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Review: Werewolves Within pokes fun at American politics and sneaky lycans, in that order

Werewolves Within
Werewolves Within poster

Imagine a werewolf story where the coming of the full moon is the least of the main character’s worries given he’s surrounded by a group of people more invested in the construction of a pipeline than the prospect of being torn to shreds by a lycanthrope. That, in a nutshell, is Werewolves Within, directed by Josh Ruben and written by Mishna Wolff.

Based on the VR game of the same name, Werewolves Within centers on a group of people forced to stay together under a single roof, during a snowstorm, just as a series of grizzly happenings have scared everyone into thinking a werewolf is loose on the small town of Beavertown.

The story unravels like a game of Clue, where every character is a suspect, only in this case the suspicion revolves around the identity of the werewolf. And yet, the movie takes a sharp turn into oddball political paranoia, in which each suspect is a unique caricature of American politics that makes them as predictable as they are dangerous. It’s as if everything is split between party lines, right down to the way the group should go about solving the mystery.

The main divide that pits each character against each other is the potential construction of a pipeline through the natural beauty that surrounds Beavertown. A bullyish, macho oil man is all for the pipeline and is trying to get as many residents to his side as possible while an environmentalist, a forest ranger, a mailperson, the owner of the local inn, and a rich gay couple stand it total opposition to it.

Werewolves Within
Werewolves Within

A woman with small business aspirations (and a cute small dog called Chachi), her creepy grabby husband, and a money-hungry couple are all for the pipeline. Alliances are drawn from each side’s prejudices against the other and that’s where the movie finds its groove.

Werewolves Within’s two main leads, Finn and Cecily (played by Sam Richardson and Milana Vayntrub respectively), are the glue that keeps everything together. Finn is Beavertown’s new forest ranger and Cecily is the town’s mailperson. Their chemistry carries an undeniable pull that immediately places them as people worthy of trust in case of a werewolf crisis. They’re easy to root for, which makes all the violence around them bite that much harder.

What’s smart about the two leads is that they function as balancing agents, towing the line between the left-leaning suspects and the pro-pipeline right-wingers. To be clear, I don’t believe the movie is a right-wing bashing free-for-all where the more liberal camp comes out as the clear winner. Each side is a caricature of itself and the movie invites making fun of everyone.

You might’ve already noticed I haven’t mentioned the werewolf that much. There’s a reason for that, but I’ll let the movie do the talking on that front. I’ll say this, the direction they take it in is whip-smart and well worth the many twists and turns the movie throws at its audience at nearly every turn.

Werewolves Within is a remarkable satire of our current political climate and it uses horror conventions just as well as it subverts them to make it stand out. It serves a higher purpose and it’s all the better for it. It has quite a few tricks up its sleeves, and you’ll laugh hard through each one as you try to figure who is and who isn’t an asshole. I mean, who is or who isn’t a werewolf.

Review: Eve #1

Eve #1

The idea that kids will inherit our battles and will be forced to fight them is not a new one. It appears enough in fiction to be considered a deeply rooted generational fear about how humanity is authoring its own destruction and thus needs to be rescued by its youngest members. BOOM! Studios new series, Eve, considers this same set of circumstances, but the devil’s in the details, and writer Victor LaValle has made sure things shine enough in that department to set itself apart from the rest.

Eve tells the story of a young black girl who emerges from a stasis tank only to meet an android teddy bear called Wexler that tells her she has to save the world after it was ravaged by global climate change. And that’s just the beginning.

Vibrantly illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, the comic goes on to set up global devastation as the new normal, but not a permanent one if Eve and Wexler have anything to say about it. There’s a very lived-in feel to the setting in Eve. Every panel is given the chance to substantially add to the worldbuilding and Mi-Gyeong’s clever inclusion of everyday objects strewn around the environment gives everything a layered sense of story.

Brittany Peer’s colors are surprisingly restrained and do an excellent job of keeping the environmental aspect of the story seem grounded in reality, especially during its most sci-fi moments. Even Wexler comes across as a semi-realistic invention that occupies a plausible physical space along with Eve. It’s truly an accomplishment considering the book has a YA look about it that initially gives it a cartoony vibe.

