Tag Archives: Arrow

A Green Arrow, Vol. 1 Review – Ollie’s Greatest Hits

Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Life and Death of Oliver QueenTITLE: Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Life and Death of Oliver Queen
AUTHOR: Benjamin Percy
PENCILLER: Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra. Cover by Ferreyra.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow: Rebirth #1Green Arrow #15.
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASED: January 4, 2017

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The Life and Death of Oliver Queen gives us a lot we’ve seen before. But it’s wrapped in a fresh package, and frankly some of this stuff was sorely missed. So it works out, and makes for a fun book.

A human trafficking case in Seattle brings Green Arrow and Black Canary together, in more ways than one. But what they end up fighting is something much larger, and closer to Queen Industries than Oliver could ever imagine. As such, new alliances will be forged, and older ones will be tested. Our heroes are about to meet the Ninth Circle.

To an extent, this book feels like “Ollie’s Greatest Hits.” Green Arrow and Black Canary are one of the classic couples in DC Comics lore, and they’re back together here. We’ve got him losing his fortune, which famously happened during the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams run of the ’70s. Percy also plays up the more political, social justice elements of Green Arrow, which is another hallmark of the O’Neil era. And then you’ve got the return of John Diggle, a character that originated on the Arrow TV show.

green-arrow rebirth #1, title pageWhen you put it all in a list like that, this book looks vderivative and unoriginal. But for a longtime fan like yours truly, it feel like a homecoming. I enjoyed much of what was done with the New 52 Green Arrow book. But this feels like the return of the genuine article. Of course, that’s what they were going for.

This book establishes that Ollie and Dinah are acquainted with one another, but don’t know each other very well. Obviously that changes here as they become romantically involved. But here’s my question: From cover to cover, how much time is supposed to have passed here? When we get to the end of Life and Death, the implication is that Ollie cares about Dinah as much as anything in his life. But the two haven’t been together long enough to justify such a connection, have they? Obviously they like each other. But there’s nothing in this book that justifies such a deep-rooted love from either of them. It might have been more advisable to use the events of this book to plant the foundation for their relationship. That way readers feel like they’ve been in the loop from the start.

That being said, the chemistry is there between the two. They have that familiar volatile affection for one another. Dinah challenges Ollie, pointing out the inconsistencies in his approach as Green Arrow. Ollie accepts her challenges and returns in kind. But in the end their fondness for one another is undeniable. They’re fun to read.

The Ninth Circle are a group of villains using a weapon that’s truly timeless: Money. Our heroes come across them while taking down a human trafficking ring, and as Ollie painfully finds out, they have their claws deep into Queen Industries. They’re perfect villains for Green Arrow, exemplifying the kind of corruption the character has fought against for decades, and should absolutely be fighting today.

green-arrow-black-canary-otto-schmidtOllie’s relationship with his half-sister Emiko is of particular importance here. We learn who her mother is, and we get an apparent heel turn from her. I was concerned about her development as the book went on. But without spoiling things, I’ll say Percy leaves things in a satisfying place by the time we close the book.

Artistically, the star of this Life and Death is Otto Schmidt. Sadly, he’s only around for about half the book. But his style is a terrific fit for Green Arrow, and superhero comics in general. It’s expressive, it’s animated, the line work is beautiful, and it’s got a tremendous energy to it.  It’s also very conducive to action, the Canary Cry in particular (shown right). Schmidt, who serves as penciller, inker, and colorist on his issues, renders them simply, but colorfully. Like most of Schmidt’s work on this book, it’s very charming.

The second half of the book is drawn and colored by Juan Ferreyra, who is also the cover artist. His work has an almost airbrush-like texture to it that’s interesting, and he’s very good at drawing the disfigured members of the Ninth Circle. His colors are wonderfully rich, and at times intense. But with all due respect to Ferreyra, it’s just not quite as fun as what Schmidt gives us.

DC needs a good Green Arrow book right now. Just like they need a good Wonder Woman book, a good Flash book, a good Supergirl book, etc. With the emergence of the DC Extended Universe, as well as the “CWverse,” there’s so much potential for new fans to crossover into comics. I would argue that for a long time, DC failed to capitalize on that. With the DC Rebirth line, they’ve given themselves a valuable chance for a fresh start. And that’s what they have here with Green Arrow. While it’s not perfect, it’s something for fans old and new to latch on to.

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A Review of The Flash S2E6 – Zoom Ends Barry’s Run?

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This was a big episode. How do you know? Because they didn’t have any time for that plot thread with Iris’ mom. I’m hoping that has something to do with something at one point. Otherwise, what the hell was the point?

