Posted on Leave a comment

Marvel’s Agent Carter Recap: Ep. 7, “Snafu”

Let me be clear: I’m hanging on by a thread with Marvel’s Agent Carter. Each week I get a pulpy detective novel brought to life but the lulls where the author would be describing the setting and characters are agonizingly apparent in the show. And misogyny, regardless of its historical accuracy is always going to rub me the wrong way. Now that I’ve gotten that out, on to the episode.

After the heat is turned up on Peggy and her cover is blown, she’s arrested and interrogated by her fathead cronies at the SSR. When they, predictably, get nowhere with her, Jarvis shows up with a phony confession letter from Howard Stark that only got him arrested rather than assured his and Peggy’s freedom. After she catches Dr. Ivchenko communicating with Dottie, Peggy decides to confess to head off the impending, no doubt unpleasant showing from Leviathan.

“Why didn’t you bring this to us?” the agents asked. “Er, because you dummies never listen to me. I’m a woman and you think I’m worthless unless I make babies or your coffee. You brought this on yourselves!”

Reliably, Agent Sousa believes her and goes to check out her story while Chief Dooley goes back for more quality brainwashing time with Dr. Ivchenko. And because he is so much more observant than any SSR agent, Ivchenko is tipped off and begins to use the complete control tactics he displayed in a flashback at the beginning of the episode: he twists his shiny, shiny wedding ring to make his mark focus and uses his dulcet tones to lull them into a sort of hallucinogenic memory.

Now that he’s got a Dooley puppet, Dr. Ivchenko succeeds in having Peggy and Jarvis locked in an interrogation room and gains access to the labs where Howard Stark’s inventions are being held; he’s after Item 17, whatever that is. Meanwhile, Sousa and his crutch are overcome by Dottie, who clearly missed her calling as a gymnast. She does some truly impressive acrobatic moves down a stairwell giving no less than four agents the opportunity to shoot her but no one does. Ivchenko nabs his item, convinces Dooley to blow up the SSR with a nifty vest (another Stark invention) and escapes with Dottie. Finally some effing action, and it’s going fast now!

Peggy and Jarvis break out of the interrogation room and everyone finds Chief Dooley wearing the explosive vest. Sousa finds the Morse code communications and Dooley jumps out the window just in time to explode. Dottie drops her baby carriage containing Item 17 off in a movie theater, and just as the SSR realizes it’s missing the lovely citizens in the theater begin choking and tearing at each other savagely. And it’s a massacre. Thanks, Howard!

The Question: Will Peggy finally get some shine from these criminally inept SSR agents or what?!

It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Tumblr
Tumblr
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Posted on Leave a comment

Gotham Recap: Ep. 16, “The Blind Fortune Teller”

This is positively spoiler laden, so if you haven’t watched the episode or don’t want potential future plot points ruined, STOP RIGHT NOW. Seriously. Stop reading now because below, SPOILERS ABOUND.

As ruthless as our dear Penguin can be, he is no judge of talent. He proves that to us this episode by hiring his mother as chanteuse for his recently acquired club. Ever the mama’s boy, he unleashes that ruthless side and a bottle of liquor when someone (rightly) begins to heckle her vocal stylings. That vociferous clubgoer will find it hard to smile in future, methinks. Mr. Zsasz, on orders from Falcone, brings back Butch, Fish Mooney’s former right hand, to help Penguin turn his struggling club around and simultaneously make his bladder drop. Only when Mr. Zsasz reveals he’s been torturing poor Butch into docility does Penguin relax and realize that he now has a meek hand puppet who will help him be the success he knows he is on the inside.

Barbara is the worst. The literal worst. Why exactly does she think Jim will be just waiting for her after she basically skipped town on him and went back to her ex? Don’t be mad that he upgraded in your absence! Girl, get your life together. And ask a couple of questions about these two random girls who have obviously been eating up all your food and using your apartment as a squat. But instead of throwing some cold water in her face and asking the important questions, she makes friends. So that’s something, I guess.

We meet the Flying Graysons and their practically life-long rivals, the Lloyds, while Jim and Lee are on a date at the circus. And boy do they love to throw bows. I mean, these families HATE each other (they yell as much during the brawl!), but we get a glimpse of the future when we meet the parents Robin, Gotham City’s favorite sidekick who we all know from comics canon. Good thing they get past the blood feud and get married or we couldn’t have a Boy Wonder!

