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Legend of the Seeker 1×04 Brennidon episode review

Legend of the Seeker 1×04 Brennidon is very much a kids episode, not in the sense that it is for kids, at least any more than the rest of Legend of the Seeker is, but in that it deals with parents and children. First Richard stumbles into Brennidon, the town where he was born, while Zedd copes with a paternity claim from a woman he knew a long time ago. Kahlan meanwhile serving as the Confessor listens to personal disputes in another small community nearby.

Brennidon is the first episode that does a decent job of testing Richard’s ideals and skills in a real fight against tyranny, even if it reverts to the kind of Zorro setup that plays out as a little too goofy. Some scenes are well done, beginning with Richard’s arrival at a cemetery featuring the tombstones of the children killed by Darken Rahl in order to slay the Seeker. Even the discover of his “mother” is handled well enough, but his “brother” is a painfully predictable character we’ve seen before in endless novels and movies and TV shows, whose every switch back and forth is loudly telegraphed.

By the time Richard hatches a plan to stop the D’Harans and get the people of Brennidon to rise up, silly season is well underway. But the real silliness comes in the entire Zedd’s paternity storyline, and by the time a serious overdramatic payoff comes in the final scene, it’s much too late. It’s clear that the producers of Legend of the Seeker have a comedy quota to fill every episode, so that the series plays out a little more like Hercules, and Zedd winds up filling that quota more often than not. Which is a shame since he is the one character on the show you can still take seriously.

The Brennidon solution begins well but ends in cliche, and it would be interesting for Richard to come back a few episodes later, and see that his well meaning attempts to free Brennidon, only resulted in the massacre of everyone who lived there.

Legend of the Seeker 1×03 Bounty episode review

If the two episodes that formed Legend of the Seeker’s pilot avoided the inevitable Hercules comparisons that Sam Raimi’s name would bring up, Legend of the Seeker 1×03 Bounty delivers a heaping bounty of those with a guest starring appearance by Ted Raimi, hopefully the last one, as a wacky mapmaker who makes maps of the Seeker’s location and sells them to different bounty hunters, resulting in more wacky antics.

Meanwhile Richard gets involved in helping a young girl free her brother from a mythical monster, only to discover that the girl is really another bounty hunter, albeit amateur, who shoves Kahlan into a monster’s pit and tries to hand over Richard to the D’Harans. When captured though she admits that she was simply trying to make a deal with the D’Harans to free her brother who was being held for stealing food. Naturally Richard selflessly agrees to rescue him anyway, and the gang manage to imprison and disarm numerous guards without actually killing them, while Zedd traps the rest with the monster, leading to a happy ending all around. Toward the end Zedd even says the words, Addictive Magic.

Now I’m not Richard Goodkind’s biggest fan, but he had to be kicking things right around the time that Richard begins preaching selfless altruism to Kahlan. Goodkind’s writing is hardly consistent in that regard and his potluck dinner of Ayn Rand meets World of Time isn’t all that well thought out, but his Richard might make sacrifices, but neither was he this relentlessly stupid or senselessly altruistic. By keeping Richard immature and giving him generic hero ideals, the show is throwing away whatever uniqueness it might have taken from the novels for a completely generic fantasy fare.

Star Trek New Frontier Issue 4 Turnaround Part IV

If you recall that when we last left off, an alternate universe Admiral Jellico from the apparent mirror universe had stolen the Paradox on behalf of an alternate universe Mackenzie Calhoun. Soleta in her cell has made contact with the real Admiral Jellico in the cell next to hers while McHenry is a floating head seemingly with his own agenda. In Star Trek New Frontier Issue 4 Turnaround Part IV, Morgan has managed to take over the Paradox and jailbreak Jellico and Soleta, but not before running into alternate universe Calhoun who takes the real Admiral Jellico for his own universe’s Jellico. Meanwhile McHenry’s floating head is not our universe’s McHenry.

So naturally everyone gets together for a fun little reunion, including an alternate universe Lefler and Kalinda, even as the real Kalinda faces more homicidal tantrums from the council and real Calhoun and mirror universe Calhoun collide along with Kat and the Trident by the station in a cliffhanger to be hopefully wrapped up next month. Again if you’re familiar with the New Frontier and Peter David’s work on it, you pretty much know what to expect. The same sorts of jokes and twists, ruthless tactics and ruthless bastards of both genders. If you aren’t and don’t, then you’ll wonder if all of New Frontier isn’t straight from the mirror universe, which arguably it well might be, considering that Calhoun and most of his crew are sociopaths, even by our standards, let alone the standards of Starfleet, which somehow nevertheless keeps allowing them to operate.

