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. Mon, 25 May 2015 18:22:56 +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 Box Office: Tomorrowland Narrowly Wins Weekend With $32 Million Opening Mon, 25 May 2015 18:22:56 +0000 Tomorrowland may sit atop the top 10, but it's the biggest loser of Memorial Day weekend. ]]> Memorial Day weekend was a bust at the box office this year. In what has to be one of the worst performing Memorial Day weekends in the past decade, Disney’s Tomorrowland finished victorious (Friday-Sunday) but not by much. With a $32.2 million opening, Tomorrowland was a financial turkey for Brad Bird, whose film carried an estimated price tag of $190 million. Having seen it at a screening prior to its release I must say that beyond its shiny veneer it was nothing but fool’s gold. It’s not that the film was particularly bad, it was just disappointing and that may be a death sentence for some filmmakers. It’s one thing to hate or love a film, but when you fall into the camp of feeling that the director disappointed you to some degree, well that’s a whole new arena. But who’s to say that in time Tomorrowland won’t develop a ground swell of support. I’m not saying it will be like Bird’s The Iron Giant, but it may find greater appreciation on the dwindling home video market. Unless it becomes a hit overseas, which I don’t think is likely considering its subject matter, this could be another box office turkey for Disney after live-action failures The Lone Ranger and John Carter.

Last week’s number one, which I had initially pegged to finish with $35 million (it did nearly double that!), Pitch Perfect slipped to second and added another $30.3 million to bring its domestic earnings to $117.8 million. Consider for a moment that worldwide the first one only made $95 million.

Word of mouth is proving to help boost Mad Max: Fury Road as it only dropped 47.7% to bring its stateside earnings to around $87 million. Worldwide numbers should be even better once those totals come in. Somewhere north of $220 million.

Good news for Sam Rockwell fans: he had a movie that opened above $20 million! Granted it was 20th Century Fox’s remake of Poltergeist. With mediocre to poor reviews it still managed to open above The Avengers: Age of Ultron in its fourth week of release (it finished with $20.1 million to bring domestic earnings to $401 million). Nevertheless, Rockwell gets a victory over Tony Stark for a change. The horror remake should make a hasty exit from the top 10 in the succeeding weeks with the arrivals of San Andreas, Insidious: Chapter 3 and Spy among others.

Fox Searchlight’s Far From The Madding Crowd got a boost in attendance with added screens in its fourth week of release and finished with another $3 million. April holdover Furious 7 continues to be a presence in the top 10 as it nears $350 million domestically.

Even with the continued success of last week’s #1 and #2, Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road, this Memorial Day weekend is less than stellar in terms of release and performance. Compare some of the Memorial Day weekend openings the past few years (Note: these are earnings for the four-day weekend):

2014: X-Men: Days of Future Past ($110 Million)
2013: Fast & Furious 6 ($117 Million), The Hangover Part III ($50 Million), Epic ($42 Million)
2011: The Hangover Part II ($103 Million), Kung Fu Panda 2 ($60 Million)

Granted, aside from Epic, all of these films are sequels in franchises, but as you can see Memorial Day weekend is prime real estate for studios to exploit the success of franchises with sequels. Heck, even 2012 had the stagnating Men in Black franchise drop a third installment with earnings in excess of $69 million.

Let this be a reminder to Hollywood that if you plan to erect a tentpole for Memorial Day make sure it is with a franchise sequel, not a horror remake or something “original” as it may be misconstrued as something wrong, not profound.

Full Top 10 below.

01. Tomorrowland — $32.1 million
02. Pitch Perfect 2 — $30.3 million
03. Mad Max: Fury Road — $23.8 million ($87.3 million total)
04. Poltergeist — $23 million
05. Avengers: Age of Ultron — $20.9 million ($404.1 million total)
06. Hot Pursuit — $3.4 million ($28.9 million total)
07. Far from the Madding Crowd — $3 million ($6.3 million total)
08. Furious 7 — $2.6 million ($347.5 million total)
09. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 — $3 million ($66 million total)
10. Home — 1.6 million ($167.9 million total)

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Lucha Underground Results/Review 5/20/2015 Mon, 25 May 2015 18:09:33 +0000 Hello Everyone,

Welcome back to another Review of…….


As always we will assume you are all caught up on the show, if you are behind please feel free to go back and check out past reviews!

After the video package we begin with a new band rocking out on stage, Vampiro and Matt Striker start the show off as usual as Vampiro is a bit more hyper than normal.

The beatiful Mellisa Santos starts the show by introducing Marty The Moth. He has a real liking for Mellissa and seems to be following her around. Next surprisingly Melissa introduces Prince Puma, and he comes down with his headdress and title. Konann is right behind the champ as always, and apparently that is the only thing Vampiro has against the Puma, siding with the cancer Konann.

Match 1 = Marty VS Prince Puma

Konann shouts “treat him like a joke” as this match begins. In awkward fashion Marty hugs the champion and begins to pose asking the crowd to take a selfy, after posing for a moment he then turns and lariats the heck out of the champ knocking him down. Taking a moment of happiness Marty then starts relentlessly stomping and pounding on Puma as he’s in the corner. After taking a few surprising shots, Puma looks on in disbelief as Marty begins to take it to the Champion. Finally after taking abuse Puma hits a Nasty Disaster Kick on Marty and begins to get off his own offense. Hitting Marty with stiff kicks and European uppercuts Puma continues his assault until Marty catches him with a nice counter. Following a big boot, the Moth lays out Puma and begins to set up Puma for an off the top rope maneuver. After taking forever taunting the Moth attempts a moonsualt and fails miserably. This allows Puma to set up and drop Marty with his spinning Sky High. After laying him out with his set up, Puma ascends to the top rope and gets off his 640 senton pinning Marty for the 1..2..3.

Winner = Prince Puma Via Pinfall


Following the match out comes Hernandez, the fans are sour at him him since last week he turned on Puma. Konann cuts a promo as the crowd chants Pero, Konann continues by saying Hernandez makes lambs look hard. After claiming Hernandez is soft they invite him down to the ring, Konann states Puma will take care of business now but Hernandez cowers and leave.

We are now shown flashes of Alberto getting thrown through Dario Cueto’s office from last week as commentary hypes up the fact Mundo will speak tonight.

Following adds we return to the show and find Vampiro and Mundo sitting in the Boil Heights studio. Vamprio does not hold any punches and goes into why Mundo threw Alberto into Dario’s office right away. Mundo responds by saying he wants to be the best, and he has proved that. Vampiro counters back by accusing him of not answering the question thus making him re ask, why did he throw Alberto face first through a window. The best part of this is Vampiro throws down his clip board and gives it to Mundo straight, he basically calls out Mundo by saying he is jealous that Alberto stepped over him. Finally Mundo snaps and says he was here since day one, and he is the biggest star in the company, he is not going to let Alberto come in on his turf, and now he is not worried about Patron anymore.The Segment ends with Mundo stating, “but you already knew all this.”

Next we find ourselves in Dario Cueto’s office, he is speaking with the crew. He is hyping them up for the trio’s title match. He says not only will they be competing for the belts, they are going to have to perform a sacrafice, that sacrafice is in the form of Ivelisse, Angelico, and Havok. If they fail Dario states he has someone who will sacrafice them.

Next Melissa Santos introduces Daivari who is laying on the turnbuckles. Yes. Next outcomes Texano still reeling over the history he has with Daivari.

Match 2 = Texano VS Daivari


Finally after a little bit of a chase down, Texano slides back in the ring allowing Daivari to begin stomping on him to start the match. Commentary paints the picture that Daivari is from a rich Persian family from LA. They are telling the story that his parents earned his fortune while Daivari just inherited it. They then put over Texano as being a hard worker that earned his stock by rising up the ranks in Lucha culture.  Daivari  then begins working over the left arm and continues to put heel pressure on Texano. These guys are working a nice brawling style with evenly matched technical exchanges. Texano takes control by countering Daivari from jumping off the turnbuckle and ends up superplexing Daivari on his back of the top ropes. After both wrestlers sell, both guys trade punches as commentary refers to Daivari as the golden warrior. Continuing his assult Daivari hits 3 german suplexes trying to put the young Texano away. Texano seems to turn the ties by hitting Daivari with a code breaker, just when Texano seems to be getting the upper hand Big Ryck comes out of no where and stiffly clothes lines Texano and begins to attack. As the crowd boo’s both Ryck and Daivari attack Texano and Daivari tells the ref to count the pin anyway, even though the match has been thrown out. Daivari then celebrates drinking from his booze as the crowd chants you sold out to Ryck.

Winner = Disqualification

Wow a really sweet promo come up next with Dario Cueto and Catrina. Catrina seems to come to Dario in a hallucination, she tells him he knows Mil Muertes could not be stopped when he was allowed into the temple. She says Muertes is returning more powerful then ever, and he wants the man that cannot die. Cueto says well if he wants Fenix, he can have him next week. He then asks what kind of match did Catrina have in mind. She responds with a death match as the music and camera angles get more dramatic. She then disappears leaving Cueto alone in his office with a sickening grin.

Now we see black Lotus walking along the rail road tracks. She is thanking her teacher saying she is ready, and now  plans on setting out to find and kill Dario Cueto’s brother. As she is going over her plans we see her teacher being confronted by Chavo, he states “if you are going to save her, you’re going to need my help.”


Now we get some clarity as we see Chavo talking with Black Lotus’s teacher. They go over their families past and Chavo proposes that he can protect black Lotus, only if her teacher clears his debt in Mexico. They make the deal and Chavo promises to protector her like she is family.

Now the main even for the Trio’s titles.

Main Event = The Crew VS Ivelisse, Angelico, and Son of Havok.

