Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Shinobi Ninja Princess #1

shinobiIn Shinobi by Martheus Wade and published by Action Lab, 14 year-old ninja princess Shianndrea Toshigawa and her strike team have a new mission: spy on their rivals, the Azumi Ninja Clan, and discover what secret dealings they have with the evil Emperor of Japan. But when the plan goes awry and fellow ninja Hamasuke is captured, can Shianndrea overcome her lack of confidence and save him before it’s too late?

Although the image of ninjas which we know is one which was made up for Japanese theater, it is nonetheless one which stays with us. They were not shrouded in all-black and many other aspects of what we think that we know of them in modern culture is also somewhat incorrect. It is fairly common in comics that ninjas have the same general appearance, if it is the Hand or the Foot Clan. Shinobi: Ninja Princess is not even particularly new in terms of its inaccuracies. Despite no evidence of such a role ever existing, there is not really such a thing as a ninja princess, but the idea of ninja princess is evident in many instances in the genre.

shinobiIn terms of what the creative team has put together here though all of this is irrelevant. Lacking an original story, the writer has put his own spin on the sub-genre here, writing some characters that are a bit more engaging than the average ninja. The reason is that the focus here is not on stealthy assassination, but almost a coming-of-age story.  There is a younger focus to this story, not necessarily in the demographic readership, but the story is full of playfulness. This is mostly between the characters, but it is written in a way which allows the reader to partake in the fun as well.  At the same time the art is a perfect complement to the story as it focuses on a fun and almost sassy style for the lead heroine Shinobi.

The end result is a decent read. It is not going to compete with some of the heavy hitters in the medium, in either concept or characterization, but it is not trying to either.  It seems as though the creative team is just trying to tell a fun story, and they have mostly succeeded. This story might be one that parents might want to invest in for their kids. The story would be fun enough for parent and child alike, achieving that uncommon bridge between generations.

Story and Art: Martheus Wade
Story: 7.3 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Action Lab provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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The Leftovers – “The Garveys At Their Best” – Review

Leftovers“Once upon a lonely
The sky was black and stormy
I was on my way to King Marie
This day of disaster
My heart was beating faster
I ran all the way to King Marie”
– “The Girl From King Marie” – Jody Reynolds

The departured were all regretted at one point. Laurie regretted…oops, let me start my Review at the beginning, much like that incredible episode did on Sunday night. All the way at the beginning. Then I can explain that first sentence and continue my thought. It’s a good theory, I think, and I will need all of your help to see if it is somewhat true or close.

The Leftovers aired their penultimate episode, The episode immediately before the finale, on Sunday night and it was exactly what we have been wanting and waiting for since the pilot. In a series that predicates itself on the events of October 14th, all we wanted to know was what happen on October 13th or, more precisely, what happened immediately prior to the moment of departurism (note: departurism is a word I just invented…I can do that…I think…but we all know what it means). The seconds, minutes, and hours before the Sudden Departure. And we got it in a brilliant flashback that Damon Lindelof has become a master at portraying.

So, let’s start at the beginning. A theory I had stated before is that the dogs are symbols of the Guilty Remnant. The episode this past Sunday has given us a load of answers to our burning questions and provided some twists and turns in the process. One twist is that the dogs are not the Guilty Remnant…hear me out. I think the dogs represent Laurie. Kevin is represented by the deer. I’ll give some interesting supporting evidence throughout my Review so keep an eye out for it and we can discuss in the comments below. More on this later.

We see Kevin right away in his beautiful home, with his beautiful family, as we are transported back in time three years (4 years?), just days before the SD. Much like there was a scar, or flaw, on the island of The Lord of The Flies, there is also a crack, or scar or flaw, in the foundation of the Garvey home (remember: Kevin sees above the painting the crack in the wall like a lightning bolt). The writers do a wonderful job at setting up our characters lives prior to the universal ‘tic-toc’ leading up to the SD. We see Nora Durst and her happy family at a time when she is ignorant to the fact that her husband is cheating on her. We also learn that Patti was a patient of Laurie’s long before Laurie had taken the white.

Not everyone was happy. That is not what the writers were trying to show us. People were not happy, then out of nowhere the SD occurs and people spiral into despair. Kevin was lying to his wife. Nora wanted out of the “juice-box” cycle of life. Patti was kicked out of her home by her ex-husband. We finally learn why Patti puts some crap in a bag and wrote “Neil” on it and left it on his porch. Laurie, her psychologist, told her to get rid of her bad emotions from her relationship by doing this.

