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Enter The Sandmanses

Posted on August 5th, 2022

Dave!Sandman (on Netflix) is a fantastic adaptation of one of my favorite comic book series. And something I never thought I'd see happen despite numerous attempts to turn it into movies.

The 10-episode series is loyal to the source material... almost to a fault. There are segments which blew by in the comic at a brisk pace which have been dragged out to tedium to fill a one-hour runtime, and it hurt the series a bit. As an example, I wish I could have watched the fifth episode in 3X speed instead of the Netflix max of 1.5X because it was so slow and so tedious... attempting to fill 50 minutes with material that would have been a stretch at 20.

Much ado has been made about the "gender-swapping" and "race-swapping" of various characters. This is a bunch of rubbish, because these are not real-life people being portrayed, but fictional characters. "Death" being Black doesn't change a thing, and the actor they got to play her is fantastic, which is all that really matters...

Probably the biggest "controversy" (if you can call it that) was casting Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer. Now, in the comic book, it was never a secret that Neil Gaiman based his Lucifer on David Bowie at his most androgynous. So casting a woman... especially one as incredibly talented and nuanced as Gwendoline Christie... is not a stretch at all. I mean just look at this...

The casting of this series is impeccable... with one minor exception. I thought Patton Oswalt was distracting as Matthew (much as I love him in other stuff). But otherwise even small roles were cast with such care, and it enriched the series in every way.

So... yeah... worth the wait.

If you're a fan of the comic, you've likely already watched it. If not? Worth a look for sure.

   

Bullet Sunday 767

Posted on June 26th, 2022

Dave!The heat is on and my air conditioning is struggling to keep up... and so am I! But never fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• SPACE LEGO! LEGO is re-releasing a couple of their most popular sets from days past, but updating them with modern pieces so that they appeal to modern LEGO consumers. The one I am sorely tempted to get is the "Galaxy Explorer"... one of my favorite sets of all time...

It looks so good. Similar to what made the old set so great... but with some very cool changes. But, alas, that's a wad of cash I don't have burning a hole in my pocket!

   
• Day-Old Goodness! Why is it that baked spaghetti always tastes better the next day? Yesterday I made garlic bread from scratch and put together a nice baked spaghetti to go with it. The stuff was amazing. But today's lunch? Even better!

Delicious baked spaghetti!

I cook spaghetti as usual... but make my own sauce so I can use tomato paste instead of thinner tomato purée. Mix it together with the noodles and cheese. Put into an oven-proof container with lid (I use a large skillet), then bake at 325º for a half-hour. That way you get a lovely dry "sauce" that's really concentrated and sticking to the noodles instead of making a wet, sloppy mess everywhere. I top with toasted almond slices, parmesan, diced chives and Italian parsley. Food of the gods!

   
• A Legend Passes. I forgot to mention last Bullet Sunday how sad I was to learn that legendary comic book artist Tim Sale passed away. The guy was only 66, so this is a tough loss to take. Tim Sale was highly gifted, and worked on some characters and titles that cemented his upper-echelon status with fans. Rest in peace, sir.

   
• ALEXA, STOP!!! Alexa used to be so good. But then Amazon Alexa added a bunch of shitty bloat that nobody gives a crap about to fuck over the service. She regularly gets simple requests wrong now EVEN WHEN SHE UNDERSTANDS WHAT YOU SAID, whereas Google Assistant ACTUALLY WORKS. Embarrassing as fuck for Amazon to just toss it all away like this. Also? Alexa acknowledged the command in my bedroom (where I’m at)... but then played the song in the bathroom down the hall? WTF?!?

Alexa heard 'Play Dance by Fly by Midnight'

At first I thought... "Well, maybe Amazon Music doesn't have the song?" But nope. There it is...

Dance by Fly by Midnight exists in the Alexa catalog for Amazon Music

I never had problems like this even two years ago. Now it's almost every day.

   
• Mr. Bats! I've shared this video before. But this morning I ran across it again and was compelled to share it again because it's one of the most adorable things I've ever seen...

That bat really likes bananas! I've always loved bats, and it's just crazy to me that there are people who don't... especially considering how incredible they are for the environment and controlling pests!

