Inside Pulse A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:34:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse Ethan Carter III Talks About TNA Title Win, Kurt Angle, Prestige of Winning Championship Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:34:31 +0000

This Is Awesome Wrestling Show with host Glenn Moore, interviewed new TNA World Champion Ethan Carter III today about his win and other topics. EC3 talks about the title win, which is his first singles belt of his career. What will the future hold for EC3 and TNA? He discusses what’s going on with Global Force Wrestling. Also, he talks about his character progression, and how Wednesday’s win was a culmination of his work from the last two years.

On Becoming TNA World Champion:

“Everything I’ve ever been through, every stupid personal or professional hell I’ve ever had to overcome, it made it all worth it. I’m very fortunate. I hate using the word blessed, because people use #blessed way too much. But for one day, I can say I was #blessed.”

Being able to watch his win and experience it with everyone else:

“Watching it personally, I had a nice soiree. My girlfriend hooked us up with a party and a bunch of people came by. What was cool about it, as much as people who support either her or I, our friends, they not huge wrestling fans. They check it out from time to time. Kind of fans we need more of, which is mainstream people checking it out from time to time. You know, again, when we talk about smart fans and credibility, or messing with the finisher or outside interference. The hook, line, and sinker with every little thing we did and every part of that story we told, like, it was mostly clean, but I’m still kind of a dirt bag because I still need a little help — the stuff with Tyrus.

I guess, a guy whose never had a wrestling match in his life who can give out stars can say, ‘Hey, that’s typical TNA.’

When you watch the reaction of the people we try to get, and they are hooked, line and sinker, and they are buying into this and seeing it unfold, it was kind of an out of body experience.”

Impact of having Kurt Angle be the wrestler he wins belt from:

“He’s a Hall of Famer in every company he’s been in, let’s not forget that. But I mean, dude, whoa. Like, whoa.

Like you said, we grew up watching Kurt. It’s very, very rare you have the opportunity to have your dream match. And I think it’s even more rare that it happens to be for a world title. It’s surreal.

You know, I’ve had that match a thousand times in my head. I remember doing German suplexes and then Angle Slams in my backyard, locking in the ankle lock. Next thing you know, I’ll take about eighteen of them…I don’t remember because they all hit me in the head. Withstand that, then defeat him with a wrestling hold. Ha! Pin! What? Out of control.”

Who hugged him first after win?

“John Gaburick.”

What did Angle say after the match?

“Later that day, he was sitting down talking to me, and I will not say what he said to me. But to hear those words come out of his mouth, was maybe even more important than actually winning the title.”

Joining the list of past TNA World Champions, like Sting, Jeff Hardy, Bull Ray, Samoa Joe, Mick Foley, Angle, and more:

“When you read it like that, that’s a pretty damn exclusive list. I guess that’s a great thing about TNA World Championship, they take a lot of slack for doing things wrestling fans hate for some reason. One thing they do very well is keep the integrity of the World Championship. And that’s pretty cool to be on that list.”×120.jpg

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WWE Thursday Night Smackdown 07/02/2015 Fallout (Ryback Humbled, Lana, Adam Rose/Rosa) PLUS Top 10 Smackdown Moments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:42:36 +0000

Check out some bonus videos of from Smackdown this week.

Plus The Top 10 Smackdown Moments

Top 10 SmackDown moments: WWE Top 10, July 2, 2015

A humbled Big Guy: SmackDown Fallout, July 2, 2015

Ready for the long haul: SmackDown Fallout, July 2, 2015

King Wassup proclaims: SmackDown Fallout, July 2, 2015

Lana ready for change: SmackDown Fallout, July 2, 2015

Kissy time: SmackDown Fallout, July 2, 2015×120.jpg

]]> 0 Brock Lesnar: The Beast in the East Live from Tokyo, on Saturday, July 4 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:05:00 +0000

WWE Network will air the WWE house show from Japan as Brock Lesnar: The Beast in the East Live from Tokyo, on Saturday, July 4.

Brock will face off against Kofi Kingston

Full media advisory:
STAMFORD, Conn., July 2, 2015 – The award-winning WWE Network will broadcast Brock Lesnar: The Beast in the East Live from Tokyo, on Saturday, July 4 at 5:30am EST from the iconic sumo stadium, Ryogoku Kokugikan. In his first match since WrestleMania®, WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar will return to action and NXT Champion Kevin Owens™ will defend his title against NXT Superstar Finn Bálor™.

Click here for the WWE Network promo.

WWE Network, which launched on February 24, 2014, is the fastest-growing digital subscription service with more than 1.3 million subscribers as of March 30, 2015. It is available in more than 175 countries, and was named Best Over-The-Top Content Service for 2015 at the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards.

Like other digital subscription services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, fans are able to sign up for WWE Network online by going to and can watch WWE Network on their TVs through connected devices such as Sony PlayStation 3, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku streaming devices as well as Smart TVs including Sony and Samsung. WWE Network’s one-of-a-kind programming includes all 12 WWE pay-per-view events LIVE at no additional charge plus groundbreaking original series, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches, exclusive coverage of special events and more than 3,300 hours of video-on-demand programming.

For a complete listing of WWE Network availability by country and device, please click here.×1201.jpg

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WWE Thursday Night Smackdown 07/02/2015 Highlights (Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins) Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:45:46 +0000

Awesome videos of the best of Smackdown this week.

Brie Bella vs. Naomi: SmackDown, July 2, 2015

R-Truth vs. Adam Rose: SmackDown, July 2, 2015

Ryback vs. Mark Henry: SmackDown, July 2, 2015

An incensed Rusev makes his brutal intentions public: SmackDown, July 2, 2015

The Prime Time Players vs. The Ascension: SmackDown, July 2, 2015

Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt: SmackDown, July 2, 2015

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins: SmackDown, July 2, 2015×120.jpg

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Terminator: Genisys Might Be The Worst of The Terminator Sequels … and the Worst Film of 2015 – A Review Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:00:02 +0000
Avoid me if you want to live

Ever since James Cameron departed the director’s chair in the Terminator franchise the film series has struggled to try and find its vision. If Genisys, the latest sequel/reboot of the franchise, is any indication then Skydance Productions ought to hand Cameron a blank check and let him do the series properly. Why? Because in anyone else’s hands it’s become so obnoxiously bad that one genuinely hopes it doesn’t have the same box office that Jurassic World did. Genisys may not be the worst film of all-time … but it has a chance at being the worst film of 2015 when all is said and done.

Fairly complicated premise, even for a Terminator film.

We start out at the end of the great war between man and Skynet, as we find ourselves in the moments before the events of The Terminator. The humans have taken down Skynet … but not before the machines sent a terminator back in time to prevent the birth of John Connor (Jason Clarke). Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) volunteers to be sent back in time, to 1984, to be her protector and save her. But things are different as this Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) is a badass warrior type raised from birth by a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and not the weak waitress played by Linda Hamilton from the original series. The timeline has been changed, as well, and the two team up to meet Schwarzenegger’s aging terminator in 2017 to stop Skynet from coming into existence. But there’s a wrinkle in the plans as John Connor himself has come back to the time period to prevent them from destroying Skynet, as well.

