Monday, November 18, 2019

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Joker Movie Review

Directed By Todd Phillips

Written by Todd Phillips/Scott Silver

Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures

One of the most talked about movies of 2019 has finally landed but did it live up to the hype? Or was the criticism the film faced prior to release justified? Lets put on a happy face and find out.

Whether you liked the movie or not you cant deny the fact the entire movie itself was bold to begin with. Not only was there a decision to give one of the greatest villains of all time a solo movie, but it was also decided to give him an identity. Fans of DC have grown to accept that the Joker has no identity and his origins will usually remain a mystery, but in this film the creators gave Joker the name Arthur Fleck and I have to say the gamble payed off. The story revolves around a failing party clown and aspiring comedian with a love for dancing as he barely makes his way through the world. Arthur is hindered by a neurological disorder and a slight lack of talent. Todd Phillips and Scott Silver were playing with fire in their writing as they had to create an interesting character to face and overcome challenges while avoiding inadvertently making a truly evil character relatable. I can speak for myself at least that while I did feel sympathy for Arthur at times, in the end the poor treatment he received was no excuse for the horrible deeds he committed. I refuse to give any spoilers but I will tell you that as the story progressed I inched closer and closer to the edge of my seat, I felt anxiety and shock as many unpredictable scenes brought my hands that have become sweaty to cover my mouth. This rollercoaster ride of a story has many unexpected drops, loops and turns that left me leaving the theatre wanting to come back for another viewing.

While the writing was amazing it cant take all the credit for what made this movie good. The quality of this film is a perfect example of what happens when beautiful cinematography is amplified by a powerful score. Lawrence Sher and Hildur Guonadottir have earned so much praise when they combined their work to create breathtaking scenes. While writing, cinematography and music is crucial to a good film, it will all be for nothing if the star doesn’t match the quality of the work surrounding them. Joaquin Phoenix delivered the performance of a lifetime as the Joker. His dedication to the role was obvious as he pushed his body to an unhealthy weight to push the immersion of the audience even further. He was able to create many different laughs all unique in their own way and all perfect for the character. His unsettling and terrifying behavior sold me on the idea that this man was truly insane and it was a treat to seem him slowly go though a transformation of sorts as the movie progressed. I do realize Joaquin had the advantage of his own movie to showcase his acting skills as the Joker while previous actors did not have that privilege, but he still must not only be considered for the greatest Joker of all time but acting performance of the year.

Joker was not shown any mercy in the media backlash leading up to release but it overcame that and solidified itself as a straight up good movie. The stellar quality of Joker cannot be denied as every facet of this movie was excellent, from the cast to the writing, from music to the cinematography. I cannot praise this movie enough and I can assure you it is definitely worth your time.

DC Comics Establish New Timeline. A New Era to Begin?

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Today We discuss the rumors of DC Comic’s New established timeline of all events and we chat about the future of continuity and learn more about DC 5G.

WWE Smackdown #1 Review

Written by: Kevin Panetta

Illustrated by: Kendall Goode & Serg Acuña

Colors by: Serg Acuña & Danny Sànchez Chaves

Letters by: Jim Campbell

This week is perhaps the most important week for professional wrestling in modern times. AEW has their premiere show on TNT on Wednesday October 2nd, NXT goes live on the USA Network for 2 hours in the same timeslot, and Smackdown premieres on FOX for the very first time on Friday October 5th. The landscape is changing and it’s an extremely exciting time to be a fan. Boom! Studios has had an amazing and very successful run publishing WWE comics in the past few years, so it only makes sense that they’d put out a book to commemorate Smackdown’s move to FOX. 

The year 2019 has been about the meteoric rise of both Becky Lynch and Kofi Kingston, so this issue follows both of them as they make their way to the 20th anniversary celebration of Smackdown. We get a really fun story between Becky Lynch and the Iiconics, dealing with the constant push and pull in the WWE between the modern day stars and the legends of the past. We also get a story of Kofi Kingston and the rest of the New Day in a struggle to make it to the arena through LA traffic. 