   
• How Stupid Are We?! Apparently very stupid. We keep ignoring the serious problems facing us. And it's not like there aren't actual solutions out there, it's just that we're not looking into them. Take our disappearing water supply, for example...

God forbid we don't stop building golf courses out in the middle of a dessert and adopt water-saving solutions instead of creating more water-consuming problems.

   
Enjoy your Summertime Sunday heat without me! I'm stying indoors.

   

Thank You, George Pérez

Posted on May 7th, 2022

Dave!It was announced that George Pérez, one of my favorite comic book writers and artists of all time, has died at 67 years old. The guy had been battling for a while now, so it shouldn't have been unexpected... but it still felt that way. Before I started seeing his work in comics, I didn't really think about the art on the books I read. Some of it was better than others, but I just didn't take much note of it. What I most definitely did take note of was when George started penciling The Avengers at Marvel. His hyper-detailed pages were imaginative, brilliant, and thrilling to look at. I was in love with his work from the moment I first saw it.

Then he was on The New Teen Titans and suddenly the entirety of comic book fandom was taking note. Then he ended up on Justice League and it was comic book heaven for me.

Then came Crisis on Infinite Earths, after which he rebooted Wonder Woman, which I remember thinking was a total waste of his talents at the time. Then the book was actually released, of course I bought it because I bought everything George did, and it ended up being my favorite thing that he ever worked on...

   
Rest in Peace, sir. You and your work will be very much missed.
   

To all of George’s fans and friends,
   
Constance here, with the update no one wants to read. George passed away yesterday, peacefully at home with his wife of 490 months and family by his side. He was not in pain and knew he was very, very loved.
   
We are all very much grieving but, at the same time, we are so incredibly grateful for the joy he brought to our lives. To know George was to love him; and he loved back. Fiercely and with his whole heart. The world is a lot less vibrant today without him in it.
   
He loved all of you. He loved hearing your posts and seeing the drawings you sent and the tributes you made. He was deeply proud to have brought so much joy to so many.
   
Everyone knows George’s legacy as a creator. His art, characters and stories will be revered for years to come. But, as towering as that legacy is, it pales in comparison to the legacy of the man George was. George’s true legacy is his kindness. It’s the love he had for bringing others joy - and I hope you all carry that with you always.
   
Today is Free Comic Book Day. A day George absolutely loved and a fitting day to remember his contributions to comics and to our lives. I hope you’ll enjoy your day today with him in mind. He would have loved that.
   
Please keep his wife Carol in your thoughts and again, I thank you for respecting her privacy. I remain available through the contact on the page.
   
George's memorial service will take place at MEGACON Orlando at 6pm on Sunday, May 22nd. It will be open to all. Details to follow.
   
We will miss him always.

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Comic Book News Day

Posted on December 7th, 2021

Dave!My comic book news day started with good news... Shang-Chi 2 is a go with Marvel Studios. But then I read the gut-wrenching news that brilliant comic book artist George Pérez has inoperable pancreatic cancer with months to live and there was no amount of good news that could compensate.

So many comic books I bought simply because George Pérez was drawing them. I bought every magazine I could find where he discussed his art and career. Every book, every special, every interview, every everything. His revival of Wonder Woman remains my favorite version of the character. His interpretation of The Scarlet Witch remains one of the best super-hero costumes ever created (and the sexiest). And nobody draws a team book like George. Absolutely nobody. There are many comic book artists whom I enjoy... but there's only one George Pérez. And while I am sad to hear of his latest setback, I temper my sadness with the knowledge that his work will live on. He has left us a legacy so amazing that it cannot help but endure.

In other comic book news, The AV Club ranked all the Marvel TV shows. It's kind of hard to take any list seriously that doesn't have The Inhumans in dead-last place... but a lot of their reasoning is sound (except with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which I can never understand how people actually enjoyed). Just for kicks, here's my ranking...

