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A United States of Captain America #2 Micro-Review – “Good Gosh…”

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

United States of Captain America 2, cover, 2021, Gerard ParelTITLE: The United States of Captain America #2
AUTHORS: Christopher Cantwell, Mohale Mashigo
ARTISTS: Dale Eaglesham, Natacha Bustos, Matt Milla (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Gerard Parel.
RELEASED: July 28, 2021

Steve Rogers actually says, “Good Gosh…” in this issue. Somehow that’s both facepalm worthy and precisely in character.

Less in character? A flashback to a young Steve Rogers almost (unintentionally) urinating on the battle site at Gettysburg. Whoops.

Natacha Bustos has a strong performance in this issue, illustrating Nichelle Wright’s solo back-up story. I’m curious to see whether these DIY Captains America pop up again down the road. Of course, I’m sure that depends on how this book sells…

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

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A Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #2 Micro-Review – No More “Grey Son”

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Batman The Adventures Continue, cover 2021, Kris AnkaTITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #2
AUTHORS: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Ty Templeton, Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Kris Anka.
RELEASED: July 6, 2021

As we can clearly see from the cover, Nightwing has made his BTAC debut. Thankfully, Burnett and Dini don’t go the “grey son” route that Scott Snyder did in the original Court of Owls book.

Though ultimately, Nightwing doesn’t play that big a role in things. But the Batman: The Animated Series character they killed last issue? He does. Whereas I was sour about what they did with him last month, now I’m impressed by how they wove him into the Court of Owls concept. It’s one of the better takes this book has had on modern DC Comics lore.

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

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A Teen Titans Academy #4 Micro-Review – The Bat Pack is on the Case!

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Teen Titans Academy 4, cover, 2021, Rafa SandovalTITLE: Teen Titans Academy #4
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Rafa Sandoval & Alejandro Sanchez.
RELEASED: June 22, 2021

In this issue we meet the “Bat Pack,” three young detectives decked out in Batman-inspired garb. Based on how much Batman worship goes on at DC, I can only assume that’s also how the editorial staff dress at work…

Jokes aside, the Bat Pack stuff is pretty fun to follow. The characters actually feel like teenagers, a vital ingredient in teenage superhero books that’s harder to nail down than one might think. Steve Lieber’s art is also a good match for the story.

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

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Weekly Comic 100s: Mighty Morphin #6

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Mighty Morphin #6
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Marco Renna, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Katia Ranalli & Sara Antonellini (Color Assistants), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by InHyuk Lee.
RELEASED: April 14, 2021

This issue shows us a couple of things we don’t traditionally see in Power Rangers. The first is the Rangers interacting with the military, with a specific reference to the president of the United States. It’s a hint at the Rangers having some king of ongoing relationship with the U.S. government, and an allusion to the idea that the government has an idea the Rangers are teenagers. There’s a good amount of meat there, and I hope Parrott explores it further down the line.

The other is bunks in the Command Center. That’s a cool thing to see.

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

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Uncategorized

Weekly Comic 100s: Ultramega #1

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Ultramega #1
AUTHOR: James Harren
ARTISTS: Harren, Dave Stewart (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 17, 2021

This book is about a virus that turns people into kaiju, i.e. giant monsters. So…are we thinking it’s too early to do a story about a virus that engulfs the world, or just the right time? I’m thinking it might be the latter. But who knows?

Business really picks up for Ultramega once the action starts. It’s hard-hitting, high-octane, and a lot of fun. There’s a good amount of weird to be found in the second half of this issue too. I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

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

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Superman & Lois, “Heritage” Review