Overall this book is a pretty good time and a fun look at some superstars in the lead up to Smackdown’s debut on FOX. It’s a great time to be a fan of wrestling and this story is a fun one to read to get you excited for Friday. 

Deathstroke #48

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Christopher Priest, writer

Fernando Pasarin & Carlo Pagulayan, pencils

Cam Smith, inks 

Jeremy Cox, colors

Willie Schubert, letters 

Recap

This issue begins: Slade Wilson is alive! He confronts the group he thinks was responsible for taking away his technology, but they refuse. He leaves to locate his son who was given the technology. The issue does some foreshadowing. Slade and another man, Dabney, meet and discuss recent events. Dabney asks, “I thought you were dead.” Slade explains that when Raptu (issue #44) iinfected him with leprosy, it elevated his immune system causing him to recover quicker from the arrow he took to his head. Meanwhile, Slade’s son, Jericho, meets with Lex Luthor who demands he return the power enhancing tech Luthor gave him. Jericho refuses. Luthor agrees, but leaves him to defend himself against Slade Wilson who wants the technology back. The issue ends with a brutal encounter where Slade confronts his daughter Rose in his pursuit of Jericho.   

This is a fast-paced and gripping issue. The death of a villain in comics is hard to pull off. Even more difficult is explaining how they were never permanently dead. Even though we all saw this coming, the explanation has to make sense. I like that the writer chose to identify Deathstroke’s healing factor being elevated as to why he didn’t stay dead. At least it makes sense. 

The central conflict in the story is between Slade Wilson and his son Jericho. It’s a common occurrence for villains to have conflicting relationships with their children. The presence of evil in a family system causes problems. What makes this interesting is Slade’s willingness to do anything to find answers as to how to get his technology back – as if he cares more about being Deathstroke than his own children. See the fight at the end of the issue as evidence. What will be even more interesting is to what extent Jericho is willing to hand over the power-enhancing technology that Slade desperately wants. Like father like son is my guess. 

The art in this issue is solid. Specifically, the coloring makes the pencil work come to life. The highlight for me is a full panel spread that depicts Deathstroke bathed in flames and pulling a sword out of an object. The context is a Nova Scotia snow-covered landscape. The yellow and red flames and their reflection off the snowy mountainside is a nice contrast. 

Overall = 9/10

Final Impressions

This issue builds on the suspense of this story arc by giving the reader an explanation for Slade Wilson’s return from the dead and setting up a conflict with his son Jericho. The tie in to the Year of the Villain makes more sense in this issue then in other books due to Lex Luthor’s meeting with Jericho. It appears that Deathstroke could have a larger part to play in Luthor’s overall plans. I encourage fans of Deathstroke to jump on this book. 

Lois Lane #4

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Greg Rucka, writer

Mike Perkins, pencils & inks

Paul Mounts, colors

Recap

This issue begins, Jonathan has lunch with his mother, Lois Lane, after an awkward encounter in the bathroom. The intimate conversation covers Jonathan’s decision to join the Legion of Super-heroes, her ongoing challenges as a mother and journalist, and their collective missing of Superman. The issue transitions to another conversation between Renee Montoya, the current Question, and Vic “Charlie” Sage, the original Question. They struggle with the idea that Charlie was supposedly dead. From there, the issue transitions to a cryptic scene which pictures a woman infected with something and in a burning apartment building. A fireman is not able to save her. This issue ends with Lois Lane and Jonathan conversing prior to him leaving to travel through time and space and ends with a conversation between Lois and Renee about the weightiness of truth in journalistic reporting.

The most interesting part of this story is the conversation between Lois and Jonathan. It stirred up reminders of my own daughter leaving for college and the questions parents ask themselves about whether they’ve done enough to prepare their children for the world. The heart-warming part comes when Jonathan tells Lois that she is his super hero which is a nice reminder that you don’t need superpowers to have a big impact on others

The mystery surrounding the infected woman drives the ongoing story and connects it to the larger plot. It leaves the reader with numerous questions: who is she? What does the game of chess and the history lesson in her expressions have to do with the story? Is time travel involved? Despite how confusing this was to read, I welcomed the mystery as a way to keep me interested in the big reveal that is sure to come in future issues. 