As soon as the Champions get introduced and come out, the crew go on the attack. Like blood thirsty sharks in a frenzy they attack and assault Angelico and Havok. Ivelisse is getting chants as she stumbles down the stairs in support of her team. Out of no where Beal strikes Ivelisse and he begins stomping on her as the crowd chants pero. Beal and Castro grab a latter as Mister Cisco whips Angelico in the ring. Using the momentum of Cisco’s Irish whip he dives from inside the ring and lands on Beal and Castro taking them both out. Once seeing his friends taken out, Cisco then runs and drop kicks a latter into Havok as he tries to get up and invade the ring. Angelico then tries to take the chance at getting the titles when all members of the Crew enter the ring and triple team him, breaking down the latter and then hitting their dagger drop kick moves. Castro then sets up the latter in front Angelico who is down in the corner, they then grab a chair and strike the latter with the chair sending the latter into Angelico’s man area, causing him to sell and flop out of the ring. The story now is they are just beating down the champions remembering Dario’s words, its almost as if they could have won the match already as all three of them stomp on Havok in the ring. They set up a latter in the corner and then a table across from it, as they continue to stomp Havok. Havok then gets off some offense and counters all three of them trying to take down the titles. It doesn’t take long for the crew to return and they counter havok and double team him with a double stomp into a DDT. The crew tries to get the belts but Angelico breaks up the team, they then take Angelico outside and slam his face into the panels covering the windows Alberto was thrown through. They set up 2 tables and we see them trying to send Angelico through them, he counters and tips the latter Cisco is on and sends him through the open window into Dario’s office. Angelico then sets up Castro on the tables and climbs the latter to the top of Dario’s office where he did his major dive before. After taunting the crowd Beal comes out of no where and takes him out with a kendo stick. Then as Havok is down below he sets up for a big move, Cisco dives from Dario’s open office and takes out Havok before he can land his offense. The crowd continues to chant Lucha and Holy shit as they love this match, and the crew begins to go for the titles. Havok tries coming back and does his patented Double back elbow and takes out 2 of the Crew, he then again goes for the titles sees them coming, thus does a nice moonsault off the later, and lands on the crew stopping their attack. He then goes bananas using weapons in the ring to counter the crew, the begins to set up Beal on a table to do his shooting star. Cisco tries to stop Havok from hitting the move but Havok  pushes him off and sends him landing on the 2 tables set up outside. Havok then goes for the shooting star nails it but does not break the table. I bet we see this in a, I am the table on spot on Botchamania sometime in the future Ha. Finally Castro re sets up the latter and begins to climb, HOLLY FUCKING SHIT, Angelico runs form the top of Dario Cueto’s office, jumps and Drop kicks Castro off the latter! This was an amazing spot, like seriously fucking cool! Following the Drop kick Ivelisse climbs into the ring and starts to make her way up the latter, Castro tries to climb on the opposite side but she bites him and continues up ward. Finally She grabs the first title releasing it from its hook, the belt falls and the bells rings signifying the match is over. Angelico and Havok storm the ring and they all stand tall for the victory with the titles! Dario Cueto looks shocked in his office as we go off the air.

Winners = Angelico, Ivelisse, and Havok.


Click on the gif above ^^^

This match was freaking Phenomenal, when Angelico hit that drop kick from the top of Cueto’s office, I along with the entire temple lost their minds. Vampiro is seen jumping up from the commentary booth and running along the ring. The energy of this spot was truly insane, it was easily the spot of the night and is defiantly a candidate for spot of the entire show’s existence. The energy for Lucha is at full force right now and I hope they get season 2 all set up for us to enjoy. The quality of the show is just unmatched and again I patiently wait for next week, so I can mark out again for the show.

Let me know how you liked the show.

– Grainbelt Jones

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Capsule Reviews & Spoilers: DC Comics’ Batman #40 & Superman #40 Lead Into Game-Changing Issue #41’s Mon, 25 May 2015 17:00:44 +0000 SUPERMAN #40 (SLIGHT SPOILERS) Superman_Vol_3_40Words, Art, and Cover by John Romita Jr.

This is a very good “stand alone” issue. The only prior knowledge you need is that Superman has a new power he’s unfamiliar with, but you can pick up on that quickly in the first few pages. Although, this new power has a side effect of Supes losing his other abilities for about 24 hours. So while the ability to basically be a nuclear bomb is helpful in some situations, being out of the game for awhile could hurt the team in a jam. I really like Romita’s take on a few characters, especially a “smiling, funny Batman”. Normally, we might see Bruce being very serious and intent on discovering Clark’s new ability (possibly abilities?) but he takes it in stride and learns what he’s capable of with everyone else by Superman’s side. With Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and The Flash nearby, this could easily have been an issue of Justice League as well. A new writer is starting next issue for the “Truth” arc, but I hope we can see Romita writing for DC again soon. I’d be interested in his take on other characters.



BATMAN #40 (Endgame Finale) Batman_Vol_2_40(SPOILERS AHEAD) Written by Scott Snyder, Art and Cover by Greg Capullo

Before I get into details, I’ll just state that overall I thought this was a very good end to a very intense and game-changing (pardon the slight-pun) fight for Batman. I mostly want to talk about the end, so, one more warning, SPOILERS START NOW:

So, Batman…died? It certainly seemed so! My main confusion lies in the fact that Bruce has been in Future’s End, chronologically after Endgame, and the whole point of the New52, as I understand it, was supposed to be complete continuity, especially with the big characters. So, there must be some “coming back” story soon. Though there could be an argument made that he made it out, especially with the reference to the “deus ex machina” mentioned in the first issue of the arc (Batman #35).

I thought the card in Batman’s eye was an interesting symmetry to the Batarang in Joker’s eye during his death scene in The Dark Knight Returns. Whether it was intentional or not, I don’t know, but just something I noticed. Overall, a good ending to a powerful and intense story.

Want to share your thoughts? Find me on Twitter @4ColorPhil×120.jpg

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Secret Wars Declassifed: Week 2 Of Marvel Comics’ Event Tie-In Series Reviewed In Full! Several Books With A Mountain Of Titles Still To Come!! Mon, 25 May 2015 16:30:52 +0000 Welcome to the first installment in what is most likely at least twenty to twenty-four weeks’ worth of analysis for ALL the SECRET WARS tie-in series all Secret Wars Declassified. We’re now onto Week 2!

Secret Wars Declassified banner week 2

Greetings, Dear Readers!! The books are coming out of the woodwork! Eight titles permeate this time around. From this point on, there will be three distinct headings to reflect their significance in accordance to Marvel’s branding of this multi-part months-long saga.


LOKI - AGENT of ASGARD #14 review spoilers 1

“Born One Morning and the Sun Didn’t Shine” (20 pages) by Al Ewing, Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela w/ Andres Mossa, VC’s Clayton Cowles

The Story is all that matters. Capital S. A spin on Ragnarök is presented as it rapidly approaches. Loki’s primary and sole concern is preserving The Story, meaning his. Odin, the All-Father is rattled to his core since a disturbing dream will soon become reality. The evil alternate version of Loki also makes preparations. Thus, it’s a three-pronged ‘attack’. Odin’s attempts to gather allies turns sour with his impatience, impudence, and insults. The ‘good’ Loki dodges Verity Willis’ questions about what’s happened to her friend, a different version of the God of Stories.

LOKI - AGENT of ASGARD #14 review spoilers 2

After gender-swapping and discussing, Verity refuses to believe that The End is nigh. She feels that Loki knows there is Hope but is refusing to admit to it. S/He fires back that Verity’s story is of the utmost importance. Evil Loki visits his daughter Hela. He wants to set free a most wicked creature that even causes Hel to quiver. Freyja surprises Odin with a small gathering of Asgardians. Through the Enchantress’ magic, they all gain Heimdall’s vision. Major shock to the system — Loki is on the back of Jormungandr, the World Serpent with Balder’s head in his hand!! Hela and Tyr are on each side with Hel’s warriors ready for action. [8 strikes]

LOKI - AGENT of ASGARD #14 review spoilers 3

Truly fascinating observations about the significance of storytelling and how it affects all these characters.

That’s the thing about stories. They have to end to mean anything. I can’t be Loki forever.”

It’s never the end of all stories. They get everywhere. Like roaches. Wipe out the whole omniverse – there’ll still be a story somewhere. Loads, probably.” – Loki, the Goddess of Stories

For the story is ending – even the story of the Dead. And we shall all be wiped away…” – Hela


MASTER of KUNG-FU #1 review spoilers 1

“Master Drunk” (20 pages) by Haden Blackman, Dalibor Talajić, Goran Sudžuka, Miroslav Mrva, VC’s Travis Lanham

Martial arts magic!! The major craze of the 70’s is back in splendiferous style!! I was blown away by the dialogue, action, characterization, plot, the whole shebang! Mr. Blackman has done an immense amount of world-building in one compact issue. Shang-Chi has been downgraded to a derelict and drunk. His fighting spirit is far from gone as he easily handles three enforcers of the Ten Rings, while he’s hungover :0 An on-looker runs to Callisto to inform her of the upstart. Even though he is faring quite well, Callisto arrives with her Outcasts and they vanish.

MASTER of KUNG-FU #1 review spoilers 2

Meanwhile…Laughing Skull trains some extremely poor candidates. Red Sai tells a messenger that she will serve the Emperor along with her Red Hand clan. The Emperor learns the news of his son’s exaggerated death. He awaits Shang’s return. Iron Fist wants a one-on-one with the errant son for having slain his master. The last panel shows Shang and his new friends within the citadel, descending. [9.5 strikes]

Encyclopædic Enlightenment
13 Chambers – tournament held every 13 years to determine the new Emperor.
Houses – Red Hand, Panther Clan, House of the Jade Tiger, Spider Cult, Ten Rings, Iron Fist.
K’un Lun – domain #11 of Battleworld.
Zheng Zu – Shang Chi’s father [analog of Fu Manchu]
Ten Rings – Razorfist, Typhus, Nightwind (among others)
Shang-Chi – The Rising Spirit, Son of the Emperor, Seven-Time Winner of the Dragon Cup, Nine-Time Winner of (?), slayer of Lord Tuan, master of Iron Fist.
Outcasts – [analog of Morlocks] Callisto, Caliban, Kitten [Kitty Pryde], Lock [Lockheed] — Love the new take on Kitten and her pet dragon. Caliban looks downright docile.

MASTER of KUNG-FU #1 review spoilers 3

Laughing Skull – analog of Taskmaster

Red Sai – analog of Elektra
Red Hand – analog of The Hand. Duh!
Herald – analog of Silver Surfer. Didn’t see this coming!! Not obvious in the least!!! Had I not researched, I would’ve been left in the dark.
Iron Fist – real name: Daniel Rand

SECRET WARS - BATTLEWORLD #1 review spoilers 1

“Soldier Supreme” (10 pages) by Josh Williamson, Mike Henderson, Jordan Boyd, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Stephen Strange’s spirit has commandeered Frank Castle’s body. They are now co-joined as the Soldier Supreme. The Punisher-Dr. Strange mash-up is ultra-wicked.

