Category Archives: Reviews

TV Review: King of the Nerds S3E2 And Now For Something Different

king of the nerdsTwo nerds enter and one nerd leaves as the third season of King of the Nerds sees the second episode where cosplay tests the nerds.

This episode saw the contestants put together cosplay and act out a skit for judges to decide who should win. The winner is rather surprising, but overall the episode’s real focus is the personalities coming out and an alliance forming.

Some folks take the loss pretty heavily, which puts on display the fact a few of the nerds have some issues interacting with people. The social interaction this season is just so odd, and I’m sure it’s not helped by some editing. That’s on full display this episode as the women discuss their sexuality, and the men are left in the wind. I’m sure there was more to the conversation, it’s just obviously cut a certain way to titillate the audience.

The most interesting thing this season is the alliance formed, which is the highlight so far. It’ll be only time before it melts down, or folks figure it out.

It also feels the challenge this week was recycled. It was cosplay and a skit. I feel like we’ve seen that one before.

What really strikes me this season is howunlikeable this cast is. There’s no one I’m cheering for, it’s really deciding who is the least irritating or bad spirited. Something about this season isn’t as enjoyable as pasts, so it should be interesting to see where the rest of the season goes.

Overall rating: 7

TV Review: Constantine S1E11 A Whole World Out There

CONSTANTINE-First-Official-Image1John is sent to help an old friend at Ivy University, where students have figured out how to get to an alternate dimension – only to be met by a killer.

Its been eleven episodes, but with this one Constantine shows off what it could be. I had some expectations for the series, that we might get a horror infused X-Files, and it never quite reached that potential. Well, the series finally got there with a story involving a killer in an alternate dimension. It’s the X-Files meets A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Constantine heads back to catch up with his friend Richie, a character we were introduced to in the first episode, then quickly went away. A character with a hell of a lot of potential, and never was really used well.

The bad of the episode is that actor Jeremy Davies as Richie has some issues with his accent, jumping around a bit, but finally settling on something. That’s the worst part of the episode.

What’s great is there’s actual horror! Folks die. There’s blood. I was creeped out at parts! It took so long, but this is exactly what the series should have been doing. I want to be scared. I want some gore. Up until this point the series has really felt limited by what you could put on NBC. Here, its shown that you can do some great scares without tons of gore. Bravo!

There’s just two episodes left in the season, and it’s this point the pull potential is shown off. Here’s hoping the final episodes are just as solid, because this was absolutely my favorite episode of the year.

Overall rating: 8.75


Cryptozoic’s DC Deck-Building Game, Which is the One for You?

Cryptozoic has released four different versions of their popular DC Deck-Building Game, the DC Deck-Building Game, DC Deck-Building Game: Heroes Unite, DC Deck-Building Game: Forever Evil, and DC Deck-Building Game Rivals: Batman vs Joker. But what’s the difference between them? Besides the characters within. We take a look at all four releases, what the differences are, and which you should get.




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Review: Robyn Hood #6

rh06covOne of the main indicators of success by any series in the Grimm Fairy Tales universe is its proximity to the main story lines in the flagship series.  As the series started to build its shared universe, the quality of the writing fell especially as the unique format of storytelling disappeared.  It is not so much that it is a poor decision overall for its creative direction, only that it brings along a lot of unneeded and often distracting material with it.  When the series focused only on fairy tales, there was a simplicity to it, but then it expanded to nursery rhymes, other legends, works of literary nonsense and mythology from the real world.  To wade through the entire universe often requires a complete immersion, not a series by series reading.  Of course there are exceptions to this (such as Wonderland) but the shared universe as a whole is more of a burden than a bonus.

Sitting in the middle of this shared universe is Robyn Hood.  The character has already been given her own monthly title, which in itself is rare at Zenescope where the stories have a tendency to be told in miniseries.  She is inextricably linked to what is the worst part of the Grimm Fairy Tales imbroglio, the realm of Myst, and despite this the series till somehow manages to be the best of the lot.  By comparison to for instance the story telling in the Cinderella miniseries which was way below average, the story telling here is mostly just average.  It is nothing special, but also nothing bad.  In this particular issue, both Robyn and Marian set out for some help from the things that ail them and bother them, but in both cases it leads to a case where they need more then just intervention, they need to choose to act.

By comparison to the other series from Zenescope, this series is a step above, but compared to the medium as a whole it is mostly forgettable.  The characters are not bad, as the writers add in some characterization where they can, but as with elsewhere in Zenescope, the writing is flawed by forced dialogue and individual stories that lack the ability to grab the reader.  Still they are likable enough, though maybe not enough to keep this series going for long.

