Author Archives: pharoahmiles

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Superman and Lois Delivers a Near Flawless Pilot

Superman and Lous

Summary: Superman and Lois’ return to idyllic Smallville is set to be upended by mysterious strangers.

Positives

The Superman and Lois Pilot gives an exceptional angle on the relationship between its protagonists. The previous live-action iterations have shown a more idyllic interpretation, but this one shows more of a partnership. It’s also clear that Clark is smitten with Lois. Elizabeth Tulloch’s portrayal of Lois is more grounded than every previous one by other actors. It’s more in line with her current portrayal in the comics. The introduction of their children gives me vibes of a show which I actually liked, Jack and Bobby. It also stands out in giving one of the children a disability, something we have not seen at all in any of the shows about superheroes. 

Tonally, this show is much different than the other CW shows, which actually is great. Many of Berlanti’s shows tend to take the same tone after a while. It feels like something that was conscientiously done differently in this debut. The casting in this show is phenomenal, as everyone in this, fits perfectly, especially Emmanuelle Chriqui, as Lana Lang, and Tulloch as Lois Lane. Tyler Hoechlin is probably the most natural casting of Superman since Christopher Reeve wore the tights. Hoechlin gives both gravitas and relatability in the same breath. The fact that the show introduces relevant issues, like predatory lending, reverse mortgages, and xenophobia, puts a spotlight on societal ills much like Black Lightning has done in their previous two seasons.

Negatives

Superman and Lois is a near flawless pilot. The only things I can really gripe about is some of the story choices. The first being that his child doesn’t know his true identity. I’m guessing this is something that they are using as a plot device and will explore further in the future. The second one being that Clark’s parents have passed away. I would have loved to see more of that dynamic in this series.

Verdict

The Pilot for Superman and Lois is an extremely compelling and remarkable episode that proves the hype is to be believed. This is a very unique show which mixes family dynamics and superheroes, improving on Black Lightning’s formula. This is one that everyone should be watching.


Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writers: Greg Berlanti and Todd Helbing
Starring: Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Erik Valdez, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jordan Elsass, Alex Garfin, Katrina Kwan, Inde Navarrettem, Julie Nolin, Joselyn Picard, Adan Rayner, and Dylan Walsh

Review: Parenthesis

Parenthesis

Years ago I had a friend who I used to be stationed with in the military go through a terrible malady. To give it the proper perspective, he was 30 when he got the news of a horrible disease that would take away his sight, and eventually will kill him. To make matters worse, his wife at the time filed for divorce, making the “timing of his life” almost cruel to watch from afar. He did not want to be looked at with pity as he looked to triumph despite.

He would go through both his loss of sight and the loss of his family, with his head up, never wanting help and never really needing it. He found a way to push through. He would eventually tell me that it was hell at first, but his faith made him accept all that came his way. Though he is no longer with us as the disease ultimately took his life, it was his perseverance that has made me on my worst days think of his fortitude. In Elodie Durand’s Parenthesis, our protagonist has a life-altering event happen to her much like my friend. How she endures is what makes her the hero in this touching graphic novel.

We’re taken back to when our narrator first moved out of her parents’ house 25 years ago, to living on her own in Paris. As her solitude pushes her to start drawing, revealing bit by bit, fragments that she did not realize spoke of her, piecing together memories. As symptoms of a malady start appearing out of nowhere, leading her to forget stuff, and dismissing the episodes of having “spells”.  This leads her to see a neurologist, where she discovers that she is epileptic. She soon becomes a recluse and becomes resolved in the fact, that she has no control of her body any longer. All the while, she continues her master’s degree, refusing to let this be an impediment, but some bad news arrives via an MRI scan, an inoperable tumor. The amalgamation of these facts only deepens her depression, and through a biopsy, found out it was cancerous. Soon she would lose track of time, because of the treatments, where life mostly consisted of trips to the hospital and eventually leading to the tumor being operable, and her doctor, eventually getting treatment from a Gamma Knife. After which, her seizures only got worse, where she discovered she has cerebral edema, which leads to different treatments, and successfully shrinking the edema, eventually making the tumor, necrotic, with only a scar as a trace of the disease in the first place. She ends up using her “new lease on Life” to experience some new “firsts”. Though she felt brand new, she still had memory issues, leading her to more medicine and more treatments. By Parenthesis’ end, Elodie is epileptic no more, no longer disabled, and accepting her life as is.

