising to see them lean into a jealousy angle between Superman and Lois. But on the other hand, it’s nice to see Lois portrayed as a force to be reckoned with among the heroes. Batman may be the world’s greatest detective, but contrary to what Superman says here, Lois is hardly an amateur detective herself.

C’mon Superman. It’s not amateur detective work. It’s called investigative journalism.

One of the classic Superman/Batman tricks is having the two disguise as one another. Superman dresses as Batman, Batman dresses as Superman, etc. Tom King and Clay Mann put a nice spin on this trope in Batman not long ago. We see an early version of it here, as after our heroes inevitably catch the bad guy, Bruce Wayne masquerades as Clark Kent while standing next to Superman to throw Lois off the scent of Clark’s true identity.

She gets the last laugh, though. Lois does indeed get a date with a hero by the end of the issue: Robin. (“Isn’t he the cutest little chap?”) How’d they get in touch, as Dick is supposed to be upstate, and we’re long before the age of cell phones? Why, that’s not important…

“The Mightiest Team in the World” is filled to the brim with pre-Silver-Age charm. What’s more, it does right by its characters. Superman and Batman come out of it looking like the world’s finest heroes. Lois Lane stands out as a clever go-getter, and not simply a brainless damsel. Even Robin gets a date by the end. Truly a red letter issue for all parties.

A cruise ship. Who’da thunk it?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Movies

Rob Watches Star Trek: Fumbling the Ball

***What happens when I, a 30-something-year-old fanboy, decide to look at the Star Trek franchise for the first time with an open heart? You get “Rob Watches Star Trek.”***

TITLE: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
STARRING: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Laurence Luckinbill, James Doohan
DIRECTOR: William Shatner
WRITER: William Shatner (Story), Harve Bennett (Story), David Loughery (Screenplay)
STUDIOS: Paramount Pictures
RATED: PG
RUN-TIME: 106 min
RELEASED: June 9, 1989

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

New Around here? Check out the “Rob Watches Star Trek” archive!

Star Trek V is considered by many to be the worst of the franchise. Certainly it’s the red-headed stepchild among the films featuring the original cast. Case in point, Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 21%. Most of the other OG Star Trek films scored in the 70th or 80th percentile. The one with the closest score is the first film, which has 41%.

I can’t necessarily disagree, or say that Star Trek V is a good movie. What I can say is that, like most bad movies, there’s a good movie in there somewhere. You just have to squint to see it. And frankly, I didn’t have to squint very hard at Star Trek V.

The movie certainly takes a hell of a leap from the last one. We go from searching for whales in Star Trek IV, to searching for God in Star Trek V. Indeed, a renegade vulcan named Sybok claims to have a path to the planet where creation originated. He also has a mysterious ability to “take away” the pain of any person he wills. Against their will, Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the others soon find themselves at the mercy of Sybok, and even on the receiving end of his powers. But the most pressing question remains: Can Sybok back up his claims? Can he truly take them to where life began?

One of the major issues with Star Trek V is that its tongue is planted so firmly in its cheek. In Star Trek IV, we learned we didn’t always have to be so big, epic, and serious about everything. That lighter tone is what makes The Voyage Home my favorite among the Star Trek films so far. Remember, this is supposed to be fun…

But Star Trek V takes the humor too far. What should ultimately be a story about Kirk, Spock, and Bones being a little surrogate family becomes something that’s almost a parody of the Star Trek franchise at large. We’ve gone from one extreme to the other. Star Trek III tried to be too serious. Star Trek V isn’t serious enough. Star Trek IV was the happy medium between the two.

Simply put, there are too many jokes. And often they come at awkward times. We get Kirk falling off a friggin’ mountain, a bizarre campfire sing-along, Kirk lamenting for his old captain’s chair, would-be comedic attempts at escape, just to name a few. These moments aren’t necessarily offensive on their own. It’s the accumulation that becomes an issue.

Star Trek V states its thesis early on, and it’s a damn good one. Kirk, Spock, and Bones are sitting around said campfire, and Kirk says he knows he’ll die alone. Bones wonders what draws the three of them together, adding that other people have families to go home to.

“Not us, Bones,” Kirk says. “Not us.”

And there it is right there. Family. These three men, through all their adventures, trials, and tribulations together, have become like family. Despite all Kirk has been through, he’s not really alone. Kirk doesn’t have a family by blood. But he has the family he’s chosen. This idea takes a twist later on, when we discover that our villain Sybok is actually Spock’s half-brother.

Mixed in with that family theme is one of pain. What we do with pain, how it defines us, and who we become if it’s taken away. There’s a really intriguing sequence toward the middle of the movie where Sybok ventures inside the hearts and minds of Bones and Spock, and see where their greatest pain lays. With Bones, it’s that he took his dying father off life support. For Spock, it’s in his attempts to earn the approval of his father. Kirk cuts Sybok off before he can explore his pain, saying his pain makes him who he is. “I don’t want my pain taken away,” he says. “I need my pain.”

And of course, how do we deal with pain? By leaning on the ones we love. On our family. That’s beautiful, and great territory for a Star Trek movie. I only wish the film had taken more time to explore it, instead of getting caught up searching for, of all things, God.

One one hand, I can see going that route. The movie is called The Final Frontier, and is man’s search for meaning and answers not the ultimate frontier? The ultimate journey?

But on the other hand, Why even go there? To put it in pro wrestling terms, what’s the finish? God is a weird thing to have to deliver. How do you portray Him without offending part of your audience? And what do your characters do once they meet God? What about afterward? I imagine God is a pretty tough act to follow…

Conspicuous by his presence in the director’s chair is William Shatner, who was also involved in the writing of the film. Apparently he was inspired by televangelists, and people supposedly “speaking” to God. That’s an interesting idea, and again, fertile territory for Star Trek. But did we have to actually search for God Himself?

How about this: Sybok (shown above) emerges as the leader of his own cult/church. His followers, which perhaps include a mix of Klingons, Romulans, and other evil aliens from Star Trek lore, storm Federation occupied space in the name of “God.” Kirk and the Enterprise go up against them, in the process learning Sybok is Spock’s half-brother. In the end, they expose him as a fraud.

I do, however, like the conclusion the movie comes to: The God is inside all of us. That feels like something they’d have done on the show.

Part of me wishes Sybok had only looked into Kirk’s mind, as opposed to Bones and Spock. There’s so much fertile ground to cover there. As I’ve been so fond of pointing out, HIS FRIGGIN’ SON WAS KILLED. It would then be up to Spock and Bones to convince him not to have that pain taken away, despite the great temptation. Yet another chance to explore David’s death that’s completely passed up. Heck, knowing these movies even if they had gone that route they’d have ignored David and explored something else entirely…

Question: Is this movie trying to tell us that Scotty and Uhura are together? Or at least romantically interested in one another? If so, why? After all these years, why those two? (Although I suppose a valid could be, why not those two?)

And while we’re talking about her, yes, having Uhura do that naked dance thing was weird. It felt beneath her character. Even though they used her for sexual purposes in “Plato’s Stepchildren” as well, this felt like a needless and frankly bad attempt at comedy.

Star Trek V fumbled the ball in terms of both story and tone. After 30 years, it’s pretty tough to deny it. But I don’t think it was bad at the idea stage. Conceptually, this could have been the best of the Star Trek series. What a shame it ended up among the worst.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.