The whole mirror universe vs mirror universe thing has been done before. Kirk has faced off against Tiberius, his own evil double, and unlike the DS9 mirror universe characters, Calhoun seems low on the fuzzy goodness scale, but then again you can say much the same thing about the real Mackenzie Calhoun as well. With Jellico letting something slip about the fate of the galaxy being at stake, we can assume that there are still plenty more explosions and revelations to come next month.

The Boys 20 I Tell You No Lie GI Part Two comic review

Well The Boys are back in Issue 20 with I Tell You No Lie GI Part Two, what looks set to be at least a three issue conspiracy theory exploration of the background of the Supes and the world of The Boys as told by The Legend, who from the opening seems to be this universe’s Stan Lee. Issue 20 of The Boys mainly focuses on the rise of the Supes as told by Legend to Hughie in between bathroom breaks while in the meantime Butcher confers with Homelander while Terror does nasty things to his leg. Somewhere between the rabid conspiracy theories and the jouncy humor, it’s all typical Garth Ennis.

Circa this universe the superheroes were fictional characters spun off from classic heroic models. Circa the universe of
Watchmen, superheroes were real while comic books were filled with pirates and adventures on the high seas. Circa the universe of The Boys superheroes were real and comic books were created around them from within Vought America by the Legend with the aim of improving their image. There were no real supervillains it seems, just the occasional supe gone bad or barfight, with the rest dressed up by the comic books. The heroes themselves didn’t do much of anything except work for Vought American and collect royalties from their own comics and TV shows.

Though the cover boasts the grimy Lamplighter, nothing of what happened to him really gets told or addressed, and he only appears in a brief sequence that has Annie and A-Train leaving after cleaning up his mess. The bulk of Issue 20 of The Boys is dedicated mainly to unspooling The Legend’s conspiracy tale about Vought American. Never mind that the real Vought produced some of the best planes in the air at the time. Next issue The Day That Broke My Heart is set to deal with The Boys’ universe’s version of 9/11.

Warren Ellis’ Blackgas 1-3

Zombies are all over the place these days. I don’t know what media studies researchers will say the zombie epidemic of the early 21st century represented, but they’ll likely blame it on something political. I think the answer is simpler, it comes down to laziness. And as everyone knows zombies are the laziest monsters of all. If we live in a culture that’s becoming more zombified, that celebrates the slacker, whose comedy comes from Judd Apatow and whose action comes from CGI green screens, then the zombie is the logical end of it all. That or just about anything could be the thesis of Warren Ellis’ Blackgas, the first three issues of which deal with two media studies college students, Tyler and Soo, who head over to Tyler’s parents living on an island which has an evil volcano on it.

Warren Ellis tries to ground his zombies in some kind of reality as much as possible. The zombie gas is described as a toxin, the victims bleed black fluid from their eyes and release their inhibitions to do what everyone wants to do, rip each other apart and eat each other. While Blackgas has no shortage of gore, gore fanatics expecting that the fanciful cover scenes of zombies eating each other non-stop will actually appear in the issues can expect to be disappointed. The basic story is a fairly simple one. Two college students joke around, come home, have sex, discover that zombie gas has turned everyone on the island into a zombie, fight their way through a maze of zombies only to discover that one of them is a zombie.

As you can suspect there’s not much new in Blackgas, but Warren Ellis does a good job of sketching out the cast and supporting characters and the background of the island itself while spending very little time doing it. There’s not much in the way of surprises here and by not much, I mean none. Tyler becoming a zombie is telegraphed early on and made increasingly obvious, despite Soo not getting it. The final shot that leaves us with the mainland in flames, is also just as predictable. But along the way Blackgas is a decent enough zombie jaunt and the slow transition of residents to zombiefication makes for an added element of horror. But really there’s no new ground to break and Ellis doesn’t break it. Blackgas seems as much of an attempt to get something optioned fast by Hollywood as anything else.