Overall, Parenthesis is an engaging tome that guides the reader on a journey that would shatter most. The story by Durand is harrowing but ultimately, inspiring. The art by Durand is gorgeous. Altogether, a story in which the reader can more than appreciate this hero’s journey.

Story: Elodie Durand Art: Elodie Durand
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.86 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Yearbook #1

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Yearbook #1

As a child of the 1980s, Saturday morning cartoons were always my jam. My cousins and I used to sit in front of the television half asleep watching hours of our favorite cartoons. There were some forgettable ones, like the Kid N Play cartoon and the Teen Wolf cartoon. Then there are the ones who used to confuse us, like the competing Ghostbusters cartoons, one with the movie characters and the other one with a gorilla in a fedora.

Then there are the all-time classics no matter what age, the ones that even your parents played with. One such franchise was G.I. Joe as it captured the imagination of my generation. It gave us a tease and had us imagine what we believed the military to be. In the comic book series of the same name, Larry Hama gives fans an excellent story in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Yearbook #1, one in which we see our heroes at their best.

We are taken to a train somewhere between New York City and Washington DC, where a special envoy is protecting a VIP, Dr. Adele Burkhart, who is in charge of a weapons system designed to annihilate all life on Earth. Of course, this trip gets interrupted, as COBRA boards the train and kidnaps the doctor. This leads to G.I. Joe going on a daring mission to rescue Dr. Burkhart from COBRA’s secret island lair. As they land on the island, a battle breaks out between GI Joe’s forces and COBRA, causing COBRA Commander, to unleash a weapon that Dr.Burkhart developed. By the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Yearbook #1‘s end, G.I. Joe thwarts COBRA’s attack.

Overall, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Yearbook #1 is a throwback issue which harkens back to the comics of yesteryear. The story by Hama is fun. The art by the creative team serves its purpose. Altogether, an exciting story that feels dated but remembers to entertain.

Story: Larry Hama Art: Netho Diaz, Herb Trimpe, Bob McLeod, Glynis Wein, and Jim Novak
Story: 9.2 Art: 7.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Star Wars Adventures: Rise of the Wookies

Star Wars Adventures: Rise of the Wookies

As a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I was more than happy to find out that there was a film adaptation. I remember the first time I read the books that took me to Middle Earth. I was 8 years old and was enraptured in that world and those characters. Of course, the film adaptation I found at that age was the Ralph Bakshi film of 1970s which left much to be desired. It wasn’t until 2001, that I got to see something that resembled the books.

Peter Jackson imbued the love all we fans had for the series. 20 years later, and I am still in love with those movies, and have even more hope for the new Amazon series. My favorite of Peter Jackson’s movies from that series was The Two Towers as we see our heroes defend the people of Rohan against Sauran’s forces. In the 11th volume of Star Wars Adventures, we get Rise Of  The Wookies, where we see Chewie defend his home planet much like the Fellowship and Riders of Rohan.

In “Ghosts of Kashyyyk”, we find Chewie in the Millennium Falcon leading a Resistance squadron back to his home planet, Kashyyyk, where The First Order has set up a base. Chewbacca goes on a solo recon mission where he finds that First Order has some Wookies as captives which leads to him jailbreaking them and taking Storm Troopers as a prisoner. In our second story, ”Secret Agent Droids”,  our favorite droids, C-3PO, R2D2, and BB-8, thwart the First Order’s plans to block all communications from a desolate planet. In our third story, “Tales From Wild Space”, we meet a young upstart, Emil, who discovers a long lost library, who ends up getting mind-controlled, but not before he is rescued by his droid. In “Loyalty Test”, the First Order arrives on the planet, Vaddexa, where Hux and Kylo Ren, get to test each other’s loyalty. In “Squad Goals”, Poe and Rey, go on a training drill, one that tests Rey’s piloting skills. In The last story,” The Battle for Horizon Base”, Finn leads the charge against the First Order, who is trying to take over an important focal point, and eventually recruits more to the Resistance.

