Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Lady Killer #4

ladykiller004-covFor those that have been reading Lady Killer and thought to themselves that it was a pretty fun series but that more could be done with it, this issue will be the remedy to that.  The previous issues have introduced the cold blooded assassin who is passing as a loving housewife, but it was hard to figure out the direction of the series because the main character was shown to be one of contrasts and contrasts which were either easy to get behind or hard to root for.  The turning point for both the reader and the character came when Josie was given the hit on a young boy, and as she painstakingly went through the process of gunning him down, the series seemed to be losing its heart.  As she turned around and decided not to, the series also got new life, but her actions had consequences, and that is where they left off in the last issue, with Josie herself being the focus of a hit.

This issue deals with the after effects of her being driven off the road by her handler in the precursor to an assassination attempt.  As she manages to fight back and get away, the issue really picks up momentum.  As she was previously subject to the whims of her handler, she proves herself to be an effective espionage agent as she manages to track down another handler and his assassin.  From the moral low of the previous issue, Josie manages to come back in full force and even more so.  She is shown here to not only be competent and deadly, but she hasn’t yet been shown to be this feminine while doing so.

This issue marks the best thus far for the series, which can be either a good or bad thing leading into the finale (which should theoretically be the best).  The pacing is fun as the issue reads through seamlessly without a pause at all, and it works well.  The characterization is well handled, especially to have built up her own struggle as a character and how she realizes this in others.  This provides wonderful depth to characters that only showed up for a few panels.  There is really very little wrong with this issue, it only remains to be seen if it can be capitalized on for the next and final part of the story.

Story: Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich  Art: Joëlle Jones
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.  

Movie Review : The Cobbler (2015)

m_TheClobberSynopsis - A cobbler stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way.

My Take - For the past few years, just like many 90s A-Lister actors, the quality Adam Sandler movies have been deteriorating. Filled with potty humor or inappropriate jokes or basically the whole premise is based on him & his actor friends on a vacation somewhere! Even though, unlike most people I actually liked his recent Blended (2014), it was comparatively better (I guess).  Judging by the trailer of this film, it didn’t seem like a typical Adam Sandler movie, well yes it has it’s jokes but it’s not his typical shtick as some of that is thrown in for good measure, but much lighter. With an interesting premise in hands, as the opening credits rolled in, I was hoping for a nod to his previously well made family flicks like Click (2006) or Bedtime Stories (2008), well it wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good either. The story follows Max Simkin (Adam Sandler), a cobbler who repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way.

Adam-SandlerSometimes walking in another man’s shoes is the only way to discover who you really are. Frankly, I have no idea what director Tom McCarthy was going for here. The film starts off as an old-fashioned comedy with some drama thrown in, but it eventually becomes jumbled in a bunch of subplots that involve saving the neighborhood a murder plot involving gangsters & a real estate conspiracy! With a mix of a dramedy, fantasy comedy, and crime thriller that never mash together leading to the film having a major identity crisis. The main reason why the film fails is because of it’s script. As previously mentioned, the film is an uneven mess. McCarthy and Paul Sado are the only writers, but it feels like they had several people write various subplots that were all mashed together. This could have easily been a PG-rated family film if it hadn’t been for brief moments of unnecessary violence that don’t serve any purpose. Aside from the unevenness of the whole film, the writing itself is pretty poor. Some of the dialogue is laughably awful and incredibly forced, most of which comes from Melonie Diaz and Method Man‘s characters. Despite all of it’s missteps, The Cobbler does have a few factors that keep it from being a complete disaster. Sandler himself does a decent job in the lead role. It’s not a particularity memorable one despite going out of his comfort zone, but he fits the role and uses that to his advantage. Despite being wasted, the film does feature a great cast including Steve Buscemi, Dustin Hoffman, and Dan Stevens who while given little to do, are nice to see on screen. Even though the story itself is pretty predictable, I never found myself bored during the film’s run time. I’m not sure if it’s because of how bizarrely awful some of it is, but the strangeness of the whole thing is enough to keep you amused just to see where it will end up next.