SERIES: Superman & Lois
TITLE: S1:E2 – “Heritage”
STARRING: Tyler Hoechlin, Bitsie Tulloch, Jordan Elsass, Alexander Garfin, Emmanuelle Chriqui
WRITER: Todd Helbing
DIRECTOR:
Lee Toland Krieger
ORIGINAL AIR DATE:
March 2, 2021
SYNOPSIS: As the family adjusts to life in Smallville, Clark teaches Jordan about his Kryptonian heritage.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I do need to make a correction from last week’s post. The “first” Superman costume from the premiere did not make its debut in The New Frontier (although that’s primarily the work I associate it with). It’s from all the way back in the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons of the ’40s. Whoops. Hey, what do you expect? I’m not Superman, y’know…

Captain Luthor says, “We need to stop Kal-El before he does to this world what he did to mine.” It looks, then, like Captain Luthor is an alternate-universe Lex Luthor. In the comics, the most prominent alt-universe Lex is the one from Crisis on Infinite Earths. Alexander Luthor, as he’s known, is that world’s only hero, fighting against an evil version of the Justice League. Is that what we’ve got here?

There’s a city on Krypton named “Kryptonopolis?” That’s pretty dumb, actually. I wonder where the city of “Earthopolis” would be…?

We see the artificial intelligence Jor-El, played by Angus Macfadyen. I imagine it’s more daunting for an actor to play that role than we imagine. After all, a large portion of the audience associates that role with Marlon friggin’ Brando. No pressure there.

Question: Clark takes Jordan to the Fortress of Solitude to learn about his Kryptonian heritage, but not Jonathan. Why? Odds are Jonathan is manifesting powers too, right? They’re just different than his brother’s. So why sew the seeds for jealousy by taking one brother and not the other? Also, they couldn’t have waited until after school to take Jordan to the fortress? What, are they worried about him missing dinner or something?

I’m finding myself wanting to see more personality from Bitsie Tulloch’s Lois Lane. It feels like she’s missing a certain spunk, or killer instinct. I suppose you can argue this is an older, more subdued version of Lois. But I’m not sure I buy that. Granted, it could also just be Tulloch growing into the role.

So now we’ve had another episode to let this Social Anxiety Disorder thing with Jordan sink in. Much like I’m wishing Lois had a little more spunk, I’m wanting to see Jordan be more socially isolated. After all, he kissed a girl in the show’s very first episode. That’s not to see everyone experiences social anxiety the same way, or that it should be portrayed uniformly. But if you’re going to say the kid has Social Anxiety Disorder, why not really dive in and explore it?

Lana not knowing Clark’s secret takes some getting used to. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. But she’s almost always portrayed as having been in on it since Clark was a teenager. And even having a cunning nature to rival Lois’ at times. Thus far, Superman & Lois has portrayed her more like a ditzy homemaker.

That shot of Superman standing with the American flag in the background was a nice touch. I’m a sucker for cheesy stuff like that. 

Lois quits The Daily Planet after an editor re-writes a story of hers, and joins The Smallville Gazette. I’ve always been a fan of the journalism-oriented side of Superman’s world. So seeing Lois empowering a small community newspaper is pretty cool. I’m also liking the Chrissy Beppo character. Here’s wondering what she and Lois can learn from each other.

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

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Weekly Comic 100s: The Next Batman: Second Son #1

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: The Next Batman: Second Son #1
AUTHOR: John Ridley
ARTISTS: Tony Akins, Ryan Benjamin (Breakdowns), Mark Morales (Inker), Rex Lokus (Colorist), Deron Bennett (Letterer). Cover by Doug Braithwaite.
RELEASED: February 23, 2021

Here’s something unexpected: We get Tim Fox in this issue, but not Batman. Meaning we see our lead character in action, but never in his superhero costume. That’s odd, but also kind of refreshing.

Tim is on a covert mission in Vietnam here, so he’s dressed in basic black attire. The story doesn’t call for the Batsuit. So we don’t get the Batsuit. This being a first issue, one might consider that a drawback. But I credit John Ridley for not illogically adding the costume to a sequence that didn’t call for it.