Superman Last Son final review

It’s been a long strange journey for Superman Last Son partly written by Superman I and Superman II director Richard Donner. Superman Last Son’s beginning coincided with the release of the Donner cut of Superman II, the arguably superior version of the film, and with Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns which was meant to serve as a sequel to Superman II.

With the story now wrapped with the 11th and final issue of Superman Last Son it’s safe to say that Superman Last Son serves as a much more credible sequel to Superman II than Superman Returns ever did. The eleventh issue leans a bit too heavily on the sappy factor but overall, aside from maybe Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman which has been much too uneven, Superman Last Son is the greatest story told about Superman canon over the last few years.

Set off by functionally simple but pretty artwork from Adam Kubert and a no frills approach to Superman that harkens back to the classics, Superman Last Son revisits both Superman II and Superman Returns on a large scale by featuring a mass attack by a Phantom Zone army of Kryptonians led by General Zod who tries to remake Metropolis into New Krypton along with a son for Superman and Lois, but without the awkward stepson material of Bryan Singer’s movie. It throws in the Justice League and a kind of makeshift Luthor created Suicide Squad of Parasite, Metallo and Bizarro teaming up with Superman to stop the Kryptonian invasion.

The most interesting part of Superman Last Son is watching how much it gets right that the movie got wrong and how smoothly it’s all tied together. I’m by no means suggesting that Richard Donner would have delivered the ultimate Superman sequel if he been at the helm of Superman Returns. After all large stories are a lot cheaper to ink than they are to CGI and Geoff Johns gets plenty of the credit and writing a few issues of Action Comics isn’t the 150 million dollar investment that puts Jon Peters and half of WB sitting on your neck. But Superman Last Son does manage to smoothly tie together two disparate troubled Superman movies across decades while telling a compelling story in the process that feels more original than it should and connects to Superman’s origins without the constant brooding or the need to put the story on hold so Superman can gaze down at the world and figure it all out.

All Star Superman 11 Comes Through with the Action – review

Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman has never really been high on the action quotient, the massive world spanning battles so typical of DC. Instead over the last 10 issues Morrison has focused more on the character moments, Lex Luthor’s paired insanity and mad ambition, Superman’s dying regrets and Lois’ struggle between love and mistrust. All Star Superman 11 changes that though with an issue that has the brakes coming off and the fights breaking out, from Solaris the Tyrant Sun to Lex’s niece to Lex Luthor himself, sent to the electric chair and back with powers equal to Superman’s own, even as Superman himself dies in the form of Clark Kent writing one final article at his reporter’s desk at the Daily Planet.

In choosing to die as a man rather than as a superman, as Clark Kent rather than Superman, there’s a message being sent about his value system, one in opposition to the usual DC position that Clark Kent is just the suit that Superman wears, not a position that Smallville takes for example. Of course Superman has died before and while All Star Superman has been revolutionary in some ways, though not as much as Frank Miller’s All Star Batman perhaps, but then Grant Morrison turns Superman into a saint and perhaps a deity, while Frank Miller turned Batman into a raving sociopath. Arguably these are both extremes that existed in the characters all along and Morrison and Miller simply took them to their extremes.

While All Star Superman 11 has its share of action and Superman has fought his battles throughout All Star Superman’s run, with Clark seemingly dead and Lex Luthor on the loose and given powers for 24 hours, the real confrontation is likely to begin. One obvious theory is that Clark faked his death prematurely to draw Lex out and reveal his real plan, though that is premised on Lex knowing Clark is Superman, which seems doubtful given Clark’s interview with Lex Luthor. A possible answer might lie in either Solaris the Tyrant Sun, which Superman says will be harnessed in the future for the good of mankind and how can this involve the future Superman, who is also Superman? It’s one of a number of possible questions and if All Star Superman 12 follows as quickly as All Star Superman 11 did, we may have the answers without having to wait as long as we did for All Star Superman 10.

The Boys 19 I Tell No Lie GI 1 begins the wrapup comic review

Garth Ennis has been a while in getting here and it was pretty much inevitable that we would get here but The Boys 19 I Tell No Lie GI 1 begins the origin story of the superheroes in the Boys universe, who to no one’s surprise are lab grown corporate products from Vought American. The Legend lays out the legends with Homelander being the first and contrary to his Supermanesque myth about coming from the sky, he actually came from a lab. Garth Ennis gets too lost in his Haliburtonesque tirade, but that’s the whole weakness at the heart of The Boys, which is that it has little to do with superheroes and a lot to do with a cartoonish version of America.