COBBLER_STILL3A.JPGEven though I didn’t laugh once throughout the entire film, there are some occasional chuckle worthy moments such as a montage early on of Sandler discovering his new ability. The film does have a lot of heart and it has morality tale spun in for good measure. With that said, none of the dialogue is clever or good. There is a point where it seems like the film could take a route of having a message about the way a community interacts with one another, but nothing ever comes of it resulting in a rather predictable story in which the twist can be solved about halfway through. I found it strange that they chose to show the other actors in the roles of the side characters when Sandler is “in their shoes”. It would have been funnier and much more enjoyable if it had been done the other way around. On the whole, after a long string of bad comedies, The Cobbler seemed like a right direction for Adam Sandler, but thanks to the poor direction & all the above mentioned, the film turns into a cluttered mess of a film. Well yeah this is no Jack & Jill (2011) or That’s My Boy (2012), but just a missed opportunity to use a interesting premise to spin off a potential franchise.

Overall Rating: 4/10

Director - Thomas McCarthy

Starring - Dan Stevens, Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi
Rated - PG13
Run Time - 99 minutes

 

Review: We Can Never Go Home #1

we can never go homeA well worn mixtape, a stolen convertible, a duffel bag full of cash, a fully loaded .45, and super-powers. 17 and on the run is the only way to see America right.

Written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon with art by Joshua Hood, We Can Never Go Home is a love letter to types of story almost no one seems to tell anymore- Crime Road movies like Badlands and True Romance, outcast against the world tales like Pump Up The Volume and Heathers, and character driven adventure comics like Love & Rockets and Stray Bullets.

The first issue of We Can Never Go Home is interesting. It introduces us to the main characters, and a lot happens, but where the series goes from here is up in the air. We’re given some hints as to what to expect towards the end of the issue, but really, the first issue of this series’ focus is on character, and that’s a good thing. Rosenberg and Kindlon take an interesting, and welcome, focus in the first issue, the characters themselves. It sets the tone, that there’s going to be some adventure, characters come first, and we should be paying attention to the details, what’s said, what’s not said, as we read the series. While the description of the series says we should expect a crime road story, the first issue gets us to that point.

No matter what’s coming down the read, the first issue is a hell of a start. I put it down thinking through all the details, what the characters said, and how they acted. What’s on the level? What’s not? I found myself pondering and debating with myself about every little detail.

Rosenberg and Kindlon focused on characters in the debut, and succeeded. We Can Never Go Home #1 is a fascinating start, to what’s one of the more interesting debuts of

Story: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon Art: Joshua Hood
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Blood Queen vs. Dracula #2

BQvsDrac02-Cov-A-AnacletoFor those that enjoyed the short lived Blood Queen series last year, they likely would have been a little disappointed with the first issue of this new series.  The Blood Queen who was established as a complex enough character was reduced to a one-dimensional killer and Dracula was shown with all the depth of a historical anecdote.  In comparison of issue #1 to #2, it is a bit more evident why that was the case.  The second issue deals with a lot closer representation of the two, especially for the Blood Queen to her own presentation thus far in the short history of her published stories.

The story follows off from the end of the first issue.  The Blood Queen is presenting an association to Dracula, she serves as his wife and equal as they join their kingdoms and their power.  As will be seen later, some of this is well written as it comes off being a true battle of the wits, but some of it is poorly conceived, as characters say things about events which foreshadow a knowledge which they possibly couldn’t have.  The action then moves on to the Ottomans, whose mages are debating how to proceed after a dangerous vision.  It was a nice touch in the first issue to include the Ottomans as it made the tie to the real world a lot more evident, and this second issue does the same, even if they are bit less realistic with their use of magic.  The action then moves back to the combined envoy of the Blood Queen and Dracula.  This is where the two characters finally show their true marks, and fans of the Blood Queen from her original series will probably appreciate this series more after seeing this.

This series still has its flaws but it is at least proceeding in a direction which is more true to both characters.  The first issue might have left readers thinking that the series should be called “Blood Queen Marries Dracula”, but this issue puts the “versus” back into it, and in a dramatic enough fashion.  This series and this issue still have some problems, but at least it seems to be headed in a better direction after this second issue.

Story: Troy Brownfield  Art: Kewber Baal  
Story: 7.6 Art: 7.6 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite Provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.   

 

Movie Review : Home (2015)

Home-Banner2Synopsis - Oh, an alien on the run from his own people, lands on Earth and makes friends with the adventurous Tip, who is on a quest of her own.