SECRET WARS - BATTLEWORLD #1 review spoilers 2

He is accosted by the Infernal Four (Ghost Rider, Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine). Three out of four ain’t bad as the aforementioned trio drop like flies but Wolverine never goes down easy. He slices and dices Frank. Stephen wants him to cast a healing spell but Frank wants to go out with dignity. He launches a grenade with his dying breath. Later, Wolverine brings the skull emblem to Sheriff Strange. The Sheriff iterates that Doom wanted Castle alive. When Wolvie begins to pry, he is dismissed. Shockingly, the spirit of the ‘real’ Strange hovers above Wolverine and vows vengeance. Wolvie can hear him and retorts that Inferno is the incarnation of Hell. [8.5 strikes]

Domain #27: 2099

Domain #29: Monarchy of M – mentioned
Domain #37: Limbo – from whence hail Frank and Stephen
Domain #38: Deadlands – mentioned and rightfully dreaded
Domain #41: The Shield – the great barrier for castaways

Magic, Military Mode!
Calm. Dust. – Hulk becomes Banner then, well, you know…
Rocket of Raggador – takes down Ghost Rider
Weapon of Watoomb – vain attempt to blow up Wolverine

“M.O.D.O.K. Madness” (10 pages) by Ed Brisson, Scott Hepburn, Matt Milla, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Never was a fan of the protruding bulging floating head and his overstuffed ego. Not only is his appearance off-putting but his speech is just plain annoying! GGRR!! Either way, he is used to much comedic effect. The Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing teleports nine other versions of himself to help him depose Doom so that he may be absolute autocrat of the patchwork planet.

SECRET WARS - BATTLEWORLD #1 review spoilers 3

You’d think that a room full of elevated intellectuals would be able to pull it off. Nope!! Two members of the Thor Corps are dispatched to investigate the unruliness. They begrudgingly oblige their duty since they find M.O.D.O.K. to be loathsome and just plain boogly. He will be charged with heresy. They are aghast when they witness the aftermath. The massive noggin asks to be put out of his misery. [6 strikes]

Domain #22: The Warzone (Iron faction)

Too much of a good thing…
Ghost Rider M.O.D.O.K., Hulk M.O.D.O.K.(?), Spider-Man M.O.D.O.K., Modie’s daughter(!), M.O.D.O.K. of King James’ England, M.O.D.O.K. of S.H.I.E.L.D., standing, ‘normal’ humanoid M.O.D.O.K. of the future, two unnamed versions

Squeamish about what comes naturally?M.O.D.O.K. is a leader, not a breeder!

Appropriate self-scrutiny:I had forgotten what a pompous ass I once was.”

ULTIMATE END #1 review spoilers 1

ULTIMATE END #1 (of 5)
“” (21 pages) by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, Justin Ponsor, VC’s Cory Petit

Welcome to Manhattan! Nice place to visit but wouldn’t want to live there especially since it’s under Doom’s dominion!! The first three pages show Ultimate Punisher ready to take out both sides of the equations: the heroes of 616 vs. those of 1610. He thinks he’s doing each universe a favour by lessening the bloodshed. A most extreme solution to an exacerbating problem.

ULTIMATE END #1 review spoilers 2

Spider-Man of the main MU is en route to the Triskelion. Along the way he comes across an all-female Serpent Squad, his high school fantasies realized, and the All-New Ultimates. He is completely unnerved coming across Jessica Drew, knowing full well that she is a clone of his other self. Her knowledge of his true identity unhinges him even more. Nick Fury-1610 has organized a pow-wow from both worlds. It’s a meeting of the minds to overthrow Doom and reset everything. Tony Stark ends up having an existential argument with his overbearing parallel reflection. Ever the comedic foil, Spidey’s concern over the exposure of his secret ID dissipates the tension somewhat. He is floored that everyone in the UU is privy to it as well as Emma Frost. Like the loveable dope that he is, he blurts his birth name. It’s a non-issue now. Back to the enveloping drama: after some ethical debating, Tony Stark-1610 realizes the error of his ways and admits to discovering a dimension rift and then standing idle deciding the next course of action. The two groups part ways, each stating that they do not trust the other. Doom is omniscient. The Thor Corps are ready to bring the thunder! [7 strikes]

ULTIMATE END #1 review spoilers 3

Domain #20c – Manhattan of Earth-1610

Who’s Right? Who’s Wrong?
Earth-616: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Doc Green, Scarlet Witch, Cyclops, Storm, Emma Frost
Earth-1610: Nick Fury, Tony Stark, Ben Grimm, Clint Barton

Wrestling with myself:
You want to hear what he has to say and I really don’t. And yet we’re the same person.”
No. We’re not.” “Sure we are. Tony Stark facial hair. It’s practically a trademark.” – Tony 1610, then 616, with 1610 having the final say.



“” (21 pages) by Marguerite Bennett & G. Willow Wilson, Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Laura Martin & Matt Milla, VC’s Cory Petit

Click here for my detailed analysis from the past week. [7.5 strikes]

DEADPOOL'S SECRET SECRET WARS #1 review spoilers 1

“” (20 pages) by Cullen Bunn, Matteo Lolli, Ruth Redmond, VC’s Joe Sabino

Aren’t we the fools? How could none of us realize that the Merc with a Mouth, the Regenerating Degenerate was present for the first Secret Wars?!? First?!? Wade walks away unscathed (more or less) from a battle gone badly. Flashback: for whatever unnecessary reason, Wasp, the leader of the Avengers believes introductions are in order as eighteen heroes and one villain find themselves in parts unknown. Enter: Deadpool. They are beyond clueless as to his credentials and wonder what use he has. They all observe the appearance of another construct and the genesis of Battleworld as well as the coming of the Beyonder. DP is ready to slay play but he tones it down when the heroes frown upon his eagerness. On the newly-born barren world, Magneto rightly turns on the do-gooders and flees. Leadership is needed. Captain America is elected much to Wolverine’s vehement opposition.

DEADPOOL'S SECRET SECRET WARS #1 review spoilers 2

The matches commence. The villains have their butts kicked.

DEADPOOL'S SECRET SECRET WARS #1 review spoilers 3

‘Pool comes across Kang who is unseen by the others. A swift kick to the groin puts the Conqueror out of commission. Something went awry since the story returns to the present. Wade Wilson ponders the outcome. When he emerges from the shadows, he’s sporting a brand new face: that of a handsome, leaner, version of Dum-Dum Dugan!? [7 strikes]

“Bonus Round” (10 pages) by Cullen Bunn, Jacopo Camagni, Veronica Gandini, VC’s Joe Sabino

Marvel’s Comics very first mini-series CONTEST of CHAMPIONS is paid tribute!! That’s open to debate since Mr. Pool is involved. Feeling snubbed, DP pleads his case and surprisingly convinces Grandmaster to create a bonus round!! Wade is so vexatious that even an Elder of the Universe caves in to his asinine request. *chortle* Grandmaster opts for Deadpool, Doop, Howard the Duck, and Pink Sphinx. Love that last one! Death is represented by Frog Man, Rocket Racer, She-Man-Thing (shudder!) and the Vile Tapeworm. FIGHT!!

DEADPOOL'S SECRET SECRET WARS #1 review spoilers 4

The motormouth merc enters a strip club where the coveted prize is located. It’s nothing more than a giant button that says “participant”. Grandmaster won via DP and his lackies. He does get a consolation prize: a kiss from Death. Literally!! [7 strikes for the lolz]

DEADPOOL'S SECRET SECRET WARS #1 review spoilers 5

Meta-commentary: A hammer-over-the-head reminder that Deadpool is actually dead in the present day.

This match was brought to you by…Cheetos® and Mountain Dew®

PLANET HULK #1 review spoilers 1

“The Oath” (20 pages) by Sam Humphries, Marc Laming, Jordan Boyd, VC’s Travis Lanham

If you loved the original epic by Greg Pak and are a major fan of GLADIATOR, this one’s for you!! The neat thing about this series is the choice in co-star: Steve Rogers, the former Captain America and his new companion Devil Dinosaur! A village of Hulks decide to engage in battle with Doom’s Dogs (the Thors). They can’t leave well enough alone. They are soundly defeated by the enforcers since all they have are stones, scraps, and the other s-word. The village is destroyed but the Thors move onward. Red Hulk is quite content with Doom’s swift punishment.

PLANET HULK #1 review spoilers 2

The Captain is a combat warrior in the employ of Arcade. His exploits are televised and in honour of Doom. The Captain has fought his last fight. He grabs Arcade and enters Devil’s maw. Cap is seeking Bucky. The interrogation is over before it begins when they are tasered. Doom’s graciousness spares Cap’s life. Sheriff Strange wants him to travel to the Mud Kingdom and settle a border dispute by killing the Red King. Cap gets all the dirty work since Doom is too high-and-mighty to tarnish his armour. Cap accepts once Strange tells him that Bucky is RK’s captive.

PLANET HULK #1 review spoilers 4

He will also be allowed to live freely in Greenland when the task has been accomplished. Gamma-irradiated earthworms greet the twosome. They are overwhelmed. Luckily, the operative they are to meet, Green Hulk, is his rescuer. [9 strikes]

PLANET HULK #1 review spoilers 3

Domain #1: Greenland

No better place: The Killiseum – best name ever for a gladiatorial arena!

Don’t get lost: The map of Greenland is well laid-out and cleverly designated. {Badlands, Barrens of the Tribal Hulks, Fang Mountain, Gamma Lake, Mud Kingdom, Port Banner, Sea of Monsters, She-Hulk Shore}

“Phoenix Burning” (10 pages) by Greg Pak, Takeshi Miyazawa, Rachelle Rosenberg, Travis Lanham [AMAZING SCIENCE #15 cover by Leonard Kirk and Tamra Bonvillain]

The rabid fans demand more!! Here you go! This is the origin of the Hulk re-told with Amadeus Cho subbing as Rick Jones. Wunderkind Amadeus works for Bannertech. He’s one of the lead scientists. His experiments with gamma radiation are a success.

PLANET HULK #1 review spoilers 5

Gabriel Jones, commander of S.H.I.E.L.D. western division blares that A.I.M. has hijacked their supply of Gamma bombs. Banner is aghast since he had no idea Cho donated them to the peacekeeping force. Two major cities on each coast have been hit. Cho suits up and takes flight with some other techies. Cho pulls a Bucky when he hops onto a missile and tries to prevent its impact. He fails. Banner and others are hit by the radiation. At first, Banner believes it contained and praises Cho. Seconds later, he mutates into the savage beast he was always destined to be. [6 strikes]

PLANET HULK #1 review spoilers 6

SPIDER-VERSE #1 review spoilers 1

“” (25 pages) by Mike Costa, André Araújo, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Two tales are told separately before their inevitable crossing. Spider-Gwen is in a daze. Her memories are incomplete and she can’t shake off the feeling of her supposed death. The reality she finds herself in is not her own. After interrupting a grave robbing by the Jackal and his cronies, Gwen visits the tombstones of her other self and her father. That in itself should be eerie but she is determined to get answers to the nagging questions. Residing in a halfway house shows how low she has gone. The internet reveals her doppleganger’s death and the disappearance of Spider-Man. Her quest leads her to the slimeball numero uno: Norman Osborn. The man is sharper than a Ginsu knife. He spots her in the crowd and identifies her as one of the newest employees. The ruse is set. Two months into her gig, Gwen decides to finally act. Her attempt at pickpocketing a key card is unsuccessful. Nevertheless, she gains access to Ozcorp Special Projects. She is astounded to see a humanoid pig hooked up to IVs with a Spider-costume hanging next to him. The jig is up!! Norman Osborn casually points out Gwen’s last name and informs her that she was expected.