And that’s ultimately the problem as the film is so cluttered and complicated that it essentially takes what could be an easy film to make, of a new take on the 1984 original, and turns it into an ultra-violent but marginally cohesive episode of Dr. Who. To be fair the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, is around in a pivotal role.

The film’s main problem is that it doesn’t know what kind of Terminator film it wants to be. It’s not a proper sequel, as this film essentially wipes out the entire canon in the opening 10 minutes. It’s not a reboot because it alters the timeline in significant ways, as well. It’s trying to eliminate the entire franchise with the Star Trek style “alternative timeline” type of reboot/remake/sequel but it has so many callbacks and insider references to most of them that it gets bothersome after a while. The only thing that wasn’t explicitly referenced was “You could be mine” by Guns N’ Roses, it seems, as the franchise wants us to remember the good films and forget the non-Cameron sequels.

The other problem is that with a new timeline reboot comes an entirely new cast … one that doesn’t the sort of spark any of the prior ones did. One of the great things about rebooting a franchise is that you’re able to bring fresh faces and do interesting things with known characters. It’s interesting to see Sarah Connor thrust into a different role, of the person questioning her fate, than the damsel in distress she played in the first. It’s one that Nick Stahl, Edward Furlong and Christian Bale all played with their versions of John Connor and his mother always got short shrift. It’s a fairly brilliant take, of Sarah being the one trying to come to terms with her life being on a set path, but a film focusing on this like Rise of the Machines did with Stahl and that version of John Connor’s story would’ve been more interesting than what is presented.

There’s no spark between Courtney and Emilia Clarke, who look photogenic together but the sort of star crossed lovers they are supposed to be never comes though. There is no chemistry between them unlike Michael Biehn and Hamilton in the original; one of the unsung things about that film was that Biehn and Hamilton meshed so well in their interactions. Clarke and Courtney don’t and that end of the film, one that matters so profoundly and powerfully, doesn’t work. Courtney does a good job of bringing Reese the soldier into the mix but the film wants everyone to look good for the camera instead of grimy and muggy, like the original film series did. There’s too much glitz and glamour as everyone looks ready for a photo shoot; if you’re going to ape the original in spirit then going all the way. Jai Courtney looks like he’s getting ready to play soldier in the future, not a soldier sent from the future to save the past.

What we get overall from a story perspective is a sort of half mix of Sarah grasping her faith and a Michael Bay style action film. It’s visually impressive, including early on when CGI allows for an older Schwarzenegger to face off against his 1984 self, but there’s no heart to it. It’s a Transformers film with time travel, nothing more.

Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: Laeta Kalogridis & Patrick Lussier based on characters created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd
Notable Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Matt Smith

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Big Brother 17 Live Feed Spoilers: Daily Recap 07.02.2015 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:47:43 +0000

The insanity of Big Brother 17 continued last night. Here’s a recap of everything important that went down of the Big Brother Live Feeds from 8:00 AM BBT on July 2nd, all the way through 8:00 AM July 3rd.

WARNING: Spoilers below (duh).

Following the wake up call, Audrey tells John that if she wins HOH next week, he’ll be completely safe. She says she’s going after the person who threw her under the bus.

The feeds go off for live show and live show preparation. Due to the 4th of July, both the nomination ceremony and Battle of the Block will occur tonight, before the houseguests go to bed. For a recap of the live show, check out our recap here.

After the feeds return, John, Jeff, and James are discussing Audrey. They all wan’t Audrey out next, and also talk a bit about how Jace screwed up. Jeff tells Da’Vonne and James that Audrey hates him and she is going after him.

Da’Vonne is certain Audrey’s throwout vote, which had anyone else voted out Jackie would have been considerably more interesting, was just Austin with a sympathy vote.

Clay tells Austin that he’s seen Jeff whisper to Jason and Da’Vonne, and that he is getting weird vibes from him.

Audrey, making up more lies to try and screw herself over, complains to Jeff that someone is trying to set her up with that 1 vote, which at this point practically no one has discussed it. Clay enters, whats to make an alliance of Clay, Jeff, Shelli, and Audrey.

Becky agrees to try and get out Audrey this week, and will try and get Shelli on board.

After “Nomination Today” appears on the television in the living room, Shelli and Becky begin discussing nominations, but it entirely consists of what is the best way to get Audrey out.

Becky and Shelli choose Steve, Jason, Meg, and James as the have-nots for the week.

The plan is to get Audrey out, with Steve as a backup.

Upon Shelli revealing this plan to Clay, he offers a different idea: keep both Steve and Audrey safe for our alliance, and backdoor Da’Vonne.

Becky is putting up Steve but needs a pawn, Jason volunteers.

Clay is telling Shelli to put himself up against Da’Vonne and he will throw the Battle of the Block. She says she won’t do it.

Lots more pre-nomination scrambling.

As Becky informs Steve to assure him the target is Audrey, Shelli and Clay are scrambling downstairs to save her.

Shelli and Clay ask John to go up as a pawn against Da’Vonne to throw the BOTB. He agrees.

Quick side note: This is the best possible scenario for a BOTB I’ve ever seen. Both sides want people throwing things to get the other out, and no one agrees on who the target is.

Austin informs Audrey of the fact she is getting nominated, and tells Steve about Da’Vonne’s nomination.

Nomination Ceremony Time:

Becky has nominated Jason and Steve for eviction.

Shelli has nominated Da’Vonne and John for eviction.

Da’Vonne to Jason: “All those motherf*ckers knew!. Jason: “We’re their plan B, if they can’t get her out, it’s us!”

Battle of the Block Time! Drumroll please….

Steve and Jason have won the Battle of the Block! Shelli remains HOH, and this weeks nominees are John and Da’Vonne.

Very interesting start to BB17 week 2. The POV will be later today, which will be instrumental in how this week plays out. Be sure to check back for more recaps here on Inside Pulse.

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WWE House Show Results For July 3, 2015 Event in Japan (Chris Jericho vs. Finn Balor, John Cena vs. Kevin Owens) Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:39:30 +0000

Check out the results from the July 3, 2015 WWE event in Japan.

(1) Neville def. Kofi Kingston. A pretty solid high-flying opener. Lots of “New Day sucks” chants and a big pop for the Red Arrow finish.

(2) Cesaro def. King Barrett.

(3) The Lucha Dragons def. Los Matadores and the New Day in a triple threat tag team match.

(4) Dolph Ziggler def. Kane in a Tokyo Street Fight.

(5) Nikki Bella def. Tamina Snuka to retain the WWE Divas title.

(6) Finn Balor def. Chris Jericho in the hands-down best match of the show. So awesome to see Jericho back in the ring for nights like these, and even better when he puts over the future stars.