One of the big revelations of life before the SD is that of Jill. Jill was, uncharacteristically so, very happy. Very very happy. I did not see a scene without her smiling ear to ear or singing. she loved her dad and thought her mom was the greatest. We know Jill as the melancholy school girl who is sad and angry at the world for destroying her family.

Getting back to my theory that Kevin is represented by the deer and Laurie by the dogs. When Kevin Sr. is telling his officers about the deer in town, he instructs them to put it down because it is dangerous and unstable. Kevin wants to save it, bring it back to the woods, and let it go. Much like he did with Patti. He took her to the woods, and let her go. Kevin is just trying to save himself from becoming unstable and from going crazy. At the surprise party, Kevin tells Laurie the deer is just ‘confused’ much like he has been for the entire series thus far. To top it off, Nora’s daughter tells her that “maybe the deer is just looking for it’s family?”. Kevin’s dream sequence a few episodes ago also alludes to this theory. Kevin hears rumbling from a nearby mailbox. Remember this is where Kevin hides his cigarettes from Laurie. When he gets closer, after seeing a deceased Laurie in the back of a truck, a dog pops out and barks viciously at him. Which brings me to Laurie being represented by the dogs. Laurie is the one that wanted to get a puppy and we see her coddling one with, none other than, Gladys (who seemed happy, but we know she lost someone in the SD). Laurie tells Kevin (finally happy they found the deer) “It’s trapped, better go save it”. Notice how Kevin was happy about the deer and upset about the prospect of the dog. Kevin, as the deer (he even sees his reflection in its eye), is trying to not get chewed up and eaten by the dogs as we saw in the first episode of the season.

And finally, what I noticed about the people who were departured; the common thread amongst them. I noticed that they were all regretted by one of The Leftovers. Kevin regretted having the affair. Nora regretted her family, if only for an instant. Sam (the baby that departured in the pilot) was regretted by his mother who threw her hands up to Laurie in the car. I wonder if we will be able to point to this in the future as we learn of more people who lost someone on the SD.

This was definitely my favorite episode of the season. The writing was perfect and the flashback was orchestrated very well. It was great getting a lot of answers to our questions and seeing the SD before it happened and how it affected our main cast. The Leftovers, week to week, is a bleak look into the lives of the citizens of Mapleton and this past Sunday we were given a break form the morose souls and shattered bits of humanity. It was nice, even if it was for only a little bit of time, to see our characters in a different light and somewhat happy frame of mind. But, of course, this is Mapleton, and no one stays happy for long.

Thoughts and Discussion

- The music in the episode:
“Shotgun” – Junior Walker & The All-Stars
“Punching In a Dream” – The Naked and Famous
“Young Blood” – The Naked and Famous
“Without You” – Usher
“November” – Max Richter – This is actually the piano music you hear in nearly every episode when things are becoming clear or at the end of an episode when revelations occur.

- Did you notice…The Sudden Departure occurred at 2:23:48 PM. ’23’, ‘4’, and ‘8’ are LOST numbers. Other LOST references include the numbers 4, 8, and 42 on Laurie’s prenatal monitor in the doctor’s office.

- Did you notice…Jill’s Science Fair experiment dealt with Entropy.

- Did you notice…Laurie’s calendar quote reads – “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground”. It is a small insight into life I believe. Nobody feels the world around them; they create their own world as they go. Maybe? What do you think this means?

- I like the little foreboding nods to the eventual SD. Like when Kevin Sr. stated “You have no greater purpose”, or Nora saying, “For the next four weeks, I have no family”. Kevin also saying to Tom, “Sometimes, you have to pretend”.

- Did you notice…Last week Patti told Kevin that Laurie counseled her. Now we know she meant it literally.

- Patti predicted the day of the SD. I suppose it could be chalked up to “A broken clock is right twice a day” type of thing, but still.

- Does everyone remember The Pattersons? The deer goes into their house where Kevin goes upstairs to corner it. These are the people that Nora interviewed for their SD check a few episodes back when they lost their boy with Down-Syndrome that we saw in this flashback episode counting coins and directing Kevin to the location of the deer.

