The last time I did one of these was four years ago, I really ought to make it a more regular thing because San Diego Comiccon is a prime event to promote new material and media coming up in time for the mass indoor-migration. Here are a few of the highlights I’ve picked up on:
Harley Quinn Animated Series [NSFW]
No seriously, they packed this thing with bad language and violence.
Ok, this has some potential. I like Kaley Cuoco as Harley Quinn although I wish she’d given it the proper southern-drawl* that has been a hallmark of the character for decades, but that’s about my only complaint. In the post-Nolan DC days it can be hard sometimes to remember that there have been fun days in DC, even in Gotham where some of the dumbest villains have challenged the caped crusader, and that includes Quinn. So far we appear to be capturing the essence of what Suicide Squad wanted and failed to achieve, and we’ve kept key elements of the Suicide Squad Quinn in the pink and blue look.
Being broadcast on the new DC subscription network may limit the potential pretty dramatically, I actually think this may prove to be a growing problem because Disney are doing the same thing (more on that later) and the number of subscription services are getting as prolific as the number of television channels, but now you have to pay for all of them individually, and slowly but surely that new business model is going to prove how well it doesn’t work. I think. That’s my opinion at any rate.
Anyway, reserving judgement on Harley Quinn but holding on to a shred of optimism.
The Abrahamsverse Star Trek has put one hell of a stamp on Star Trek since then, we’ve seen it all over STD, and apparently we’re seeing this new theme of industrial style sets and higher colour-contrast lighting schemes in this resurrection of the greatest captain to ever command an Enterprise. The story looks to be another combination of Data and the Borg, and Seven of Nine will be joining the crowd as well to really dig into themes like artificial intelligence versus actual intelligence, life, freedom and independence. Rumours are that Jonathan Frakes will also be reappearing.
Our new crew includes Allison Pill and Harry Treadaway, two very talented young actors who never seem to have broken big which is a genuine tragedy.
Prediction: Turns out the young woman in the trailer with all that mystery around her is the borg queen and somehow time travel is involved… again. I say that because it looks like that borg cube is under construction, and as everyone has a particular loathing of this woman there’ll be some kind of shenanigans with nanomachinery and paradoxes. In short I can’t say as I’m all that excited, but I’m curious.
Marvel Season 4
I was expecting a long slow decline for the MCU that would slowly hurt everyone’s feelings and ruin ten years of amazing cinema by soaking the legacy in bleach until we’re left with a flimsy, pale imitation of what used to be. It looks like they just gave up, no part of the line-up gets me excited, no, not even the new Thor film.
Blade and Fantastic 4 have been confirmed for the future, along with another Spidey-film, and a Black Panther follow up, and sure we’ve got the groundwork for a Secret War or something, and who knows, maybe this is a grand fake-out, but I have some issues, and I’ll keep them short.
The time for Black Widow was about three years ago, some time around Civil War or Winter Soldier when she was at her most popular. A great animated film was made with her and the Punisher working together to take down Crimson Dynamo, and that was about as good as I think we’ll see. You want a good Black Widow? Red Sparrow is probably your best bet.
One quick look into the history of the Eternals tells me that there will need to be some serious conceptual changes to make them work well in the MCU. They’re a bunch of demigods in service to the Celestials, which should bring in a few of the Celestials in time for the likes of Glactus and whatnot, but from what I read they’re far from beloved characters. Shang-Chi is a house built on sand, with Iron Fist flopping harder than Finn Jones’ hair (hah!) and the Mandarin being a fake-out that upset a lot of fans.
“Multiverse of Madness” is a rather uninspiring subtitle, as is “Love and Thunder” which sounds like an episode of Miami Vice.
And here are all of these Disney+ titles, all of which were unsubtly set up during Infinity/Game, Hawkeye will be about training a younger archer, Loki picks up from the Tesseract incident, and buddy cops Falcon and Winter Soldier screams of Lethal Weapon with more vibranium. What If… sounds like it could be mildly interesting, but it’d need to do something more than regurgitate the old What If’s of the comics. What they plan to do with Wanda and Vision is anyone’s guess but for now I’m contenting myself with some early 00’s style sitcom in which most of the comedy is Vision trying to understand people.
A better sounding fan-timeline can be found here, filled with titles that – while clearly fake – has a few more beguiling titles.
So the Witcher looks… fine, I guess? There are a few showpiece scenes that look like they could be cool, but I’m listening to the story and it doesn’t grip me yet. I’m quietly hoping to see a Mad Max style approach to Geralt, approaching as a nearly blank slate who comes to propel someone else’s story.
Far more interesting, we saw a mini making-of for dark Crystal along with a bit of new footage which looks like it’ll be a genuine masterpiece of television. It’ll be something to look forward to binging straight after Insomnia.