Eve #1

LaValle’s script seems interested in allowing Eve to actually embody the idea of salvation in regards to our broken planet. Unlike other post-apocalyptic tales of this kind, Eve presents its Earth-saving mission as a real possibility, one that can bring about change and harmony between humanity and nature if the former learns how to take care of the latter.

I would be making the new comic a disservice if I didn’t mention that Wexler, the android teddy bear, is likely to burrow into readers’ hearts and never leave. Unless this is all a ploy to later reveal he’s an evil character or that he’s going to sabotage Eve, Wexler’s design and the amount of emotion it allows him to express is sure to help him become a fan favorite. Issue #1 already presents him as a character that one hopes survives all the way to the end.

Eve herself is also easy to root for. She’s very aware of her emotional state and comes across as mature beyond her age. LaValle makes her and Wexler’s dialogue transpire in a serious manner as well. The book isn’t afraid to make readers interact with big ideas that require a higher degree of thought. It’s never inaccessible, but nothing is sacrificed for the sake of simplicity.

With a final page that’s sure to get readers excited about what’s coming next, Eve #1 is the start of what looks to be an entirely different kind of environmental storytelling. Its characters are instantly likable and the setting carries enough visual flair to distinguish it from some of the other stories on the market. Eve is the type of comic you open a subscription box for.

Story: Victor LaValle Art: Jo Mi-Gyeong
Color: Brittany Peer Letterer: Andworld Design
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Beta Ray Bill #1

Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill #1

There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in Daniel Warren Johnson’s new Beta Ray Bill mini-series. In fact, it’s what stands out despite a giant set-piece fight in Asgard against a Fin Fang Foom bearing the mark of the King in Black. What’s at the heart of this comic is a very aesthetically charged look at beauty and self-worth, one that takes place amidst perfectly chiseled Vikings and Norse gods.

Beta Ray Bill #1 is basically a character study of the titular Korbinite (whose origin story sees the character transformed into the cybernetic creature he is today after the destruction of the Burning Galaxy by the hands of Surtur). Set within the events of The King in Black, Beta Ray Bill is tasked with protecting Asgard as its Master of War, wielding every weapon available to him except Stormbreaker, his iconic hammer. Thor broke Stormbreaker during a disagreement with Bill.

The story is adamant on getting to Bill’s insecurities and frustrations quick. Without spoiling much, his battle with Foom doesn’t go all that well and he’s upstaged by Thor. Bill thinks he’s at a disadvantage in these cosmic battles given Stormbreaker isn’t available to him, which makes him feel somewhat unprepared, inadequate even, to uphold the title given to him by Thor.

Daniel Warren Johnson, who also scripted the comic, portrays Bill like an exposed nerve, a powerful being that—regardless of being considered one of the strongest heroes in the galaxy—is still destined to lead the life of an outsider based on the way he looks. Johnson takes full advantage of this characterization to set him almost completely apart from the Asgardians, all of which are gloriously sculpted to physically embody the very concept godhood. Bill, on the other hand, looks uncomfortable in his own skin, self-aware. The comic points to making this type of self-perception the crux of its narrative, seemingly with the intent to challenge it.

Along with Mike Spicer on colors, Johnson’s art is outstanding. The energy he brings to all his stories have a deeply metal feel to it, almost as if you could hear Iron Maiden or Dio blasting in the background as the story unfolds. Beta Ray Bill is no exception. If anything, the book forms a certain kinship with another of Johnson’s books: Murder Falcon.

Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill #1

In Murder Falcon, heavy metal and giant monsters clash in a story that’s also about the emotional composition of a person’s sense of self, about how people feel in terms of regret, time, and death. That story’s approach to raw emotion seems to carry over somewhat to Beta Ray Bill, as does its contemplation on relationships and how they can be both restorative and destructive. For Bill, this aspect comes up with through his relationship with Lady Sif.

This is where the comic finds its most heart-wrenching moments. The degree of honesty behind them result in a series of emotionally harrowing sequences that make Bill questions his feelings as to his place in Asgard, among those he’s either befriended or expressed a more intimate kind of love to. By the end of my first read of this first issue, I felt my heart give a heavy pound or two as certain intimate things came to the fore. It’s a testament to how well-crafted Johnson’s script is and how good he is at capturing emotions in his comics.