SPIDER-VERSE #1 review spoilers 2

Pravitir Prabhakar comes out of hiding and provides his services after he witnesses Spider-Man (formerly U.K.) and Spider-Girl tussle with the Enforcers and hi-tech bounty hunters. After unmaskings are done, Pavitir revels in a major scientific discovery: The Great Web a.k.a. the Web of Life and Destiny. This is the source of the Spider-Sense and the pathway to various Spider-avatars from across the multiverse!! [7 strikes]

SPIDER-VERSE #1 review spoilers 3

Domain #16: Arachnia

Paramnesia – distorted, confused memory
Déjà vu – from the French, literally “already seen”. The inexplicable feeling that you’ve experienced something before.
Preseque vu — from the French, literally “almost seen”. The inability to access something that is on the tip of your tongue.

“Pig in the City” (5 pages) by Mike Costa, Steven Sanders, Jim Campbell

SSSQQQUUUEEEAAALLL!!! Peter Porker’s new beginnings recounted!! Transported from Earth-25 to this other reality by his Aunt May’s atomic-powered hairdryer, Spider-Ham tries to get his bearings and carve out a different kind of life. From vagrant to permanent house guest (due to an old lady’s blindness and lack of revealing his true self) to being caught to circus attraction who does stand-up comedy — mission accomplished. Norman Osborn spots the arachnid porcine and evilly smiles, seeing that he has a new pet project. [7 strikes]

Misconception: “Pigs are actually very clean creatures.” – directly from the snout of Peter Porker himself. Shows what little I knew!

SPIDER-VERSE #1 review spoilers 4×120.jpg

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Converse Convergence: Week 7 Of DC Comics’ 2015 2-Month Event Reviewed In Full! Spoilers! There Ain’t No Heaven! Mon, 25 May 2015 16:00:18 +0000 Welcome back to my 8-part column called Converse Convergence where I assess each week of DC’s 2015 2-month event. We’re now onto Week 7!

Converse Convergence banner week 7

Week seven and there ain’t no heaven!!! Not only have the tables turned, but Deimos’ demise comes at the hand of an unexpected but omnipotent ally!

Not enough pages are given to the slugfests between heroes, villains, and heroes. I guess fan fiction would be the route to go. I’ve given the rare perfect rating to two titles. Try to determine which!! DIVERGENCE enters its third week. I’m worse than a dog waiting for his master to come home. I’m truly hooked on all these previews. Say, is DC finally rising to stellar status?


“Showdown” (28 pages) by Jeff King & Scott Lobdell; Aaron Lopresti; Mark Morales; Peter Steigerwald; Travis Lanham

Time is out of joint!! Physics are askew. The Oracle (not Barbara Gordon) is now blind. How cruel a fate for one who is able to peer into all facets of the fourth dimension. His own destiny is unknown. Superman gathers all those around the anomaly and returns them to safety. Various versions of villains, heroes and the like wage war. Telos breaks through the core of himself along with Dick Grayson determined to deter Deimos. The dark wizard is a rascally one. He blasts Deimos in the back. He has such unlimited power that when he screams the heroes of Prime Earth can hear him crystal clear in the vacuum of space. A nifty two-page spread showcases select versions of Superman, Supergirl, and Martian Manhunter. Telos is tortured not knowing his origins, something Deimos isn’t too eager to share. Parallax interrupts and talks down to the demi-god but he swats him aside. Yolanda tells Dick within earshot of others that Deimos wants the death of all parties. This kernel begins to turn the tide. Yolanda pinpoints the moustachioed madman’s weakness: fear of Telos. Upon that declaration, the living planet restrains him and those who are part of his crusade. Telos was too passive but is all too aware of what has transpired. Once again, Deimos unleashes his might. Parallax finally steps up to the plate. The death lord is actually dead. The solution was too extreme – by zapping him into the void, the power Deimos had harnessed from the time travelers has now scattered. Oracle regains sight. He is ready for the big sleep. As he begins to crumble, he tells Supergirl it’s not just him but all of reality.

Identity theft: Oracle is Aurakles, a character from the New Gods’ universe who was rewritten as the original DCU super-hero. Investigate on your own:

Uh-oh! Spaghetti-O!!
Parallax provides the out-of-left-field save but he did more harm than good. As the lesser of two evils, there’s only one more issue to deal with him. Remember that he was responsible for Zero Hour, where he tried to restructure the universe by tampering with the timestream.

Done, son! Deimos got the ultimate trash talk from Parallax — “You’re the worst kind of villain, Deimos. One obsessed with power for power’s sake. You wield it for your own selfish needs. But power like that can not only save lives. It can revive them. My universe. My world. My Coast City. You bore me.”

Under a blood red sky: Need more be said??

Brawler! Too many cool mix-ups to mention but all done unapologetically in two-page spreads.

Hits: 7.5/10


“” (22 pages) by Marv Wolfman, Roberto Viacava, Andy Owens, Sotocolor, Rob Leigh

When one door closes, another opens. In this case, after a harrowing escape from the Phantom Zone and a return to Metropolis, a new threat has arisen: General Symian the First, of Earth-AD. Do not fear, Kamandi is here!! He swings around his co-existent and tries to convince him to spare the humans. Symian is too bloodthirsty. Big Blue and the Maid of Might make their contribution. Kamandi recognizes Superman from the ancient texts. Supergirl is so obsessed with Kal’s safety that she freaks out when he is blasted and doesn’t like the plan he has devised. Kamandi manages to surprise and unsettle Kara when he makes reference to the ancient texts and begins to speak of her sacrifice. Fake-out!! The two Supers only pretend to be knocked out. Superman detonates the warhead with ease. Kamandi is grateful for the assist and returns to his people. Kal tries to coax the truth out of Kara’s uncomfortableness. She remains mum. The quake rattles them to their senses [natch!] Kara makes a connection between the events experienced by them. Kal assures her they will investigate and fight their captor.

Out-of-synch: The last caption states “To be continued in CONVERGENCE #6” which was released the previous week. Interestingly enough, the New 52 versions were predominant.

What nightmares may come:My fate is sealed. His still isn’t which means even if I don’t live, he must.” – Superman is a main fixture of his reality, and Kara’s. “Images from a possible future revealed during a weakening in the dimensional fabric.” – Supergirl

Blink, and you’ll definitely miss it! The classic image that graced the cover of CRISIS on INFINITE EARTHS #7 is somewhere in this book. Can’t find it? Need help? Page 16, panel 1.

Blooper? The narrative caption on page 15 features the New 52 shield for Supergirl.

Youthful exuberance: Kamandi as a guest-star was a real smart move.

Hits: 8.5/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: MARTIAN MANHUNTER [8 pages]


“The New Normal, pt. 2” (22 pages) by Marc Andreyko, Carlos D’Anda, Gabe Eltaeb, Steve Wands

OMAC attacks!! Tell me another one. He is being controlled by Godmother. The Outsiders retaliate. Geo-Force heats him up, followed by Metamorpho’s delivery of liquid nitrogen. Victory is declared. Black Lightning, Geo-Force, and Halo expel OMAC. He reverts back to Buddy Blank and wonders about Brother Eye’s presence. The Eye is with him but predicts their imminent inexistence. Metamorpho laments his ‘back-to-normal’ status. Batman knows that this was one minor battle. War will break out.

Tender to the touch: Rex inadvertently burns his pureheart Sapphire when he reverts to his multi-elemental form.

Pardon the pun: Black Lightning tells Halo: “Gaby! Time for a light show!” UGH.

Throwback: The Bat-Copter, just like the Hot Wheels® model!!

Requiem for Rex Mason: Metamorpho is a freak once more. He should commiserate with Ben Grimm, cursed in his Thing form as poignantly told in “This Man…This Monster!”

Hits: 5/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: BATMAN BEYOND [8 pages]


“Race to the Finish” (22 pages) by by Dan Abnett, Federico Dallocchio, Veronica Gandini, Tom Napolitano

From the many pickings this particular week, this is THE BOOK to read and re-read and once more!! So much trippy stuff! Science vs. Super-science!!! This issue packs a wallop @_@ Make sure your head is fastened securely cuz away we go!

Mind over Speed Force. Is there really any contention? The Tangent Superman delivers an eight-page treatise on analyzing the enemy, timestreams, parallels of the Hypertime multiverse, ethos, and philosophy. Luckily for us readers, it’s really not that wordy. The Flash takes it all in stride when he refers to STAR TREK. Classic nerd. Gudonya! Superman refuses to engage in combat. He pulls a fast one (HAH) when he blurts Barry’s true identity. He then continues to present facts about his superior intellect and gushes over Barry’s heroic qualities. Flash is itching for a fight. The next seven pages showing him piling it on as only a speedster can. Unfortunately, Supes wasn’t bragging about his mental faculties. He brain-blasts Barry. The Flash is more of an elusive quarry than Supes realized. He is literally in the wrong place at the wrong time, to put it in layman terms. Flash must live to preserve the timestream. Superman forfeits. Barry has a lot to process with the startling revelations. First and foremost, he must make a life for himself without his beloved Iris. His future isn’t guaranteed but he must face it head on.

Live long and prosper: Words to live by. The classic sci-fi series is mentioned twice.

Time(Clock of the Heart): Hypertime is brought up!! This concept lost traction once INFINITE CRISIS rolled around as almost all the fictitious individuals forgot about it. Huh. I’m one of them. How many of you readers remembered this? “Our realities are tangential alternates, co-existing in Hypertime.”

•Eugenics – the study of improving the qualities of the human species.
•Neo-Malthusianism – advocates of population control due to reduced resources.
•Misanthropy – the hatred, dislike, and distrust of humankind.
Unpleasant subjects all around!

Barry Allen is the only Flash that matters!
Superman from Earth-9 presents an array of arguments in favour of this Scarlet Speedster. He has my eternal gratitude. I can begin my thesis, borrowing from his ideas.