(7) U.S. Champion John Cena def. NXT Champion Kevin Owens via DQ. Owens hit him with the low blow after a 20-minute match and not being able to win it after numerous finisher attempts. Cena comes back and hits the AA to send the fans home happy.×120.jpg

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JT on NXT – July 1st 2015 – Samoa Joe & Finn Balor vs Kevin Owens & Rhyno Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:09:23 +0000 JT on NXT logo

It’s NXT time and we kick off with a promo package for the main event, then we’re heading into the ring with Aiden English and Simon Gotch!

Match 1: The Vaudvillains vs Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder

Apparently Dawson & Dash are throwbacks to the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, which is a reference that I’m guessing most people are going to miss. Wilder starts off against Gotch, who snatches a headlock but gets forced back into the corner as the tag is made to Dawson.

Dawson and Gotch face off, showing that Dawson is pretty short, then they lock up. Gotch is forced back into the corner again and Dawson breaks on three, but hits a cheap shot to the ribs. Irish whip into the corner from Dawson, but Simon uses some old-timey calisthenics to dodge a charge, then hits a sunset flip for a two count.

Arm wrench from Gotch and a tag to English, who goes to the second rope and hits a manly elbow to Dawson’s arm. Immediate tag back to Gotch, followed by some sweet team strikes and a strongman pose from Gotch. Dawson gets back to his feet and Gotch locks in an armlock, but Dawson grabs the hair to force him back into the corner and break the hold.

Tag to Dash Wilder and he lays into Gotch with some stiff strikes, then tags back to Dawson and holds Gotch while Dawson kicks him in the gut. Irish whip by Dawson followed by a back elbow, then a leg drop and knee drop for the pin and a two count. Nostril grab from Dawson, followed by a stiff elbow to the head, then a European uppercut and tag to Wilder.

Gotch manages to dodge a convoluted double team move and makes the hot tag to English, who takes down both Dawson & Wilder with a series of straight right hands. English whips Wilder into the corner, hits a big back body drop on Dawson and then an atomic drop on Wilder, finishing the sequence with a running kick to Wilder’s head.

Tag to Gotch, European uppercut to the back of the head, running neckbreaker combo from English and Gotch gets the pin and the three count. The recap suggests that this move is called the whirling dervish, which is as good a name as any I suppose.

Nice, hard hitting opening match. I enjoy the Vaudvillains schtick but I’m not sure I can see them breaking through on the main roster, while Dawson & Dash bring something a little different to the NXT tag scene, which is always a good thing.

Interview with Becky Lynch about an injury to her hip flexor, which means she has to take a few weeks off. Bummer. I like Becky Lynch.

Match 2: Baron Corbin vs Tucker Knight

They’re calling Corbin the Big Bad Wolf, and at least one of those words is accurate. Tucker Knight looks like Bull Dempsey in trunks, which does not bode well.

Lockup, then a break, and Corbin kicks Knight in the gut and smacks him in the head. Facebuster chokeslam from Corbin, followed by the end of days for the pin and the three count.

I want my two minutes back.

Back from the break we’re in Regal’s office with Enzo, Big Cass and the Vaudvillians, announcing their number one contenders match next week.

Next up is part 3 of Who is Finn Balor, showing off some of the awesome body paint he’s worn over the years. Another great video package about a humble man who has paid his dues.

Match 3: Emma vs Carmella

Emma is accompanied to the ring by Dana Brooke, and Carmella is working the fabulous gimmick. The crowd chant’s We Love Emma, which is pretty funny as she’s supposed to be the heel in this match.

Headlock takedown from Carmella but Emma reverses with a headscissors, keeping the hold locked until Carmella slips out. Back on their feet Emma grabs a headlock, but Carmella wrenches the arm and grabs a headlock of her own. A somewhat clumsy Irish whip spot ends with Carmella taking down Emma with another headlock.

Emma grabs Carmella’s hair to break the hold and whips her into the corner, but runs into a back elbow from Carmella. Second rope headscissors takedown from Carmella followed by a high clothesline. Emma tries to hide in the ropes but Carmella grabs her arm and pulls it over the top rope, only breaking when the ref gets to a four count.

Big kick to the gut from Emma, followed by a nasty hair pull slam, and I get the impression that Emma might be working a little stiff in response to the high clothesline. Pin with Emma’s knee across Carmella’s throat, but a kick out at two.

Emma locks in a bodyscissors submission, then lays in a couple of forearms to Carmella’s back for good measure. Carmella tries to roll her over into a pin but Emma reverses and goes batshit crazy, slapping and punching the back of Carmella’s head.

Dana Brooke yells encouragement as the crowd chants for Carmella to tap out, but Carmella hits a couple of back elbows to Emma’s jaw to break the submission. Shouldercharge from Emma in the corner, but Carmella gets her boot up on the second time around. Shoulderblocks and a Thetz press from Carmella, then a kick to the gut and running boot to the head.

Carmella goes for the Staten Island shuffle but Emma reverses with a drop toehold, locks in the Emmalock and Carmella quickly taps out.

Remarkably stiff match from Emma, with Carmella trying to keep up but giving a performance JR would call ‘bowling shoe ugly’.

Comedy segment with Bull Dempsey assaulting a candy machine. To say that he is slightly more entertaining out of the ring is not meant as a compliment.

Match 4: Tyler Breeze vs Tye Dillinger

Breeze stalls to start, quick lockup into an armdrag on Dillinger. As Tye collects his wits Breeze poses across the top ropes, drawing Dillinger in for the charge but cutting him off with a furry boot to the face. Elbow from Dillinger then some kicks in the corner, then a boot choke over the second rope.

Jumping boot from Dillinger, then another which gets a pin and a one count. Multiple cover attempts from Dillinger, but Breeze kicks out before the ref has a chance to count to one. Chop in the corner and a headbutt to the back from Dillinger, followed by a finger stomp and a powerslam.

Irish whip into a jumping reversal from Breeze, followed by a reverse DDT. Strikes from Breeze into a hurricurana, then a short reversal sequence before Breeze hits the beauty shot for the pin and the three count.

Nothing remarkable from Breeze, although Dillinger got more offence than usual, which is nice for him I suppose. I’d have been more than happy to drop this match and give the main event more time.

Locker room confrontation between Sasha Banks and Emma & Dana. The boss challenges them to a match, then realises that she needs a partner. Ooh, drama.

Match 5: Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs Kevin Owens & Rhyno

Rhyno starts out against Joe, and cuts off the lockup with a kick to the gut and forearm to the back of the head. Rhyno throws a punch, but Joe responds with a flurry blows, forcing Rhyno back into the corner. For some reason Joe decides this is a good time to attack Kevin Owens, but KO dodges the attack and Rhyno hits Joe from behind.

Irish whip reversal sends Rhyno into the corner, and Joe hits the running back spash/enziguiri combo. Tag to Balor, who hits Rhyno with a chop, Irish whip and a dropkick, then covers him for a one count. Balor grabs a headlock but Rhyno lays punches into his ribs, then forces him back into the corner and tags in Owens.