- The deer could also represent feelings of being trapped. It affected certain peoples lives on the show. Just like the deer wanted to be free so did Kevin. The woman who hits the deer took a different route. The deer affected the woman Nora’s husband was having an affair with. And the old couple taking care of the boy with Down-Syndrome who tells Kevin that leaving the house “is not going to happen”. Kevin felt extra trapped which was foreshadowed by the dear having the balloon of “It’s a Girl” covered in blood on it. I love the symbolism in this series (The metronome on the floor of the school that Kevin stares at was perfectly placed).

- “A man says to the Universe…Sir, I exist” This was a great speech by Kevin and appropriate. The Universe responds, “The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation”.

- My favorite part of the episode was when the car full of women pulls up to Kevin sitting on the curb. They ask, “Are you ready?”. Did they think he was part of the Guilty Remnant? They could not have formed yet formally, but what if they knew beforehand? Kevin WAS wearing white. Maybe they thought he was a member? Maybe they were from wherever Dean came from or whoever speaks to Kevin Sr.? The situation could not have become any more mysterious as the manhole cover rattles and explodes in a fury of fire and heat. Did Kevin even think about this moment when he learned of the SD event all over the world?

Review: Wayward #1

Wayward01_CoverARori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late? This week debuts Wayward, the newest series from the talented writer Jim Zub who’s joined by artists Steve Cummings and John Rauch.

Going in to the supernatural spectacle I wasn’t sure what to expect. I actually stayed away from the descriptions, so I didn’t know what the series was about. I went in expecting one thing as the story progressed, and came out the other end with something completely different.

The first issue is a solid set up, firmly introducing us to Rori, and throwing us into the deep end as far as the supernatural world she’s going to be involved with. There’s definitely a Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe to it all, but some of the imagery reminds me of the video game Mirror’s Edge. The combination is intriguing…. and entertaining.

A lot of that Mirror’s Edge vibe comes courtesy of Cummings and Rauch. The visual imagery has some interesting queues, especially to see how long they keep it up for, and what it all means. The style itself is solid, though I wish the Japanese individuals looked a bit more so. There’s a slight hint, but this is more of an anime style without the large doe eyes. Otherwise, the art really is beautiful to look at with fantastic coloring.

The first issue does a great job of introducing us to Rori, and it sets up a lot of mysteries that will be explained as the series progresses. There’s a lot thrown at us, especially in the latter part of the book, and that’s not completely explained, nor does it need to be. All of it is intriguing, and seems like it could be a lot of fun to explore. Wayward #1 is a solid debut, bringing us a new female heroine to cheer for. Is it the next coming of Buffy? That we’ll have to wait and see.

Story: Jim Zub Art: Steve Cummings and John Rauch
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy

Review: Grimm: Portland, Wu

GrimmPortland-CoverA missing girl. A femme fatale. A dark family secret. What starts as  an unofficial investigation into his neighbor’s disappearance drags Sgt. Wu deep into a world of Wesen  intrigue.  In the vein of classic film  noir tales, Wu unravels a case that could not only cost him his job, but  his life.

There has been somewhat of a resurgence in the past few years in the interest in fairy tales, including two relatively successful television shows, Grimm and Once Upon a Time. The problem with a comic book version of these television stories is fairly obvious though. The stories of Grimm are still rooted somewhat in the television world as opposed to the comic world. Thus while people who enjoy television more might be stuck with Grimm or Once Upon a Time, comic fans have a lot more variety. Between Grimm Fairy Tales from Zenescope (which has a lot of bad, but also some good) and Fables and Fairest from Vertigo, there is a lot of choice for fairy tales in comics.

Having never seen the series, this lack of originality in a fairy tale world is where this story falters. While in a sense it is a perfectly serviceable collection of two stories based in this world, this world is relatively lackluster compared to that of the other publishers. In trying to bite off a piece of the fairy tale pie, the people behind the scenes at Dynamite seem to have gone for the wrong piece. It is a shame that Dynamite also has the series Dagrimmmsels, but doesn’t put it out very often. It had a fairly fresh take on fairy tales and would have been a lot better to throw their collective efforts behind. This collection on the other hand lacks a lot of originality and in many parts feels like the two concepts of cop show and fairy tale world are simply shoehorned together with a noticeable divide among the reality and the fantasy.