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

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Weekly Comic 100s: Future State: Green Lantern #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Future State: Green Lantern #2
AUTHOR: Geoffry Thorne, Josie Campbell, Robert Venditti
ARTISTS: Tom Raney, Andie Tong, Dexter Soy
COLORISTS: Mike Atiyeh, Will Quintana, Alex Sinclair
LETTERERS:
Andworld Design, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands
RELEASED: February 9, 2021

Exactly how old is Keli Quintela supposed to be? Her superhero name is Teen Lantern. But, although Andie Tong does a fine job here, she looks like she could be about 10.

Also, I wouldn’t complain at all if they want to team her with Mogo again. Their dynamic was kinda cute.

I give colorist Alex Sinclair so much credit. He gives almost all of his work a truly epic feel. I suspect that comes largely via his association with so many classic stories over the years.

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

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Rob Watches Star Trek: It’s All Chekov’s Fault

***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 II: The Wrath of Khan
STARRING: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban, DeForest Kelley, Kirstie Alley
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Meyer
WRITERS: Harve Bennett (Story), Jack B. Sowards (Story & Screenplay)
STUDIOS: Paramount Pictures
RATED: PG
RUN-TIME: 113 min
RELEASED: June 4, 1982

By Rob Siebert
Trekkie-in-Training

This is it. The big one. The one everybody loves. The Star Trek franchise’s equivalent to The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II, etc. Not just a good Star Trek movie, but the great Star Trek movie! Right?

Yep. I mean, pretty much.

More than a decade after we last saw Kirk and the Enterprise crew, a starship seeks to test a device that can transform dead worlds into habitable ones. But in searching for an appropriate world, they mistakenly discovered the genetically-engineered mastermind Khan Noonien Singh. Fifteen years prior, Kirk banished Khan and his people to the planet Ceti Alpha V, not knowing the planet would soon be devastated by the explosion of a neighboring planet. Now, Khan has a chance to exact revenge on his sworn enemy. That revenge will ultimately result in tragedy for Kirk and his friends aboard the Enterprise.

First and foremost, this movie justifies my disdain for Chekov. He’s one of the crewman that discovers Khan on Ceti Alpha V, and ultimately leads him straight to Kirk. So this whole thing? Yeah, I’m just gonna say it’s Chekov’s fault…

While we’re on the subject, I have no problem with the fact that Khan recognizes Chekov, despite the character not appearing in “Space Seed.” It’s reasonable to assume that Chekov was on the Enterprise during the incident with Khan. It’s a harmless continuity hiccup.

For my money, The Wrath of Khan adds some contrivances to the Star Trek chronology. Going by Wikipedia’s version of the timeline, the events of “Space Seed” take place in (approximately) the year 2266. This movie takes place about 15 years later in 2285. Star Trek: The Motion Picture, meanwhile, takes place in roughly 2273. So we’ve got a 12 year gap between this movie and the last one. But the characters are essentially right where we left them. Bones, Scotty, Uhura, and Sulu are all seemingly doing the exact same jobs they were doing more than a decade ago, on the exact same ship. Spock is still there too, though he’s at least been promoted to captain. Even Kirk is still a Starfleet admiral. Chekov, meanwhile, is a commander assigned to another ship.

So you’re telling me that in 12 years, the person who had the most career momentum was Chekov?!? Gimme a break! These people would have all gone on to different things! Some of them would likely be captaining their own ships by this point. By setting itself 15 years after “Space Seed,” The Wrath of Khan freezes them in time needlessly. Why not just set this movie a few years after The Motion Picture? That 15-year time jump doesn’t even factor into the story.

Making Khan the villain for Star Trek II was a stroke of genius. The movie acts as a sequel to a then-15-year-old episode. But at the same time, his backstory isn’t all that complicated. You can come into the film with no knowledge of “Space Seed” and still be okay. It struck a pivotal middle-ground between pleasing the fans and appealing to casual moviegoers. That’s something franchise films still struggle with to this day, but The Wrath of Khan nailed it almost 40 years ago.