Rhyno holds Balor in the corner as Owens lays in some shots, then they hit a nice sequence of reversals into an Owens sunset flip/seated dropkick from Balor. Back on their feet Balor tries to hit a suplex, but he can’t get Owens off his feet, and the big man hits him in the ribs to break the hold.

Owens lays in some more strikes and kicks in the ring, then tosses Balor to the outside and taunts Joe. While the ref is distracted getting Joe out of the ring Rhyno gets in some cheap shots on the floor, then we’re off to an ad break as Rhyno rolls Balor back into the ring.

Back from the break and Owens is still working over Balor, taking him down with a hard back elbow for a two count. Tag to Rhyno and some more clubbing offence, followed by a nice delayed vertical suplex and some squats into a slam. Pin gets two, then Owens hits a snapmare into a chinlock, wearing Balor down.

Balor tries to fire up but Owens hits a couple of big shoulderblocks and then a blue thunder bomb and a five knuckle shuffle. He picks Balor up in the attitude adjustment position, but Balor fights his way out and hits a double stomp to Owens chest. As Owens crawls over to Rhyno, Balor makes the tag to Samoa Joe!

Rhyno hits the rings and gets taken down wit some stiff clotheslines, an inverted atomic drop and a running kick to the head from Joe. Running senton gets two and Joe lays in some straight shots to Rhyno’s head. He hits the ropes but Owens takes a shot at his back, so Joe turns around and punches him in the face.

As Joe turns back around Rhyno hits a spinebuster for a pin and a two count, then makes the tag to Owens. KO charges at Joe but gets taken down with a single-arm slam, then Joe makes the tag to Balor.

The Irishman goes to the top rope as Joe sets up Owens for the muscle buster in the opposite corner, but Rhyno spoils the fun but jumping up and pushing Balor off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Joe levels Rhyno with a clothesline but turns around and walks into a pop up powerbomb from Owens.

Balor hits the ring and goes for the sling blade on Owens, but he reverses and hits a superkick. Balor is staggered but hits the Pele kick and takes Owens down. As Finn and Owens struggle to their feet, Rhyno lines up for the gore, but Balor dodges out of the way and Rhyno hits Owens!

Shotgun dropkick from Balor sends Rhyno crashing into Owens in the corner, then out of the ring. Hesitation dropkick on Owens in the corner sets up the coup de grace, and Finn Balor gets the pin and the three count on Kevin Owens.

Solid match from all four men, with Samoa Joe looking dominant even though he didn’t really have a lot to do. This match would have benefitted from more time (like, the whole episode) but I get that they need to keep something in the bag.

Better than average episode of NXT, with two good tag bouts and a fun diva beatdown.×120.jpg

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Spain’s WWE SmackDown Report and Results for July 2nd 2015: Bray’s Not Helping His Own Case Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:34:55 +0000 Hey everyone. This is the Spain SmackDown Report, and I am your reviewer, David Spain, who has managed to drag himself away from what can legitimately be called binge-watching Orange is the New Black after being introduced to it earlier this week. I’ve also hit 100,000 words on my novel, which seemed like an appropriate time to take a break and get a little drunk before writing the climactic shoot-out scene.

I actually didn’t watch RAW this Monday (see the aforementioned infatuation with Orange is the New Black), so I’m actually watching the preview. Giving out Apple Watches is so Seth Rollins that it almost hurts. And it’s nice to see Jamie Noble out of hospital, although giving Kane a holiday seems like a dangerous idea considering that apparently even Lesnar has to sell for the guy.

Oh, and Bray Wyatt has finally had enough of Roman Reigns’ attempts to justify his murderlust, and I say ‘good for him’. Seriously, it must be hard enough being fat and a fucking weirdo without being accused of kid-kidnapping. Yeah, I’m still pushing this narrative.

The show starts properly with Seth and Cruiserweight Security rocking down to the ring. Seth delivers a sermon about how he and his suit-wearing bitches are just so damn stylish. And I say this whilst looking at two men wearing black suits, black shirts and gold ties, which physically fucking hurts. Seth says we have to focus on the present, because one day our grandkids will ask us about what it was like to watch random episodes of RAW. If my grandkids ever do that, they’ll get a ding around the earhole for bringing such dishonour upon their family.

We rewatch Seth and the Authority beating down Lesnar, and Rollins makes the point that he beat down two halves of the WrestleMania 31 main event inside of two weeks. Seth says that both Ambrose and Reigns have an opportunity for retribution tonight: Dean’s going one-on-one against Wyatt, and Roman will be facing Seth. Apparently Reigns has been absentee, which probably means he’s been cutting up more photos of himself to use to frame Bray Wyatt. He’s a sick man.

Ambrose’s music hits, and the Lunatic Fringe strides down the ramp, heading ringwards. He then backs up, heading behind the stage again, and then shows up with a Kendo stick. What, so he forgot it the first time? He clears the ring in short order, and Rollins announces that the match against Wyatt is happening right now. If this is just going to be five minutes of Wyatt getting the shit caned out of him, sign me up.

Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns = WWE’s Remake Of Doubt

Bray shows up to the ring, and seeing as he has a PPV match and Ambrose doesn’t, this is depressingly easy to predict. Dean gets backed into a corner, hits some punches and then hits a snapmare and a clothesline. Dean’s seemingly in control, but Bray cuts him off with a crossbody to counter a dropkick. Bray hits some shots in a corner, then hits a suplex throw to put Dean down.

Chinlock to Ambrose, who fights back out of it, then hits a pair of running forearms to the face. Neckbreaker to Bray Wyatt, and Ambrose is beginning his comeback, heading up to the top rope, but Bray rolls out of the ring. Dean heads out after him, ducks a clothesline, then hits one of his own.

Back from the break, Dean leaps off the ropes right into a punch to the gut. Bray almost hits Sister Abigail right there and then, but Dean counters with a roll-up. Dirty Deed almost hits; Bray counters and tries to hit a uranage; Dean counters that and low-bridges Bray out of the ring before diving through the ropes onto him. Ambrose pops back up to his feet, sending Wyatt back inside the ring, and charges at him. He hits a forearm to the corner, but then Bray counters his bulldog attempt, only to get caught with a Tornado DDT!

Dean goes for a neckbreaker; Bray counters, and then takes Ambrose’s head off with a clothesline. He hits his running senton for two, and now it’s Wyatt in control. He does that dumb spiderwalk thing, which is just fuel for these child abduction rumours, Bray. Ambrose manages to hit a kick to Bray’s head, then after a flurry manages to hit his pendulum clothesline. Standing elbow drop from the top gets two, and Bray bails again. You know, which a psychotic lord of darkness totally would do. Ambrose runs the length of the announce table and leaps at Bray, but gets caught in uranage on the announce table! Back in the ring, a Sister Abigail ends things.

Sort of a reminder about why none of their previous matches were anything they could have been. You’ve got two really colourful characters in there, and you don’t do anything to display that. This was a straight face/heel match, and it shouldn’t have been. 2 Stars.