The art is dark and shadowing almost like a Sean Phillips crime noir aesthetic mixed with a Chris Samnee vibe. The dark, print-like quality of the images increased the intrigue for me. Faces with large black outlines still showed great detail in the emotions expressed. I especially liked the way the printed page matched the ambiguity created by the story; specifically, Lois saying goodbye to her son, for now. And, scenes showing a character coming back from the dead are filled with mystery with more questions than answers.   

Overall 10/10

Final Impressions

I loved this issue! Rucka does an amazing job connecting the human element of each character and appeals to the heart throughout. The story is strong and intriguing, specifically, surrounding the virus that appears to be impacting the citizenry. I’m excited to see how Lois and Renee unpack this mystery and save the people of Metropolis.   

Batman #80 Review

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Writer: Tom King

Pencils: John Romita Jr. 

Inks: Klaus Johnson

Colors: Tomeu Morey

Letters: Clayton Cowles

The Bat and Cat have returned to Gotham, and they are stronger together. Tom King’s 80 issues thus far have been an emotional roller coaster. His story so far has beaten Batman mentally, physically, emotionally and has tested him in every way possible. Bruce is back with a renewed sense of purpose, and the desire to save his city and family from Bane and his father Thomas.

Some people will be tempted to call #80 a filler issue, but there’s plenty going on here if you know what to look for. King follows two threads in this book. Bruce and Selina fighting their way through Gotham and what Thomas Wayne is up to. King shows us that Batman is no longer weak and beaten down, but instead confident and ready to do what needs to be done. King also fills us in on what the current condition of Gotham Girl is. I really appreciated the pacing of this issue. It read like one fluid motion that plainly laid out what the stakes are. Pay close attention to what Thomas Wayne is saying when he’s talking to Gotham Girl. I have a feeling that’s going to payoff later.

Bruce clearly doesn’t know about Alfred yet (I think it’s clayface, and refuse to accept anything else), because if he did we would’ve seen a very different sort of justice in these pages. Tom King has a knack for including amazing artists on his books and he struck gold with his latest addition. I’m of course referring to the legendary John Romita Jr. I grew up with his Spider-Man and art and was thrilled to see him on this book. His signature style is full of energy and tons of details. I encourage you to go back and review this book panel by panel. You will notice that every panel has a more detailed background than you would’ve noticed in your first passing. Romita Jr. was the perfect choice for this issue. No one does rain better than him. The scene between Batman and Hush was absolute perfection.

Speaking of perfection, I need to make sure that Tomeu Morrey receives credit for his amazing colors. The background of that same Batman/Hush scene was incredible in large part due to Morrey’s blend of colors. Tom King and team did a great job from start to finish. The stage has been set and we have five issues left after this one to see how it all ends. If I had to guess…Bane is going to have a bad time.

The Flash #79 The Return of…

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Today we Explore and Explain the events of The Flash #79 Death of the Speedforce part 4, and it’s here we see the return of…Watch and Find out Here

Detective Comics #1012 Review

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi

Pencils by: Doug Mahnke

Inks by: Jamie Mendoza

Colors by: David Baron

Letters by: Rob Leigh

Being DC’s most important character, Batman is someone who always has multiple stories going on concurrently and it’s always hard to keep up with what’s happening and when. Right now alone he’s in Detective Comics, Batman/Superman, Batman, Justice League, and more, all within the same continuity. It’s hard to keep up with and hard to know which is worth your time and which is actually going to matter in the grand scheme of things. Peter J. Tomasi’s run on Detective Comics has been one that doesn’t really matter, but it has been one that’s been very entertaining and fun for fans of Batman. 