1. “You are Barry Allen. The Flash of Earth-Prime.” “You are a proven hero. Brave, determined, gifted, selfless. You have saved worlds in your lifetime.” You tell him!!
2. “You are disconnected from ALL multiversal timelines.” What more can be accomplished by Barry? He is a man out of sorts.
3. Barry is a complex speed machine: “Consider the anachronisms in your thoughts.”
4. Spoiler!! “You think of the Speed Force, but it is a concept known only to your successors, and…” HHMM, that sure got Barry’s attention! Plus, he ponders his ‘dislocation’ status.
5. Images of the Cosmic Treadmill, Iris, the Anti-Monitor, and Flash dying all materialize from Barry’s mind. Barry is only cognizant of the first two. Obviously, the other images are foreign to him but portend an ominous end.
6. “You are bound in some Hypertime crisis. A crisis beyond the one we find ourselves in now.” Despite this, Barry returned to the land of the living :)
7. “You are the only being capable…You must live…you can stop the use of an antimatter weapon.” This alludes to the Anti-Monitor’s upcoming appearance for Barry’s unfinished future.
8. “But you must live so that you may die.” A matter-of-fact statement that applies to everyone’s ‘normal’ lifespan but it’s quite the paradox for Barry, doncha think?!?
9. “Your sacrifice will preserve causality. It will save Hypertime. If I stop you now, if I…eliminate you…I will destroy all continuity.” Barry is the central connection for all timelines and realities!!
10. “I will prevent you from saving the eternal timestream. I yield, Barry.” T = D/S [time equals distance divided by speed]
11. “One city for all creation? For the multiverse? It is only a matter of scale. But the scale matters.” Earth-9 must vanish for good given Supes’ sacrifice. Barry must return to his proper time and place to let a priori events inevitably unfold.

Mind-blown?? I sure am!! One thought just invaded my mindspace: how will everything reset itself with CONVERGENCE #8 being the final issue with only so many pages to address this predicament? This particular story is over and done.

Hits: 10/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: NEW SUICIDE SQUAD [8 pages]


“Underdogs & Anti-Gods” (22 pages) by David Gallaher & Steve Ellis, Ande Parks, Hi-Fi, Dave Sharpe

Hal Jordan and John Stewart are working up a sweat against the Anti-God. Guy Gardner, Road Warrior is zooming his way to his pals. He sets up camp in the Wasteland and begins to drift away. He has recurring nightmares of his two torturers: Zod and Sinestro. When he awakens he is in the presence of Hercules, Jennifer Monroe and her pet wolf Basil. They all hail from Earth-86 [same place as the Atomic Knights]. Guy arm-wrestles Herc for his protective armour. Brain beats brawn and he heads off to Durvale. He retrieves his bosom buddies just as the tremors begin. The Three Amigos Lanterns ride again!! They present a united front and slay the Anti-God. Male bonding cannot be complete without a punch to the face. Guy clocks one on Hal who agrees that it was deserving. They fly off for further adventures.

Imitation game: Guy emulating Ghost Rider? or Mad Max?

Carrying a tune:
Guy has way too much GLEE when he belts out Mighty Mouse’s call: “Heeeeeeerrrreee I come to save the daaaaayyy!”

Hits: 6.5/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: GOTHAM ACADEMY [8 pages]


“Revelations II” (22 pages) by Jeff Parker, Tim Truman, Enrique Alacatena, John Kalisz, Dave Sharpe

The Hawks engage in aerial combat with the Bat-Men of Earth-AD. Dodging, gun firing, maces charging, flapping, and good old fashioned fists lead to the Hawks being downed. The flying rodents have uneasy allies: they are none other than the Rat-Men!! When the Thanagarian twosome regain consciousness, they are chained to a missile. The colossal projectile is carrying Cortexin, a chemical mixture that merged the human race with the animal kingdom thus creating anthropomorphic beings. Shayera has loosened one of her arms to break free. They plow through the hordes. Rescue comes from their Thanagarian deserters. The Animal-Men are defeated. The Captain dies redeemed and with purpose. She hands the Absorbascon to Katar and Shayera. They are tempted to glimpse into what lies ahead. They observe events not meant for their eyes. A quake snaps them out of their rêverie. Curious, they decide to pursue the unknown. Hands joined, the couple soar, awash in light.

Animal Kingdom: Bats and rats are related, right? Well, they certainly don’t get along here. It’s a common misconception to identify bats as winged vermin. My claims are contradicted when one of the Bat-Men exclaims: “Rodents of the air and land finally unite.”

Taxonomy: The Rat-Men have every reason to detest mankind. One of them mocks the Hawks on their ‘inferiority’: “I do not blame you for trying to mimic higher forms of life.” Aside from that, he raves about their resourcefulness: “Only the rats knew this dark truth, for we root and seek and unearth until we find…everything.”

Reincarnated, and it feels so good! No matter where the Hawks end up, we all know they can never truly die.

Love knows no bounds:My mate, are you…? Are you well…?” – Shayera “No, love, I’m not. I failed our second home.” – Katar “Shayera, I’m sorry. I’ve let you down.” “That is not something you could ever do.” – Shayera

Hits: 10/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: GRAYSON [8 pages]


“Heroes Interrupted, pt. 2” (22 pages) by Fabian Nicieza, ChrisCross, Snakebite Cortez, Rob Leigh

The JL Detroit are faring worse than Rodney Dangerfield — no respect!! They are not taken seriously at all. Plus, they’re sneered at by Vicky Vale, intrepid reporter! Things were grim when last we left our heroes. The top three: Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Zatanna have been conveniently and craftily contained. Gypsy pulls some stealth moves releasing concussion grenades. The Secret Six are just too ruthless for the JLA. They have their hides handed to them. Ralph wisely calls for a retreat. Vibe and Vixen find Ralph’s stretching ability repulsive. Rudeness!! EM gives the team words of encouragement but they fall on uninterested ears. One of the GCPD is intelligent enough to devise a way to free the captives – freeze the cage between phases. Sue Dibny grabs Renee Montoya and decides to take action. The unexpected tremor reveals the hiding place (one of Mr. Freeze’s abandoned warehouses). The SS are ready for round two. JL still losing. Sue’s plan succeeds. The other three are now free and put out their powers to the fullest. Vicki Vale has gained a new perspective – the JLA are true blue heroes and she acknowledges Elongated Man as their courageous leader!!

Choose your opponent: EM vs. Spectre & Plastic Man; Vixen vs. Manhunter; Steel vs. Joker; Vibe vs. Atom (first fight). Spectre takes out Vibe; Joker pummels Vixen; Steel almost hurts Atom (rematch)

Ain’t it punny:*sigh* I love him but even for Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, this may be a bit too much of a stretch.” – Sue Dibny, full of faith

One of Mr. Freeze’s old hideouts. Seemed like the perfect place for us to chill out.” – Really, Ralph?!? Don’t quit your day job!

Lucky guess:Clearly, they’re heroes, even if it is from some sort of tangent universe.” – Vicki Vale deducing the Secret Six’s true nature.

Hits: 5/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: BATMAN/SUPERMAN [8 pages]


“Game of Heroes” (22 pages) by Marv Wolfman, Nicola Scott, Marc Deering, Jeromy Cox, Carlos M. Mangual

Nightwing and Firehawk meet face-to-face and converse rationally. After a chilly introduction, they get to the matter at hand. Dick becomes angry when he receives a communiqué that the Doom Patrol have raided the Tower and ambushed the Titans, all to capture Cyborg. In the ensuing mêlée, Starfire cuts loose like never before!! She’s a walking firebomb! The DP were successful because Kory hesitates to finish them permanently. Dick reminds her of the never-killing rule. Vic emits enough Promethium to be traced. The Titans enter in hot pursuit. Vic comes up with a solution so that both cities are spared. The tremor separates the groups and the Titans seem to be transported back to their Earth. Happy endings for all.

Bigger stick:Firehawk? Nightwing. The Titans and I are from Earth-One.” “Really? Earth-One? Isn’t that a little presumptuous?” “Blame the Flash.”

Open secret? Is Jericho gay?!? He flat out rebuffed Kole’s advances yet she still fawns over him. Plus, he breaks out his artistic side. Relax, I’m not stereotyping.

Patch: Kory and Dick get over their major differences. They kiss and make up.

Hits: 7.5/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: ROBIN: SON of BATMAN [8 pages]


“Down in the Bunker” (22 pages) by Stuart Moore, Peter Gross, Mark Farmer, John Rauch, Pat Brosseau

The focus shifts to the Atomic Knights, specifically their leader Gardner Grayle. He’s been shaken up by current events and has a radical solution in mind. Superboy has a flashback to his days a really young Clark watching his father decapitate a hen. That’s his first time experiencing death. Gardner is losing it. He addresses the Legion menacingly and means every word. He’s clearly suffering from PTSD. Meanwhile, the Knight named Bryndon Smith manages to ‘break in’ to Legion HQ. He realizes that Brainy has allowed him access and they begin to collaborate on making everyone happy. The AK have the upper hand until Wildfire reappears. Gardner completely snaps!! He threatens to unleash Morticoccus, the ultimate bio-weapon!! Superboy manages to talk him down. Brainiac and Bryndon arrive and inform all that the planet is about to shift into another space continuum. Tremors occur. The LOSH and the AK are stuck together for the time being. Superboy tells Grayle that he really wants to visit Durvale since it reminds him of home.

Candid camera:Gim, that’s a grown man dressed like a Monty Python holo-sketch Riding a dog.” – Sun-Boy

Viral fear: Morticoccus isn’t real in our world but the threat of bio warfare is. Diseases are running rampant and immunity systems are breaking down. In the DCU, Morticoccus is a strain of the OMAC Virus, which in the far future is the most lethal to humankind.

Hits: 6.5/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: TEEN TITANS [8 pages]


“The Night Has a Thousand Eyes!” (22 pages) by Len Wein, Kelley Jones, Michelle Madsen, Rob Leigh

Red Rain Batman wants Swampy’s assistance in killing the vampires that plague his world and finding their Queen. There is mistrust at first, followed by showboating and chest-thumping, eventually leading to team-up!! The shakedown takes place. Abby fends for herself due to a giant garlic necklace. Swampy emits garlic gas to subdue his attackers. Batman makes his way to the Queen and slices off her head. Alas, his fate is unlike the others. He remains a vampire because he was bitten by Dracula, the First Vampire. He has a heroic alignment but has struggled to keep it every day of his existence. He opts to watch the sunrise. He eventually turns to ash. Swampy and Abby are transported back home. Tremors catch their attention. The quest isn’t over just yet.