Story: Pat Shand Art: Jaime Salangsang Jr.
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Pass

TV Review: Arrow S3E11 Midnight City

arrowOn this episode of Arrow Roy and Diggle try to stop Laurel for following her sister’s footsteps before she gets killed. However a new enemy, Brick, captures the city’s alderman and will kill him if the police wont evacuate The Glades. Meanwhile ray tries to help Detective Lance. Malcolm tells Thea that their family is being hunted and tracked down by Ra’s al Ghul and must leave town immediately.

Out of all of the episodes this season, this one actually kept my interest the least. The storylines were either goofy, or predictable. Laurel is now running around as the Canary, and doing a decent job, but seeing as what happened to her sister Team Arrow don’t really want her to do so. Then, how does she deal with her father, since her father knows her sister was the Canary? Well, they deal with that in a bit of a goofy way, since Laurel and her sister aren’t exactly the same build or have the same mannerisms.

Then there’s Brick, and his kidnapping of the city’s alderman. His demands are just a bit…. weird. I’m kind of missing his motivation for all of this. And the fact the city is willing to cave to his demands is just downright bizarre.

It’s also pretty obvious that Oliver would be back, the question was when and how. The how is a bit…. weak. And overall, this seems to be an excuse to focus on characters other than him, which is good in a way.

The overall various plotlines could be good, but where they weaved in this episode really just derailed what has been otherwise a solid season.

While I liked the idea of focusing on the rest of Team Arrow, with his absence, now I just want Oliver back.

Overall rating: 7

Review: Grimm Fairy Tales Presents the Jungle Book: Fall of the Wild #2

fotw02covWhat made the original series in this trilogy so compelling was that it used animals as allegories for the actions of humans.  The humans were of course also there, the four orphans that had grown to adulthood having been raised by the different groups of animals.  This same dynamic was mostly missing in the second series, which while fun was still mostly just an adventure story that was set on Kipling Island.  With this third series, it seems as though some of the deeper allegories of the first series are back.

It of course depends on how much is read into the underlying themes of the story, but at least one theme is clear – war.  it does not focus on war as does many comics by showing some of the heroics therein but rather focuses on war as a destroyer of all, that in war there are no such things as victors, only losers that gained relatively more.  This is an interesting enough theme unto itself, but there are others at play here as well – greed (by way of gluttony), the natural order of the world, and the willingness to die for an ideal.  While there are underlying themes to what is transpiring within, there are also entertaining moments of action.  These are focused at first on the battle between the lions and the elephants, but then this action moves in a completely different direction straight into an unlikely scenario for the cliffhanger ending.  It is there that some warning is due for the quality of this series.  Parts of it seem like the first in the trilogy while other parts seem like the second series and it is still hard to discern exactly which way this series is going.

This issue ends up accomplishing its goals and proves that the creative team deserves some more respect for what they have accomplished before.  After none of the Jungle Tales series has thus far been a disappointment, or if yes, only in relation to one another.  This issue seems to have the story line on track much more to what the first series was than the second, and despite the somewhat absurd premise for the the third issue, it would seem that the momentum will carry on there as well.

Story: Mark L. Miller Art: Luca Claretti
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Thor #4

thor04covThere are still assuredly holdouts among readers of the medium who refuse to accept this new Thor, but after the events of the previous four issues, it is hard to understand why.  The relaunch of Thor into this new character is one which came with much fanfare and controversy, over who is the new Thor, and how a woman can be Thor.  When stripped down of all the questions and the controversy, this story has been engaging and is approachable by old and new fans alike (provided that the old fans allow themselves to have a little fun.)  This new series thus far works as a standalone series, one that would be interesting in any format.  That Thor has decades of precedent in the storytelling to make this all the more relevant only adds to the recipe.

As promised in the last issue and from the cover, this story deals with a battle unlike what fans could have thought of a year ago, that of Thor versus Thor.  Before diving straight into the battle there are a few pages of back story explaining how the original Thor got to be where he is, so soon after being disarmed (literally) by the Frost Giants.  This gives the necessary explanation for how he can be back into fighting form so soon, but so too does it add fuel to the fire that is the mystery identity of this new Thor.  The battle proceeds almost as one might expect, but it does end in an outcome which is at least a logical way to explain the new Thor.  As the character says herself, she is Thor but she is a goddess, just as the writer has been explaining all along.  Those fans hoping for some kind of divine intervention from Thor to take back his name will find mostly the opposite.  With the character introduced and accepted, she heads off for further adventures, her identity still a secret, but one which leaves only a few options left for the character.

The first four issues of this series have done everything that could be expected of it and more.  The story has been engaging, the action intense, and the new direction has breathed new life into characters that sometimes had grown stagnant from their long publication histories.  The writer has even been smart enough in this endeavor to keep old Thor and new Thor together in the same universe, and old Thor is still around ready to spring into action wherever may be needed.  Clearly this is no mere stunt, as the series is already among the best that Marvel has to offer.

