Author Archives: Brett

TV Review: Stargirl E102 S.T.R.I.P.E.

Stargirl

Stargirl featured a solid debut that dripped with nostalgia and saccharine sweetness. The second episode picks things up quickly as Pat explains to Courtney about the Injustice Society of America and we get hints as to why the Injustice Society is all in one small town.

What’s briefly mentioned feels like something we’ve seen so many times before but it works and explains a Pollyanna-ish town.

What the episode does right, and right away, is to continue the dynamic between Pat and Courtney. There’s something that really clicks and works between Luke Wilson’s Pat and Brec Bassinger’s Courtney. They’ve got a timing that plays off each other and moments, like when they both say they hurt themselves on the stairs, really plays off their dynamic which relies heavily on humor.

And that goes into the humor of the show. Much like the debut episode, the second has a lighthearted sense about it. That’s best shown in Pat getting S.T.R.I.P.E. to work in a sequence full of fantastic moments. We also get the segment of Courtney creating her costume which breaks the mold of the sequence going smoothly, takes on stereotypes of women, and also is just funny. Both segments really set up the tone of the show which tends to be a bit less serious than other DC live-action shows.

That sequence, like so much else of the show, really highlights the production value of the show. S.T.R.I.P.E. looks really great, so much so I’d love to see segments in how they put it together. There’s also something very “Iron Giant” about it, again tapping into nostalgia.

What the episode also does it set up the future. There are moments that feel like they foreshadow future threats once the Injustice Society is defeated. It’ll be a while before we see how that plays out and most likely won’t happen until a second season.

The episode continues the solid start of the pilot delivering humor and entertaining moments. There’s a good blending of the superhero genre with that of a small town setting. And, while it hints as to why everything has come to this one point, what is teased works and makes sense.

In the end though, what the episode really does is surprise. While there’s so much nostalgia, Stargirl flying by the moon is very ET, what’s said and where the episode goes is unexpected. The finale of the episode isn’t the direction that one would think the series would go. It ends on an interesting moment, not just for Brainwave, but also for the relationship between Courtney and Pat.

Stargirl isn’t the best comic adaptation that has been done for live-action but there’s an enthusiasm and innocence about it that’s unmatched. It’s hard to not just smile and enjoy the series.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E2 Prepare to Brace

Snowpiercer

In the second episode of Snowpiercer, “Prepare to Brace,” Layton uses his new position as the train detective to investigate the murder while gathering intelligence for the revolution on the side. Melanie faces a resource crisis with potentially drastic consequences for the entire train.

The second episode of the series does a bit better of a job diving into the themes of the show, especially the disparity and brutality of the reigning regime. The episode opens with punishment being meted out for the uprising in the first episode. It’s a brutal in your face reminder that those that rule see the individuals in the back of the train as less than human because they’re not ticketed. Adults or children, it does not matter, justice and order shall reign and those who rock the peace shall be sacrificed to “appease” the train.

The episode continues to tell much of its story and world through the visuals. As Layton explores the train, we the viewer, do as well. Each train car tells a story with so much detail pack in it begs to be watched again.

An prime example here is the nightcar concert. It’s hard to not watch the excess and free expression while knowing the suffering in the back of the car is occuring. What’s interesting is what we also see happen in that car, which hints that the order from outside the tail might not be as present as believed and there may be potential allies.

The nightcar does allow us to learn more about Andre’s life before the train. We get a better sense of who he is and it’s a positive direction. Up to this point we just know he snuck on the train with family, lying about being a detective, and plotting a revolution. These aren’t exactly the makings of a straightforward hero. Instead we at least get a better sense of who he was before in a “loving” sense.

But, where the episode goes from there is interesting. Andre discusses the gangs and cannibalism that happened in the tail creating a sharp contrast with the individual we just saw. And the episode continues its uses of visuals by then cutting to the cows of the cars setting a contrast between what the tail has needed to do to survive compared to what the rest of the train has done.

From there, we get a bit more potential of the show as threats in the environment itself emerge with the train taking a beating from the snow and entire cars wiped out from a breach and the cold. That, along with the choices that stem from it continue to tease the potential of the show. And the entire episode is mostly those teases. We see the disparity of the cars and the people. We also see the choices that need to be made due to resources. It really continues the first episode’s setting up the world the show takes place.

While the debut felt a bit too much focused on Andre and his solving a murder, the second episode uses that as just a plot to set up our exploration of the train and the world and a tool for potential revolution.

The second episode is an improvement on the first teasing the potential of the series and bringing it more into focus of what was expected from the previous graphic novels and film. While still a bit drawn out, it’s setting up an intriguing series with a lot of potential.

Overall Rating: 7.15

Tampa Bay Comic Con Becomes the Floridaman of Conventions

Leeroy Jenkins

Conventions have been cautious this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic either delaying shows until later in the year or canceling them outright. Then there’s Tampa Bay Comic Con screaming “Leeroy Jenkins” right into the disease vector that is Florida.