And of course we have the strong-minded Dr. Lee Thompkins who is dating Jim and really giving him a run for his money! I love it so much. She challenges every little patriarchal quirk Jim displays and never takes his guff. She is no pushover (unlike certain blondes we could mention) and she has no problem flexing her knowledge or calling BS when she needs to. I admit I don’t fully trust her but she is a breath of meadow-fresh air for Jim.

Arguably the biggest draw to this episode is the appearance of Jerome, the young man who will become the Joker. He is the son of a snake dancer at the Grayson/Lloyd circus who has just been found dead. Oh, and he killed her. Surprise! After masterfully pretending to be distraught at his mother’s disappearance and shutting down Gordon’s implications about sex and sexuality, he finally breaks character and devolves into a psychotic laughter-laden tirade about his trifling mother. He just really couldn’t take her nagging about him doing the dishes when she’s getting laid in the next room. (Did anyone notice that the actor who played his father – the eponymous Blind Fortune Teller – also played Felix Faust on Constantine recently?)

I feel like every scene including Fish Mooney should be soundtracked by Trina’s “The Baddest Bitch.” She has zero patience for anyone telling her what to do or how to be. With her newly acquired scarf and sweater, she is running the nameless prison she’s been relegated to – and it took her like three days? All of the prisoners ride for Fish.

She’s all, “Hey, captors. I’m the new ‘shot caller’ here. We need food, water, blankets, and the latest Vogue and you’re going to bring them to us.” And they’re like, “I’m not doing that. Hand over that prisoner. Someone needs a kidney transplant.” And Fish is all, “Bitch, please. You’re not in charge here. Watch me tell these guys to savagely beat that prisoner to death with a hand motion.” *commence beating* “Now go get someone with authority.” Fish is everything.

Then we have young Bruce who is throwing these corrupt Wayne Enterprises board members so much shade I thought a solar eclipse had happened. After continually blowing his meeting requests off, they thought he was going to come in with some fluff like, “Do you guys have a tablet to spare so I can play Angry Birds?” And their faces were absolutely priceless when Bruce pulls out his composition notebook and starts laying into them about how a few of those dirty buggers were definitely working with the criminal underworld to control the Arkham project and some subsidiary is into chemical weapon manufacturing and he wasn’t having that. “If I were a man I would be chairing this board.” BOOM.

All in all, it was a great episode. I get sick of Jim’s antiquated ideas about relationships, but with each episode we see how he becomes more and more of the iconic, hard-nosed, “what’s right is right” Gordon that comics fans know and respect. There was offensively little Nygma, a slight blow because I enjoy him so much, but this show is really ramping up to become something so awesome. The characters continue to be compelling and I can’t (always) predict the storyline, two hallmarks of great programming if you ask me.

Can’t wait for next week! Who’s holding Fish? Who is Red Hood (for those of us who don’t already know)? And who’s breaking into Wayne Manor trying to take out a kid this time?!

It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Tumblr
Tumblr
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Posted on Leave a comment

Ordinary Trilogy Review

Ordinary 1

Issue Number(s): 1-3

Page Count: 32pp; 32pp; 36pp

Full Color, B&W, or partial color: Full Color

Publisher: Titan Comics

Cover Price: $3.99 each

Release Date(s): May 28, 2014; June 25, 2014; July 23, 2014

Writer: Rob Williams

Artist: D’Israeli

When I first received Ordinary to review, I was intrigued. Maybe that was due to my not reading any synopses of the three-issue arc. I prefer to think it was the cover of issue one. I mean, this looked exactly like a book I might pick up on a Wednesday (hint, hint): it’s got a puzzle-piece giant, a melty guy, a couple of folks who look like they’re suffering from some form of radiation exposure…and a specky, schlubby plumber standing front and center, presumably our “ordinary” protagonist. “I hope this is good,” I thought as I always do when faced with such an anomaly.