My Take - Dreamworks Animation has been in a downfall for a while now, sparing How to Train Your Dragon series, every film from the studio have failed in exciting the audience & the critics alike. Frankly, compared to what Disney has been churning out (except Frozen of course), Dreamworks have been providing us quality films especially the unfairly rejected  Rise of the Guardians (2012) and Turbo (2013). Even the much anticipated Penguins of Madagascar (2014) couldn’t repeat the magic of the trilogy, OK I agree that movie wasn’t good. Between all this commotion, they have another film releasing with literally no hype or hullah, despite the presence of some known stars in it. The story follows Oh (Jim Parsons best known as Sheldon from The Big Bank Theory) – a disastrously clumsy member of the Boov race led by Smek (Steve Martin), who come to earth and displace its human population in order to make the planet their own hiding place. The Boov, best known for their cowardly attributes, are on the run from a formidable-looking enemy, but when Oh invites everyone to his house-warming party, he accidentally sends the E-Invite to the entire galaxy. Becoming public enemy #1, Oh goes on the run from his own people, hoping to find escape in Antarctica, after fantasizing about a group hug with a bunch of penguins! However, Oh bumps into Tip (Rihanna), a young girl who has managed to elude the Boov invaders whilst searching for her mother (Jennifer Lopez).

H9NQKThe two social misfits team up, and through their amazing adventures, discover the meaning of finding Home. The opening ten minutes of Home promise a fantastic premise which is utterly engrossing – the idea that the human population could so easily be ejected from their own home into a land of ice cream and picket fences, whilst the invading alien force sets up shop is genius. A truly sci-fi animation caper would be greatly appreciated across all ages, and the scope for imagination is enormous. However, where the story journeys to is a little flat in comparison, relying on a typical buddy-road-trip formula with added modifications – such as a car completely transformed by items you would find in a grocery story (there is even a lottery-ticket dispenser, how awesome would that be?). I was fortunate enough to see a early screening of this film and I was quite surprised! The film is a delight to watch! There were so many laugh out loud moments thanks to the slapstick comedy which is just pitch-perfect! Some of the characters are excellently developed – in particular Captain Smek (voiced by the legend Steve Martin), whose firm leadership of the Boov people is undermined by his ridiculous fascination with human artifacts (such as bubble-wrap and a wheel-barrow). Jim Parsons delivers a wonderful vocal-performance as Oh, in particular a scene where he involuntarily dances along to human pop-music, which proves Dreamworks can still provide animated gold. Color is used with splendid ferociousness, especially the Boov who change color when feeling different emotions.

vihdoinkotonaThe visual depth is not only great to watch, it also adds pathos to their characters in an ingenious way.The music will appeal to the younger generations, and acts as a sales pitch for both Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez, whose songs populate the movie like an everlasting bubble machine of pop-tastic ooze. Although, on balance, the original music which is provided by Lorne Balfe creates some entrancing and moving moments in the film, with its enriched emotive score. The voice acting is overall great; Parsons is as geeky here as he is as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, while Steve Martin is hilarious. What surprised me most, is Rihanna; I hope she gets more voice acting rolls in the future. This is one big name star with a lot of promise in this field. Jennifer Lopez doesn’t have much to do. I think everyone with a family and even adults need to get up and see this movie. The morals are good; there is such a thing about being too positive or negative, you have to balance the two, take a chance and have some faith and hope. I learned a thing or two from this film, you could too. On the whole, Home is a wonderfully imaginative and genuinely funny film which proves Dreamworks can still compete in the razor-sharp leagues of animation. While the plot may at times seem cliched, this is still a hugely enjoyable family film that lands a lot of laughs, and boasts a bunch of bubbly & colorful brilliance.

Overall Rating – 7.5/10

Director - Tim Johnson
Starring (voice of) - Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin
Rated -  PG
Run Time  - 94 minutes

TV Review: The Walking Dead S5E16 Conquer

walking-dead-5 photoAs the people of Alexandria decide what to do Rick, the truth about the W’s is revealed. Meanwhile, Morgan gets closer to the safe-zone.

The Walking Dead wrapped up its season with an extra long episode. There’s tons to wrap up, or take on, and the episode kicks off with two big mysteries, what are the “W”s and where is Morgan?