Beta Ray Bill #1 is primed to be an emotional adventure with a mind to keep things cosmic both inside and outside its main character. To say that it’s exceptionally illustrated and colored is to state the obvious. Johnson and Spicer are a formidable storytelling team and if there’s one guarantee in all this is that the comic’s visuals will settle for nothing less than unforgettable. While that is special in itself, it’s the story’s heart where new narrative possibilities spring forth to entice readers. Expect this journey to tap into your entire emotional spectrum and remember to take your time enjoying each panel. Wondrous things abound in every one of them.

Script/Art by Daniel Warren Johnson Colors by Mike Spicer
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and keep a box of Kleenex close by.

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Fear Case #1

Fear Case #1
Fear Case #1, cover by Duncan Fegredo

Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hilary Jenkins are tapping into some True Detective vibes with Fear Case, the team’s new fantasy horror book for Dark Horse. To tie it only to that show, though, does a disservice to the range of ideas unleashed on this story. There’s a dark fantasy undercurrent to the plot that looks like it will grab hold as the comic progresses and there’s a Philip K. Dick reference in there that provides a big hint as to what’s coming. What’s certain is that this story has the potential to be among many ‘best of’ lists come year’s end.

Fear Case #1 focus on two Secret Service agents, one a New Age enthusiast with a love for speculative fiction (called Winters) and the other a more old-school agent that’s not keen on entertaining fantasies (called Mitchum). They’re on the last three weeks of a mysterious case assigned to them concerning a strange box that’s been seen in some of the world’s most enigmatic tragedies. It’s a case that’s eluded many other agents, driven some to madness even. It’s because of this that those who get the case have a one-year deadline to solve it, if they withstand it.

The setup is clean, enticing, and beautifully presented without really getting bogged down by insider shop talk, which tends to make reading procedurals and detective stories a bit cumbersome sometimes. Kindt’s dialogue smoothly transitions from light exposition to character development and it does look like one won’t overpower the other, something that tends to hound True Detective.

Tyler and Hilary’s art, an illustrator and colorist combo, keeps the tone dark and heavy but not to the point of making the book feel like a walk through hell to get at its mysteries. Their approach to tone is not meant to oppress the reader rather than to offer a counterbalance to Kindt’s lively and quick dialogue. They play off of each other nicely. It shows how synchronized this creative team is on this book.

Fear Case
Fear Case #1

The mystery behind the fear case has an air of conspiracy theory behind it, making the interaction between Winters and Mitchum unravel as a clash of worldviews. Winters indulges the more mystic elements of the case while Mitchum is willing to go beyond his comfort zone but only within reason. It’s a refreshing state of affairs that thankfully doesn’t result in the two characters sniping at each other from opposite extremes. They prefer the grey area, perhaps alluding to the possibility no clear answer will come from the case and that a lot will be left up to interpretation.

There’s enough in Fear Case’s first issue to justify following the series at a monthly basis. This is the kind of comic one desperately wants to continue reading once an issue is done. It just comes off as a very good pilot episode for a TV series, like the first episodes for Fringe and The X-Files. Much like those shows, Fear Case hooks you in immediately and I doubt you’ll put up much of a struggle given how good it is.

Script: Matt Kindt Art: Tyler Jenkins Color: Hilary Jenkins
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and brush up on your Philip K. Dick

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Adler #3

Adler #3

Much like a traveler on a seventeenth-century steamship, I’ve waited months to return to Victorian England. The wait is finally over as Adler returns to shelves this week with Adler #3. If you need a reminder of how the series began, you can check out my thoughts of the first issue. Then in the second issue, we were introduced to the series’ true “Big Bad.” The last issue also set up the challenges the heroines will face moving forward. Issue #3 expands on these challenges by setting the stakes Irene Adler, Jane Eyre, and Lady Havisham will find themselves pitted against.

After the first issue, each subsequent issue has opened with a “the story so far” section. This section is a nice touch, especially because it’s written like a journal entry and not plain exposition. It’s interesting that we’re still meeting the characters and Tidhar does a great job of using their introductions to increase the reader’s sense of mystery. Even though we’re starting to get an idea of the plot, Tidhar purposely leaves it unclear as to how all the characters fit into that plot. As a result the character development naturally moves the plotlines forward. Often in comic books these two aspects of storytelling run parallel to one another. In Adler, Tidhar blends these two literary elements into an organic storyline.