But again, no time for that crap this week. Things are goin’ straight to hell…

Jesse QuickPonderings From The Flash, S2E6:

Wells: “You’re my joy, Jesse Quick.” Ahhhh, how about that? Wells’ daughter is Jesse Quick. There’s something to look forward to.

In the old DC Universe, Jesse Quick was a supporting player in the Flash comic book. The daughter of Golden Age hero Johnny Quick, Jesse became one of Wally West’s partners before changing her hero identity to Liberty Belle.

I can only assume Jesse knows about her powers, if only because Zoom came looking for her. Given how that fight between Zoom and Barry went (more on that later), they may need her sooner than later.

Obviously, the “Arrowverse” is expanding. With Legends of Tomorrow on the horizon, and The Flash still going strong, that’s a good thing.

The team enlists Linda Park’s help in setting a trap for Zoom. This was a bad idea, and even the heroes knew it. You never intentionally put innocents in jeopardy. That’s got to be in the first chapter of the superhero rule book.

Linda Park, Malese JowOn the plus side, it’s nice to see the Linda Park character fleshed out a little more. This as the first episode where I really took the time to study how Malese Jow portrays her. She now seems like she has her own distinct personality, as opposed to just being somebody in the background.

She also had two really good lines this week: “I’ve made out with The Flash,” and in reference to Zoom, “You can’t fight that thing. It’s a monster.”

Also, now she knows Barry is The Flash. Barry’s got a lot of strings attached at this point. That could come back to bite him, specifically when it comes to his adopted father…

Barry admits to Joe that he’s been having trouble being happy since he failed to save his mother from the Reverse-Flash. Joe tells him to do his best to be happy here and now. Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin have become really good at these father/son scenes. And it led to an awesome moment between Barry and Patty. Scenes like this make me wonder if Joe’s going to get killed off at some point. His death would be so impactful for all the heroes, Barry and Iris especially.

The Flash, Season 2, ZoomThe Flash faces off with Zoom for the first time. Obviously Zoom has a scary quality to him. A little less scary when you realize they’re sort of channeling Cobra Commander and Shredder with his voice. But still, he’s a very effective big bad for the season.

This fight reminded me of the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader fight from The Empire Strikes Back. The good guy has the heart and the will, but the bad guy simply has too much power and experience. As such, The Flash got his ass kicked, and he was humiliated in front of his allies. I’m not sure how much Zoom knows about Barry’s life, but having Zoom drag Barry in front of his father would have been a nice cap-off to that sequence.

When Zoom stabbed Barry, originally I thought the wound was in his heart. Needless to say, that would have complicated things. But as we’d soon learn, the wound was in his spine. So what does The Flash do when you take away his legs? In the comics, we’ve seen a version of Barry on a motorcycle. But I doubt they take that route here. I’ve got a feeling Barry gets his legs back next week via super healing or something like that.

Robert Queen is the Arrow of Earth-2. During a flashback scene on Earth-2, Harrison Wells hears that Robert Queen, Oliver Queen’s father on Arrow, was the one who donned the hood on that world. That was a really cool little Easter egg.

Image 1 from nerdist.com. Image 2 from ibtimes.com. Image 3 from ign.com.

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A Supergirl S1E1 Review – Keep It Simple, Supergirl

Supergirl, CBS, posterBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

***WARNING: Spoilers lay ahead for the pilot episode of Supergirl.***

People are understandably excited about Supergirl. In essence, the character is getting the same treatment Green Arrow and The Flash are getting on The CW. This isn’t a prequel like Smallville or Gotham (Blech). This is Supergirl, flights and tights, in all her glory. On a major network, no less.

The pilot episode of Supergirl is charming in its simplicity. It lays everything out with fairly broad strokes, which is fine for now. We have our hero, her supporting cast, a place for villains to come from, and our big bad for the season. There’s a lot of ground to explore, and they’ve got a whole season to do it.

So let’s do what we love to do around here: Pick stuff apart…

Melissa Benoist plays Kara Zor El, a.k.a. Supergirl. This was great casting. Benoist has fantastic girl next-door appeal, and seems like she was somehow custom-built to be a TV star. It seemed like she was set for stardom on Glee before that show took an even bigger nosedive in quality. Either way, she makes a fantastic Supergirl. She’ll obviously need some time to break into the role and truly make it her own, as most actors do. But give her enough time, and she’ll pull it off.

Supergirl, pilot, Melissa BenoistSupergirl is widely being heralded as a feminist TV show, and a celebration of girl power. As a male fan, I’m not threatened or dissuaded by that at all. Despite all the superhero movies that have come out in the last two decades, we have yet to see one dedicated to Wonder Woman, Black Widow, or any other female hero. If Supergirl is successful, it could open some doors in that respect, and bring in new fans.