  1. Agent Carter
    This series was sublime. Haley Atwell made every scene worth watching. And while it took a nosedive in the second season, that didn’t diminish my hope that we’d get a third. I still want it.
  2. Loki
    While a bit more esoteric than I was hoping for, I did like that they found a way to make the character interesting. It would have been so much easier to make him trade on his one-note villainy, but they took him in an entirely different direction while still letting him be Loki. Since we’re getting a second season I hope that they figure out how to avoid a sophomore slump that would be all too easy after the way the first season ended.
  3. Daredevil
    This one had a rocky start, but ultimately managed to do the character justice. The casting of Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock was flawless, and has me really hoping that the character crosses over into the MCU proper. And then there’s Vincent D’Onofrio who nailed his performance as The Kingpin so thoroughly that it seems impossible that they can’t pull him into the MCU somehow.
  4. Luke Cage
    This series might have taken my top spot if the second season was better. I didn’t like the storyline they had going and it was weirdly paced. But that first season? The guy WAS Luke Cage. Another series that should come to the MCU, Mike Colter and all.
  5. Falcon & Winter Soldier
    This series had a lot to love, starting with the undeniable chemistry that comes out of Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. But it was a lot of setup for stuff that may or may not ever pay off. I wish they would have concentrated on a good show for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier first and MCU-building second.
  6. WandaVision
    A critical darling that never quite landed with me. The whole TV gimmick was clever, but I would have rather seen them actually have a story that focused on the super-heroes that are Scarlet Witch and The Vision. Yes, there were some clever, emotional, and smart moments that made me take notice... but I wanted something else.
  7. Jessica Jones
    Another bit of flawless casting... this time married to some really good, thought-provoking stories. Kristen Ritter’s Jones is another character that should just walk across to the MCU and give us another couple seasons on Disney+.
  8. What If
    While they tried to tie it all together at the end, it was frustrating seeing so many of these episodes not really end. And when you think about the finale, they don’t really actually ever have an ending. Still, I am looking forward to more.
  9. Legion
    I think if I were watching this now I might enjoy it more. But I watched with the full knowledge of who the character is in the comics and what ties he has to the X-Men and couldn’t escape the idea that we were being short-changed.
  10. The Punisher
    I enjoyed the series and thought that Jon Bernthal did a great job with the material he was given. Unfortunately what he was given was kinda weak. Sure there were bright spots to be had, but not enough of them to really get me invested in the series.
  11. MODOK
    Funnier than it had a right to be, I did start to get bored as the series progressed. They had their idea, they stuck to that idea, then rode it right to the end. Sometimes that works, but in this case it felt like they could have done more. Still... darn funny in spots.
  12. The Defenders
    It is inconceivable that they managed to get Sigourney Weaver for this series... which wasa everything that four other Netflix series were leading up to... and they kind of shoved her aside. I mean, come on. Sigourney can do loads with the smallest of parts (look at her amazing albeit small contribution to the movie classic Paul) so even if your time was limited you could have still given her a compelling villain to play. Instead we were left a bit disappointed.
  13. Cloak & Dagger
    Two good actors... New Orleans as a location... based on an interesting comic book concept... how could you go wrong? Well, you could go seriously wrong if you were to drag things out and make the show more about Tandy and Tyrone than Cloak and Dagger. When their powers were going on and being used creatively, this show sang. But most of the time I was bored, bored, bored.
  14. Iron Fist
    Where to start? The show was always going to be problematic by having a white guy be a martial arts master trading on an ancient power that comes out of Asia. But then they just made the stories so bad. SO bad. And Finn Jones really never embodied the character (especially in the first season). What really sucks is that by the end of the second season we were finally getting to an interesting place... just before it was canceled. Where they ended is where they should have started, because the character CAN be interesting.
  15. Agents of SHIELD
    Despite loving Agent Phil Coulson, I detested this series. It was comically bad. And every time people would tell me “No! It’s getting good now!” I would tune in only to find that it was just as bad as when I had left it. Then it went all "Agents in Space" and built weak-ass ties to The Inhumans for something I didn’t like even a little bit from start to finish.
  16. Runaways
    I could NOT get into this show, even though the concept in the comics was pretty great. In the end I think they skimped too much on what could have happened with a bigger budget and interesting stories.
  17. The Gifted
    Yeah, this was pretty much a disaster from the first episode. Trying to do the X-Men without the actual X-Men is a recipe for disappointment and I never made it past episode three.
  18. Helstrom
    The show never really had a chance and I cannot fathom why Hulu bothered to make it in the first place. A Marvel series that’s not a Marvel series with no ties to Marvel shows? WTF? It could have been different if they at least made it interesting. But they watered down an already watered down concept which left a bland show that didn’t know what to do with itself.
  19. Inhumans
    Lord. Not only the worst Marvel show ever made... one of the worst television shows ever made. Period. Just like Odo the shape-changing alien than never changed shape on Deep Space Nine, here’s a TV show with super-powered characters that never really did anything super. And they made it clear that’s what they were going for from the jump when they cut off Medusa’s hair... her only power. Awful stories with awful performances and laughable special effects that sold absolutely nothing. Every frame of the show was shoddy and cheap, and it makes zero sense how it ever came out of Marvel Studios. They should have just buried it rather than let it tarnish Marvel’s hard-earned reputation.