The movie wants you to believe there’s this blood feud between Kirk and Khan. Like they’re arch rivals. I don’t necessarily buy that. But I do buy that Khan hates Kirk with every fiber of his being. From an intrigue standpoint, that’s sufficient to meet the story’s needs.

I would have bought the rivalry, however, if Khan had been the one to kill Spock. The climactic moment of the movie comes when Spock sacrifices himself to save the ship, leading to a tearful goodbye with Kirk. But he dies fixing the ship’s warp drive, which lacks a certain punch. You want to get heat for your villain? Have him kill the franchise’s most beloved character. That’ll do it.

Spock did get an awesome death scene, though. Kind of a shame they went and undid it with the next movie.

I don’t know if I’d call The Wrath of Khan a masterpiece. But it earns it’s place as probably the best Star Trek movie. This, I think, is what people were expecting from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Something big and epic that advances the story and the characters, while still staying true to Star Trek.

I just hope it isn’t all downhill from here…

For more “Rob Watches Star Trek,” check out the archives.

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

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Rob Watches Star Trek: A Poor Man’s Trek

***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.”***

SERIES: Star Trek
EPISODE: S3.E7. “Day of the Dove”
STARRING: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig
GUEST-STARRING: Michael Ansara
WRITER: Jerome Bixby
DIRECTOR: Marvin J. Chomsky
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: November 1, 1968
SYNOPSIS: An alien entity pits the Enterprise and the Klingons against each other.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m starting to understand the general consensus about season three of Star Trek. Which is to say, it’s a pretty big step down from seasons one and two. That’s not to say these episodes don’t have their positive points, as we’ll see here. But in a way it’s fitting the first episode of this season was about Spock’s brain being removed. Because three episodes into season three, it feels like a piece of Star Trek‘s brain is missing. As if we now have a poor man’s Star Trek. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that happened at the same time Gene Roddenberry had stepped back to strictly an executive producer role at this point…

Thankfully, its heart is still there. “Day of the Dove” culminates with the Enterprise crew and the Klingons temporarily putting aside their differences to stop a special effects blob that feeds off their aggression and violence. Said entity is even capable of implanting false memories into its victims to trigger anger and hostility. To finally fend off their common enemy, Kirk and Klingon Commander Kang prompt their respective sides to laugh and act jovial together (shown below).

Look at Spock’s face in that photo compared to Kang and Kirk. God damn, Leonard Nimoy was so great. I’d put money on that acting choice being a Nimoy decision, as opposed to one provided by the script or director. Obviously, Spock wouldn’t be inclined to show the kind of boisterous emotion the others are. So instead, Nimoy keeps it subtle and smiles with his eyes. Brilliant.

The major problem with this episode, for my money, is that there’s no punch to the moment when Kirk and Kang finally decide to work together against the entity. It’s not, say, a dramatic life-or-death situation where in order to survive the two sides have to trust one another. Thus, for a brief moment, proving that peace between them is possible and something that can be worked toward. Instead, it’s this awkward (and in Spock’s case, funny) moment of forced laughter. There’s no gravity or tension there.

Granted, in its third season Star Trek underwent major budget cuts. So a large-scale battle between this coalition and some strange new alien force wasn’t in the cards. Even an established group like the Romulans would likely have been too much. But instead of bringing in all those extras in to be Klingons, could they not have dressed a few of them up in a different kind of costume to establish a third, more dangerous and hostile group? Take Susan Howard, who plays the Klingon woman in this episode, and make her the leader. Granted, hindsight is always 20/20. But that seems easy enough, right?

Heck, we’ve got a bunch of swords in this episode for whatever reason. How about a big sword battle between the two sides in some wide open space aboard the Enterprise?

On the subject of physicality, I did take a certain amount of guilty pleasure in the wanton violence on display in this episode. Specifically, Kang walking into a room and punching Kirk in the face without provocation. Then, of course, Kirk giving him his receipt later. There was also Kirk knocking Chekov around a little bit. Granted, Chekov was being influenced by the entity at the time…

But still, it was fun. Can’t deny that.

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