Calista Flockhart plays Cat Grant, head of CatCo Worldwide. Cat Grant was almost one-dimensional in how she was written here. Granted, this is only the pilot. At certain points in the comic books, the character had some nice depth that I’d love to see explored here. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make her a villain. Several years ago during Sterling Gates’ run on Supergirl, Cat was essentially made the J. Jonah Jameson to Kara’s Spider-Man. Using The Daily Planet as an outlet, Cat was able to turn much of Metropolis against the Girl of Steel. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine that happening on this show.

Incidentally, I loved her little rant about the word “girl.” That was really well written.

Supergirl, Hank HenshawKara becomes aligned with her sister Alex, Hank Henshaw, and the Department of Extranormal Operations to face fugitives from a Kryptonian prison. This seems like a cue from Arrow and The Flash. On those shows, both heroes have a team around them that helps them with logistics and what not. It makes sense, at least as far as the first season is concerned. The Fort Rozz angle is also very similar to what we’ve seen on The Flash. On that show, the same freak accident that gave Barry Allen his speed also created various metahumans. On Supergirl, the arrival of Kara’s shuttle accidentally released various prisoners from the Phantom Zone. This begs the question of why those prisoners are only surfacing now. But again, it’s only the pilot.

Also, in the DC Comics Universe, Hank Henshaw is the evil Cyborg Superman. Just throwing that out there.

Kara works alongside Winn Schott, who she later reveals her secret to. On the subject of supervillains, in the DCU, Winslow Schott is one of the incarnations of the villainous Toyman. Perhaps unrequited love drives Schott to madness?

Kara Zor El, Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl, CBSWhile Superman’s presence is felt, he is never fully seen on camera. I was excited when I heard how Superman would be dealt with on this show. Essentially, it’s the same way Veep deals with the President of the United States. The character’s influence is felt on the show, but we never see him. I’m pleased they didn’t do anything stupid to Superman, like kill him or banish him to the Phantom Zone. But this episode leaves me wondering why Kara doesn’t have more of a direct relationship with her cousin. You’d think he’s be the one person she’d want to talk to about superheroics and what not.

From a creative standpoint, the reason for keeping Superman out of the show is obvious: He draws attention away from Supergirl. But I’d like to see some reason given as to why she can apparently only communicate with him through other people.

Image 2 from youtube.com. Image 3 from moviepilot.com. Image 4 from cinemablend.com.

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Cesaro Gets Snake Bitten, An Arrow in the Heart of WWE, and Other Ponderings From Raw

Monday Night Raw, Randy Orton, Cesaro, August 10, 2015By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ponderings From WWE Raw:

Randy Orton def. Cesaro and Kevin Owens to earn a shot at the WWE Championship later in the evening. It seemed like this match was designed to let Cesaro shine. And shine he did…until the finish. This match was tricky from that perspective anyway, as somebody had to get pinned, and that can potentially effect their momentum. You’d think the guy to lose the fall would have been the heel, Kevin Owens. But instead they inexplicably had Orton pin Cesaro with an RKO. And it wasn’t one of those “From Out of Nowhere!!!” ones either. Cesaro, who had spent most of the match stealing the damn show, just kind of walked into it. Considering the WWE appears to finally be getting behind Cesaro a little bit, this was a head-scratcher. A really bizarre choice to end an otherwise really good triple threat match.

Sheamus attacks Randy Orton, nearly cashes in Money in the Bank during title match against Seth Rollins. And what did Cesaro take the pin for? An attempt to add some heat to the dead fish program between Orton and Sheamus. What a waste.

Wrestlemania XXX, Undertaker, Brock LesnarVideo package shows Steve Austin, Triple H, Paul Heyman, and others weighing in on Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. Again, a smart move to keep ‘Taker and Lesnar off TV until next week’s Raw. That’ll of course be the first time they’ve been in the same building since their brawl the night after Battleground.

The video package was okay. I wish they’d spent more time on guys like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Randy Orton, and guys that were actually part of “The Streak.” Not to mention Stone Cold Steve Austin, the biggest damn star of the last two decades. Why was he just chiming in? No offense, but I really don’t care what a Kofi Kingston, or even a Dean Ambrose or Roman Reigns, thinks about ‘Taker and Brock. Give me the heavy hitters, the main eventers, the legends.

The more I think about it, the more I’m bothered by Undertaker’s line about Heyman and Lesnar repeatedly bringing up his defeat at Wrestlemania XXX. That didn’t need to be said. In all honesty, this story pretty much writes itself. Brock Lesnar took something from The Undertaker that he can never get back. And now it’s revenge time.