Still trying to wrap my head around The AV Club thinking that Helstrom was somehow worse than The Inhumans.

   

Worst of the Worst

Posted on November 24th, 2021

Dave!Last night when I turned on the television so I had background noise running while I work, a movie recommendation popped up. X-Men: Dark Phoenix. I was floored. Why in the hell would they be recommending the worst super-hero comic book movie ever made? And then I was like... wait... second worst. Because first on that list is Wonder Woman '84, and no other movie will likely dethrone it from the top spot.

At least I sure as hell hope not.

It got me to thinking about all the horrible super-hero comic book films that got made, so I thought I'd run through those I remembered.

  • Wonder Woman '84
    What makes this horrifically shitty film so painful is that the first Wonder Woman film was so amazing. But this time we get plot holes so inexplicably huge and a story so embarrassingly stupid that it's impossible to believe that everybody who was involved has anything to do with the original. And yet... they were. In addition to one of the stupidest fucking villains with one of the the stupidest fucking powers doing the stupidest fucking things, we also got Wonder Woman pulling powers out of her ass left and right in a way that made you think she can do whatever the hell she wants to do. Plus a bizarre take on The Cheetah which is disappointing enough to put this film on the list all by itself. As if all that weren't enough, there was no internal logic or consistency. Patty Jenkins and the writers didn't give a shit about making anything make sense. So we end up with functional planes being gassed up and ready to go at a museum and scores of other idiotic dumbassery that makes this not even the worst comic book movie ever made... but one of the worst films ever made period.
  • ALL X-Men Films (except First Class)
    Anything that Bryan Singer touches goes to shit, and nowhere is that more blatantly apparent than his grotesque take on the X-Men. At first, I was willing to cut them some slack because technological limitations of the time made depicting all their various powers difficult and expensive. BUT THEY COULD STILL COME UP WILL STORIES THAT WEREN'T SHIT! My God. They just kept getting progressively worse... then there was the bright spot we got with the prequel X-Men: First Class... only to have Bryan Singer come back and take a massive steaming dump all over everything. To add insult to injury, they wrapped everything up with Dark Phoenix, which is about the worst take of them all. Thank God Marvel Studios have the licensing back. I am praying that they manage to come up with something actually good for a concept that has never made great movies.
  • Superman Returns
    Not content to let Bryan Singer fuck up the X-Men, DC Comics wanted to let him ruin Superman as well, allowing him to effectively kill the franchise for a second time. And it was really too bad, because I thought Brandon Routh made a fantastic Superman. But even a group of talented actors couldn't save the shitty story... which was essentially a bad retread of the original Superman. That being said, there is one solitary moment in this film that I thought was incredibly well done. It's after Superman has been taken to the hospital and is dying. Out side is a throng of people waiting for news to see whether he's alive or dead. In the crowd is Martha Kent. Even though she's Superman's mom, she has to wait outside with everybody else because nobody knows that Clark Kent is Superman. It's absolutely heartbreaking, and made you realize that there was probably a good film in this mess somewhere... it's just that Bryan Singer was incapable of finding it.
  • Superman III and Superman IV: Quest for Peace
    The reason these hit so hard for me is that Superman: The Movie and Superman II were so sublimely good. And that was after the Salkinds ripped the movie away from Richard Donner and tried their best to fuck them up. Christopher Reeve was Superman. But, even more important, he was Clark Kent. Then you drop in a flawless Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor... plus some incredibly ambitious stories... and it was absolute magic (then they brought back the Donner cut of Superman II and it was as if every fanboy's prayers had been answered). But then they made two sequels that went beyond bad, and the only thing left was Christopher Reeve. Good as he is, even he can't make something out of nothing.
  • Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman and Justice League
    Zack Snyder had one good movie (300) and one okay movie (Watchmen) and apparently that was enough for DC Comics to hand over the keys to the entire DC Comics Cinematic Universe. The result was an absolute disaster that, in some ways, is even worse than the Bryan Singer movies because at least Snyder had cutting-edge special effects to make his movies work. Unfortunately, he decided that enduring characters which people had been loving for decades needed "improving upon" and put his own spin on things. And apparently his whole plan was to come up with shitty, convoluted stories which revolve around deadly-serious, dreary, boring, films that are utterly devoid of joy... or common sense. And while the casting is mostly good, there were some bone-headed decisions for critical characters (see: Lex Luthor) that were so horribly off the mark that the films would have been sabotaged even if they were actually good. Which they were definitely not.
  • Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four
    How you can fuck up a Fantastic Four movie is a real head-scratcher. But Fox managed to do it three times over. I'm just going to ignore the first two and focus on the attempted reboot in 2015, because it's the one which is really driving this. It was awful. Beyond awful. Not a damn thing made any sense and the casting was inexplicably bad (ironically the casting that was the most controversial, Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch, was the only thing that worked for me). And then there's the fact that the Fantastic Four never even show up until the very end. Lord, what a waste.
  • Catwoman
    Yet another case of flawless casting being utterly destroyed by a horrible story. Halle Berry deserved far better. As did we all.
  • The New Mutants
    Why? Just... why? The idea of a super-hero comic book movie being given a horror slant is not a bad one. On the contrary, it seemed like a good idea for something new. The problem is that they fucked it up from start to finish and it failed all genres that it stepped in. Wasn't scary. Wasn't exciting. Wasn't a comic book movie. Wasn't much of a film. In all honesty, Disney should have just stuck this 20th Century Fox mess in a vault and never let it seen the light of day. Not that it matters. Anybody who ever saw it likely forgot about it within 24 hours. Or wish they had.
  • Green Lantern
    They wise enough to make the decision to cast Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan and Mark Strong as Sinestro... so what the hell went so terribly wrong? EVERY. OTHER. DECISION. Where's the fucking story? Green Lantern could have been a story of cosmic scope that defied belief. But instead they just utterly trashed the character for no good reason. Everything from his hideously bad CGI costume to the gawdawful take of both Parallax and Hector Hammond as "villains" just made this so very, very disappointing.
  • Batman Forever and Batman and Robin
    The first two Batman films were Tim Burton weirdness that didn't 100% work... but they were at least entertaining. And they gave us Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman, so there's that. But then Joel Schumacher took over and gave us these stupid, campy films which had so many poor decisions piled up that there was no room for actual Batman stories in them. It was made doubly bizarre, because the casting wasn't exactly terrible... Jim Carrey as The Riddler? Perfect. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face? Great. Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy? Nice! Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl? Flawless. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doctor Freeze? Weird, but okay. Chris O'Donnell as Robin? Too old, but I get it. And even Val Kilmer and George Clooney weren't terrible choices for Batman. Which means it all comes down to the writing and direction, which was embarrassing in a way that even the 1960's television show couldn't beat.
  • Elektra
    I think had they invested the money so the script could have revolved around an actual story, an Elektra spin-off was a great idea. But instead they cheaped out, leaving us with something that was bizarrely detached from the character that Jennifer Garner created in Daredevil.
  • Spider-Man 3
    The first two Toby Maguire films were darn good. Better than they had a right to be, actually. But then things went completely off the rails. Sam Raimi crammed in too many villains in too many ways with too many bizarre turns for this movie to have any hope at all. But the thing that just dropped this one in the gutter was the way they completely trashed all the characters. Mary Jane was written horribly. Peter Parker (under the influence of the symbiote) became devoid of everything that makes Peter Parker be Peter Parker. And then there's Venom... a villain which was made a laughable shadow of the character that was established in the comics. So many bad choices. They say that the studio interfered with what Sam Raimi wanted to do, which makes a lot of sense. But is inexplicable given the success he had with the first two films.
  • Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2
    After screwing up the Toby Maquire franchise, Sony decided to take another shot at the character and rebooted Spidey with Andrew Garfield. Ultimately you have to wonder why they bothered, because they didn't really do anything new. On the contrary, they went back to arcs that were already explored with the first trilogy, then made things so horribly complicated with Peter's dead parents being spies (or whatever) that it was as if they didn't feel Spider-Man could carry a movie. Which is understandable... Sony had a Spider-Verse to build. Alas, those plans were scrapped when Amazing Spider-Man 2 bombed.
  • Hulk
    Ang Lee taking on The Hulk seems like a dream come true. But the movie was just not very entertaining. There were some ideas that were cool enough... but there just wasn't much going on past that. It was seriously troubling that the script's many problems weren't worked out before filming ever started. The fact that they weren't is really difficult to understand. I guess they just trusted Ang Lee to figure it out, but ultimately he didn't want it to be the super-hero movie that it needed to be and we got this. In truth, the follow-up film wasn't a heck of a lot better, but at least they tried to make Hulk be Hulk.