• page 2, panel 5 – Swampy looks freakishly frightening!
• page 3 – Batman is all his splendor & glory!
• page 5, panel 1 – Swamp Thing pulling a Wolverine. Alright!

Hits: 7.5/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: CATWOMAN [8 pages]


“A Fellow of Infinite Jest” (22 pages) by Larry Hama, Aaron Lopresti, Matt Banning, Tanya & Richard Horie, Tom Napolitano

Joker is a most tiresome foe. Not only is he physically challenging to fight (non-vampire) but the guy just never shuts up!! Chatty Cathy’s got nothing on him! After what seems like endless blathering, Diana snaps. His neck that is!!! Steve holds his own against the converted cultists (get it?) Ivy and Selina slink about and pun away. Wondy is highly brutal in combat but she has to use lethal force for a permanent solution. Joker is caught off guard by a bothersome giggle. It’s Etta, Diana’s former BFF. She bemuses at his head-turning situation. While WW valiantly restrains herself, Ivy and Selina bring Steve to their master. Athena gives Diana a pep talk and much needed encouragement to kill. She’s the goddess of war, which most people tend to overlook. Diana drives a stake through Poison Ivy and a cross through Catwoman. Too little, too late. Steve Trevor has been turned :( The pesky tremor comes at the most inopportune time. The two closest people in her life lunge at her but Steve grabs Etta and falls into the abyss. Clownface can never go down easy. Diana grabs a giant piece of lumber and tosses it right through his undead body. Good riddance. This is a pyrrhic victory for the Amazing Amazon.

Oh, snap! Diana of New Earth did the same to Maxwell Lord. ‘Member??

Expand your vocabulary: benighted

Cross-breeding: Selina is too excited at the prospect of a vampire werecat Amazon Princess.

Laugh last:Eh? What’s that insane giggling?” – Joker is taken aback by Etta’s arrival.

You only hurt the ones you love: Steve’s sacrifice should lessen Diana’s pain.

Cold comfort:A battle lost is only half so melancholy as a battle won.” – Duke of Wellington

Hits: 8/10

–2nd serving– DIVERGENCE: SECRET SIX [8 pages]×120.jpg

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The Weekly Round-Up #285 With Wytches #6, Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1, Bloodshot Reborn #2, Ninjak #3, Ei8ht #4, Star Wars #5 & More Mon, 25 May 2015 15:45:50 +0000 Best Comic of the Week:

Wytches #6This series has grabbed me from the very first issue, and the conclusion of the first arc is an amazing read from the first page to the last.  Charlie has made it to his daughter in the Wytches’ nest under the Earth, but getting her home is just the beginning of his problems, as we learn a lot about his family and what’s been going on just under the surface since the first issue.  It’s rare for a horror comic to actually creep me out or make me feel apprehensive about what I’m reading, but Scott Snyder and Jock have managed to do this a number of times.  Snyder’s writing is often heavy on father issues (it’s kind of the point of his Batman, isn’t it?), but in this comic, he finally nails it.  Jock is just about the perfect artist for this type of story; sure his Wytches are creepy, but so are his everyday people when they are doing evil.  Apparently this is just the first arc of a longer series, and while I’m curious to learn more about the Irons (the people who fight the Wytches), I also feel like leaving this series here brings it to a very complete and fitting ending.

Quick Takes:

Bloodshot Reborn #2 – The second issue of this series is a little more conventional than the first, as we get a good sense of the shape of this title, and where Jeff Lemire is taking it.  Knowing that someone is out there killing people while dressed to imitate him, Ray, who used to be Bloodshot, goes hunting.  We learn that the guy who shot up a theatre had Blooshot’s nanites in him, but it looks like he’s not the only person with this problem.  Lemire is not wasting much time getting Ray back to his previous self, and I think I’d have preferred it take a little longer before we got to this point, but I’m still enjoying what I’m reading.  I like the Special Agent put in charge of this case, and of course, appreciate the way Lemire’s drawings of Bloodsquirt mix with the more realistic art of Mico Suayan.

BPRD Hell on Earth #131This issue we find out just what Johann did on a mission that has all of the men who went with him so angry, and what triggered his apparent suicide (to the extent that a could of sentient spirit-gas can commit suicide).  Peter Snejbjerg’s art on this story arc is a real treat, and I’m always happiest with this book when it focuses on the characters that make it such a good read.

Ei8ht #4 – A lot of things are made clear in the penultimate chapter of Mike Johnson and Rafael Albuquerque’s time travel extra-dimensional adventure.  This has been a good read, supported by Albuquerque’s excellent artwork.  I like the way we learn that The Spear, the enforcer in the Meld, has a connection to Nazi Germany.

The Fade Out #6 – It’s so nice to be able to immerse myself in a solid period piece by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  This issue moves the general plot forward some, adding to the layers of mystery that already surround a film studio, and having Gil, the blacklisted drunk screenwriter who is ghosting all of Charlie’s scripts, strike out on his own in a bold move.  Also, for fans of the era and the genre, there is a sizable cameo by Dashiell Hammett, which is pretty cool.

Kaptara #2 – This very strange science fiction/fantasy mash-up series by Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod is a lot of fun to read.  We learn a little more about what life is like on the planet Kaptara, as Keith, our rather unlikeable hero, decides that maybe he should be helping the people heading off to rescue the Earth, but gets waylaid by one thing or another.  Zdarsky and McLeod are having a lot of fun with this book, upending one trope after another, and throwing in some very crazy design elements along the way.

The Kitchen #7We are moving closer and closer to the end of this excellent 70s gangster series.  There’s not going to be much left to wrap up next issue, as this one has the ladies deal with the remnants of their husbands’ organization, and start to see the real costs of their decision to go into the family business.  Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle have impressed me with this series.

Letter 44 #16 – Things are getting worse on Earth, as the war continues to spread, and one of President Blades’s Secret Service men work towards his own agenda.  In space, the crew of the Clarke continues to be mistrustful of the Builders, and a new discovery makes things look even more bleak for everyone.  This series never disappoints, as it blends insightful political intrigue with science fiction action and great character work.  This is Charles Soule’s best book.

Loki: Agent of Asgard #14 – Al Ewing is using this book to help explain why at least some of the Marvel Universe’s heaviest hitters, the Asgardians, are just sitting out the battle for Earth which ended in Secret Wars #1.  Basically, once again, they’re fighting amongst themselves, and Loki’s at the centre of it all again.  This is a good issue, but I’m getting very tired of Odin and Freya, as they’ve been so central to this book, Thor, and Angela.  Also, it’s a little futile to give over a multi-part story to show us what happened between scenes in another comic we’ve already read.  Oh well, it’s Big Event season, so we should just expect that kind of thing.

Mind MGMT #33 – Meru and her people make their move on the Eraser’s base, which means we get another cool issue of Mind MGMT, as Meru follows a plan laid out in fortune cookies.  Matt Kindt has never failed to deliver an exciting and thoughtful comic that does things differently from anything else you have read.  There are only two issues left in this series, and that makes me sad.

Moon Knight #15Cullen Bunn continues his string of stories having Moon Knight take on atypical adversaries.  This month, it’s an actual Boogey Man, who has been attacking children.  Strangely, Khonshu does not support MK in this venture.  German Peralta drew this issue, and while I’m unfamiliar with his work, I hope to see more of it, as this issue looks great.  The surprise at the end of the issue suggests that Bunn might be abandoning the done-in-one format in favour of putting together a larger story.

Ninjak #3 – I really like the way that Matt Kindt is writing Ninjak.  From the short peeks into his childhood to the calm, detached way in which he narrates his crazier adventures, Kindt is building this character into someone very interesting.  In this issue, Ninjak has completed a mission, but his target’s bodyguard is delaying his ability to wrap things up neatly.  There is also a very good backup story that continues to chronicle his earliest days as a spy.  This is another very good Valiant comic.

Powers #3 – The slow pace of this series is frustrating me.  No movement is made on Deena Pilgrim’s case this issue, but we do see that Diamond (although, I’m pretty sure it’s not Walker in the costume) is back on the streets.  I more or less buy this book out of habit these days, but when it’s good, it can still be very good.  That just doesn’t happen often enough anymore.

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1I’m really happy to see Resident Alien return for another three-part mini-series.  This is a very unique, genre-defying comic.  It’s about an alien who crashed on Earth years ago, and who is in hiding, while posing as a small-town doctor, who also solves mysteries.  The comic has a strong sense of place to it, and is very character driven.  In this series, Harry is surprised to learn that Rex Monday, one his favourite authors (of sixties pulp James Bond-style novels) perhaps lives in the area, and he decides to look into it.  That’s really it so far as plot goes, until he discovers a hidden ataché case left by his predecessor, containing another of the Rex Monday novels.  This series, by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, could really work as a Murder She Wrote style TV series, I feel.

Satellite Sam #14 – This series has been pretty focused on some pretty terrible people from the beginning, but now that we are getting close to the conclusion (next issue), it’s time for the book to start racking up a body count, as a few people get shot, fires get set, and beatings get delivered (after a very funny scene in a YMCA shower).  This has been one of the most consistently good titles Matt Fraction has written, and one of the only times where I’ve enjoyed Howard Chaykin’s art.  I’m going to miss this book when it’s done.

Star Wars #5 – I’ve been enjoying Star Wars a lot, but with this issue, the series really hits its stride.  Luke has gone to Tattooine hoping that he can learn a few things about himself and his Jedi abilities in Ben Kenobi’s old home, but he doesn’t know that Boba Fett is after him.  Leia gets Han to accompany her on a scouting mission, but his brashness puts them in danger.  Jason Aaron has a good handle on these characters, and John Cassaday’s art is constantly getting better.  He really captures the facial expressions of the various key cast members.  Other great things I loved about this issue include generous use of an Imperial shuttle (one of my favourite designs) and a complete lack of CP30.  It can’t get better.

Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #5 – Since this latest arc launched, we’ve been hearing about the falling out between Beth and her best friend Nina, but now we get to see things from Nina’s perspective.  She’s basically a prisoner of the mysterious gangster Harry, but she’s managed to get herself out from under his thumb for one afternoon, and she’s out looking for Beth to try to clear things up.  She enlists the help of Sonny, the pothead who provided Beth with weed before, but Sonny has his own issues, especially since it was his best friend’s murder that put Nina in her present predicament.  David Lapham always manages to squeeze a great deal of plot and character in each issue of this series, and the confrontation in the alley outside Nina’s apartment is pretty exciting and surprising.  Another very strong issue of this excellent series.