The convention has received a “green light” to go on in July after a confirmation from the Tampa Convention Center and Tampa Fire Marshall. The convention takes place July 10-12.

Meausres for the convention include:

  • Mandatory temperature screenings for all occupants prior to entering the convention center
  • Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures in high-traffic areas of the convention center
  • Hand santizing stations through the pre-function space and high traffic areas
  • Interior occupancy of the exhibit hall, ballrooms and meeting rooms will be strictly limited, with one-way entrances and one-way exits of all interior spaces

Florida has made the news numerous times during the current pandemic for its poor response. Recently a scientist said she was fired for refusing to change data to support the state’s reopening plan. The state has had a history of large gatherings that are hot spots for spreading the virus resulting in attendees falling ill and some dying.

Florida currently has 46,944 confirmed cases and 2,052 deaths. That’s 2,463 cases per 1 million individuals, about half of the United State’s current statistic. Hillsborough County, where Tampa Bay is located has 1,670 confirmed cases currently with 60 deaths. That’s about 1,317 cases per 1 million people. There’s also the unknown outbreaks and concern over children and Kawasaki disease which seems to be related to COVID-19 which has been reported in the county the convention takes place.

Florida had been making progress in their battle against the disease but things have stalled and they’ve stopped making progress. There’s also the issue of trusting “positive” data coming out of the state based on the willingness to change data as per the article above. There are reports that the trend of new cases is upward.

We’ll obviously not be attending as we care about our health a bit more than conventions and hopefully, we’re wrong and there’s nothing to report once the convention wraps up.

Review: Disaster, Inc. #1

Disaster Inc #1

A story about tourism when we can’t go anywhere is a weird sort of escapism. A story about tourism to disaster areas feels appropriate. Disaster, Inc. #1 kicks off an interesting concept of a series.

At its heart, the story is about a rather shady individual running a tourism company that takes those willing to pay into dangerous zones they’re not supposed to go. In this case, the series begins with Fukushima, Japan which was impacted by a nuclear meltdown after a tidal wave.

But, of course that’s not all there is.

Writer Joe Harris gives us a touch of the supernatural kicking off the issue with two researchers who meet an untimely demise. Why and how? Well, that’s the mystery we’re going to figure out, it’s just the tourists have no idea that’s what lays ahead for them.

Harris also delivers a cast that’s generally unlikeable. Beyond the abused assistant Abby, all the tourists and the two other individuals running the tourism operation all come off as people I want to see catch radiation poisoning. And that makes the series really intriguing. Imagine a slasher horror film where you want to see everyone die. There’s something oddly satisfying in that.

The art by Sebastian Piriz with lettering by Carlos M. Mangual is solid. The characters all have personality oozing from how they’re depicted. What Harris doesn’t hint at for personalities through the dialogue, we get the rest of the story through clothing and body language. There’s also some beautiful moments full of unease oozing with unforeseen dread.

Disaster, Inc. #1 kicks off a really intriguing new series from a solid creative team. The concept feels fresh and different. It also feels rather timely considering all of the chaos we’re surrounded by. It’s a different sort of series delivering a little entertaining horror to the real world.

Story: Joe Harris Artist: Sebastian Piriz
Color: Sebastian Piriz Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: The Stringbags

The Fairey Swordfish was an outdated biplane in the age of monoplanes. It was underpowered and undergunned and obsolete. Instead, it flew into legend during World War II.

Writer Garth Ennis delivers three interconnected stories taking place during World War II about this legendary plane.

Story: Garth Ennis
Art: PJ Holden
Color: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Rob Steen

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle
Bookshop.org

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Hostage

Hostage

In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world.

Artist and writer Guy Delisle recounts André’s experience in Hostage the new graphic novel from Drawn & Quarterly that’s one of the most fascinating graphic novels I’ve read this year. Delisle recounts André’s experience in an almost 500-page book that goes over the details no matter how mundane it may seem. And I think that’s what’s most fascinating about it all. This isn’t a story where André is being taken out and his life threatened, that experience comes from his head. Instead, the graphic novel is actually almost ordinary in a way. Day in and day out André is handcuffed in his setting given soup and bread to eat and recounting the days. How he spent the three months and what was occurring on his side is the interesting part.

This isn’t a story about negotiations and failed transfers. Instead, this story focuses on what André imagines is going on, or just straight up ponders. Why was a photo taken? Why did he have to provide a phone number? Telling the story only from André’s perspective provides us the reader a confinement that reflects what André experienced. For pages and pages, the book devotes itself to the soup André eats and how his wrist deals with the handcuffs. Because that’s what André experienced. We see how André stayed alert during his time, how he counted the days, and his general thoughts. In reality, though, we only see and experience what André did.

Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it really means to be free. For those in the nonprofit sector or want to see the power of graphic journalist, Hostage is a fascinating read.

But, what struck me most, and Delisle enhances with his art is how far from an action movie it all is. Seriously, I want to go pack and see how much is devoted to discussing soup. But, the way it’s all presented is in a way so that we the readers who are unfamiliar with André’s experience don’t know what’s happening next. So, through the mundane tension increases as the story goes on.