Yikes. More than I thought I'd remember. It's almost as though I should rewatch all the Marvel Studios movies for the hundredth time so I can have good super-hero comic book movies back in my head.

   

L’Incal

Posted on November 4th, 2021

Dave!The news of the day? Taika Waititi is adapting The Incal by Jodorowsky and Mœbius.

This is interesting from any number of viewpoints, not the least of which is that Waititi is one of my favorite directors going. Between What We Do In The Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the guy seems incapable of making a bad film. But holy crap... he's already attached to Akira, Flash Gordon, and a few television series... how does he have the time for all this?

But still, The Incal is a fantastic work, and seeing it adapted into a movie or series seems like a no-brainer...

The Incal Graphic Novel

Kinda timely that this was announced on the heels of the success that Denis Villeneuve's Dune movie is experiencing.

Back before the David Lynch Dune in 1984, Alejandro Jodorowsky was working on a movie of his own based on the novel. His efforts were famously made into a documentary called Jodorowsky's Dune that had some truly amazing ideas that were equal parts interesting and bizarre. The documentary is worth a look, if you have a chance to see it.

Anyway... after his Dune movie fell apart, Jodorowsky took his concepts and reworked them into a series of comics called The Incal (Mœbius having been one of his collaborators for the visuals on Dune). I could explain it, but this really good YouTuber did that for me last year...

And for more, here's Jodorowsky and Taika himself...

Probably won't see anything come of this until 2025, but thems the breaks.

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What If… “What If” Were Good?

Posted on August 11th, 2021

Dave!When I first started reading comics in the late 1970's it was nothing serious. Just some old issues that ended up and my grandparents' house (probably from my grandfather's barber shop). It wasn't until 1979 that I actually started buying them and collecting them. In the beginning, it was mostly DC Comics... Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I did pick up an occasional issues of Spider-Man though. Which is how I became familiar with Marvel's What If...? series. The issue that got me? What If... Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacy? (as opposed to what actually happened in the comics... Spider-Man's girlfriend dying)...

The cover of What If where Spider-Man rescues Gwen Stacy

Hosted by Uatu the Watcher, What If...? speculates on how the entire Marvel Universe might be be changed if one thing were to happen differently. What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor? and What if Dr. Strange had not become Master of the Mystic Arts? and What if Doctor Doom had become a hero? and so-on.

The quality of the stories varied wildly, so I was only a sporadic reader... usually only picking up issues when they were about a character I liked.

Fast-forward to today, and What If...? has come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the form of an animated feature on Disney+. It feels authentic, because so many of the characters are voiced by the original live-action actors. In the first episode, What If... Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?, Peggy Carter becomes Captain Carter because she chooses to stay in the room where Steve Rogers was being infused with the super-soldier serum instead of leaving. This one event cascades until we don't end up with Captain America... but Captain Carter instead...