Trees #9 – Trees is another series I was very happy to see return this week.  Warren Ellis has put together a very compelling science fiction series with this book, which shows the global effect of gigantic alien structures, called trees, landing across the Earth.  It’s been a number of months since the first arc ended, and in the wake of the Svalbard event (where one of the trees fired off a large electro-magnetic pulse), political unrest has been growing in Britain.  The only survivor of the Svalbard incident is Joanne Creasy, the person who figured out what was going on with the black poppies up there, and now the British government wants her to assess the area around the only tree on British soil.  We also check in very briefly with New York City, to learn that the man who was previously running for mayor has won.  This book is being written a little like a Jonathan Hickman title, with a large scope and glacial pace, and that’s fine with me, since Ellis has populated the comic with interesting characters.  Jason Howard’s art continues to impress and please as well.  I’m not sure if this is a great jumping-on point, but I would encourage people to pick up the first trade and give this series a chance.

Ultimate End #1 I wasn’t going to pick up this Secret Wars tie-in series, mostly because I try to avoid books drawn by Mark Bagley, but my esteem for Miles Morales and my general curiosity about how the Ultimate Universe was going to be closed out, got the better of me.  Needless to say, getting this was a big mistake, as it was a huge mess of a comic that left me equally confused and uninterested.  The biggest problem with this comic was that it was very hard to tell which version, 616 or Ultimate, of each character we were getting.  This is completely down to Bagley’s limited ability to portray characters, and in a couple of instances, his getting costumes and designs wrong.  The book opens with the Punisher setting up to shoot a whole bunch of major heroes.  We don’t know if he does this or not though, because he’s never seen again.  Then we 616 Spider-Man fighting the Serpent Squad, and getting an assist from the All-New Ultimates (sans Miles), who he trades quips with, showing us that he knows them all, but I only ever remember him meeting Black Widow during Spider-Verse.  Next, Peter goes to a meeting at the Triskelion between Ultimate Nick Fury, two Tony Starks, two Hawkeyes, a glowing purple guy who never talks, 616 Black Widow in an outdated costume, goatee Hulk, Storm, Cyclops, and wrong-costumed versions of Scarlet Witch and Emma Frost, who I eventually figured out were from the 616.  This scene, which makes up most of the book, is very confusing.  First, Brian Michael Bendis has each character’s voice sound the same.  Secondly, I could not figure out which Tony Stark was which.  In the lead-up to Secret Wars, 616 Tony was wearing his white, ‘Superior’ armor, but in this scene, one Tony is in everyday clothes, and the other in a version of the gold and red armor.  Eventually I figured out that this Tony, who is shown as being more noble, is the 616 version, but this is not how he looked or acted leading up to Secret Wars.  I also don’t know why anyone would bring the Scarlet Witch to a meeting like this.  Furthermore, Emma Frost has been out of the picture throughout Time Runs Out, but she’s definitely not with Cyclops anymore, so I don’t know why she’s there.  It seems that Manhattan has become an amalgam of the 616 and Ultimate versions of that city, but it also seems that the blame for this is being placed on one of the Tony’s, and his use of the dimensional rift that allowed the Spider-Men series to take place.  There’s a lot of talk about how Dr. Doom, who we know from Secret Wars is the ruler of Battleworld (stupid name), but there is no explanation as to how these heroes came to be in Manhattan, or much of anything else.  This book was confusing, poorly written, and very poorly drawn.  Worst of all, it didn’t even have Miles Morales in it.  I think I’m done here.

UFOlogy #2This new Boom! series caught my eye on the stands last month, and I feel like it’s done a very good job of hooking me into it.  James Tynion IV and co-writer Noah J. Yuenkel have put together an interesting story about alien abductions in a small town, throwing in some interesting teenagers, an almost-forgotten government program, and a mystery for good measure.  Matthew Fox’s art is great, and the story is moving at a very good, rather unpredictable pace.  More and more I’m impressed with what I’m seeing coming out of Boom!.

Uncanny X-Men #34 – So we learned this week that the conclusion to Brian Michael Bendis’s run on the X-Men, Uncanny #600, is being delayed until some time after Secret Wars, which is a little annoying, seeing as it was already scheduled to be out by now.  I haven’t loved Bendis’s X-Men, but his run has had its moments, such as the way he’s worked to bring Dazzler back to some level of relevance.  This issue has Dazzler finally confront Mystique, who had kidnapped and impersonated her for months, and the way she goes about it is pretty cool.  Kris Anka’s art on this book is always appreciated, and I’m hoping that post-Bendis and post-Secret Wars, we will see a few of the newer cast members of this book again.

Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:

A-Force #1

Avengers World #21

Convergence: Hawkman #2

Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #2

Daredevil #15.1

Dark Horse Presents #10

Deadpool’s Secret Wars #1

Deathlok #8

Guardians of the Galaxy #27

Master of Kung Fu #1

Wolverines #19

Bargain Comics:

Batman #37&38Is it fair to say that Endgame is a mess?  Scott Snyder is mashing up ideas from Crossed with some second-rate attempt to play on an Alan Moore-style notion of iconography, only applying it to the Joker, who is now an immortal like Vandal Savage, who has been haunting Gotham since it was founded, but is only now feeling the need to share that fact.  Toss in some weird science, a naked guy hanging out a window by a patchwork quilt, and some truly confusing plot points (where did Duke come from?  Why was there a movie set in a hospital isolation ward?).  I don’t really know what’s going on, and have to wonder how often Scott Snyder can trash Gotham in the same year (Zero Year, Eternal, and now Endgame).  It’s become the new equivalent of crashing a helicarrier – so commonplace as to be completely unremarkable.

Batman Annual #3 – The one good thing to come out of Endgame though, is this Annual, which focuses on a reporter who, at the beginning of the New 52 era, called Joker out on not having any friends (of all things), and therefore became a secondary fixation for the clown.  We follow him through years of Joker break-outs, which always result in a visit, and get to see how this attention wears on the reporter over time.  James Tynion IV does a very good job with this story of showing the impact of living in the DC Universe for an ordinary person, and it’s pretty cool.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 – I was curious about the other Archie horror comic that comes out whenever it feels like it.  This is a decent first issue, but I don’t think there’s enough of interest here to keep me coming back.

Crossed Badlands #1-3Due to Alan Moore’s excellent work on Crossed Plus 100, I’ve recently found myself thinking about diving into the particularly disturbing world of Crossed a little more.  I like the set-up of the series – that most people on the planet have been turned into depraved killers through a mysterious virus – and I’ve always liked series like The Walking Dead, where humanity has to try to come back from the brink.  I’ve recently picked up a smattering of single issues of this series, and some trades, and I’m going to start working my way through it.  This three-part story, by original series creators Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows, has some good things going for it, most especially the possible inclusion of a member of the British royal family.  It’s what I already think of as the typical Crossed story; some people walk somewhere to get away from the Crossed, but most of them die in the process.  The thing is, I’m not sure where these people are walking to, especially after acknowledging that they’d stayed in one place for about four years.  Anyway, this was an engaging read.

Crossed Badlands #4 – Jamie Delano wrote one of my all-time favourite comics runs (in Animal Man with Steve Pugh), but we don’t see him doing a whole lot these days.  This first issue of his Crossed arc introduces us to how things look in Florida, a place that was already pretty messed up and depraved before the virus was released.  He introduces some interesting characters, although the Avatar house-style art by Leandro Rizzo holds things back.

Punks: The Comic #1-3 – I like pretty much everything I’ve read by Joshua Hale Fialkov, and I enjoyed Kody Chamberlain’s series Sweet a few years back, but I really don’t like this comic.  It’s a collage-based series about Abe Lincoln, a skull, a fist, and a dog living in a house together.  In some ways, it reminds me of Chris Onstad’s brilliant series Achewood, except this isn’t funny or endearing.  It’s punk, but whatever.  I’m sure someone likes it.

Rocket Girl #1-5I wasn’t all that impressed with Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare’s first comic, Hallowe’en Eve, and so I originally passed on this Image series.  That was a mistake, because this is a very exciting and enjoyable science fiction title with incredible art.  Dayoung is a seventeen year old police officer in 2013 New York, a futuristic city more or less controlled by a single corporation – Quintum Mechanics.  Dayoung discovers something shady about the company, and decides to travel back in time, to 1986, to wreck the company before it can take over, even though that means she will erase her own future.  Reeder does some awesome work on this book; her action sequence in the New York Subway system is one of the best of its kind that I’ve ever seen, and I love the little details that help make the era believable.  I’m going to have to hunt down the second arc and get caught up on this book…

Secret Origins #6 – I knew I’d end up regretting reading this, because it reminds me of just how good Wonder Woman was under Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Goran Sudzuku, all of whom collaborate on the lead story in this comic.  We get a retelling of the true story of Diana’s birth, her longing for ‘Man’s World’, and her first meeting with Steve Trevor, with a lot of clever wordplay along the way.  Good stuff.  The rest of the book, with origins for Deadman and Sinestro, is pretty forgettable.

Ten Grand #9-11I haven’t bothered with much of J. Michael Straczynski’s work over the last few years, because between his online persona (i.e. his comments about Before Watchmen) and his unreliability (anyone remember how Supreme Power ended?  Oh that’s right, it didn’t), I haven’t felt the need to support the man.  However, this series launched with art by Ben Templesmith, and then he was replaced by CP Smith, who does not do enough comics, so I thought it was worth checking things out.  These books are pretty, but way too wordy and too impressed with their own cleverness.

Tomorrowland #1-4 – Paul Jenkins has written some very impressive comics over his career, but lately, I haven’t been all that interested in the work he’s been doing.  This series is a good example of how he’s fallen off.  The series stars two DJs, brothers, who have been chosen to be the protectors of Tomorrowland for a year (previous protectors include William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and Merlin, who inexplicably, is now the dance music impresario Steve Aoki).  There is a guy without a name who tries to stop the protector from protecting things.  Oh, there’s also an electronic music festival called Tomorrowland where these battles take place.  Nothing is ever really explained very well, and the characters are not developed, and so it became very hard to figure out what’s going on.  The brothers fight, one becomes evil, and then two pages later, that’s all resolved.  This is the first book I’ve bought from Titan Comics, and I’m not impressed.

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Russian Olive to Red King

by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen

Of all the books I bought at TCAF this year, I think that this is the one that I will treasure the most, mostly because Kathryn and Stuart Immonen really take their time when signing a book.  Kathryn copied a number of words out of a Chekov novel to run perpendicular to the book’s title on the title page, beneath which Stuart drew a lovely sketch of Olive, one of the book’s protagonists.  It took a little while, but made this a unique purchase.