I really like how McCaffrey draws the characters. Each of the heroines in this series has their own unique look and is drawn like an actual woman. McCaffrey also does a great job drawing the period setting. Everything from the backgrounds to the buildings to the clothing fits the image I have in my head when I think of Victorian England. However, I continue to be baffled by the page layouts. The scene transitions aren’t always clear, and it can make it hard to follow the story. There are occasionally boxes that denote a scene’s location, which helped me keep track of the events in each scene. Yet there were several places across the last two issues, especially as new characters are randomly introduced, that I was forced to go back a few pages and re-read the comic in order to understand what events were occuring in seperate scenes or within the same scene.

Adler #3 was definitely worth the wait. The third issue of this ongoing series had great pacing, fun character moments, and exciting sequences. I’m an avid reader and have read many of the classics. My favorite part about this series is seeing which details from history and literature Tidhar chooses to keep and which he chooses to embellish or take in his own unique direction. In the first issue we get an alternate take on Jane Eyre’s life after the conclusion of her eponymous novel. Last issue, Tidhar took us on a deep dive into the Sherlock Holmes mythos. This issue was my favorite so far as it brought in some of the scientists of the Victorian era. Plus we get our first real glimpse into some steam-punk tech promised by the original description of the series. Much like the works that inspired many of its characters, Adler is quickly shaping up to be a classic.

Story: Lavie Tidhar Art/Color: Paul McCaffrey Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 10 Art: 7.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Warrior Nun S1S5 “Matthew 7:13”

Warrior Nun

We are finally at the halfway point of Warrior Nun and I’m just as impressed as I was from the beginning. There’s so much I want to say but I’m going to try and be as spoiler-free as possible so I’ll just give you the highlights. We finally get a sneak peek into why Dr. Salvius is so hellbent (sometimes I’m super punny) on opening a portal and fighting the church. Ava comes face to face with what the OCS is up against and Lilith makes a hard choice.

Fantastic Voyage: Ava and JC head off to do a fake-out by taking a ferry to Morocco with the intention of staying on the ferry and faking out every one chasing them by returning to another port in Portugal and continuing onward from there. Their budding romance is one of the most realistic, summer-loving/meet cute, nontoxic things that I have seen on screen. I love that her inner monologue is usually a reversal of the male objectification that we normally see, it shows that women also have thoughts about people they are interested in, and (GASP) sometimes it’s purely physical and sexual. I also like that JC seems to be OK with Ava’s innocence and doesn’t try to take advantage of her and respects her physical space unless given permission and her autonomy and I loved he initiating their first kiss (and a little bit more), even if it was to get out of answering his questions because she’s been wanting that kiss since the first episode. 9and more)

Smash the (Church) Patriarchy: Sister Beatrice is not here for being told what to do, she’s here for doing the right thing. I love the way her and Sister Mary are all about questioning the male-centric hierarchy of the church and are willing to defy orders and rebel when it seems that the male (Cardinal) giving the orders is not making good calls. I love how the writers make Beatrice and Mary two sides of the same coin, while Mary takes a more “Screw you, I do what I want” approach, Sister Beatrice is all about smashing the hierarchy from the inside with quick quips and tea spilling, she gets a full picture and asks all the questions.

Science Facts/Religion Fiction: We finally get an explanation of what Divinium is and Dr. Salvius shows security footage of the OCS attacking her lab security staff to show that the Vatican has declared war on her because she found a way to make a bridge to heaven. The Cardinal is still on his patriarchal bullshizz and even after the Doc says she wants to go to heaven, he insists that she is wrong, he knows best and her bridge goes to hell. He also thinks that she is unjustified in attacking or declaring war on the Vatican, even though they attacked her first because his attack was justified. I also love Sister Beatrice and Father Vincent questioning the Cardinal’s motives and orders and leaning on their consciences and not the church hierarchy.