Fans of the show might disagree with me and argue that the stories successfully capture the essence of the original source, but as a first time reader of the series and being introduced to the setting for the first time as well, it would seem as though the end result is not ideal. It might be that Dynamite sees a future here, trying to siphon off fans of the show, but from a first reading, they might better choose a different show or different world. Fairy tale comic fans know better and probably won’t keep Grimm alive for long.

Story: Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey Art: Daniel Govar
Story: 6.3 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.3  Recommendation: Pass

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

TV Review: The Strain S1E7 For Services Rendered

the-strain-logo1The Strain‘s seventh episode starts off with a solid scare as the vampire plague continues to spread, but what’s going on, and the extent of the issue is still not quite apparent to folks, especially due to cell towers being down.

From there the episode switches to Eph and Abraham discussing what is happening and how to stop it. Eph still isn’t quite sure how Abraham knows everything he does. What’s solid is that among all of the modern craziness we get flashbacks to just that, how Abraham has learned what he has. The scenes in the concentration camp is an interesting comparison to the craziness that’s occurring in modern times.

Not knowing where to go, Eph and his team seek out Jim to get a lead as to where they might find the Master, and through discussion Eph finally figures out Abraham has history with their adversaries.

What’s fascinating about this episode is that history. We get a pretty blatant comparison to Hitler’s Germany, and what the Master is doing as well. Reading the comics, the Nazi connection was present, but never so in my face. With the accents, and the flashbacks, the imagery use is much clearer. Often times we see vampire tales as a parable about disease, but here it’s clearly more than that.

Out of all of the episodes so far, this one is the strongest. It started off with scares, but by the end we’re shown something that’s so much more.

Overall Score: 8.5

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E1 Deep Breath

doctor who capaldiAfter months of waiting the new season of Doctor Who debuted tonight, featuring the new Doctor Peter Capaldi taking center stage. When the doctor arrives in Victorian London he finds a dinosaur rampant in the Thames and a spate of deadly spontaneous combustions.

This first episode has a few goals:

  • Introduce fans us to Capaldi’s Doctor
  • Introduce the Doctor and regeneration to new fans
  • Have fans accept the change, and where the series will go

The episode, and many of the events within are as much discussions between characters as it is between the writers and us the viewers. The beginning of the episode, and the end, focuses on the current companion Clara and her dealing with a new look Doctor. In fact much of the beginning of the episode is about looks. Comments between Clara and Madame Vastra, Strax and Clara, there’s much said about looks and appearances. This also serves the role to discuss regenerations to the audience, and it does enough that those who are new might understand what’s going on.

And all of that brings us to Capaldi and his Doctor. Out of everything, in this one episode, I love Capaldi and his depiction. This new Doctor is a bit mad scientist, reminding me of Doc Brown in Back to the Future. But he’s also one who’s weary, and worn, after years of battles. It’s clear this Doctor is feeling the weight of his actions, and going forward it looks like he’ll be attempting to make amends. If that’s the case, the choice of Capaldi to fill the role makes sense.

The episodes ending, and it’s interesting twist is as much a discussion between the Doctor and Clara as it is the writers, and us the audience. For the entire episode Clara is questioning this new Doctor, and in doing so is having us the audience doing the same. By asking Clara to give this new Doctor a chance, and go along for the ride, we’re being asked as well. And if this first episode is any indication, it’ll be a fun, entertaining, and interesting ride.

The episode has a lot to bring in new fans, and hopefully keep them around, but also a lot for long time fans, and nods and things that have happened, and what’s to come. The Tardis has a new look, the Doctor has a new look, the title sequence has a new look, Doctor Who has a fresh coat of paint, I’m willing to go along and see where it goes from here.

Overall Score: 8

Review: The Delinquents #1

DELINQ_001_COV_RIVERAConfrontation! Devastation! Inebriation! (And the lost secret of the hobos too!) Oh dear God no, you’d better get out of the way…because here come the Delinquents!

Quantum and Woody are the world’s worst superhero team. Archer and Armstrong are a mismatched pair of conspiracy-busting adventurers. When a mysterious force collides these ill-suited and irresponsible “heroes” for a cross-country race through the darkest corners of American mythology, all hell is bound to break loose. Can two busted pairs become four of a kind in time to defeat the Hobo King, save the day, and make it back home in time for happy hour? Let’s hope so…’cause these guys make a really, really bad team. (And you don’t even want to know about the goat.)