How Can Rose Have That Moustache And Not Keep Saying ‘Alright Alright Alright’?

We get back from a break and Adam Rose is in the ring with Rosa Mendes. Remember when I used to be overcome with childish excitement for Adam Rose segments? Yeah, they fucking ruined him too, despite me giving away quality ideas for free every week. Anyway, this massive disappointment will be facing R-Truth and…yeah, I could not give less of a shit. Is the whole psycho crack-dealer look supposed to be a thinly-veiled allusion to Truth’s drug-related past, or is it just racist?

The two worthless people in the ring trade holds, then do some dancing and, Jesus, I don’t even care. Actually, the ending sort of rocked, coming totally out of nowhere: Truth reverses a backdrop into a roll-up, straight-up blocks two punches, smacks Rose in the face and hits the Lie Detector for the win: surprisingly badass-looking finish.

Giving that 2 Stars for the last five or so moves. Everything else was exactly what you’d expect from Truth vs. Rose.

We recap the Rock’s live appearance, via a recording of YouTube. So, is this leading back to his return, or was this just a random thing?

And another recap, this time of John Cena and Kevin Owens as we head towards their third match at Battleground. This talk of the PPV segues into a discussion of Miz vs. Ryback vs. Big Show and can we just not? Ryback’s got a match against Mark Henry tonight, and we get footage of the two guys trying to sell this truly godawful match. Let me remind you: this was once a WrestleMania match. May God have mercy on our souls.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Here comes Mark Henry, and the grand history of the WWE trying to assassinate me via me having to review these sort of matches continues. Then Ryback shows up. He’s promised to deliver Shell Shocked to Henry which, considering he’s done it to Big Show, is less impressive now.

Henry and Ryback lock up, trying to push each other back and forth, and Henry forces Ryback out of the ring. The Big Guy comes back in, and gets clobbered by Mark, then hip-tossed the whole way across the ring. Ryback dodges a charge, then reigns fists down on Henry. Mark runs into an elbow, then Ryback tries to hit Shell Shocked, but is immediately put down.

Henry hits some more offence, but Ryback manages to duck a clothesline and hit one of his own, then hits a splash to Henry. Ryback tries to go for a suplex, because he’s a really smart guy, and Henry regains the control, sending Ryback to crash hard into the corner. Bodyslam to the Big Guy, and then a bearhug. Ryback fights out and tries a bodyslam, and Jesus, Ryback. Henry just falls back onto him, and then the two of them knock each other down with clotheslines. Christ, you could set this to Yakety Sax.

They both get up, and Ryback is in control, beating on Henry. Well, he’ll screw it up somehow…and he actually hits a suplex. Well, that’s me told. Meathook Clothesline, and now Ryback wants Shell Shocked. Henry counters, going for the World’s Strongest Slam, but Ryback slips out of it, hitting a spinebuster, then Shell Shocked for the win.

I enjoyed Ryback’s dominance and was amused by his idiotic persistence. Not as bad as I’d feared, really. 2.5 Stars.

Backstage, Rollins, Noble and Mercury are doing their best to sell Apple Watches. Wow, I’ve served coffee to actual prostitutes who weren’t as big a whore as WWE is.

Jimmy’s Fine With You Beating Up His Wife: Just Don’t Dare Support Her

This is your Divas match, which is Brie Bella vs. Naomi. Brie wrenches the arm, but Naomi cartwheels to counter, hitting a boot. Now Naomi has the arm, but Brie backflips out of it, breaking the hold with a slap. Naomi chases Brie out of the ring, gets distracted by Alicia Fox at ringside, and Brie takes her out on the outside.

Back in the ring, Brie puts the boots to Naomi, then hits a dropkick from the second rope for two. Chokehold to Naomi, who breaks out of it and hits a dropkick of her own. King and Jimmy joke about how marriage = the end of everything good about your life as Brie drops Naomi onto the ropes and hits a running knee for two. Naomi is beat down in the corner with some kicks, then eats a bulldog for another two.

Naomi manages to hit what looked like a jawbreaker counter, then a slap to Brie. Alicia Fox manages to trip her; the Bella Buster finishes it.

Not a bad match at all. 2.5 Stars.

A creepy promo from Bray Wyatt, calling Roman out. Well, I’d be pretty pissed off with these wild accusations as well. He says that he’s going to burn everything that Roman loves. Okay, does that include Roman’s daughter? Because Roman’s going to say it does.

At This Point, ‘Ascension’ Is Quite An Ironic Name

It’s the Ascension vs. the Prime Time Players, as we continue the Ascension’s fall into obscurity and constant defeat. Tyson and Viktor kick things off, with Viktor chopping Tyson. O’Neil doesn’t take kindly to this, and beats Viktor down in the corner before tagging in Darren Young. Suplex-Splash double-team on Viktor, but he drives Darren into the Ascension’s corner, tagging Konnor in. Konnor hits a shoulder block to Young, then takes him out with a big right hand.

Viktor comes back in, but takes a back suplex on the apron from Young, who then smacks Konnor in the face. Viktor recovers enough to shove Darren into the steel ringpost, and he’s down as we go to the break.

Back to the action, and Darren Young is at the mercy of the Ascension, with Konnor holding him in a headlock. Young fights back, but Konnor has him by the leg and tags Viktor in. Darren nearly gets a botched roll-up, but Viktor tags out and the Ascension beat him down some more. A knee to the face knocks Darren down, but he elevates Viktor over the top and makes the tag!

Tyson comes in hot, taking out both members of the Ascension. Boot to Konnor, who he squashes in the corner. Viktor comes back in and gets taken out by Young. Clash of the Titus hits Konnor and it’s over.

Nice showcase of the PTP’s skills for what is looking like a great rematch at Battleground. 2.5 Stars.

We get a recap of Summer Rae sticking her nose in on Rusev’s behalf and laying a damn decent-looking slam onto Lana before getting the shit kicked out of her. Lana recovering her poise afterwards looked hilarious.

And here’s Rusev and Summer Rae in the ring, and oh God, they’re giving Summer a microphone. She wants to apologise, because apparently having the moral highground is really important in professional wrestling. She defends Rusev, and implies that those two are banging each other, which is an image I really didn’t need. Rusev takes the mic, telling us all how Summer Rae is a meninist’s wet dream (which, in a perfect world, would be the closest thing to sex that meninists ever got). Also, when King seems to think you’re a sexist, you are so far gone that you might as well just end it all.

Apparently there’s a feud to be had out of this with Ziggler, if Rusev’s Eighties-villainesque threats mean anything.

Joey Should Have Bargained For His Life With His Apple Watch

It’s main event time, although apparently Roman Reigns is still not here. See, when you let the World Champion make a decision about the running of the show, you’re going to get mistakes like these. Rollins, Mercury and Noble begin a count of ten for Roman to arrive, and I think it only counts if the ref does it. Reigns’ music hits, which wasn’t predictable at all, and he makes his way down to the ring. At least he’s not covered in Bray’s blood.