Incidentally, Triple H had a nice line with: “You can’t outrun the reaper.”

WWE Raw, August 10, 2015, Ryback, Daniel BryanDaniel Bryan returns to Raw on Miz TV, Big Show and the returning Ryback crash the segment. It was awesome to see the fans show Bryan that much love. Whether his active wrestling career is over or not, he’s clearly earned a place in the collective heart of wrestling fans. And of course, WWE was likely counting on that, and hoping some of it would rub off on the returning Ryback.

For my money, WWE really needs to tap into those “Please retire!” chants fans are yelling at The Big Show. Hell, if they want Ryback to get over, put him in a title vs. retirement match with Show at a major pay per view. That’d draw some attention.

Brie Bella uses a Daniel Bryan spot during a six-woman tag team match. I wouldn’t have a problem with Brie using Bryan’s trademark kicks to the chest if she were playing a babyface role. But the Bellas and Alicia Fox are supposed to be heels, aren’t they? Discounting the notion that putting them in a match against another heel team is a strange booking decision. But having a heel using a spot that’s normally reserved for one of the company’s top babyfaces seemingly contradicts basic psychology. If you’re a heel, you want to be booed. So with that in mind, why use that spot at all?

Stephen Amell, Raw, August 10, 2015Arrow star Stephen Amell to team with Neville to face Stardust and King Barrett at Summerslam. This is obviously a textbook WWE publicity stunt. But Stephen Amell is obviously an action star, and he’s clearly in amazing shape. So I’m guessing he’ll show us a cool stunt or two.

A lot of fans have why Cody Rhodes has kept the Stardust gimmick as long as he has. I’m guessing this Stephen Amell angle is one of the reasons. Whether you like this or not, at least it gives Stardust, not to mention Neville and Barrett, something to do at Summerslam. These guys are all at the same place on the card, and they have about the same amount of momentum right now. So what harm can it do?

Prime Time Players to defend against The New Day, The Lucha Dragons, and Los Matadores at Summerslam. What happened to The Ascension? They were in the mix, weren’t they? Did they just get cast aside? Eh…maybe it’s better that way. This match is all about The New Day anyway.

Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, WWE Raw, August 10, 2015Luke Harper def. Dean Ambrose. It really feels like they’re trying to recapture some of that Shield vs. Wyatt Family magic here. But it’s just not the same dynamic. All the players are at different places in their careers.

The announcers missed the boat on the fact that this was one of the biggest wins of Luke Harper’s career. Had he gotten a few of these kinds of victories, he might not have floundered as a singles star.

In a perfect world, this whole Roman Reigns/Bray Wyatt feud would culminate in a Hell in a Cell match in October. What’s more, it would be the only cell match on that show. This is the only rivalry they have right now that would be worthy of the cage by October. So I say let’s go for it.

Image 2 from foxxfeed.com. All remaining images courtesy of WWE.com.

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A Review of The Flash, Season 1 – Don’t Be Afraid to Smile

flash_ver2TITLE: The Flash, Season 1
STARRING: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Jesse L. Martin, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh
CREATORS: Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Geoff Johns
RATING: TV-PG
NETWORK: The CW
SERIES PREMIERE DATE: October 7, 2014

By Levi Sweeney
Staff Writer, Grand X

I was never drawn to Arrow. It was mostly the ho-hum reviews that I read online, but also because I’m not a huge Green Arrrow fan. Any character done right is worth attention (see Marvel’s Daredevil), but I remained highly skeptical of Arrow, and still do. I watched a couple of episodes on Netflix, and decided it wasn’t worth my time to endure the agony of a crappy first season until it got “really, really good.”

That said, I actually adore The Flash. I looked forward to watching it each week, and I came away from the season finale wanting more. How is it that two shows, both on the CW, both created by similar creative teams, and even occupying a shared universe, managed to make me look at them in wildly different ways?

2060_oriThe Flash stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, a nerdy young CSI for the Central City Police Department. He’s obsessed with proving the innocence of his jailed father, Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp, who played Barry Allen in the 1990s The Flash TV series). Henry was convicted years ago of murdering Barry’s mother in a strangely fantastical incident that Barry witnessed as a child. There was a big, yellow streak involved. Then one day, at the activation of the new S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator, things go horribly wrong. There’s an explosion in conjunction with a lightning storm. Barry is struck by lightning while working in his strangely grungy-looking CSI lab.