Best Lines:

“As the chain of command rises to God, I am sure He knows he has my full support.” followed by , ” You may always count on me to remain faithful. To God.” – Sister Beatrice to the Cardinal when he tries to get her to side with him. It was the clean, verbal “miss me with that bullsh**” that we all needed and the Cardinal wasn’t expecting , especially from a woman but, deserved.

“The church sells dreams, it’s time for someone to sell reality.” – Dr. Salvius to Father Vincent on why she is trying to open the portal no matter the cost.

Episode MVP: Sister Mary. Everything about her is bad ass and everything the patriarchy hates. She’s a free thinker, she does what she wants, she’s smart and she’s a fighter.  Watching her go to battle on multiple occasions with Sister Lilith in some of the most realistic fight scenes in a tv show was fun and her logic and quips made it easy to root for her and her logic and emotions make it easy to be team Mary all the way.

Overall: If this episode was the season finale of the show, I would be checking Twitter every day to find out when the show was coming back because GAWD DAMN! was that ending FIRE! Luckily ( I really hope it doesn’t go downhill from here) there are five more episodes and if they are even half as good as the ones leading up to them, there’s more fire on the horizon. This midway point episode tied up everything we’ve learned about the Halo, Ava, the OCS and Dr. Salvius as tight as a newborn baby whose parents have perfected their swaddling method. It answered all the lingering questions and paved the way for the next chapter of this amazing story. There are NO plot holes, which is rare in a supernatural, religion-based show and nary a question about mythology because everything makes sense and the story is pretty easy to follow. Storywise it is a perfect mash-up of Buffy and Supernatural but, it requires very little suspension of belief and logic in order to just go with the story and plot. I also like how this episode puts the nail in the coffin of any thoughts the viewer might have had about how “F*** the Patriarchy” this show was and I’m here for it. This episode was directed by a woman and it shows, especially in the brief almost sex scene, the way it doesn’t ogle Ava or seem salacious, everything from the facial framing to the action and body shots is done perfectly and if you’ve ever wanted to know what the female gaze looks like, it is here in every scene.

Rating: 9.6

Review: Locke & Key “Crown of Shadows” S1E10

Locke & Key "Crown of Shadows" S1E10

Nina and the detective are celebrating her return to sobriety and she’s completely unaware of all the hi-jinks that her kids have been up to and the evil that is headed their way. Kinsey, Bode, and Tyler are anxiously waiting for Ellie’s return unaware that Dodge got to her and is now in possession of the crown and the key needed to control it, so when she shows up at the house with a literal army of shadows it’s game on.

I WAS ALL ABOUT:

  • Bode using a multicolored lightsaber to keep the shadows at bay while they hunt for more flashlights, then using it to defiantly stab a closing in on shadow monster causing it to go up in all the flames, is everything good and pure in this whole cold, heartless world.
  • I loved Scot using his horror knowledge to be the king of captain obvious when it comes to questioning all the off choices the team makes and Eden wondering what the plan is if Lady Doge wakes up why they’re carrying her through the spooky cave.
  • Bode finding Rufus’ body at his house while everyone else is off on their mission to open the black door and dump the body.
  • Kinsey coming to her senses and realizing that opening the black door might not be the best idea, at least until she let Tyler talk her out of it it.
  • Bode again being the voice of reason and questioning if they really got rid of Dodge because something wasn’t adding up for him.
  • Watching them release Rendell’s ashes and calling the house HOME for the first time.

WHAT WORKED: Throughout the season finale we are reminded that these are just kids messing with some very grown up (and ancient) magic. They make some rookie mistakes but, they also come up with some out of the box solutions that most adults wouldn’t have come up with. Things aren’t tied up in a nice little bow and it’s messy, like life and childhood and adolescence making it reliable wherever you are in your life cycle.

I also like shoving a lot in on the front end of the episode so that you find yourself lulled into a very false of security with twenty or so minutes remaining but, at the same time there was an uneasy feeling that kept you on your toes until the last five minutes when Kinsey after receiving a call from Gabe. After the phone call, the viewer gets to have it’s idyllic happy ending shredded when a flashback gives us a bunch of aha moments and we find out that Gabe Kaiser Sose’d Kinsey to get close to the keys, made evident by the flashback reveal that shows Lady Dodge body changing from him and then using the Anywhere Key to get into the party where she seduces Tyler. Eden got shot by a glowy bullet so there’s another demon on the lose and, if that wasn’t enough, Ellie is who got thrown into the pit because Lady Dodge used the Identity Key on her to lull the kids (and us viewers) into a false sense of security so that she could continue her hunt for the keys.