Overall, a fun romp throughout the Star War universe. The stories by John Barber and Michael Moreci are compelling. The art by the creative team is enchanting. Altogether, a set of stories that reminds you why you fell in love with these characters in the first place.

Story: John Barber and Michael Moreci
Art: Derek Charm, Jake M. Wood, Tom B. Long, Matt Herms, David Buisan, Arianna Florean, Charlie Kirchoff, Mario Del Pennino, Valentina Taddeo,
and Tony Fleecs
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Reccomendation: Buy

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Review: Teddy

Teddy

The last 4 years are one of ruin, hate, and the rise of idolatry, and the widespread acceptance of willful ignorance. It has shown the world, just how ugly America and Americans are. It also has shown systemic racism is and has been part of the national fabric since the birth of our country. This all begins with whom we identify as our nation’s leader.

The nation’s highest office once had dignity and pride connected before our national nightmare settled in. In fact, a name that was synonymous with the office and with those qualities was Roosevelt. We have been lucky to have two presidents to have that name and occupy it knowing history has its eyes on them. In Teddy, Laurence Luckinbill and Eryck Tait delve into who the 29th President and uncovers what made him so legendary.

We open to Roosevelt about to debate then President Woodrow Wilson. Personalizing the threat of World War I, he lets the crowd, know that he has sons on the front lines. This makes him nostalgic, making him remember his upbringing In Europe, trying to stand out in the midst of his siblings and how difficult it was for him to get into Harvard. AS he sought to better himself, and just when he started to burgeon at the college, his father dies, a man he was both adored and was scared of,  putting a kibosh on his future momentarily. As this event forced him to be introspective, as he soon found out more about himself, realizing how much of his father trickled down to him, especially the part of being a politician, but he would take baby steps, first, becoming a lawyer. Then joining the New York State Legislature, where he got introduced to what so frustrating and despicable about politics in the first place, in a world where deals were made behind closed doors. As he would not only have to deal with the intricacies of the dirty world of politics, but he would also deal with the death of his mother of Typhoid Fever and his wife, Alice, who died after childbirth of his daughter, Lee, only mere hours apart, left politics and went west to the Dakota Badlands, to make a new life for himself. He would eventually fail as a rancher but would find his passion back in writing, transcribing his own histories of the still very young country. He would reconnect, with a childhood friend, Edith Carow, reigniting their friendship and eventual marriage, which refocus his efforts, which pushed him to become the Civil Service Commissioner, then the police Commissioner of the NYPD, and the Assistant Secretary Of The Navy, which under his watch, began the Spanish American War, and where he led the Rough Riders. This made him known and the eventual Vice President where he served under McKinley, who was assassinated, which lead him to occupy the Presidency, becoming the youngest one to, at 42. He would introduce progressive ideas like old-age pension, public housing, and regulation of large corporations. He would also spend time with his children, something he got to do, more so than any other time in his life. He would talk about the trials and tribulations he to go through with the Panama Canal, listing what made the effort worthwhile. He would leave the presidency after seven and a half years, to gallivant around the world in ways he could not before as a President, as he also struggled to not be as effective as a civilian, seeing the tragedy of World War I unfold, and hoping and wishing for his sons to come back home safely.  By the book’s end, he implores the audience and the reader, the importance of living.

Overall, Teddy is a personal look into probably the most iconic President to have ever held the office. The story by Luckinbill is extraordinary. The art by Tait is awe-inspiring. Altogether, Teddy is a graphic novel that makes this important historical figure both relatable and relevant.

Story: Laurence Luckinbill Art: Eryck Tait
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Transformers vs. The Terminator

Transformers vs. The Terminator

As a child of the 1980s, I can truly say that television was in its heyday. We got to enjoy some of the best programming that many of us still revel in. It has gotten to the point where many of these shows are coming back in some form. You can look at the past few months, for evidence of this.