Peggy Carter as Captain Carter

Captain Carter is voiced by the original actor Hailey Atwell. Along for the ride is other original actors Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erskine), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan), Toby Jones (Zola), and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes). Which is incredible, when you think about it. But then there's Steve Rogers, who is not Chris Evans, but instead some other guy. Not so incredible. Having Ross Marquand as The Red Skull is half-way cool, because he did play Red Skull in Avengers: Endgame... but it was Hugo Weaving who originated the character in Captain America.

In any event, the voice cast is exceptional, as you'd expect.

The animation is beautiful. It's quality stuff that looks gorgeous in every scene. Alas, they're using some kind of "flow-motion" to "tween" the frames (in order to make things appear smoother) which causes some weird voice-sync issues when viewed in close-up, but is otherwise fantastic. Money was spent...

It's positively thrilling to see Chadwick Boseman's voice coming out of T'Challa (one last time, alas) and Chris Hemsworth's voice coming out of Thor. And more than a little of a let-down when character voices are recast. I understand scheduling conflicts and such... but come on. They can literally set up a recording booth anywhere so an actor can take an hour out of their day to do lines. So why wouldn't they get all the originals? Unless people like Chris Evans didn't want to do it, which is even more inexplicable. I mean, Steve Rogers wasn't a huge part of this first episode. He probably could have knocked his lines out in 20 minutes and donated the money to charity. But... it is what it is, I guess.

Judging by this first episode, I'm going to enjoy the heck out of this series. Just like the comics, it's fun to see "what might have been" had one little thing happened differently.

Next episode is What If... T'Challa Had Become Star-Lord? And who wouldn't want to see that?

   

He Who Remains

Posted on July 14th, 2021

Dave!And so the final episode of Loki was unleashed upon an unworthy world.

I have been enjoying the series up until this point, but wasn't necessarily blown away by anything. The idea of variant Loki's being the only characters to survive in multiple versions... or at least the only characters we've seen survive in multiple version... is kinda laughable. But, it did give us Loki Gator, and it's tough to be mad about that...

A poster for Aligator Loki... wearing Loki's horned helmet.

Needless to say, anything I say after this point is going to be riddled with spoilers. If you haven't seen all of Loki yet, you should probably get on that before proceeding.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Jupiter’s Not-So-Great Legacy

Posted on May 7th, 2021

Dave!I am spoiled. Seriously spoiled. And I have Marvel Studios to thank for it.

You see, Marvel Studios has a philosophy when it comes to everything they do. Every movie. Every TV series on Disney+. You put absolutely everything... your best ideas, the coolest stuff, all the things fans want to see... EVERYTHING... in the project you're working on RIGHT NOW. Yes, they've got plans for the future, but they never lose focus on the project at hand. When they made Iron Man they put everything into it. They could have easily stretched out his origin to an entire movie... but they didn't. They got his origin out of the way then let Tony Stark and Iron Man be all that they could be. They gave people exactly the movie they want to see. And people loved them for it.

"The Marvel Cinematic Universe" world-building came as a consequence of a string of amazing movies.

Not the other way around.

Because the other way around never works. Look at the mess of "DC Comics Universe" movies that has failed so badly that they are likely completely rebooting everything with a forthcoming The Flash movie. Justice League was a heinous failure because they saved all the cool stuff for a second movie that never happened. And look at the Universal Monsters Universe, which failed after a single film because The Mummy reboot was too focused on world-building instead of telling a really good story. You can't put the cart before the horse, yet Marvel Studios is the only game in town that actually knows what that means.

Which brings us to the new Netflix series Jupiter's Legacy.

I'm just going to get this out of the way... I both loved and hated the comic book series. Love it because the Mark Millar story is just so damn good. Love it because the Frank Quitely artwork is just so damn good. Hated it because Millar and Quitely were always late getting the issues out. Jupiter's Legacy #1: April 2013. #2: June 2013. #3: August 2013. #4: MARCH 2014!!! #5: JANUARY 2015!!! And things weren't much better with the sequel, Jupiter's Legacy 2. It took a year and a month for them to get out five frickin' issues. Ultimately it was worth the wait... but I'm not falling for that bullshit again. I'm not picking up the latest series (Jupiter's Legacy: Requiem) until the entire series is done and the trade paperback has been released. I am not here for this George-RR-Martin-level bullshit.

The cover to Jupiter's Legacy Issue No. 1.

The series is about a group of friends who all gained super-powers after visiting a mysterious island... and the next generation of heroes which followed them. Treated like celebrities, this new breed of hero is usually a disappointment to the older generation. And that's a schism which gets exploited in the most unthinkable way.

And, like I said, I loved the story and art. Everything was sublimely clever, and I devoured each and every issue multiple times (I pretty much had to because there was nothing else to do while you waited months and months for the next issue to come out). The ending felt a bit rushed, but I was not disappointed. I've re-read it many times because it's just that entertaining.

Now it's been adapted into a Netflix series.

And, sadly... almost predictably, they put the cart before the horse.

So instead of a really cool series with some mind-blowing stuff going on... we get a really boring series with some mind-numbingly dull stuff going on so they can stretch things out for future series...

The poster to Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy adaptation.
Why is Brandon in a super-suit? THE WHOLE POINT IS THAT HE'S NOT THAT GUY!

Adapting Jupiter's Legacy for Netflix should have been a no-brainer. But instead of doing a straight adaptation of one of the most remarkable series to come out of comics, they tore it apart and made it a boring mess. AND WHY?!? FOR GOD'S SAKE, WHY?!? Why bother to make it a series if you're just going to shit on what made the comic so good? Who gives a crap about the Wall Street crash, Sampson's daddy issues, and all these mind-numbingly boring distractions in the past THAT DON'T MATTER? All the coolest stuff in the series is nowhere to be found. The central pin to the entire series, third-generation hero Jason, doesn't even exist. I can only guess they wanted to save it for seasons two through eight... BUT THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE A SECOND SEASON IF THE FIST SEASON IS SHIT AND NOBODY WATCHES IT!

I am so over these awful adaptations.

It's a waste of time and money that could have been put into something much better. Why is Marvel Studios the only people who get it? You don't hold back. You don't save the best material for future projects that may never happen. YOU PUT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE INTO WHAT YOU ARE MAKING RIGHT NOW! And when it's a success... then you put everything you have into the next movie or series. That's how you build a successful franchise. It's not rocket science.

I was so looking forward to "Jupiter's Legacy"... I honestly thought that with Mark Millar overseeing the adaptation his own material that it would be seriously good television. But he fell into the same idiotic trap that everybody else does... planning for seasons 2-8 instead of making season 1 worth watching. All he had to do to knock it out of the park was actually adapt Jupiter's Legacy then move on to Jupiter's Legacy 2 and then move on to Jupiter's Legacy: Requiem Then if he wanted to adapt the prequel series Jupiter's Circle, he could have done that as a separate series just like it was a separate comic book. But instead we get... whatever the fuck this is. A half-baked series with decent casting and passable special effects that misses the mark by a country mile.

Oh well. I am getting accustomed to disappointment. Boring, boring, boring disappointment.

God I wanted to see this fight on-screen in the worst way...

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

Jupiter's Legacy comic book panel.

BUT NOPE!!! Saving it for the fifth season or what-the-fuck-ever.

Which is to say that the Netflix series for Jupiter's Legacy is not, in fact, Jupiter's Legacy.

I think of what could have been if somebody gave a shit about honoring the source material and it sends my mind reeling in the best possible way. Then reality rears it's ugly head and I'm back to what we got instead. Good Lord what a waste.

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What You Want, Black Falcon?

Posted on April 27th, 2021

Dave!I finally stopped writing about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, because everything I wanted to say was based on what I know from reading the comic book source material that was unfolding on screen. No, it's not a perfect translation... I wouldn't want it to be... but there's a lot here that's coming directly from character arcs in the comics, so my speculation was nothing but spoilers.

But the final episode aired Friday, so we good? Can we talk about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier now?

If you don't want to read my spoiler-packed recap and thoughts, you definitely don't want to click through to the extended entry. And, needless to say, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Marvel comic book spoilers abound...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

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