Seth jumps Reigns as the big man gets to the ring, but Roman takes control, throwing Rollins into a corner and smacking the smarmy bastard around. Mercury gets on the apron and gets brought into the ring. Joey nearly gets powerbombed, but Seth makes the save, powerbombing Reigns into the corner instead. Lots of stomps to Roman, and Seth chokes him on the ropes before Mercury gets a shot in to the face. Rollins hits a double-foot stomp from the top rope, getting two.

Seth beats Roman down again in the corner, stomping away at him, but Reigns starts fighting back, only to get shut down by a bodyslam. Seth heads to the top, but leaps into huge uppercut. He walks into some more right hands, reeling, creates a moment’s separation, but gets beheaded by a clothesline. More clotheslines for Mister Rollins, followed by a punch to Mercury. Seth takes advantage of the distraction to attempt a clothesline, is flipped over Reigns’ head, lands on his feet and then gets powerbombed by Roman!

Roman wants the Superman Punch, but gets taken down by Cruiserweight Security, which gets the DQ.

Not a bad match, but it seemed very rushed. Not up to the usual standards. 2.5 Stars.

The beatdown continues for a bit, but then Ambrose rushes the ring with the Kendo stick. He smacks Rollins and Cruiserweight Security around for a moment; Rollins nearly gets the Pedigree on Dean, but takes a Superman Punch instead. Reigns looks for the Spear, only for Rollins to get pulled out of the ring by J and J, getting out whilst they can.

Roman and Ambrose manage to catch Mercury, dragging him back into the ring. Mercury begs off Ambrose, but gets smacked with the cane, Superman Punched, and then smacked with the cane again. A Spear finishes things off, and that’s the image we finish on.

Not a great SmackDown, all in all. Lukewarm segments and matches: none really above average. Six.

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Retro-Review: Hawkworld Vol. 2 #1-9 By John Ostrander, Tim Truman, and Graham Nolan for DC Comics Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:00:24 +0000 Hawkworld Vol. 2 #1-9; Annual #1 (June ‘90-March ‘91)

Written by John Ostrander (#1-9, Annual #1), and Timothy Truman (#1-9)

Pencilled by Graham Nolan (#1-9), Gary Kwapisz (Annual #1)

Inked by Graham Nolan (#1-4, 6), Rick Burchett (#5), Gary Kwapisz (7-9, Annual #1)

Spoilers (from twenty-four to twenty-five years ago)

Following the success of the 1989 Hawkworld miniseries, a new Hawkworld monthly was released starting in the middle of 1990.  It took the revamped characters from the mini and began to look at resolving some of the dangling plot-threads, especially the escape of the villainous Byth.

Tim Truman continued with the book, but I think the lionshare of the writing was done by his partner John Ostrander, who is one of my all-time favourite comics writers (see Suicide Squad, Firestorm, The Spectre, and Star Wars Legacy to figure out why I hold him in such esteem).  They had their work cut out for them, as there were numerous continuity issues to address with these characters, as well as making them viable characters in the post-Invasion DCU.

Unlike other series that I’ve reviewed for this column, I didn’t actually buy all of these comics when they came out.  I picked up a few random and tie-in issues, and always liked the book, but it wasn’t until Tim Truman returned to art duties at the very end of the series that I began buying it regularly.  When I was looking for comics to reread for this column, I decided it was time to get the rest of the single issues I was missing, since they’ve never been collected anywhere else.  In this run, which encompasses the only issues that Truman co-wrote, I had originally only bought the first two.

Let’s look at the events of this series in detail, with some commentary as I go along:

    • This series opens with Katar narrating a recap of the mini-series, from the perspective of a few months later.  Katar is now a big hero on Thanagar, although he doesn’t really feel like one, suffering from guilt for the deaths of his father and the alien on the prison island, as well as for letting Byth get away.
    • We see that Byth is on Earth, where he uses his shape changing powers to kill and impersonate a would-be mugger.
    • On Thanagar, the new Administrator of Protection relays to Katar and Shayera that the Thanagarian ambassador to Earth wants our heroes to come to that planet to accompany an exhibit of Thanagarian items.  It’s not really clear how Earth has an ambassador from this world, but no other alien one, ever.
    • We are quickly given the notion that the Administrator doesn’t think much of Katar, who really, is an inexperienced Wingman, given to hot-headedness.  Shayera is basically his protector, and a mole for the administrator.
    • Katar goes to meet with the sentient in the Commission for Alien Affairs, Kanjar Ro (this name should be familiar to long-time DC fans), who has been working to help the Downsiders (aliens from other planets who live in squalor).  It would seem that Ro is jerking Katar along a little.
    • On patrol, Katar and Shayera come to the assistance of two Wingmen standing over bodies that were apparently skinned by Man-hawks.  Afterwards, they go to the clinic Katar was funding, and see that the alien in the miniseries has given birth.  We also learn that someone called Bladebat is running a crime ring, and that Hommy, also from the mini-series, is now working for him.
    • A confrontation between Katar, Shayera, Bladebat, and Hommy gets a little crazy when the Man-hawks, which are big birds with guns on their chests, wearing human scalps, attack.  Katar downs Bladebat, but Hommy holds a gun on him, at least until Shayera kills him.  This makes Katar angry, and he and Shayera argue.
    • Later, they leave for Earth.  The flight is long, and they will spend it in suspended animation, while learning English subconsciously.  A voiceover by the Administrator makes it clear that they won’t be upset if they never return.
    • Arriving on Earth, Katar doesn’t notice that there is a flashing light on the message center on his ship.  When he and Shayera touch down on Earth, the ambassador, Darl Klus, is annoyed that they are wearing their regular uniforms instead of being in full dress.
    • Later, at the Thanagarian Embassy (which I still think is a strange thing to have – what possible business could it conduct?  And only with the American government?), Shayera is surprised to watch colour TV.  They meet with their publicist, and the names Hawkman and Hawkwoman are agreed upon.  There is no mention of the fact that those names have been used on Earth by heroes before.
    • Apparently Byth also likes to watch colour TV, because he has a lot of screens, drools while watching, and grows extra eyeballs so as not to miss a thing.
    • In Chicago for their promotional tour, Shayera continues to enjoy TV, while Katar is unimpressed to learn about life in Cabrini Green, which reminds him of Hawkworld, his notion of world that feeds upon itself.
    • Katar gets invited to a party, while Shayera is invited to a ride-along with some Chicago cops.  It turns out that Byth was in the room all along, disguised as the couch (seriously), and that he and Ambassador Klus know each other.
    • Katar hangs out at the party.
    • Byth uses a drug called Krotan, the thing that gave him his shape-changing abilities, to change some gang members into winged dragonmen.  They attack the party, and rob some people.  Katar grabs some antique Earth weapons and gives chase.  Shayera learns that he’s going into Cabrini Green and goes after him to support him.
    • Byth’s gangster friends, The Furies, learn that they are stuck in their new forms.  When Katar arrives, they attack him, managing to rip his shirt and suit jacket off him without damaging his wing harness. Shayera arrives and manages to kill one of them.
    • The other Furies take their hostage (kidnapped from the party) to one of their ex’s place, where there are some guns stashed.  After fighting for most of the issue, the Furies are killed and the woman saved.
    • There is discussion in the media that the Furies were killed by cops from another planet with no jurisdiction on Earth.  Shayera is frustrated with that, as she’s used to being able to kill criminals.
    • This leads to a very strange sequence wherein Katar and Shayera are given the Declaration of Independence to read, and while they read it, Ostrander and Truman juxtapose it with a media report that the ex-girlfriend of the Fury is being evicted from Cabrini Green because there were weapons in her home.
    • While continuing to discuss politics, the publicist weighs in, giving a speech about such topics as Vaclav Havel singing ‘We Shall Overcome’, Tiananmen Square, and America’s refusal to extend the visas of Chinese students.  Katar gets even more philosophical, thinking that some of the principals in America’s founding document could be applied to Thanagar.
    • Later, Shayera is unhappy to see a newspaper editorial making fun of her. She argues with the Ambassador, who also mentions that the government has learned of the Thanagarian ship in orbit, and they raise the possibility that Byth could access the ship.
    • In Japan, Byth impersonates a businessman so he can arrange a deal that will ship colour televisions to Thanagar.  Seriously, we’re talking about colour TV again…
    • In Chicago, Shayera continues to work with the police, but is now barred from using any weapons.  I don’t know why she’s still with the police, but everyone seems to accept this as normal that an untrained alien would patrol with local officers for an extended period of time after shooting down mutated suspects.
    • Katar tours the museum with the woman he rescued last issue, and watches her argue with the head of the research department.
    • Shayera goes out for drinks with her cop buddies, and then goes dancing with one of them, and making out with him.
    • Katar thinks more about human rights, and visits a newspaper office to debate the Declaration of Independence with a columnist.  There are some critiques of American society here, but these sections have not aged particularly well.
    • Shayera rescues a couple of kids from a fire, and is declared a hero.  Her and Katar are now honorary members of the police force (despite the fact that Katar hasn’t even met them yet).
    • Shayera reads Katar’s diary, where he’s been writing about his doubts, and sheds a single tear.  For real.
    • Carl Sands, the Shadow Thief (who does not have any powers but is just a corporate spy ninja) invades the company that Byth has taken over in Japan because Byth has hired him to.  Really, it’s a test, because he wants Sands to steal Katar and Shayera’s ship.
    • In Chicago, Katar offers his home to Anna Taylor, the woman who helped him in the fight with the Furies, who is now homeless.
    • Shayera gets closer to her cop boyfriend.
    • The Shadow Thief steals the Hawks’ ship using a Thanagarian shadow generator, which turns him into a shadow that can’t be touch but that can still use tools and weapons.
    • The Hawks learn of this, and rush to New York to use the Ambassador’s shuttle to get up to space before Shadow Thief can steal or destroy their main vessel.
    • Byth tells the Ambassador that this has been his plan all along, so he can smuggle some Thanagarian goods onto Earth without the Hawks noticing.  Interestingly, had he left them to go about their days of charity, dating, and debating the Declaration of Independence, they never would have noticed this.
    • Shadow Thief destroys the shuttle, but the Hawks are in their space suits, and they board the ship.  Shayera detaches the command ship to go after the smugglers who have just arrived, while Katar goes looking for Byth (not knowing that it’s Shadow Thief onboard).
    • Everyone fights for a bit.  The smugglers try to warp away, which might destroy the whole solar system (although we don’t know why), while Katar figures out that the device Byth had Shadow Thief plant on his ship will destroy it.  He goes to stop it, but the ship turns white and emits blue bolts of light, and then disappears.
    • Left to her own devices, Shayera waits for the smugglers to drop their shields so they can jump, and then disables their jump drive with a few well-placed shots, buying herself time to stop them, so long as she can avoid their fire.
    • On Thanagar, the Administrator and another bigwig discuss the problem of Katar’s apparent betrayal of thought.  They don’t want to arrest him for treason, because he’s a hero.  Kanjar Ro suggests using the Hawkman name that Earth has provided to Katar as a planetary champion kind of thing.  The others like this idea, and make plans to hold a contest, thinking this can divert people from admiring Katar.  In exchange for this idea, Kanjar Ro wants control of some outer planets.
    • On Katar’s mothership, he and the Shadow Thief come to, realizing they are out of phase with reality or something.  This is caused by the shadow generators they were both wearing.  This has also caused some of Katar’s doubts and regrets to take shadow form and pursue them.
    • Katar abandons the Shadow Thief to go to a different part of the ship to blow up the shadow generator (which, earlier, he was wearing), and bring the ship back to reality just in time to stop the smugglers from shooting down Shayera.  This makes Byth angry.
  • The first Hawkworld Annual is designed to help solve some of the continuity problems caused by rebooting the Thanagarian Hawks and bringing them to Earth a few years after Crisis, when they’ve already been shown in that time.  The Annual came out between issues 6 and 7, and appears to best fit in that space, story-wise.  I’m going to leave my discussion of the Annual in italics, so it’s easier to situate it.
  • The book opens in India in 1934, where Isaac Bowin has been imprisoned by the British.  His cellmate is an old Indian man who he refers to as a fakir.  The fakir teaches him how to build his own fiddle and use its music to control others.  He does this in return for Bowin’s soul, but Bowin uses his fiddle to free himself and murder the old guy.
  • In the present, the Hawks tour Belle Reve prison to learn about incarceration in the US.  This is after Ostrander’s Suicide Squad run was completed, and there is no sign of Amanda Waller or the gang.  Instead, we see that a metahuman named Janus, with multiple personality disorder uses his abilities to escape, turn into a winged dragon-like creature, and run amok.
  • The Hawks put him down.
  • Bowin, now known as the Fiddler, is in Belle Reve as well.  The fakir’s ghost comes to talk to him, and transports him out of the prison.
  • In Chicago, at another gala, the Hawks meet Wally West and Linda Park.  Wally is rude to them, because they aren’t his Hawks, and he gets into a fight with Shayera.
  • Later, confused about reference to an earlier Hawkman, they go to Central City to visit the JSA Museum.  They notice similarities between Carter Hall and their iconography (although they never notice how close their names are), and decide to visit Joan Garrick (wife of the original Flash) to learn more.
  • She tells them that the Halls had a close friend, Perry Carter, who Katar recognizes as his father (who invented the anti-gravity metal used on Thanagar for flight, and who started the Wingmen).
  • The Fiddler attacks, wanting to use Joan to hurt Jay (who has, with the rest of the JSA, disappeared).  The Flash (Wally version) shows up to stop him, but ends up getting used to form a time portal with his vibrating body, into which the Fiddler takes Joan.  The Hawks go after them.
  • They find themselves in the past, and pay a visit to Katar’s father, posing as Thanagarians checking on his secret mission.  They end up knocking out the Halls and taking their gear, to go stop the Fiddler, which they do, with help from the Flash (Jay version).
  • They come back to their own time, bringing Joan with them, and more or less establishing that Carter and Shiera Hall have been the only Hawks in the DCU, with them helping out the fledgling Justice League.  I’m sure that left some other continuity issues, but it was good enough I guess.
  • The Annual ends with the suggestion that the ghostly fakir was about to bestow his gifts on another American in prison, this time in Turkey.
  • We learn that Byth’s crew, captured on the freighter, are being held in Belle Reve until they can be extradited to Thanagar.  Byth appears, eats one of them, and then busts the rest out by giving them the shape-changing drug Krotan.
  • Katar has figured out that Byth will smuggle more drugs through the regular courier from Thanagar, and so the Hawks follow him.  He meets with Byth and his new crew to hand over the drugs, when the Hawks raid their meeting.  A number of the Krotan-enhanced thugs are killed, but Byth and Jarl (the brother of the ambassador) escape.
  • Byth makes plans to get more Krotan, since this shipment was lost to Shayera.
  • Shayera reads Katar’s diary some more, and learns that he was upset that the tenant association of the building where the Hawks are living want Anna Taylor, the woman that Katar provided housing to, out.  They don’t trust people from Cabrini Green.  Katar is confused because the man at the door is black, as is Anna.
  • When Katar discovers that Shayera has been reading his diary, he gets angry and they argue.
  • Shayera calls Jonesy, her cop friend, and they go out to a diner to talk about Shayera’s choice to not pass on reports about Katar’s beliefs to Thanagar.  Later, they go back to his place.
  • The next day, everyone at the police station is amused to see Jones and Shayera arrive together.  There is innuendo, until the point when the Sergeant is revealed to be Byth, and he shoots Jones before turning into a bug creature and flies away.  Shayera vows to kill Byth.
  • Later, the chief of police grills the Hawks for information about Byth, who has killed two of his officers (the sergeant’s body was later found).  They are reluctant to help, wanting to get Byth themselves, but they end up betraying each other and arguing again.  Shayera storms out and punches a reporter.  Katar continues to provide information to the cops, although the ambassador, who would also know a thing or two, doesn’t.
  • Katar gets into another lengthy conversation about human rights, this time with the lawyer who is representing him.
  • Byth attacks a news helicopter reporting on a burning oil tanker that has hit a bridge.  Byth attacks in the form of “a giant man-sized hawk”.  Let’s unpack that one – Byth looks like the Man-Hawks from Thanagar, but is bigger than the helicopter, so I don’t know why he is referred to as ‘man-sized’.  It’s weird, and he looks dumb.
  • Shayera flies over to attack him, shooting wildly in rage.  Police, on top of the Sears Tower, worry that they will have to shoot Shayera, because they want to take the giant Man-Hawk in themselves, using pistols.
  • Katar appears, also trying to stop Shayera from killing Byth, just as she stopped him back on Thanagar in the mini-series.  Byth returns to his normal form while the Hawks argue and fight.  She shoots Byth, and is then knocked out by Katar, and handed over to the Chicago police.  It’s not clear what happened to Byth.
  • In the aftermath of this event, we learn that Katar has been recalled to Thanagar, while Shayera is being left to the justice system.  The Thanagarian museum exhibit is to be closed.
  • Travelling home, Katar realizes that it must not actually be Byth who was shot, and that he was setting the Hawks up for something.  He requests permission to return to Earth, and when it is denied, he turns around anyway.
  • The Ambassador is told about Katar’s betrayal, and he calls the American president to have the military shoot Katar down.  That doesn’t work.
  • We learn that Byth, going through severe Krotan withdrawal, can’t keep control of his form.  He sends Jarl to go get him some.
  • Katar breaks into Jones’s partner’s house, to get her to help him.  They watch video footage which shows that Byth may have swapped a doppelganger in before Shayera shot him.
  • Katar starts to follow Jarl, which leads him to where Byth is hiding out (in the middle of Wrigley Field).  The cop shoots Jarl, while Katar shoots Byth with small amounts of Krotan, so he takes a proper form.  He then knocks him out.
  • The charges against Shayera are dropped, and the two Hawks work out some of their mutual mistrust issues, and even embrace.  Instead of talking to the press, they fly off together.