Story: Jason Aaron  Art: Russell Dauterman
Story:  8.5 Art: 8.5  Overall: 8.5  Recommendation: Buy

Review: Gotham Academy #4

ga04covFor those that have been reading along with the series or at least following the buzz, they might think that this is a series with a set shelf life, that after a certain amount of time that there are going to be enough mysteries solved that Gotham’s own version of Nancy Drew is simply going to run out of interesting stories.  For any that were thinking this, who thought that issue #3 signaled the start of a downwards spiral for this series, they can instead rest assured that there is still lots of story left to tell in this series, as the compelling mysteries are not one but many.

The presence of the ghost hunt in the previous issue might have seemed like the end of the glue that held the first story together, but the writers prove that they are not afraid to diversify a bit here, not only in terms of content but also context.  While the previous issues dealt with Olive and Maps searching for answers for secrets that they nothing about, here the secrets become a lot deeper as Olive especially is forced to deal with new mysteries such as secret symbols, secret passageways and trying to figure out exactly why Bruce Wayne is so interested in her.  In so doing the characterization here is amazing, and it pays good homage to its intended demographic by not treating its main characters as stereotypes of this age bracket (what was particularly on the mark was what Maps wished for on her birthday.)  This realistic approach to the characters is what makes this series more approachable for all-ages to dive into.

The creative team proves here that they have a lot left in this series.  Far from being a drop off in quality this issue might be the best so far, especially as the shock value has worn off from the first few issues for those that thought that such a series could never be good or entertaining.    Indeed this is one of the best issues that DC has on offer from its wide selection of titles.  It is still tied to superheroes and belongs in the DC Universe, but at the same time it mostly doesn’t and stands on its own by itself as well.

Story: Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher Art: Karl Kerschl
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Inhuman #11

ih11ccovThis series continues to prove that it has what it takes for a long run, despite the relative unpopularity of the main characters.  So far in this series an underlying theme has been the diaspora, in trying to find out where the Inhumans can call home after theirs was destroyed and thrown into the New York harbour.  While this theme is still underlying most of what is written, the story took a turn in the previous issue with the return of an Axis infused Medusa, keen on a different level of diplomacy.  While the degree of Axis influence seems to vary between other heroes (for instance it is the main inspiration for Superior Iron Man), here it seems to have worn off after a couple of weeks and an honest heart to heart with a stranger in a bar in Chicago.

While the diaspora theme has been interesting in this series, what has really been noteworthy is the strong writing especially as it relates to the characters.  With Black Bolt absent from his throne, it falls to Medusa to rule in his place.  Her depiction has been a standout in this series, as she deals with being the apparent loss of her husband, the constraints of womanhood and monarchy and the need to lead her nation to a place of stability.   ih11intWhile this character seemed to take a vacation for the one Axis issue, she is already back here.  What is more, the interesting characters on the run from Ennilux, only introduced two issues previous, are already engaging enough to carry most of the story by themselves.

This series continues to be an unheralded standout for Marvel, one that many people aren’t talking about, but one that people should be, especially with a new focus on the Inhumans companywide.  This entire issue was engaging and fun, and never in a superficial way.  Everything that was here had its place, and the issue flowed so smoothly that the somewhat surprise ending came all too soon.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Ryan Stegman
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Aquaman #38

am38covSo far the story in Maelstrom has been that of uncommon villains in the attempt to find his mother.  First there was the Martian Manhunter, driven to craziness by the superstructure that is the Atlantean mind, and then there was Gorilla Grodd who was found on the other side of an Atlantean portal.  In the search for Arthur’s mother, what there has been little of is focus solely on the two main heroes of this series and that finally comes here.  This renewed focus surprisingly doesn’t work to the benefit of this issue though, as this one falls a little flat compared to the other two that preceded it in this story arc.

What the previous two were able to do was to make the guest characters relevant in a way to Aquaman which did not seem too much of a stretch.  The hive mind that infected J’onn was well conceived and well written, as was the ancient connection of Atlanteans to Gorilla City.  This issue on the other hand is full of somewhat random action sequences which lead up to the furthering of the plot.  Instead of some real bad guy in this story, another trip through the portals finds Arthur and Mera in the South Pacific, to which they quickly find the final teleportation seal.  This was a bit of a stretch in itself, but the generic monsters that appear to stop the two of them from advancing takes some away from the story.  It feels as though it would have been better just to move on with the plot than to waste time with a generic fight

This is still not a bad issue, only that it is more focused on action than needs to be.  Of course the readers are more interested in finding the fate of Arthur’s mother, and this issue helps to drag out the story arc by an extra issue.  There may have been a better story to be told here, but this nonetheless fits in with the remainder of the story arc thus far, only that it is the weakest entry of the three.  With the revelation at the end of the issue, it would seem as though the story arc is going to hit high gear in the next issue, but for the mean time this was a long interlude to get there.

Story: Jeff Parker Art: Paul Pelletier
Story: 7.7 Art: 7.7 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

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