Sitting out in the forest, Morgan is enjoying a meal when he’s approached by an individual with a “W” carved in his forehead, referring to himself as a wolf, he’s there to wake Morgan and everything he has. Soon Morgan is kicking ass and taking names. Two answers, sort of, checked off.

Back in Alexandria, the fate of Rick is up in the air, and while there’s lots of politicking, there’s also plans made in case things go south when it comes to the fate of Rick.

Aaron and Daryl are out scouting when they come across a person in a red poncho. Following them, they wind up in a trap, surrounded by walkers. Morgan comes to the rescue at the last moment, and saves them. Daryl figures out a connection between Morgan and Rick, after Aaron invites Morgan back to Alexandria.

Father Gabriel though is acting a bit weird, and wanders outside killing a few walkers. In a white tshirt, which I’m sure we can argue is symbolic in some way, he stumbles back into the compound, but leaves the gate slightly open.

Glenn follows Nicholas who sneaks off, and a bit to the death begins after Nicholas shoots Glenn.

Next up is the fate of Rick, who finally tells Michonne the plan, and we learn where her loyalty is. Where is it all going, the tension ramps up to crazy levels as the episode builds and builds.

The episode quickly gets into “dark mode” with four plotlines playing out. The community gathering to talk about Rick, the battle between Nicholas and Glenn, Rick taking on walkers, and Sasha and Father Gabriel fighting as Gabriel has gone batshit insane. Then, there’s the guy in the red poncho, who is with the Wolves but not for long.

The last moments are absolutely amazing. That’s how you end the season. Bring on season 6.

Overall rating: 9

Review: Unmade

UNMADE PREVIEW - COVERAl Vacarro is a made-man, with all the honors and responsibilities that entails. But after a lifetime of violence in service of the Castella crime family, the mob no longer holds any allure for Al. For the sake of his own family and his very soul, he needs out of “the life.” But how does a man escape the only world he’s ever known? Unmade is a tale of blood and desperation, and these are the last twenty-four hours of life as Al knows it.

I’m a fan of a comic you can pick up and read the entire thing front to back without needing to know anything, one-shots feel like a rarity these days. Unmade is just that, bringing the mob to comics. Even though this type of subject is a genre that we’ve seen dozens of times on film, television, comics, and books, Unmade still feels unique and I honestly had no idea where it was going.

Writer Brandon Barrows makes the main character Al just despicable enough to feel like he fits in the world of the mob, but at the same time we kind of want him to get out of the world for his family. What I think is really impressive is even though Barrows uses a lot of what might seem common in these types of stories, how he weaves the story, and the small details feel new. He’s done the impressive thing taking a well worn genre and giving us something new.

The art by Johnnie Christmas with colors by Josh Jensen is really solid and it reminds me a lot of what I’d expect from 80s British comics. The coloring especially has a bit of a “retro” vibe to it all. The story and style have a solid mix and compliment each other well.

This was a one-shot, but I actually want more! That’s the funny part, here’s a comic I’d love to see more of, or an anthology series. There’s lots of different options here, especially the way the comic ended. Barrows is a talented writer, and this comic shows off his abilities. If you’re a fan of indie comics, or classic mob stories, this is one to absolutely check out.

Writer: Brandon Barrows Artist: Johnnie Christmas Colors: Josh Jensen
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Reasonably Priced Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Movie Review : Dragon Blade (2015)

Dragon-Blade-Chinese-PosterSynopsis - One of the most expensive films ever produced in China, the historical action epic Dragon Blade takes place during the Han Dynasty. The story centers on the commander of the Protection Squad of the Western Regions (Jackie Chan), who joins forces with Roman general Lucius (John Cusack) to protect China’s sovereignty as power-crazed Tiberius (Adrien Brody) seeks to defeat Lucius once and for all.