Really I can recommend this issue, and limited series, for one hyphenated word, Ass-Map. The series combines two of Valiant’s best teams into one series that takes the best from both. Quantum and Woody, and Archer and Armstrong, compliment each other in tone, style, and humor. The first issue is full of the laughs you’d expect, and craziness you’d want. I asked myself throughout, why hasn’t this happened sooner!?

The story by James Asmus and Fred Van Lente is brought to slapstick life by Kano. As always, the art is solid work. Not sure what to really say, other than there’s lots of visual gags throughout, especially when it comes to the hobo signs.

Hobos, ass-map, Archer, Armstrong, Quantum, Woody, the fist issue is awesome. If you’ve never read either of these teams’ series, are already a fan, or just looking for a good laugh, then look no further, this has it all.

Story: James Asmus and Fred Van Lente Art by Kano
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Zaya

Zaya-t3_Page_01A secret agent in the distant future leaves her post to seek a normal life as an artist and mother. When a biomechanical threat starts attacking agents across the galaxy, she is called back into the field to find and stop the killer. The mission opens many questions about her own past, present, and future within not only the organization, but within the universe as she knows it.

Collecting all three books in the award winning series by writer JD Morvan and illustrated by Huang-Jia Wei, Zaya is a beautiful action thriller that pivots into a trippy sci-fi experience.

What I particularly enjoyed about the graphic novel is how it effortlessly flows from one type of story into another. At first, it’s a straight up familiar action story of a woman dragged out of retirement, and her family, to take on a threat to her former employer. That story pivots though, and the less I say about that the better, but generally we move into a trippy tale where identity is at the center, something that feels like it could be out of a Philip K. Dick novel. Basically we get two stories in one, and they flow right into each other and both are solid reads together, or on their own.

This sci-fi action-mystery is told through breathtaking design and illustration by Chinese artist Wei, known throughout the field for his bio-mechanical aesthetic and lushly painted artwork. The end result mixes have an anime like feel, just beautiful to look at. The design itself is amazing with a feeling of familiarity (to anime fans), but also new wonder.

Overall, the book is a solid read, especially for those who are fans of manga or anime. I began reading expecting one type of story, and came out the other end experiencing something completely different.

Story: JD Morvan Art: Huang-Jia Wei
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Magnetic Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Leftovers – “Cairo” – Review

Leftovers“Hush little baby, don’t you cry,
You know your mother was born to die
All my trials, Lord, soon be over
Too late my brothers, too late”
– “All My Trials” – Odetta

Last Sunday, The Leftovers, aired its eighth episode of the season, ‘Cairo’. Now that the powers-that-be over at HBO have given it a season 2 green light, I watch the show with a different mindset, thinking about how the characters actions now will affect their future beyond the tenth episode finale. ‘Cairo’ had some very good acting and some memorable scenes as well (that last scene was typical for this show and had my jaw on the floor). I must have watched the final five minutes a dozen times. I wonder how Kevin will react going forward?

We did learn a few things in Sunday’s episode that I thought were over and done with. For example, I actually thought that Kevin got his shirts from the dry cleaner a few episodes back, now we know he hung them out to dry in a forest in one of his crazed, late-night stupors. This means that Kevin did not need to go nuts on that dry-cleaner. Kevin is suffering from sporadic amnesiac moments where he loses bits of time here and there, but the big revelation, I thought, was what Patti revealed about Dean. In a moment of comedic relief, Patti exclaims that she is adept at researching people and how easily you can find just about anything about anyone, but has failed to find one thing about the ‘dog-killer’. “He is a ghost”, she says to Kevin, making Dean’s presence a lot more bewildering. Is he a guardian angel? Is he something else supernatural? I love the mystery surrounding this character and his relation to Kevin and can’t wait to get more scenes involving the two.

Jill’s downhill trajectory was a concern going into this episode and she hasn’t wavered in the slightest. Her friendship with Aimee seemed, oddly enough, to be the only anchor keeping her moored to the land of sanity (if Mapleton could be considered that). Jill wants to be ‘ok’, but she doesn’t believe that an ‘ok’ life is attainable after the SD. She constantly prods Nora at dinner to see if she still carries a gun with her wherever she goes. One of the twins said it best when he said that if they find the gun in Nora’s home, then it means having a life that is normal, free from the clutches the SD imposed, is unattainable. Ironically, they find Nora’s handgun in a toy box named “Trouble”. I like Jill’s scenes as they give us a glimpse into a life of a troubled teen post SD. I constantly find myself saying out loud “No, don’t do it” a lot whenever I see Jill about to do something ridiculous and/or dangerous. …like none of you say things out loud while watching TV…no?…just me?…oh. I honestly thought at the end it was Aimee that Megan was opening the door to, and after seeing who it really was I immediately said, “No, Why did you do it!” I can’t wait to see where that story goes from here.