One of the best things about those television shows, especially the ones on ABC, was the crossover episodes. Usually, a crossover between similar shows made sense, which is why NBC’s Chicago franchises enjoy this flexibility. This is also why the Avengers movies are so enjoyable, seeing a cast of literally thousands come together after years of build-up. In Transformers vs. The Terminator, a crossover between two iconic franchises makes for an interesting story.

We’re taken to Los Angeles in 2029, where the war between humans and Skynet has taken a cease-fire, as the Decepticons are waging a war on Planet Earth, looking to conquer by any means necessary.  Skynet sends a Terminator back to 1984, a T-800, where he meets a young Sarah Connor, and who in this timeline, still is the key to defeating the enemy, the Decepticons. As he searches for the Autobot Base, it seems like he may be too late, as Megatron stands over his lifeless body, which is when the T-800 surprises them with suppression fire. This gives Bumblebee a chance to rescue Optimus, and give the Autobots an upper hand. Meanwhile, we find out Megatron is in search of Energon on earth, something he finds in multitudes at the Cyberdyne Systems plant, which leads to a standoff between the T-800 and the Autobots against the Decepticons.  By the book’s end, one villain falls while one hero looks for all Transformers to live peacefully, while T-800 accomplishes its mission.

Transformers vs. The Terminator is a fun story that meshes the best parts of both franchises. The story by the creative team is thrilling and relatable. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a story that asks the question of why there are not more stories like this.

Story: David Mariotte, John Barber, Tom Waltz
Art: Alex Milne , David Garcia Cruz, Jake Wood and Gavin Fullerton
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1

As a huge fan of Star Wars, I never could get enough of the literary canon. The books that encapsulated this world in the years between the original trilogy and Lucas’s second trilogy are some of the best. The books looked to fill those plot holes which fans always wondered about. For the longest time, fans had given up hope on any new movies.

This is exactly why the books filled that crucial void that fans felt. It brought us back to that universe and reminded us of the stakes our heroes had. It is within those books, an auteur like Timothy Zahn gave fans a heartfelt love letter within his sprawling novels. I do enjoy the new ones, but it exists within a world where opportunities to consume Star Wars are numerous. That still includes books but also now podcasts, TV shows, and movies. In IDW Publishing‘s Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1 we find some of those same ghosts within these stories.

We are taken to the Trymant System, where a group of young Padawans, under the guidance of Yoda, are on a mission to Bralanak City, to save the people from hyperspace disaster fallout, and where a young Jedi, Lula Talisola, will soon become his brightest. Meanwhile in Bralanak City, we meet Zeen Mralan inhabitant who had been thought their whole lives to beware of the Force. Yoda deploys the Padawans on speeders to save any civilians they can, which leads to a skirmish with some pirates looking to loot the planet. By issue’s end, a secret comes out , which only draws opposition.

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1 is an exciting debut issue that stokes the nostalgia from the first six movies of the franchise. The story by Daniel Jose Older is grand and exciting. The art by Harvey Tolibao is gorgeous. Altogether, a story that pushes the narrative on the Star Wars Universe, giving way to more ways to explore.

Story: Daniel Jose Older Art: Harvey Tolibao
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales

Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales

As somewhat disputed as the Clone Wars movie was, the television show is a whole different discussion. The Dave Filoni helmed epic was more than a television show, it was a love letter to the original trilogy. It comprised of some of our favorite characters while giving us what happened between the 2nd and 3rd movies. It did so much more, and even more so than any of the nine movies that comprise the primary canon.

As it uncovered who the storm troopers were, that they were not only clones. It gave each of the characters within the show, their own personalities, all very unique. They all became even more relatable which makes the end, so heartbreaking. In Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales, we get some new adventures that give a few new memories of these fan favorites.

We are taken to the Planet Hisseen, where a Republic squadron is taking fire from Battle Droids, and where Obi-Wan and Anakin swoop in to save them. Rex tells a story of when Anakin kept his troops safe from a goo monster on the planet Benglor. In another story, the Wolfpack is sent on a dangerous mission, to rescue a hostage from an impermeable fortress. In one tale, Padme learns of some Intel of a hidden base holding unsanctioned prisoners, leading to a prison break. In another tale, we get our version of “Dirty Dozen in space”, adding to the legend. In the last story, we get a story of Obi-Wan helping the inhabitants of Caliban free themselves of General Grievous.