My Take - Right from the trailer to its title, this film has a bad direct to DVD swords & sandals action movie vibe written all over it! That may be contributed also due to current B movie status of John Cusack & Adrien Brody! But It’s not everyday that you see movies like these coming out of Hollywood or mainstream media. Apparently its one of the most expensive Chinese produced films ever! Granted there were some mistakes and plot holes like how in the heck did a Roman Legion on the run from the very center of the empire make its way all the way through the Silk Road? Or the lousy background of keeping a fragile sense of peace among the 48 nations contesting the route. Or even the Romans enlisting the help of its lifelong enemies the Parthians. Suspension of belief and historical inaccuracies aside, this film is actually a heartwarming story of loyalty & sacrifice, about rising against all odds and true friendship that encompasses all nations and creeds that everyone will understand. It’s a portrayal of what it means to truly be a friend and a man who sticks by his principles. Maybe that’s why this film gets flack, because our standards today have become so dull that it’s now a sin to be a human and to act like a human.

videoasiamediacom4128f033-4d31-3374-917b-607c813365f6_FULLThe film may be considered as an odd endeavor in epic historical film, it copies too many aspects of already known formula in hope that the success can be transmitted here. It has choppy direction and all sorts of issues, but the movie sometimes brings some good elements, which might just be enough for light entertainment. The story opens with a prologue set in the present day, when two archaeologists (Vanness Wu and Karena Lam) set out to find an ancient city known as Regum hidden high above the mountains in the Silk Road region. As the opening title is presented, we are taken back to 480 BC, when peace was as precious a commodity as gold in the restive region, which saw a total of 36 nations fighting to claim their rights over the land. On the brink of a war between two of them – the Huns and the White Indians – General Huo (Jackie Chan) & his Silk Road Protection Squad, a small but fiercely loyal band of men given the seemingly impossible task of keeping the peace. Even at the risk of danger to his life, Huo An resolutely refuses to pull a weapon against the Huns’ icy warrior Cold Moon (Lin Peng). Framed for treason, Huo An turns the other cheek and readily accepts his and his men’s punishment to be sent away to a ravaged city known as Wild Geese Gate. And when conflict breaks out amongst the various factions of inmates within the city, Huo An steps in to urge peace, even though everyone else seems to be itching to get at the others throats. After being set up for illegally transporting gold, the squad are imprisoned & banished for the rest of their sentence as labors to build Regum. Things start going crazy, once General Lucius (John Cusack) shows up with his cavalry. Lucius is fleeing the eldest son of one of the two serving Consuls, who had murdered his father and intends to murder his younger brother Publius (Jozef Waite) to claim the throne. Needless to say, Lucius’ alliance with Huo An brings the Roman conflict to their doorstep, in the form of the villainous Tiberius (Adrien Brody). The film delivers on its promise of sprawling battle scenes, meticulously crafted sword fights, intriguing culture clashes, and budding bromances, where its giddily high concept and unlikely casting may so easily have seen it fail. It’s an unparalleled meeting of Eastern and Western talent. This kind of film truly reminds me why I enjoy Asian cinema. This take here the mix of martial arts and Jackie Chan, kind of sword play (typical Chinese which as awesome), mixed cast from various nations to throw in so many nations and trifles in just 2 hours and without rushing anything.

ST_20150218_WYDRAGON_1076176eNow that is something I find truly impressive and extremely refreshing. Maybe there is a couple of flaws here and there, like the ruin in the very beginning of the show that’s not old enough and for another keen eyes, this might kill the mood, because basically, we were promised a story that (might) happened thousand years ago. But truth be told, it was not really a problem, since the ruin itself is just a fake one, created to fit into the real story of Silk Road. Story-wise, some of you might find it cheesy and predictable. Some of you might even say that the character Chan played (Huo An), was unbelievably too kind, like he was just character from a fairytale. Is it really like that? If you follow the story and try to delve into the character of Huo An, to every tragedy ever happened to him (told in the story), you might understand why he always talk about peace. Jackie Chan is a star in his own right. He’s not that well versed in acting, but audience would know what to expect at this point. Or maybe how Cusack was not cut out for the role of Roman Empire general, Lucius? Don’t think so. He actually played the role real good, he could showed how it feels to be betrayed, to hate and to trust. Brody as the villain Tiberius, has also done a very great job. You could see his character in a whole new way, the way he lust for power and ambitions. The twisted way of a mad man ready to betray (and kill, as already told in the trailer) his own family. A beastly antagonist, he delivers a menacing on-screen persona. To me, Jackie Chan along with director Daniel Lee has managed to pull this out quite remarkably. On the whole, in a time of remakes & reboots, a film like Dragon Blade feels refreshing, a homage to the film of 90s & early 2000s. With sincere performances & enjoyable cinematography, this East meets West adventure film is a great popcorn watch!