Hostage is one of the most fascinating releases this year in both its story, attention to detail, and how it’s laid out. For a slice of real-life through graphic journalism, this is a must get.

Story: Guy Delisle Art: Guy Delisle
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


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Review: Churchill: A Graphic Biography

Ever wanted to learn about Winston Churchill? Churchill: A Graphic Biography walks you through the basics of what you want to know and is a good place to start to learn about this major historical figure.

Text: Vincent Delmas
Translated by: Ivanka Hahnenberger
Historical Consultant: Francois Kersaudy
Story-Board: Christophe Regnault
Design: Alessio Camardella
Art: Alessia Nocera

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Bookshop.org

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: 2020 Ironheart #1

2020 Ironheart #1

2020 Ironheart #1 is an interesting comic. It’s a tie-in miniseries to two different events that appear to be happening at the same time. Focused on Riri Williams, Ironheart, the issue takes on the current “2020” storyline playing out in Iron Man but also the “Outlawed” story impacted Marvel‘s younger heroes.

In “2020” Arno Stark has taken over Tony’s company and decides to wage a ware against Artificial Intelligence. In “Outlawed,” legislation has been passed banning kid superheroes. It’s two very different stories but writers Vita Ayala and Danny Lore brilliantly focus the issue on the morality of both plotlines.

2020 Ironheart #1 isn’t an action comic. Sure, there are some scenes involving out of control AI-powered cars. But, at its core, the comic is Riri debating her artificial intelligence, N.A.T.A.L.I.E. about what they should do. In this debate, the roles are reversed from expectations. Riri is the cold, logical individual, while N.A.T.A.L.I.E. is full of emotion. It’s an interesting thing to read as it plays out and circumvents expectations of a superhero comic where you’d expect them to punch things most of an issue. Instead, comes off more as a thought-provoking play than a blockbuster movie.

The art by David Messina is good. With color by Mattia Iacono and lettering by Joe Caramagna, visually the comic is solid though doesn’t quite suck you in. There’s some solid sequences when it comes to the action but the comic is about the quieter moments. Those quieter moments never quite deliver visually. And, that’s hard to do generally. The comic feels more cerebral than emotional and part of that is the visuals never quite connect emotionally. Still, they do the job in telling the story.

2020 Ironheart #1 is a good comic. But, unless you’re invested in the character or the two storylines that are connected, it’s hard to say this is a must get. Still, there’s some solid moments and debate about the role of superheroes within.

Story: Vita Ayala, Danny Lore Art: David Messina
Color: Mattia Iacono Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.15 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Superman Smashes the Klan

“Amazing,” that’s the simplest way to describe Superman Smashes the Klan, the graphic novel collecting the three-issue series.

Out now from DC Comics, it’s “Best of the Year” material with an additional essay from author Gene Luen Yang.

Fantastic story, beautiful art, this graphic novel is a must get.

Story: Gene Luen Yang
Art: Gurihiru
Letterer: Janice Chiang

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle
comiXology
Bookshop.org

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Cut is Coming to HBO Max

Justice League Snyder Cut

Warner Bros. has announced that Zack Snyder‘s version of Justice League will debut on HBO Max. The original version of Justice League debuted in late 2017 to very mixed reviews but a very vocal group has persisted since to allow the “Snyder Cut” to see the light of day.

That fan campaign eventually spread to the stars of the film with Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ben Affleck, and Jason Mamoa all speaking up to see Snyder’s version released.

The movie opened domestically with $93.8 million and went on to earn $229 million domestically, $428.9 million internationally, and $657.9 million worldwide. Snyder had to step away from the project due to family tragedy with Joss Whedon stepping in to complete the film.

Snyder said about the news:

I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality.

Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, Warner Media Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer is quoted as saying:

Since I got here 14 months ago, the chant to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut has been a daily drumbeat in our offices and inboxes. Well, the fans have asked, and we are thrilled to finally deliver. At the end of the day, it really is all about them and we are beyond excited to be able to release Zack’s ultimate vision for this film in 2021. This could never have happened if it weren’t for the hard work and combined efforts of the teams at HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures.

Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer at HBO Max, President, TNT, TBS and truTV added:

When Zack and Debbie shared the extraordinary vision of where Zack wanted to take Justice League, my team and our counterparts at Warner Bros. took it as a mission to solve the many issues that stood in the way. Thanks to the partnership at Warner Bros. and the relentless pursuit of the entire WarnerMax team we are able to deliver this incredibly exciting moment for Zack, the fans and HBO Max.

Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group also said in the news:

Thanks to the efforts of a lot people, we’re excited to bring fans this highly anticipated version of Justice League. This feels like the right time to share Zack’s story, and HBO Max is the perfect platform for it. We’re glad the creative planets aligned, allowing us to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut.

Rumors of screening of the film has persisted with one supposedly happening for Warner Bros. executives earlier this year.

HBO Max is set to launch on May 27th.

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