Barry wakes up from a coma nine months later, being tended by S.T.A.R. Labs personnel Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), and Dr. Caitlyn Snow (Danielle Panabaker), to find that he has super speed, a healing factor, and a need to eat lots and lots of food. His surrogate father, police detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) warns him not to tell his daughter, and Barry’s longtime crush, Iris West (Candice Patton), about what’s going on. Barry soon dons a scarlet costume and works with the S.T.A.R. Labs team to take down delinquent “meta-humans” who also gained powers through the particle accelerator explosion. Meanwhile, Dr. Wells is hiding a deep, dark secret…

Also, Joe’s partner, Detective Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett), shows up and begins dating Iris.

The Flash, Arrow, crossoverFrom what I saw of Arrow, the two shows do have a few things in common: They’re both drenched in bathos and melodrama and almost none of the characters look above 30. But aside from that, they couldn’t be any more different. Where Arrow is dominated by soulless and crushing despair, The Flash is the most upbeat TV drama I’ve seen since White Collar. It’s not just the abundance of humor. It’s stories are made to be as fun as possible, with no pretentions of being realistic or serious. After all, how serious can a show about a guy who runs really fast punching criminals be?

Early episodes of the show went with a straightforward police-procedural feel. But as the show got more confident, it eventually transformed into full-blown comic-booky science fiction craziness.

Arguably the two best things about this show are the Joe West and Harrison Wells characters. Joe is just a fun character to watch. He’s so blithely incredulous about the craziness going on around him that it’s impossible not to find him endearing. I love that he’s really the only one who has a problem with Barry and his friends locking up all the meta-humans they capture in a completely illegal private prison. There’s also an actual Tumblr devoted to his unique facial expressions. Joe West reminds me of a more laidback version of Crispus Allen from Gotham Central.

Tom Cavanagh, Harrison WellsThen there’s Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells. Cavanagh spends most of the season in a wheelchair, but it’s incredible how subtly he gets his character across. I enjoyed how they played up Wells’ similarities to Joe, in that they’re both father figures to Barry. It all leads up to a great payoff in the end that gives us an excellent performance by Cavanagh as a maniacally evil mad scientist. He’s interesting to watch at all times.

As for other villains, The Flash suffers from a tired “freak of the week” format, but it’s redeemed by a particularly fun group of recurring villains. There are the Rogues, led by Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), who deserves special mention. He sounds like he’s channeling Clint Eastwood half the time, but he’s obviously having a lot of fun in the role. Some of the best and craziest episodes of the series involve both he and his fellow Rogues, Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Golden Glider (Peyton List). Purcell is probably the hammiest actor on the show next to Mark Hamill’s much-ballyhooed guest star as the Trickster. And who can forget the Reverse Flash the Man in the Yellow Suit?

Granted, The Flash won’t win any writing awards. For instance, the love triangle between Barry, Iris, and Eddie seems contrived at best and creepy at worst. On one hand, there’s no real conflict between Eddie and Barry because they’re both really nice guys. Barry doesn’t want to hurt Iris or Eddie, and those two are completely oblivious to Barry’s feelings. On the other hand, Iris herself said in the first episode that she and Barry were like “brother and sister.” Ick. It didn’t help much when they decided to pair Iris with Eddie. It was a pathetically obvious effort to inject some cheap drama into the plot. Incidentally, Eddie and Iris actually make a pretty good couple.

The Flash, Harrison Wells, Eddie ThawneEddie’s mere presence here is a possible sign that this show was only half-baked when it first went on the air. First we have the Totally-Not-Evil Dr. Wells doing his thing. Then we have some guy whose name is Eddie Thawne, which fans of the comics will know sounds a lot like Eobard Thawne, the alter ego of the Reverse Flash. You’d think that the writers would use this as a gold mine for an intriguing subplot, especially since in the promotional materials Eddie was touted as having a “dark secret.”

But that intrigue of peters out, and Eddie fades into the background as the series goes on, particularly when Team Flash begins dealing with Firestorm. But the finale actually addresses this problem, after much else has been revealed. Believe it or not, it actually works! When the series ends, Eddie is seen in an entirely different light.

For all its faults, The Flash won me over because of one simple truth: It’s fun. The crazy plots, the spectacular, super-powered battles, the silly melodrama, the obligatory DCU references, the self-aware humor. Even the mediocre CGI and other special effects were endearing. Bottom line, if you like superheroes with no pretentions of seriousness (think Thor, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy, with a bit of Batman ’66 thrown in), then you’ll absolutely love The Flash.

Something tells me that DC is beginning to understand that their heroes can afford to smile now and then.

RATING: 8/10

Image 1 from rottentomatoes.com. Image 2 from theinsightfulpanda.wordpress.com. Image 3 from theflash.wikia.com. Image 4 from etonline.com.

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