Overall Rating – 7.5/10

Director - Daniel Lee
Starring – Adrien Brody, John Cusack, Jackie Chan
Rated - PG
Run Time - 124 minutes

The Socio-Comic Genius of Schitt’s Creek

rsz_schitts-creek-tv-review-popIf you haven’t yet checked out Pop TV’s new comedy, Schitt’s Creek, the creation of father/son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy, you’re missing out on a hilarious and insightful look at what happens when a rich family is stripped of all luxury and plopped down in a place devoid of upper-class creature comforts. Life in Schitt’s Creek is all too much like real, down-to-earth, small town life. Far from being a work devoted to schadenfreude regarding their misfortune (cue The Simpson’s Nelson Muntz: “Ha ha! Now you’re poor!”), this show is not the least bit mean-spirited and it’s beyond funny because the main characters are rounded and quite sympathetic in their sense of displacement, loss and loneliness. The backwoods hamlet to which they’re relegated after the I.R.S. seizes all their other property for tax evasion (their accountant didn’t take care of business, and took off) is a town Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) bought for his son, David (Daniel Levy), as a joke, but now the joke’s on Johnny as he navigates the politics and power structure of his new surroundings. He’s treated with a certain amount of respect as the town’s “owner” but seems to be drifting as he becomes more accustomed to his situation: a captain of corporate culture without a ship. The real power lies in the hands of Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott) the town’s mayor and owner of the motel where the Roses now reside who can be nice when he’s not being slippery and a downright pain in the ass.

Johnny’s wife, Moira (Catherine O’Hara) is a former soap star who wears lots of black clothing, artsy jewelry, and has an extensive collection of wigs. At times it looks like she’s the one hit hardest by the trauma caused by the family’s loss of status but she’s stronger than she looks and occasionally her soft, breathy voice turns to steel when dealing with Roland and the frustrations of life in Schitt’s Creek’s only motel. Johnny and Moira sometimes get on each other’s nerves in their room with a ceiling that leaks brown water and where there are never enough towels but they seem to understand each other, can communicate clearly with “looks,” and sometimes when their two kids are fighting like cats and dogs next door, Moira just looks at Johnny and shakes her head slowly, which speaks volumes. Johnny and Moira know each other far better than they know their own children and part of the irony of their miserable situation is that by being forced into adjoining motel rooms, they’re getting to know David and Alexis (Annie Murphy) more than they ever did when David was living in a huge apartment in New York (that’s a thing of the past along with their palatial home) and Alexis was globe-trotting to far-flung locations with some of her rich “loose acquaintances” who have private jets and vices aplenty. By having to share a room, David and Alexis get on each other’s nerves a lot: he’s a Type A; she’s a Type B, but their attempts to get acclimated to their surroundings are fascinating and provide some of the most fun this season.

rsz_1297650949105_originalAlexis is the first to go somewhat native and is thrilled to be invited to a keg party by the motel receptionist, Stevie (Emily Hampshire) who runs the front desk at the motel. When any of the Roses walks in the door she observes them like they’re exotic creatures from another planet, and answers their questions with pure deadpan understatement though one gets the impression she’s laughing on the inside, not at them but at their reaction to her home turf, which, as something of a modern Beat chick with an outsider’s sensibility she recognizes as being off-center and provincial—but hey, it’s home. For now. As the season has progressed Stevie has developed an interesting relationship with David, the only one who seems to appreciate her dry humor and sharp but precise wit.

One of my favorite episodes so far was when David’s clothing has been evicted from his father’s closet and he decides to part with some of his beloved designer duds to try and raise a little cash for more eye cream—he got fired from his bag-boy job the first day because John was constantly calling him to see how he was doing. Stevie suggests a trip to the local thrift shop but David, who’s only accustomed to upscale consignment shops at worst is appalled to discover there that his Parisian leather sneakers with Vulcanized rubber arches are only worth a couple of bucks. David’s reaction: “You’ve lost my trust,” he tells the young man behind the counter, “And my business.” The clothes are the only thing of his former life that David has left and their apparent near-worthlessness on the local market wounds his ego. If you’ve ever needed a few bucks and tried to sell some items at a popular “clothing exchange,” you feel David’s pain. He takes it personally.