KINDA SUCKED: That you spent a lot of the episode hella sure that, Ellie got thrown into the pit in the black door in a Lady Dodge suit, poor Rufus making the aha moment when you find out you’re right, that much worse.

BEST MOMENT:  

TIE

  • Scot being honest about his feelings and telling Kinsey that what she wants (her dating both him and Gabe) isn’t going to work for him, so it’s best that they just stay friends.
  • Bode writing a letter to his friend Rufus as Nina puts up missing posters looking for Ellie.

BEST LINE:

“Is demon non-binary” – Scot

“You’re gonna have a knife fight with a demon?” – Eden

“If you’re undecided, then that’s your decision” – Scot

FINAL THOUGHTS:  This was a great final episode with amazing reveals a perfect ending for the show’s first season. I really hope that it gets renewed because I want to see more of Matheson, it might not be as dark and heartbreaking as the comics but, it’s still filled with great characters, a wonderful story, a well thought out and executed mythology and a rich world filled with people you can relate to, who happen to find themselves in magical situations. The series as a whole was cohesive and clever and this episode was the cherry on top of a great story sundae.

OVERALL: 9.4

Review: Locke & Key “Head Games ” S1E3

Locke & Key‘s third episode was all about the Head Key. The kids enter Tyler and Kinsey’s minds to dig up more memories of their father and deal with the trauma from their sudden loss of their dad. Bode finds the Ghost Key and uses it to talk to some of his ancestors since he can’t talk to his dad with it. Lady Dodge grabs the Fire Key from the ruins of Mark’s house and Kinsey literally buries her fears.

Locke & Key S1E3 Head Games

WHAT WORKED: In Head Games  Bode finally comes clean about the Lady, which is some info that the older siblings should have had from the beginning since they had no idea what they were actually up against. The title is a play on words and gives off a lot of hints about things that directly affect the episode’s progression. We learn more about the Head Key, how it can put things into your head and take things out just as easily as it allows you to just look around. The episode also deals with trauma and recovery from it, in some very real and honest ways, Tyler and Kinsey have been holding a lot of emotions, from guilt to anger, about their actions when their father was being murdered.

All those emotions are pushed front and center as the kids use the keys to open up memories but, to confront their inner demons (Kinsey does this literally and figuratively, although not in the healthiest of ways) and try to make sense of things. Up until this point, the keys were just fun and games, an easy fix to their real-world problems but, in this episode, the other shoe drops and the kids are forced to get somewhat on the same page with the Lady Dodge threat becoming real for all of them.

I liked that the writers took time to showcase all forms of dealing with stress and emotional trauma, they seem to have carefully written the story to make it clear that there is no right, or wrong way, to grieve or deal with trauma and there are no short cuts to dealing with it either. What was great about the way they handled their trauma depictions was that they didn’t say there was a wrong way or a right way, they just showed what was and it made their pain understandable, heartfelt and sincere which created a connection with the viewer on a human level.

BEST MOMENT: When Lady Dodge snatches a kids key from him and throws him on a subway platform through a new door it was shocking. But, it also provided us with first-hand visual knowledge of how ruthless she was and it set the tone for her future interactions with the Locke kids and anyone else who gets in her way. This seems summed up everything that you really needed to know about who Lady Dodge was and in a few simple frames took Locke & Key from a fantasy kid’s show to a dark fantasy show where anything could happen.

OVERALL: 8.4

Review: Supergirl “Back From the Future – Part One” S5E11

SPG511C_0003

After his secret meet-up with Lex in Episode 10, Brainiac breaks alt-universe Toyman out of prison and brings him to Lex, who tries to lure him to the darker but “good” side. The ladies try and cheer Nia up from her untimely breakup with Brainy as they all question what could have prompted his sudden change of heart. Lex lets Lena in on Brainiac’s involvement in their new save the world plan and at the ToyCon, Toyman takes a shot at his dad’s nemesis when Winn returns in a spacecraft and diverts the bullet and save his future.