In this issue, we get the first issue of a new story about Batman and Mr. Freeze. Ever since his appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, Mr. Freeze is a character that has had continual interest and many different takes on his life and his struggles with his wife Nora. This issue was a very interesting take on that relationship because it comes in the middle of Batman’s struggles with his feelings about Catwoman, so there was a nice showing of the two relationships as foils. 

Mr. Freeze is conducting an experiment on women that look like his wife because of a device that Lex Luthor gave him, and Batman is taking notice. This issue was more about explaining what the story will be and setting things up more than action heavy scenes or pivotal things happening. Overall this was a good issue that will hopefully lead to a great story.

Broken Bear Review

Written by: Frankee White

Art & Letters by: Adam Markiewicz

Colors by: AHG

Broken Bear is one of my favorite independent comics that I’ve read in a long time. This comic is phenomenal in every aspect. The world building is thorough, the characters are unique and interesting, the story is unpredictable and exciting, and the artwork is a gorgeous and cinematic lens to view the story through. This book is a wonderful blend of Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and a Knight’s Tale. Game of Thrones in terms of unpredictability in the story and the progression of it, Lord of the Rings in the type of characters and the building of the world, and A Knight’s Tale In humor. 

The writing in the book is very good, the dialogue is free flowing, the story moves at a great pace, and the characters are fleshed our. My favorite thing about the book though would have to be the artwork. The art feels distinct from other things I’ve read and it has its own flavor to it that is very of the style of the story. There’s a lot of deep greens and browns throughout which make for great scenery, and there’s some really cool designs of the locations and the characters. 

Go out of your way to support this book, purchase it as a hard copy at your local comic book store or buy the digital version on Amazon or Comixology. Support independent comics and original stories, and take a chance on a book that will leave you satisfied and excited for what’s to come. This is a story that could easily find itself adapted into a film or television series one day, and I hope it’s one that finds a following.

Batman Curse of The White Knight #3 Review

Script, Art, Covers: Sean Murphy

Colors, Cover Colors: Matt Hollingsworth

Letters: AndWorld Design

   Azrael has been recruited by the Joker in his latest effort in take down Batman in Sean Murphy’s sequel to the monumental story, Batman White Knight in; Batman Curse of The White Knight. After narrowly escaping the explosion of Wayne Manor, the story begins with Batman being plucked from the wreckage by the GCPD, but this comes at a heavy price. In order to pull off the rescue mission, Nightwing had to give up Batman’s secret identity as Bruce Wayne to the Gotham PD. With the The Joker, Azrael, and the mysterious woman Ruth working together to bring down Batman, our hero is left with no other choice than to turn to an unlikely source for help… Jack Napier. For those of you who may have missed out on Batman White Knight, Jack Napier is the perfectly sane persona of The Joker who emerged after being drowned in pharmaceuticals by an enraged Batman who had reached his breaking point. Napier may now be the key to uncovering the plans behind The Joker’s Grand Finale and the secret truth of the Wayne family only The Joker seems to know. 

   Sean Murphy is an absolute treasure. Not only does he write this brilliant story, but he also illustrates it. Its not often we see this dual threat in the comic industry today let alone pulled off so beautifully, it’s no wonder he was nominated for an Eisner for the first series. One of my favorite parts about this issue is how Murphy truly highlights The Joker’s devilish nature with his final comments to Harley. Bullock’s joke to detective Montoya was pretty damn good, but other than that this issue didn’t seem to have many happy moments at all. I can’t imagine the war that’s to come once Batman finds out (REDACTED) has fallen victim to the fiery sword of Azrael in the closing pages of this issue. I’m extremely anxious to see how things play out, especially knowing Harley is about to give birth to the Joker’s twins… in the Joker’s old cell… delivered by Batman, (those kids are gonna need some serious therapy).  Sean Murphy is creating his own history of Batman and I am 100% on board. Batman Curse of The White Knight is available in your local comic stores September 24th, 2019. Don’t miss out on one of the greatest iterations of Batman comics ever! 

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Writer: Scott Snyder  Artist: Jock  Colorist: David Baron  Letterer: Sal Cipriano 

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