Overall, Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales is a fun collection of stories that imbues the spirit of the series. The stories by Moreci are encapsulating. The art by the creative team is awe-inspiring. Altogether, a nice visit with some very familiar characters.

Story: Michael Moreci
Art: Derek Charm, Arianna Florean, Megan Levens, Mario Del Pennino, Luis Antonio Delgado Valentina Taddeo, Charlie Kirchoff, Thomas  Dear, Rebecca Nalty, and Valentina Pinto
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.2 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice

Rene Auberjonois was one of those actors whose calming voice, steady demeanor, and gravitas made him both inscrutable and mesmeric. I remember watching him as a child on the all time classic, Benson. Looking back now, his character of Clayton, was the Squidworth (Spongebob Squarepants)of that show. He would go on to portray even more memorable characters throughout the rest of his years.

One of my favorite characters that he brought to the screen and much more deserving of his talents was Constable Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His keen eye and sharp mind made for a memorable performance as the lone lawman on this classic iteration of Star Trek. The show pushed on the actors’ strengths, even more so with Auberjonois’s talents. In Constable Odo’s solo adventure he uncovers a mystery. In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice, the character unravels his own Murder on the Orient Express aboard the space station.

We open on Garak and Bashir having lunch, when suddenly a bomb goes off in Lavin’s Eatery, leading Odo to arrive on deck, to investigate. Eight dead bodies are found, leading Odo to question everything, even pondering the possibility that Quark may be a suspect and finding a clue in Rodinum darts. Sisko handles the diplomatic fallout, which pushes Odo to find the truth that much more integral. Everyone on board including Worf has their own suspicions about who is at the center of this deadly massacre, but what doesn’t help, is the consistent accumulation of dead bodies, even those who were suspects. Eventually, he gets help in the form of Inspector Retlaw, of Federation Security, who is also a Betazoid, making him an empath, leading to someone who was seen putting together an arms deal, just days before, Vedek Teler. By book’s end, remnants of past hostilities and avarice of others haunt the guilty party, and Odo to both be empathetic yet firm in his decision to arrest them.

Overall, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice is a searing crime noir that is only upended by its setting, and its excellent characterization. The story by the Tiptons is superb. The art by the creative team is alluring. Altogether, a story that brings us back to the space station, in this fun murder mystery.

Story: David Tipton and Scott Tipton Art: Greg Scott, Ricardo Drumond, Felipe Sobreiro, and Neil Uyetake
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Acursian Chapter 10

Acursian Chapter 10

As a parent, we often make sacrifices that we don’t vocally espouse. That is the point of being a parent, being selfless, taking care of the ones you love, and doing almost anything that’s needed. That “almost anything” is where most test the bounds of our love. You can only hope it is reciprocal but your children’s’ reliance on you is unquestionable.

We have seen our share of parents throughout comics. Most seem pretty bad but a few are pretty good. Parents can be conduits for our life’s journey. We can always hear our parent’s words no matter how far away they are or if they are still with us. In Acursian Chapter 10, one matron makes a powerful sacrifice.

We’re taken back to the Isle Of Shadows, where Ceillech’s mother is down to her last breaths, imploring Ceillech to take her to Alba, as she is their only hope. We also catch up with Charlie and Corra in Hoover’s America, where they are hiding out in an abandoned house, hoping to figure out a plan to find the dagger, but right when they get comfortable a SWAT team looks to apprehend them. WE find Ceillech making a deal with Alba, one that would seal her fate and force her daughters to find the talismans. By the issue’s end, Charlie starts to question Nate’s powers and he may have found a clue where the dagger is.

Overall, Acursian Chapter 10 is a brilliant chapter that lends empathy to the antagonists. The story by the creative team is rewarding. The art by the creative team is incredible. Altogether, a story that adds another piece to an already intriguing story.

Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and  Tommy Lee Edwards
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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