Megan and Laurie was another interesting story this past Sunday. I love how the we get more depth to each character little by little, each episode. It’s really interesting to see how the smallest bit of history we learn makes such a big impact. Learning about Megan’s mother’s passing the day before October 14th explains a lot about her choices throughout the season. The Rev doesn’t miss an opportunity to put this kind of information into one of his fliers either. One thing I thought was very interesting was the look that Megan gave Laurie right after Laurie slapped her and got up. Megan had a small smirk on her face that makes me think there is a lot more to her that we have yet to learn. Almost like her relationship with Laurie is mirroring Dean’s strange relationship with Kevin. Could there be similarities between Megan and Dean? Maybe they truly are guardian angels and are watching their work grow and make progress. Maybe I am reading too much into that smile? Either way, I think there is more to it than what we have seen so far.

The episode began with Patti laying out clothes on the floor of the church. She laid them out as if picking out outfits for someone to wear the next day for school, complete with shoes and some accessories. It is not until near the end of the episode that we understand what is going on. Laurie meets some delivery men at the church dropping off a trailer full of large bags that the GR Members bring into the room where the clothes are on the ground. We can piece together what is going on through the various cryptic messages we see and here throughout the episode. I imagine those bags are either filled with “Loved One” models of the departured or actual bodies. As creepy as I think the GR and its member are, actual bodies wouldn’t keep for very long at all…unless the GR wants to truly make their mark on Mapleton. Whichever way they choose, I think they are going to dress them in the clothes they had on before they departed and display them in some fashion. I think this is what is meant by the message on the whiteboard at the GR office – “We Won’t Let Them Forget”. This is why the GR exists, right? According to Patti they strip themselves of all colorful diversions – which is why they wear all white. They get rid of all ties to the living world – love and hatred – which explains why they leave their families (this also explains the “There Is No Family” mantra Patti was spewing a few episodes back to Kevin) and also why they don’t speak. We learn from Patti that her fellow members want their lives, and also deaths apparently, to have meaning and purpose. This, in the final scenes, is what we learn in more detail through Patti’s conversation with Kevin.

The final scene between Kevin and Patti is one of the best of this season. Their final conversation brought to light so many answers to questions that have been looming since episode one. Patti’s last words to Kevin, especially her recitation of the W.B. Yeats’ poem, spoke volumes. She said this enough times, “You must understand”, almost as much to Kevin as she was to us, the audience. She wanted Kevin to ‘understand’ why she matters – why Laurie matters – and essentially, why The Guilty Remnant matters. The poem that Patti recites is the second stanza of, ‘Michael Robartes Bids His Beloved Be At Peace, by W.B. Yeats. The poem illustrates a farewell to love and also life. Did Patti know she was going to die, whether at the hands of Kevin or herself? Either way, she will be missed.

This was one of my favorite episodes of The Leftovers so far. Ann Dowd’s ‘Patti’ will surely be missed. I would love to know what everyone thought about the episode and the incredible use of symbolism and imagery throughout. Only one more episode until the finale!

Thoughts and Discussion

- The music from this episode:

“I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” – Otis Redding
“I Been Buked” – Alvin Ailey

- Did you notice…The title of Sunday’s episode, ‘Cairo’, is also the word we hear uttered into Kevin’s walkie talkie in his dream sequence from episode seven’s ‘Solace For Tired Feet’. Also, ‘Cairo’, was in the title of an article in the National Geographic Kevin Sr. gave Kevin Jr. in the same episode.

- Did you notice…Laurie sat in Patti’s desk chair near the end of the episode as if the creators were showing us that she is the new ‘Patti’, the new leader of the Guilty Remnant. It looked like she settled in there nicely too. Did she know that Patti was not coming back somehow?