And it was! Issue one of Ordinary introduces us to the aforementioned schlub, Michael Fisher, a divorced plumber living in Queens who has a strained relationship with almost everyone in his life, including but not limited to his six-year-old son, Josh, and hulking loan shark, Haka. One day after being accosted on his way to work by Haka’s henchmen, Michael begins to witness a lot of shocking changes. Like the old lady whose toilet he is meant to repair who gets a huge case of the Benjamin Buttons. And his partner Brian, who turns into an American Black Bear. Then there’s the street kid who can turn things to gold, the gamer who became a dragon, the British agent who teleports, the American President who can no longer hide his real thoughts behind thoughtful prose, and on and on. Something brilliant has happened to everyone on Earth – except Michael.

Issues two and three follow Michael as he navigates from Queens to Manhattan’s East Side to ensure Josh’s safety after humans prove that they, of course, cannot be trusted with such power (being prone to irrationality and overreaction as they are). As the vice president of the United States, prodded along by his increasingly demonic conscience-angels, stages a coup, a Scottish scientist begins her search for Michael to develop a cure for the world-wide epidemic from his own antibodies, making him the most unique person on the planet.

I like to root for a messy, smart-ass underdog and Michael should definitely be the image on Wikipedia’s page defining “Sad Sack.” I wish the arc had been longer, though, even by one issue, to expand on or explain a lot of little details. Seriously, I mean I have questions. Like, Ordinary 3what happened to Josh’s mom, Sarah? Why, after a few weeks of lapsed contact, does Josh now call his dad by his first name? How does a child of six get such a huge chip on his shoulder about his dad? What ever happened to POTUS? I would have loved to see more gems like the Larry King gargoyle (Larry Kingoyle!), and to know more about the activities being conducted in Washington; the book captured a realistic view of the political fallout, namely major threats against America and the righteous furor of right-wing politicians which thickened the plot very well. But I do love it when a comic is comfortable enough with itself to burst into song and dance.

In more than one instance, it was apparent that Rob Williams is British, as few Americans ever think “Shit me!” or tack on “yeah” at the end of our sentences (Scarlett Johannson never does in my dreams), and that took me out of the story a little. But only a little! This story was one that, after starting, I definitely had to read through. It was engaging, has stunning art supporting the fantastical cast of characters, witty, and I could believe it.

What I love the most, though, is that Ordinary makes you smile from cover to cover – and while you’re thinking, hours later, “I wonder who won that next game of Connect Four?”

It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Tumblr
Tumblr
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Posted on Leave a comment

The Final Death Race #3 Review

Issue Number: 3

Page Count: 24pp

Full Color, B&W, or partial color: FC

Publisher: Blue Water Comics

Cover Price: $1.99

Release Date: October 9, 2013

Writer(s): Mel Smith, Paul H. Birch

Artist(s): Manuel Martinez, Gattling Melvyn, Mats Engesten, Roland Bird

Letterer: Owen Watts

 

Jumping in at issue three of any serial is bound to have its problems, but I ran into more than a handful with The Final Death Race. The cover deftly nods to just the kind of action and violence the title would suggest, and never fear! There’s plenty more of that to be found throughout the issue. The story follows the REAL Frankenstein as the S&M mask-wearing, death racing President of the United States. It would seem that he had been ousted by a corrupt regime and is now using death racing to reclaim the oval office (or something).

The story suffers from a fair few pitfalls, though:

  1. There was more than one typo, and some of the dialogue is sloppy and does not flow. Characters spout non-sequiturs, weak insults, and one-liners and remain two-dimensional (c’mon, editors!)
  2. Either the e-format mixes pages up or there is some seriously disjointed storytelling going on. Did Frankenstein choose to vacate the presidency or was there actually a coup?
  3. Are there no laws against kidnapping and murder because LONG LIVE DEATH RACE?
  4. What is the structure of this race, anyway? Is there a prize?

And what purpose does Frank’s buxom sidekick serve other than to provide eye candy and innuendo? Why and how did Frankenstein become the President? So many questions!

I was intrigued by the premise, but I can’t say I loved the book. The one thing that grabbed me was the cliffhanger at the end – CYBORG ARM! – and I’m not sure what it all means! It did prove to be an interesting attempt at suspension of disbelief for me, though.

It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Tumblr
Tumblr
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest