Ghost Rider & Gotham Get TV Revved Up

As threatened last installment, let’s kick off the 2016 Fall TV season with spoilery reviews of Agents of SHIELD & Gotham nobody demanded!

Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season opened much stronger than the last, in no small part due to the absence of Ward & Lincoln. Nothing in its content so far indicates that it was necessary to move an hour later, as parts of last season were grislier & more risque. Not that it needs to be edgier, so long as it doesn’t backslide into season one’s syndicated 90’s vibe.

As it turns out, ABC was right that Ghost Rider was the only selling point this season needed. The Ghost Rider transformation effect was amazing! Where have they been hiding this CGI? It was The F-Lash worthy! SHIELD’s effects generally look embarrassing in comparison to its cinematic siblings’, so this was a very welcome surprise. Featuring Marvel characters that don’t have movies lined up is exactly what this show needs to do more often! He’s already a better vigilante than the Punisher as he has a nifty jacket & his menacing key-spinning is on point. He doesn’t preclude Danny “best Ghost Rider” Ketch from being in the MCU either!

Will Ghost Driver Rider drag race Lola? I’m guessing not, as flying cars have been seriously underused in the MCU despite being a prominent part of SHIELD lore. They only gave us  three very brief & cheesey scenes of Lola being flown in season one. I’m still mad that Nick Fury didn’t get to fly his unchic SUV in The Winter Soldier. If you won’t do anything cool with flying cars, maybe you shouldn’t have entrenched them in movie canon, Marvel?

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I’m overdue on saying Chloe Bennet as Quake is the most improved cast member. She’s come a long way from being the insufferably perfect hacker snowflake a whole spy squad instantly accepted back in season one. She & the writers make it seem like her going rogue is genuine character development instead of an obvious delaying tactic for getting the band back together. I dig Quake’s raccoon eyes, but her hair is still too long.

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Holy Metafiction On A Half-Shell!

Wingnut was one of my favorite action figures & a favorite character of the Archie comics. When the current TMNT toon started, I was dismayed to see that its Wingnut was apparently just a mutated Kirby O’Neil with a stumpy arm & huge cranium. The fact that his merchandise was officially labelled Kirby-Bat gave me some hope the real deal would show up. When they went into space for the first half of season four, I expected them to meet the real Wingnut & Screwloose. They didn’t, even though they could’ve tied the destruction of their homeworlds in with the Kraang, Triceratons, or Lord Dregg. I finally got my wish during “Bat In The Belfry”… sort of.

Both are conjured out of Michelangelo’s comic book via April’s Aeon Crystal as a clever way to explain why they’re dressed like Batman & Robin. (The Fantastic Four Food Groups is the best comic book nod in the episode.) This is a unique spin that still keeps them recognizable, unlike the Neutrinos or Antrax. They’re still extraterrestrials, albeit emphatically fictional ones. This allows for fun homages to Batman ’66 & Batman: The Brave & The Bold!  (I will always be delighted that the show has turned Turflytle from a one-shot gag into a running joke.) The Wingnut-a-rangs being live bats just like on the toy was cute. Bonus points for Monoculus & Skullface McGillin!

Although they were presented much better than the generic brainwashing aliens of their classic cartoon appearance, my main problem is that we don’t get to spend enough time with them. Secondly, Wingnut’s brown & black costume is too drab. If they weren’t going to do blue & grey like the toy, blue & purple like the comics (with Screwloose in green) would’ve looked better. His alternate suits in their lair would’ve also popped more. Thirdly, they don’t call anyone “plankton chip.”

Their crystal-crazed faces were wonderfully deranged. Was that heel turn a commentary on how trying to make fantasy too lifelike spoils it, much like Amazon’s The Tick Or was it referencing how TMNT developed a life of its own distinct from its parody roots? It was probably just further foreshadowing April going Dark Phoenix since she’s also ginger, but sometime I like overthinking stuff.

Sadly Wingnut & Screwloose are returned to the printed page before we get a chance to really know them beyond their archetypes. I wish they would’ve stuck around to join the Mighty Mutanimals. We’d just need Dreadmon, Man-Ray/Ray Fillet, & Jagwar to round out the classic team.

So I guess this version of Wingnut & Screwloose substitute for the Donatello Micro-Series story where April’s superintendent is Jack Kirby who makes Fourth World drawings come to life via the crystal on his pencil? That was adapted very well in the 2003 series. Did you know that Peter Laird retconned April to have been a drawing brought to life by that crystal in the last series he worked on? I missed the final two issues of that. TMNT comics are weird.

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Talking Turtles Instead of Trek

Happy 50th Birthday, Star Trek! Had I realized this earlier, I would’ve saved my review of “A Piece of the Action” for this week. So instead I’ll be reviewing a vintage episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They both have ties to Paramount & Playmates so it’s not as random as it could be.

Wingnut & Screwloose will finally be on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this week! (I just noticed I have both “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” & “TMNT” tags. Which should I be using?) I am way too excited about this! In the meantime, checkout this TMNT short by Jhonen Vasquez.

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Batfleck Gets Slade!

So Ben Affleck randomly released test footage of Deathstroke on the Twitter. This version of Slade Wilson looks great although, just like with Magneto, I miss his studded gorget. I can’t believe how vibrant the blue, orange, & silver are!

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He’s awful squinty, but odds are it’s Joe “remember when I was Flash Thompson?” Manganiello (who was hinted at for the role while Suicide Squad was being made) … or a random stuntman. It’s been rumored Deathstroke will be the prime antagonist for the solo Batfleck movie that’s not in production yet, so way to spoil the Justice League’s after credits scene, Affleck! Pitting Batman against Slade Wilson is an unorthodox choice, but I’ll embrace it if it spares us more of Jared Leto’s Joker. What if  the Batfleck film is inspired by Beware The Batman, & the big showdown is Deathstroke vs. Alfred Pennyworth?

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Amazon’s The Tick, Where Is Thy “SPOON?”

This installment is a tad late because I spent the week writing two brand new chapters of my difficult second novel. That brings the tally all the way up to a whopping four! Let me know if you’re interested in learning more about my process in future entries. Now let’s proceed to my SPOILER review of Amazon’s The Tick pilot & updates on the best kitty this side of Behemoth!

The first attempt at a live action The Tick was underwhelming because it skewed more towards sitcom for lack of  a budget for superhero hijinks.  Amazon’s The Tick is disappointing in the opposite direction. This show takes itself way too seriously. It feels like yet another standard superhero show (Can you believe we’re now at a point where we’ve got so many to choose from?) that just happens to have the Tick in it. So far this show is just playing superhero tropes straight rather than comically sending them up. (The Ninja Hedge would be topical again thanks to Netflix’s Daredevil.) Where has its absurdist satire gone?

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Bebop & Rocksteady Improve Everything!

I was one of a rare group of people to both see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows in the cinema & enjoy it. The upside to liking a movie that bombed is that its merchandise gets discounted sooner!

I took advantage of the franchise’s misfortune to acquire the giant-size Rocksteady & Bebop for a quarter off at Toys R Us! Then I had to repaint them because Playmates barely put any effort into it, especially on Bebop. Much like its Classics Bebop (which I also customized & should eventually show you), the movie Bebops are inexplicably whitewashed. Rocksteady includes the Neegan-style club wrapped in barbed wire & festooned with nails, except it’s been toned down for safety so it looks like it’s wrapped in a rosary. They should’ve given him the sledgehammer instead. Neither was born with fingernails. Much research was put into them looking more like their cinematic doppelgangers.

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Please proceed to a plethora of pictures, punks!

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Suicide Squad Goals

The difference between Suicide Squad & the Rio Olympics is that the athletes volunteered.

Just as it broke the August box office record set by the superior Guardians of the Galaxy, my really wordy review of Suicide Squad helped me break some of my own records. August 7, 2016 had my highest number of views so far! I’ve also finally exceeded the amount of visitors I had last year. Thank you, highly polarizing movie! (I guess you helped too, Preacher season one review that I posted the same week.) Why must I always get the best exposure when my book isn’t in print?

With the brutal war raging between movie critics & movie makers,WB might as well quote me on the the DVD. “Suicide Squad is perfectly adequate!”

The other news to pop up over the weekend is the apparently terrible music video for Skrillex’s & Rick Ross’s  “Pink Cadillac Purple Lamborghini” starring Jared Leto’s Joker. Leto was cast specifically so his anti-charm would make the protagonists of BVS:DOJ retroactively endearing, so I’m confident in agreeing that it’s a lousy music video without having seen it. I’m not even going to link it because friends don’t let friends witness bad music videos. People who were paid to endure it tell me it’s like “I’m On A Boat” with all the mirth excised. This song is also about the wrong car. He drove a purple Infiniti G35 Vaydor in the movie.

Did you know there’s already plans for a Harley Quinn movie?  On one paw this could be good since it seemed like Harley’s character development wound up mostly on the cutting room floor. On the other paw, I really don’t want more of the Harley & Joker power couple that David Ayer foisted upon us. He completely missed the point of Harley being a fun yet sympathetic villainess in a dysfunctional relationship. Movie Harley was as much of an unrepentant garbage person as the Joker. It’s only when she was separated from him that she displayed any comedic charm. I’d be all aboard this spinoff if they ditched Suicide Squad’s continuity in favor of what Paul Dini intended.

I wish Mattel released all the figures needed to build Killer Croc at the same. I wish more that he was a figure I could just buy instead of being a BAF. (Well there is a better looking DC Collectibles edition on the way but it sadly lacks the option to go shirtless.) But what I wish most is that the main antagonist had an action figure. Where’s Enchantress?

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Prioritize her fancy costume over the grimy one, Mattel & DC Collectibles!

The Joker’s panda henchman got one, & he’s even less of a character than Slipknot! And if Mattel can make not one but but two incredibly banal versions of Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, surely it can make one Amanda Waller.

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