Daniel Levy is adept at showing David’s struggle to carve out a life in Schitt’s Creek. As he tells Alexis when she asked why none of his friends have called he tells her they’re just giving him some space. As they both know, nothing like going broke to dent one’s social life. When Johnny and Moira go away for a weekend for some much needed privacy, Alexis convinces David to have a party in their motel room. He agrees only if it’ll be a game night, with very strict rules, guidelines and time boundaries. All of that goes to hell however when a bunch of guys Alexis invited from off the street arrive to do some serious drinking. David, horrified, retires to his parent’s room for the duration of the evening to read. The look of disappointment on Stevie’s face shows how fond she is of David and when she goes to try and talk him into returning to the party to help her team win at charades, it’s a real moment. David is smart, funny and uptight; Stevie seems to be the only one in town who “gets” him, and much to her surprise, vice versa.

As for Moira who spends much time alone watching television, Roland’s wife Jocelyn’s (Jennifer Murphy) offer to take Moira to the local salon for a “spa day” recently came out of left field. Moira was mortified at the hairdo she ended up with but tried to hide the fact from Jocelyn, who after all, had paid for it. Moira is caught completely off-guard again when Jocelyn, ever polite but much more aware than one might think for someone who’s married to a guy like Roland, stops by to tell her she knows Moira hates the new hairdo, and knows that she hates Schitt’s Creek, but that the people there are just trying to help, and that Moira might need them someday, so she’d just better try and get used to it. Moira explains that she doesn’t really hate the town, all evidence to the contrary, but it’s not her town, and the hairdo is not her, though it looks great on Jocelyn. Neither woman pulls any punches during this conversation, and it’s a breakthrough moment of honesty.
Amid all the moments of laugh-out-loud fish-out-of-water comedy on Schitt’s Creek, there are genuine moments of poignance and discovery when expectations and assumptions on the part of the Roses and the other citizens are turned upside down, and therein lies the brilliance of the show. The Roses technically own the town, but economically and geographically, they’re strangers in a strange land. Doing their best to support each other through one of the roughest times of their lives, they find compassion and common ground in unexpected places, with unexpected people.

I wouldn’t exactly call Schitt’s Creek, a dark comedy, but perhaps a grey comedy. It has its darker moments, like at the end of the first episode and their first day in town, when the family is saying good night to each other; Moira closes the good nights with, “Let’s all pray we never wake up.” Even the show’s theme song begins with decorous, inquisitive notes (from a French horn, perhaps?) then slowly builds to a regal tune of perseverance: dignity. That’s what the Roses are trying to maintain, along with their sanity.

Review: Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew

Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance CrewThe robot warrior known as Herotron is famous throughout the Republic of Worlds as a champion of peace, a defender of justice and a protector of all colonized planets. Whenever a new galactic threat might arise, Republic citizens can rest easy knowing that Herotron and its brave Pilots are out there.

But what most people don’t realize is that deep within Herotron’s service tunnels, an overworked Maintenance Crew struggles to keep the robot working. It’s a never-ending job done in terrible conditions, and it doesn’t help that Herotron’s Pilots are complete morons.

Erica Pratch always wanted to pilot a giant robot, but when she received her rejection notice she opted for the next best thing – working inside of one as part of the maintenance crew. Now along with an eclectic crew of mechanics and misfits she saves the galaxy every day by making sure that, despite the efforts of the inept pilots and an infestation of space parasites, Herotron makes it home from every mission in one piece.

Voltron? Zoids? Gundam? We know the pilots of all of these robots, but there’s got to be a crew that keeps them running right? This is the series that explores that. Created by Nate Hill and Mervyn McKoy (Hill writes and McKoy provides art), Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew is absolutely hilarious, playing off nostalgia, and poking fun at the somewhat classic genre. I loved the story, it’s fun, funny, just perfectly entertaining. The story really bounces all over to a point you don’t know what to expect, and at points it gets out there. But, even when it does, the story is laugh out loud funny.

The art is entertaining and a solid match to the tone, with a cartoonish feel, but also a kinetic punch to it all. Like the story itself, the art is an homage to what’s come before.

The series is fantastic, and as a fan of the type of story that it spoofs I enjoyed it even more. If you’ve ever wondered how those giant robots keep working, this is the series for you. If you just want a funny and entertaining comic to read, this is absolutely for you.

Story: Nate Hill Art: Mervyn McKoy
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Cosmic Times provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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