SPG511C_0001

WHAT WORKED: In a show based on fantasy, the motivation behind the character’s actions were written, acted and directed in such a way that it was believable. Brainy is coming to realize that he made a deal with the devil and while logic might be a good thing to use, it doesn’t always account for human error. Winn getting all supersuited up and trying to catch the alta-verse Toyman version of him to save his future and keep his family in the future safe. Lex is still a scorpion and kind of self-centered, he breaks the Toyman out to coax future Winn back in time so that he can steal info from his ship, which would have worked but he forgot no one trusts Lex and they moved the ship leaving Brainiac to find a way to catch Toyman and get the info without letting his “team” know what he’s been up to. What worked in this episode was the human nature and realistic take on the trust and fallibility of humans.

SPG511A_0160b

BEST QUOTE:

“You promise me no one will get hurt.” – Lena to Brainiac & Lex

“I promise you no one will be harmed” – Brainiac to Lena

Which is ominous as f*** and with Brainy now running only on logic, that could mean a number of things and I’m not sure all of them are good.

SPG511B_0316b

BEST MOMENT: It was more a collection of moments where our boy Winn, who has been super missed, gets to reconnect with his old friends and get a rundown of the multiverse. Seeing the adorbs joy on his face when he gets that “Papa Bear” hug from J’onn J’onzz filled me with the warm and fuzzies.

SPG511B_0204b

EPISODE MVP: Nia. She has a lot to deal with following the out of the blue Brainiac breakup. She is dealing with some next-level emotional stuff and questioning her powers and place because of her trying to deal with the breakup. She gets next level gaslight by herself and to some extent Brainiac, who knew that her dream was about him betraying them but, was left to believe that it was about the breakup and when the tiger was with Brainy, she still didn’t put it together especially when Brainy said that Tigers were the Winslow College mascots and where they could find Toyman. What makes Nia the MVP in this episode isn’t her being on her game 100% of the time, what makes her the MVP is that she wasn’t and she dealt with it and when it was time to get her head in the game and fight, she did and she found a space to process her feelings so that she could continue on. Being strong enough to have feelings, be hurt, keep going, grow and be still kick ass against bad guys makes her the MVP because she showed that it’s okay to not be okay all the time.

Overall: 8.4

Review: Batwoman “An Un-Birthday Present” S1E11

BWN111a_0055b2

An alternate universe Beth shows up at Kate’s office and gets assaulted and chased off by Kate who thinks it’s another one of Alice’s games. Alice is still in holding by Sophie and her dad’s team while her little mouse goes on a kidnapping spree to secure her release. The city refuses to call Batwoman for help and after Kate connects with Beth and fills her in on the multiverse and why no one remembers her.

WHAT WORKED: The writers made Beth’s acceptance of the multiverse plausible by making her a physics major they also made the heartbreak real when she explained what happened in her universe when the car went over the bridge. While Kate is happy to have her sister back, instead guilt about fighting with the Alice her universe, knowing what happened that made it so that they could be together in Beth’s universe is sure to ring back her guilt over Alice and make things difficult in the future.

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BEST MOMENT: 

Tie- Kate getting a chance to save Beth and Beth getting a chance to save Kate, there was something beautiful about them knowing that their counterpart isn’t the one they grew up with but, they were still willing to sacrifice themselves for the other and if necessary die together.

The people of Gotham taking to the streets to demand that the Gotham Police Department turn on the Batsignal and Batwoman showing up backlit and looking fierce AF above the crowd, giving them hope.

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EPISODE MVP: Mary. She loves Kate and was willing to put her faith in that love when Beth showed up wearing the face of her mother’s killer she rolled with it and did due diligence to make sure that it wasn’t one of Alice’s tricks to get at her sister. Once she realized that it was in fact Beth as Kate had wanted her whole life she accepted her and even made her look like Alice in order to save Kate. Mary gets the MVP the emotional depth that Nicole Kang put into it made her real and in this episode, she shined and got to put all of her chops to work and it was beautiful and anchoring in a hella emotional and crazy episode.

Overall: 8.7

Almost American
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