- I think it’s time we all start to discuss theories for the show and the final two episodes. Could this past episode have been a dream sequence by Kevin? The song that plays while when we go back and forth between Patti in the church laying out clothes and Kevin setting the table for his dinner with Nora and his family is Otis Redding’s, ‘I’ve Got Dreams To Remember’. Hmmmm? What do you all think? I thought that was pretty interesting.

- Also, I’m glad Kevin found his shirts…hanging up like spectral beings floating in the wind. Incidentally, Cairo, NY is about 5 hours from Mapleton. Did Kevin drive all that way while having one of his ‘amnesiac episodes’ to put his shirts there? And wouldn’t he have noticed that the shirts he frightened the dry cleaner into giving him a few episodes back didn’t have the Mapleton Police insignia on the sleeves?

- And lastly…I found it strange that Patti could not find any info about Dean and, as a result, refers to him as a ghost. Dean then corrects her by referring to himself as a ‘guardian angel’. Is he really a guardian angel along with Megan being Laurie’s? Help me out here everyone, we have some theories to disprove, lol.

- I read the whole poem that Patti recites and you can see ideas relating to the end of times and the apocalypse. The line Patti says, “And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet”, refers to a section in an earlier part of the poem about four different horses…The Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse, perhaps.

- With Patti gone, will we ever find out who ‘Neil’ is and if that was his house she left a paper bag of her own feces at? Is that Patti’s, “Dear One”? Or is her “Dear One” someone else? (“Dear One” is a phrase, or term of endearment, from the other show I currently Review – The Strain)

- What exactly did Patti mean that Laurie would be ready soon? Is there going to be some big ‘Jonestown’ Mass Suicide event on the horizon with the Guilty Remnant?

Thank you for checking out my Review! Only two more days until the penultimate episode! Please comment below so we can discuss this episode and your ideas for what might happen in the final two! Have a great weekend everyone!

Review: The Fade Out #1

FadeOut01_CoverA noir film stuck in endless reshoots. A writer plagued with nightmares from the war and a dangerous secret. An up-and-coming starlet’s suspicious death. And a maniacal Studio Mogul and his Security Chief who will do anything to keep the cameras rolling before the Post-War boom days come crashing down.

Is there now a sub-genre of 1930s style noir crime stories centered around television/movie production? I have been following Satellite Sam on and off since it came out, though I am a few months behind on the story.  It was a fresh take on the medium, plugging some new elements into pulp to make it interesting enough to pursue. It was kind of like The Maltese Falcon crossed with Mad Men. With the new Image series The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker, it would seem as though there are now two separate titles challenging for this one small niche.

Satellite Sam already broke this ground with a few of the notable clichés that one might expect. The main character/burnout chasing away his own demons in Hollywood with booze and women, the Hollywood big wigs more concerned with production schedules than the people that work for him, and sassy secretaries who are more capable than they let on. Clichés are not as bad if they are done right, and in the case of Satellite Sam, they exist as a fertile ground for a different take on this time and this genre. The question then, is there anything left for Brubaker? Certainly he has both the mainstream comic credibility from his work at Marvel as well as noir credibility from Fatale. In this case though, it tfoseems as though something is missing, as the take on this specific setup doesn’t seem as fresh, especially for someone that has been reading Sam (which is not much of a stretch, considering that Image publishes both of them.)

The story progresses somewhat as one might expect with the main character waking up from a night of drinking without much of an idea of where he had been. Soon there is a discovery of a crime which changes the course of his life.  In trying to capture the essence of the period, the presentation of this fadeout01story does seem a bit too disingenuous in a sense. One of the hallmarks of Hollywood at the time was the fact that everything was hidden to some degree, including sexuality. When women’s hemlines were still at knee level, it was of course taboo to show even more, yet this story doesn’t seem to mind, even if we know that it was there. So instead of the nostalgic grandeur of the golden age of cinema, there are gratuitous scenes with naked breasted women or of women kissing, stuff that presumably happened at wild parties back then just as it does now, but also which doesn’t really help to establish either the story or the atmosphere.

I am tempted to give Brubaker a free pass here though. Admittedly this is the kind of story which might be well suited to the medium of comics, but it is seems equally to be a story that depends on a fair amount of setup before it gets going.  It is not a superhero story where characters interact with one another in a superficial sense, rather these are honest characters being established. While it might not be up to the level of its predecessor from Image yet, it still does have some potential, and is probably worthy of being picked up by most people that are interested in crime noir.

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips
Story: 8.2 Art: 7.7 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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