We’ve had new trailers for a bunch of extra films that we’ve known about for a while, a glimpse of what Rick and Morty’s fourth season will have to hold which… basically is more of the same but that’s cool, that’s what we like. A, hopefully better, television adaption of His Dark materials is on the way and now we can see a bit of it, it looks like it won’t be shying away from the anti-religious themes that were omitted in the Golden Compass film, but also features a cast of some of the best actors of the decade. IT, Watchmen, Westworld, but perhaps the thing that worries me the most is the Snowpiercer series that I simply cannot envision accomplishing what the film did.
Hate to end this on such a downer, so I’ll let it fizzle on a bad line instead.
*New Jersey accent! Turns out I’ve been getting it wrong for years.
A little bit of an oxymoron, a powerless superhero is probably not what you’d call a superhero. However, as time has gone on, the superhero genre has changed and we call some of the key heroes who, by all means, are as powerless as the rest of us. Sure, they might be well trained, in fact you could argue they’re trained to superhuman levels, but if we were put through the same conditions as them, we could possibly achieve this too…
… Naaah. Too much effort for my liking. However, these men and women are here to show us how cool it is to be a powerless superhero, fighting villains, supervillains and more. Be it technology, be it strategy, or be it just through sheer determination, these are our Top 10 Powerless Superheroes.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Well, a lot of shapes anyway. They also fall all over the moral spectrum, from the earnest and righteous paladins, to the dark and brooding strangers. The bleaker end of the scale tends to bring us more compelling and dynamic characters, filled with conflict, unpredictable renegades with nothing to lose.
Come join us once again dear readers, as we plumb the depths of dark and brooding in this week’s Top 10 Anti-Heroes!
Ok, this one has been building for a while. I’m tired tonight, so now is the time. The internet is – after all – a place where we are all free to go off on a good, healthy rant. I encourage anyone to disagree with me, I love to get into those kinds of discussions and this is definitely a matter of personal opinion, but tonight is a soap-box night, I am in that kind of mood.
Learning About Directors
When I was young I was foolish enough to follow films based entirely on the basis of their lead actors. It took some time to figure out that that was one of the worst ways of picking my viewing material, and never was that summed up better than in Public Enemies which came out shortly after I left university. My journey into discovering directors started fairly stereotypically for a kid of 17, with Tim Burton.
Now Tim Burton is an excellent start, he has an excellent sense of pacing, an art style that blends childish wonder with pulp or gothic horror, and characters that are either adequately deep to be likeable and interesting, or so brilliantly caricatured in their single aspect that they are loveable for their disgusting comedic value. Excuses can be made for his over-fondness for Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (they’re good at what they do, and they all work well together) and his increasingly clichéd style because he has found a formula that suits him, that he enjoys, and if you can’t enjoy what you do then why do it at all?
Held against Stephen Spielberg, I found that Spielberg’s style was to fill a film with a great deal of nothing that somehow built up to a memorable spectacle. To this day I don’t remember anything that happened in E.T. or any of the Indiana Jones films. The first Jurassic Park left me with several amazing scenes and memorable moments but so help me I can’t remember how anything got resolved, what order anything happened in, and what the story of either sequel was. I could not see the appeal, still can’t.
Rapidly I started finding those things that drew me into a film, artistic choices, editing decisions, characterization and proper pacing. I also found a lot of directors that I disliked.
300 – 2006
This isn’t exactly a film. This is a special effects real with some excellent one-liners that really did take the internet by storm, but as a film it’s kind of pathetic. Dialogue is highly noticeable in it’s absence, monologues are strung together with narrative exposition mixed with visual spectacle and anachronistic music. Fight scenes are visceral, but really just a series of stances mixed with blood-spatter, and as for an actual storyline…
There are some excellent names attached to this film, chief amongst them Gerard Butler who delivers a superb performance, Michael Fassbender who never disappoints, and Lena Headey! Lena Headey is an amazingly powerful woman reduced to a rather tragic victim, whose only response to allegations I shall summarize as “sexual misconduct” by a manipulative traitor is to stab him and inadvertently reveal his treachery.
Here was my first introduction to the name Zack Snyder. And while everyone around me raved and glorified this overblown showreel for the visual effects team, which – for the record – kudos to them all, they created something spectacular. Snyder created a new toy for the internet to play with, and his catalogue only worsened.
Watchmen – 2009
Here’s a film of two halves. It builds a world of heroes rather elegantly and defines a dynamic between them, they have personality that’s intensely human, flawed and real, with their own unique reasons for turning to heroism – responsibility, hereditary identity, a war they can’t leave behind, or a power that must be used responsibly. Alan Moore’s premise is superb, I don’t particularly like him as a person but the messages in his comics are strong and often necessary.
In steps the big sparkly hammer of Snyder, leaping in to descend in slow motion, bringing with it glorified – even sexualized violence, a lot of exposition and monologuing, and weird pacing. Twists turn into leaps of logic, plot vanishes under the weight of spectacle, and once again I’m wondering why everyone is so excited. Is it because Rorschach looks awesome, or because Dr. Manhattan is the first godlike superhero that wasn’t completely stupid? Or could it have been some other facet of Dr. Manhattan?
Sucker Punch – 2011
Beautiful trailers, a cast of actresses that had me hooked, and a fantasy world that lacked some consistency perhaps but included some seriously epic spectacles. Why then was I immediately filled with dread at the sight of the name Zack Snyder, after watching a mere two films.
Way to gloss over a sensitive subject with a series of disjointed and pointlessly flashy vignettes under the guise of what? A sloppy metaphor? Storyline goes out of the window once and for all, the conclusion is a tragedy out of place in a carnival of fantastic and excellently displayed fight scenes and adventures. I don’t doubt for one moment that Snyder was trying to address something as delicate as abuse, but to do so with skimpy outfits better placed in a fan-service heavy anime series?
Characters might have had a solitary dimension but under the single-colour wash and particle effects it became difficult to tell one from another. I recall reading – I think it was an Empire article – definitions between the characters and how they each differed in personality, I read it with some anticipation, then I watched and waited, and it was nowhere to be seen.
Man of Steel – 2013
How does this happen?
According to imdb, Snyder has two director credits to his name prior to picking up the Dawn of the Dead remake, suddenly there are blockbuster productions lining up? I reiterate, how does he do it, someone please explain this to me.
I needn’t list all the reasons I disliked Man of Steel, simply spot the patterns in the list above, they’re all there. Others have covered the other failures of this film, storyline errors and logical flaws that were fairly obvious, but for me I simply couldn’t overcome the director.
Wrapping up: I may have mentioned this dozens of times across a battery of other articles, but I have not and can not enjoy a Zack Snyder film without switching off every part of my brain not entirely devoted to watching pretty lights – actually the same parts I have to switch off in a J.J. Abrams film (although it sounds like his future projects will be somewhat less “sparkly”) – and I simply can’t keep demeaning myself like this.
So I exhale deeply, having relieved myself of my outrage I turn to you. I beg of you, find me a redeeming feature, disagree with me, tell me if I’m missing some flash of brilliance that has gone past me.
Humour for adults – We usually try and keep things somewhere around PG on GeekOut, this article isn’t so much.
Now here’s an idea: What if heroes were paid by the hour? Capes and costumes come with a time card, and no amount of super-strength can save you from typical annoying bosses and office politics. It’s comic book characters made mundane, and it looks hilarious.
21 Pulp‘s newest Kickstarter campaign begins tomorrow, and having read their previous work The Monsters of Jimmy Crumb I have to say I’m genuinely interested in seeing what Hero Hourly has to offer. It’s the product of Batman and Green Arrow writer James Patrick, 2000 AD artist Carlos Trigo, and colourist Jen Hickman*, and if those credentials don’t tempt you, check out Jimmy Crumb, the dark and twisted tale of an “8 year old boy” with a cellar full of demons and ghost stories.
Where Jimmy Crumb goes dark, I’m already intrigued by Hero Hourly’s humdrum-comedy that takes the dreams of most nerds and smashes it together with the everyday. This looks like a definite read for any fans of Kick Ass, Watchmen, or… actually anything super-related for that matter.
While the campaign hasn’t begun in earnest, we got a little preview of what the reward tiers will look like, straight from the horse’s mouth…. or e-mail:
OVERTIME PACKAGE: Including all the previous rewards, you get an employee folder with your name on it and really cool shit inside. Like a Hero Hourly time card, name tag, parking pass, employee of the month parking sign, bad conduct report for things like sexual harassment for when you punched that mugger in the “no-hitting zone.”
RETIREMENT PACKAGE: Including all the previous rewards, you get to be drawn into Hero Hourly as a good employee or a terrible employee. Be a lazy bastard who nobody can rely on or the one who always picks up the slack. Up to you!
While these look fairly high up the list, there are some pretty awesome packages in there. Most of the packages will naturally include a copy of Hero Hourly in some format or another, so even if you’re just out for an interesting read it looks like this is going to be worth your time.
Check this article again on Wednesday the 25th (tomorrow, for those of you reading on day of publishing this) for links to the Kickstarter page.
UPDATE: The campaign has officially launched! For full details, click here.
*My apologies to Jen Hickman for not including a link to her body of work, but a quick google search proved her to be quite prolific, I couldn’t choose a single item to link.
Sometimes you just want to read a good manga which is all about time-travel. Other times, you want to read a good manga about lawyers going at it. What about combining both of these to create a whole new manga? Well, somebody who goes by the name Little Nando already has. Let’s take a look at his manga-influenced comic book, Silvertongue 30XX.
Creating a comic in this day and age has gotten easier in the creation aspect, from the invention of the internet to the technology we can use. However, it’s getting harder to get recognised out there. Little Nando took the initiative to send me an e-mail, sending a copy of his manga and I read through it. I’m happy to announce I loved every second of his awesome story! As such, I wanted to share some of the awesome artwork and an incredibly enthusiastic interview I had with him.