This series is all over the map.  There are some interesting things that the writers are trying to do, but they come off feeling very heavy-handed and unsophisticated today.  Katar’s interest in American viewpoints on human rights and freedoms, especially as they compare to life on Thanagar, is a rich vein for storytelling, but it’s not handled well, with those scenes coming off preachy and a little confused.  The base prejudice shown against the woman who lived in Cabrini Green is awkward, and doesn’t really work (especially since she is not often seen around the apartment).

The relationship between Katar and Shayera is an interesting one, because this is the first time when Hawkman and Hawkgirl are not automatically in love with one another.  Having Shayera spy on Katar is a nice touch, although her characterization is all over the map – one moment she’s a tough killer cop, and the next, she’s shedding tears because her partner (who is basically a stranger, and who she’s spying on) doesn’t trust her.

I also don’t really understand Byth’s motivation.  In the miniseries, he was an evil man who manipulated his way into power.  In this series, he’s a shape-changing drug addict who is pulling the strings of the Ambassador, but to what end?  It mostly seems like he’s just after revenge on the Hawks, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense, since he was on Earth ahead of them.

Still, for all its flaws, this was an interesting book to read.  Graham Nolan is a very good, house-style artist.  This is definitely an early-90s book, as shown by Katar’s awful pony tail, but Nolan does good work with his storytelling.  I feel like he’s trying to work in a style informed by both Joe Kubert and Truman’s work with these characters, but as the run continues, he became more comfortable moving towards his own style (or that could be the influence of inker Gary Kwapisz).

One thing that really stands out in this run is just how bad the covers are.  They often look like interior panels that have just been blown up, with thicker than normal lines outlining the action.  They might be part of the reason why I didn’t buy this comic regularly.

One thing that I found particularly entertaining about this book is the variety of letters that were printed in the letters pages.  Clearly, this book was seen as controversial when it was published, as there are a lot of complaints about how these aren’t the ‘real’ Katar and Shayera.  In the internet era, it’s very easy to go on-line and complain about a comic, but to actually sit down and write, then post, a letter is a strange thing to me.

It’s interesting that Ostrander and Truman took such long-standing DCU characters, and put them in a book that barely interacts with the rest of the shared universe.  Sure, the Annual is used to address continuity and features the Golden Age Hawks and a couple of Flashes, but in the monthly book, the Hawks are very much on their own.  They are not superheroes in this book at all; they are police (it’s weird how this is the second DC superhero book I’ve chosen to write about that’s really about cops, isn’t it?).  Those lines became more blurred as the series continued, as Ostrander had to manage some line-wide crossovers.  We’ll take a look at that in my next column, which will cover his solo writing run.

If you are interested in my review of the miniseries, it’s here.×120.jpg

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