More interesting is the meeting between Homelander and Butcher at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, or what’s left of it, which was also apparently the scene of a climatic showdown last time around that may have left The Lamplighter, the Seven’s version of the Green Lantern, in a messy fecal covered state and wiped out the bridge. It’s a nice tense scene as Butcher kneels unspeaking while Homeland tries to discover the basis for his hatred, which as we all know the Homelander raping or seducing Butcher’s wife.

Meanwhile Annie and A-Train dig up the Lamplighter who’s locked in a dark room and is all but non compos mentis, because I guess one filthy retarded superhero isn’t enough, we’ve gotta have a bunch more of them. So the moral of the story would seem to be, don’t buy any equipment from Vought American and superheroes are evil since they come from Vought American.

Drafted 7 comic review

Drafted Issue 7. With time running out until the Worms attack, the squad and well it seems a lot of the squads are given a chance to take a breather back on Earth, which mainly seems to mean Times Square. It’s not clear why there seem to be people still on Earth at all considering that by Drafted 6 virtually everyone on Earth was either called up for fighting or for work in the orbital manufacturing plants.

Nevertheless a lot of mankind manages to return to Earth and so naturally they go to listen to the Sons of Abraham reciting syrupy cliches about brotherhood and the necessity of fighting a war against giant worms. Drafted often almost reads like Mike Farrell remade Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers with its emphasis on the universal draft uniting mankind against a common enemy in a fuzzy peace and love sort of way. You could almost hope that Drafted will be savvy enough to throw readers for a loop by revealing that the aliens are the real enemy and the Worms are just the equivalent of the WMD, but somehow Drafted doesn’t seem likely to work at such a sophisticated level.

Instead we get the militants promised by the cover carrying out an aborted attack accompanied by Vic. It’s not clear where the militants are coming from, considering that the last attempt at resistance was brutally aborted with a massacre. But here we are and there’s an organization backing them which has poisoned one of the Sons of Abraham, which suggests that the people behind it might at least be as savvy as the resistance in Childhood’s End while being a lot more ruthless.

By the time Drafted 7 ends, we’re into the war itself as the Times Square clock runs down and it’s time for the battle to begin.

Star Trek New Frontier Issue 3 Turnaround Part III comic review

Well Issue III of Peter David’s New Frontier comic is here and by the time the issue is over it would seem that David is dipping into the fairly old well of DS9’s version of the Mirror Universe with a mirror Calhoun and a mirror Jellico having apparently teamed up to steal the Paradox in order to destroy the Empire, presumably the Klingon-Cardassian Empire of DS9’s Mirror Universe, rather than the original Terran Empire of TOS’ Mirror Universe, but that’s unclear. It’s a wellworn story, since after all DS9 already had O’Brien pull a similar stunt with the Defiant kidnapped in order to bring a warship to the Mirror Universe, not to mention a cloaking device in a later episode.

But as always Peter David has run New Frontier on style and that’s what makes Star Trek New Frontier Issue 3 Turnaround Part III work, so that even by the end when we get the same old Mirror Universe chestnut thrown at us, it comes off as cool and suspenseful, rather than hackneyed. There’s the usual mix of violence, humor and minor plot twists that are adroitly delivered. We get a little more of Ghost Si Cwan who can apparently communicate not just with Robin and bits of more political intrigue. We get Zak Kebron doing his new Violence slash Socializing thing. Meanwhile over on the Paradox Soleta gets beamed aboard and taken prisoner by the Mirror Jellico and after a few fights, including a reference by Jellico to already being dead and sessions of nerve torture, she finds herself locked up in a cell next to the real Jellico, for the first mind meld through solid objects.

Like the previous 2 issues of New Frontier, Issue 3 is basically a series of brief bursts of action with scraps of dialogue thrown into the mix. It’s easily digestible and bite size, though fairly confusing and difficult to follow if you haven’t read at least some of Peter David’s New Frontier Star Trek novels. For now the larger story involving a seemingly deranged McHenry and the rest of the starships run by the scattered Captains formerly of the New Frontier crew is on hold but no doubt will be revisited soon.

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