Russian Olive to Red King is a lovely, lovely book.  It’s about a couple, Olive and Red, who live in a large city.  Red is an art writer, while Olive is a researcher.  We are given very few details of their life together, beyond meeting their dog, and learning that Red is not the most communicative of people outside of their relationship.

Olive leaves town for a while, to do some field work, but when flying into (I assume) Northern Ontario, the two-engine plane she is in goes down, and the pilot is killed.  While she is all alone in a wintry environment, Red is left all alone in their apartment, and the rest of the book charts the emotional journeys they take separately, but together.

This is a very poetic book (it was reminding me of The English Patient long before the scene with the cave), and Stuart reveals the story slowly through large, open panels showing landscape and sunset.  Towards the end of the book, the story switches into a section of prose, or prose poetry, more accurately, with sequences of abstracted drawings below them.  The connection between image and words, and how this whole section relates to the rest of the book, is not revealed until the very end.

I feel like I might have appreciated a little more clear resolution at the end, but by saying that, I also think I’m just being a little simple-minded.  This is a powerful and beautiful book.×120.jpg

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Monday Morning Critic – Dawg Fight – San Andreas, 9/11, The Return Of the Disaster Film And The One Film Never To Be Copied or Remade From That Era Mon, 25 May 2015 12:00:19 +0000

The 1970s may have been the best era of film in terms of quality, as Hollywood found that careful balance between commercial and critical considerations that has been skewed ever since. Much like comic book films now, disaster films in that decade did an insane amount of business before oversaturation killed the genre’s mass appeal. They found their way back into the mainstream every now and again in the past several decades but only recently have they made the transition back into a regular staple of the summer blockbuster season.

The big staples of the 1970s in terms of disaster films have modern equivalents. And a number of the lesser known ones, too, have found their way back into cinemas. And that’s not even throwing in films like 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow, which focused on worldwide events instead of one singular one affecting a small group of people, or even films like Armageddon which focused on space events (which weren’t practical or cost effective in the 1970s).


The Poseidon Adventure was remade properly into the abbreviated Poseidon. It didn’t do well enough to warrant a sequel, of course, but it was one of the few films of that era that got properly remade. Boat disasters are difficult films to make and generally it’s accepted that the original Poseidon and Titanic are the cream of a very shallow crop. Most films set on the water are war films, not disaster films.


The Cassandra Crossing had an equally forgettable modern equivalent in the Denzel Washington/Chris Pine film Unstoppable. An Under Siege sequel also utilized a train and so have a handful of other films. It’s not quite an action film trope, though, but plenty of action sequences have involved trains over the years (including the big set piece of the first Mission Impossible. It feels old-timey, for lack of a better word, to stage anything using a train these days and as such it’s fairly rare.


One can argue that the closest we have to Airport is Snakes on a Plane, and that’s a bit of a stretch. The looming threat of airplane crashes have become such a part of cinema that even Christian apocalyptic films like Left Behind have had airplane crashes as part of their overall story arc. It’s become an action film staple over the years, the “someone has to land this plane” trope, that a film like Airport feels antiquated now because it’s usually a secondary plot to have something wrong with either an airplane or an airport as a secondary action sequence/plot to be resolved. Hell it was a big part of a Die Hard sequel in the 90s.


Earthquake is getting its own quasi-remake in San Andreas, coming out this weekend with an all-star cast headed by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s amusing to think of Johnson playing a helicopter pilot but if Denise Richards can play a scientist than anything’s possible, right? I mean it is amusing that a towering mountain of a man like “The Rock” can play a rescue chopper pilot, which usually isn’t the sort of position for 6’5, 280 pound sized gentlemen on plenty of dat dere Celltech but cinematically it’s better than nothing I suppose.

The biggest, most notable film of that era will most likely never even be reasonably considered for a remake, though.


With this modern revival of the disaster film The Towering Inferno is the only film that won’t get remade, rebooted or even looked at by an American studio. It’s one of the ten or so films that 9/11 permanently put on the “This feels uncomfortable watching” list and is on the same list of films that aren’t being remade, rebooted or even considered for a “new audience” anytime in the near future by an American studio.

It was remade in South Korea under The Tower, though, a couple years ago and has yet to find it way into American hands for any number of reasons.

As much as it looks like an interesting film, mainly as a spectacle, there’s no chance this would fly in the US because 9/11 ruined disaster films involving being trapped in a building. The real life horror immediately made The Towering Inferno a film that was a much more difficult watch than it otherwise should be.

Stuff for General George S. Pimpage, Esq

Tomorrowland was ok, nothing more.

Travis liked Fury Road more than I did.

Joe Corey gets all riled up over young, handsome Mickey Rourke.

If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….

A Movie A Week – The Challenge


This week’s DVD Netflix Viewing – Dawg Fight

Miami, Florida, has a heck of a backyard fighting scene. It’s what birthed Kevin Ferguson, failed football player into internet sensation Kimbo Slice. A handful of professional fighters have gotten their start in the backyards of Miami, which were fueled by sites like YouTube, and the auteur behind Cocaine Cowboys has decided to follow Dada 5000 and his backyard fighting company to walk into that world.

It’s an interesting documentary that got rave reviews on the festival circuit but couldn’t quite find a way to get into theatres, unfortunately, thus it goes to Netflix and DVD. He did the Podcast circuit in LA a short while ago, which is usually where I look to see where the next wave of strong documentaries are going to come from.

Alex Winter’s Deep Web (about The Silk Road) and Chris Bell’s Prescription Thugs (prescription drug use and abuse in the US) are the next two that’ll be worth a view, if that circuit holds up, for those interested.

The film is worth a view because it’s a look at what happens when guys with nothing to lose go for broke in the fight game.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

Aloha – Cameron Crowe returns with a film about a guy and a girl falling in love … but this time it’s in Hawaii!

Skip it – Crowe hasn’t had a good film in a long time and so far this looks like it’ll continue the streak.

San Andreas – California falls into the ocean. The Rock is going to punch it and save the day, apparently.

See it – Disaster films are made for the big screen.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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New Poll: Who Will Will Win Big Brother Canada 3? Mon, 25 May 2015 00:46:14 +0000

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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Murtz On The Scene: Exclusive Interview With Big Brother Canada 3‘s Pilar Nemer Mon, 25 May 2015 00:38:26 +0000


When Pilar Nemer was nominated by Sindy Nguyen in the first week of Big Brother Canada 3, it didn’t appear like she would be in it for the long haul. Her bubbly personality and unassuming nature made many believe that she didn’t possess the fortitude to make it to the end. In fact, it’s safe to say that her fellow houseguests and fans of the show all seemed to write her off. Pili then entered into a showmance with one of the best players this season (Kevin) and together, they formed the Diaper Alliance with Zach, Ashleigh, and JP. It was a strong squad and one in which Pili definitely carried her weight, even going on to win an HOH competition for the group. While she was clearly having the most fun in the house, Pili seemed like she would almost certainly be dragged by another player into the Final 2 so that they could argue that she didn’t play much of a game, but the fact of the matter is that whether she meant it or not, Pili played a pretty solid Big Brother game. I caught up with Nemer to discuss the future of her relationship with Kevin, if she felt like she was underestimated and if she regretted not turning on the Diaper Alliance.

Pilar Nemer: Hi!

Murtz Jaffer: Hey Pili. How are you?

PN: I’m good. How are you?

MJ: Very good. I want to jump right into it. Do you feel like you were underestimated in the house?

PN: I definitely feel like I was underestimated in the house. I’m a tiny girl, I’m all bubbly, and like goofy. Yeah. People definitely didn’t think I could actually play the game. I think my fellow houseguests probably thought I was a floater or… I mean I played the game socially the way I am, but yes, I was definitely underestimated in the game.

MJ: When you won HOH, it looked like Kevin had a lot of control over your decisions. Was it your plan or his to get rid of Sindy?

PN: It was both of our decisions. We, Kevin and I, played the game together like we were working together. We’re best friends. He would agree with my decisions and vice versa. I wanted initially to get Sindy out though. She was a huge target. She was my target from ever since she got back into the house. She’s a threat to me. I knew I couldn’t beat her at comps. She’s an amazing competitor, strong physically and mentally. She’s a great talker. So, yeah, like she was my… She was my target. She knew that. She came along and dropped the bomb on the Chop Shop Alliance in the morning. First thing in the morning, she did. I had no idea about this. Yes, of course, it got me thinking like ‘oh my gosh. What am I going to do? Like, am I going to change my mind?’ But I just went with my gut. I talked to Kev about it. We both agreed with the same thing… to get her out. It was best. Best thing to do for both of our games. It didn’t matter what else she told me. I just went with my gut and got rid of her.

MJ: After she won the veto in the first week, Sindy decided to name you as the replacement nominee. Did that have anything to do with your decision to nominate her when you had the chance?

PN: Absolutely not. I mean, you… you forgive and you don’t forget but that was just a forgiven thing. I mean, I don’t know if she actually like just chose me as a replacement nominee just because she couldn’t remember anyone else or if it was because actually I was the last one talking to her. I don’t know the reason and I really… I don’t think it matters anymore. I just decided to move forward and just looked at game-wise, and not like a on a personal level. So no, it did not matter.

MJ: Typically showmances are targeted on Big Brother. How did you and Kevin avoid this?

PN: I’m honestly not 100% sure how we avoided it. But I knew being a showmance if people were going to go after us, they were going to go after Kevin first before they would go after me because Kevin is such a good competitor. He’s a great player. So he was a big target from Day 1 for a lot of people. And I wasn’t. I was only on the block first week because Sindy put me up but I went through a lot of like weeks and weeks without being on the block, without it being a target and Kevin was. So I feel like I didn’t have to protect him or he didn’t have to protect me but in order for people to break us as a couple, they had to go after him and not myself.

MJ: In your opinion, what was the turning point of the season?

PN: The Triple Eviction, absolutely. I never expected to be sitting on the block next to half my alliance, especially Kevin. Like I never saw that one coming. I didn’t think he was going to be leaving the house that night. It was very unexpected. It was very hard mentally and physically for me because my best friend left that night. And, of course, it changed the game; the true colours of people came out that night. So of course after that eviction, the house is totally… everyone flipped the vote like the house split in half. So going to that HOH was extremely important. It wasn’t like… I couldn’t fool around anymore like I was before. But it was like I had to win that. In order to be saved you couldn’t not win.

MJ: When you were sitting next to Zach on the block in last night’s episode, he was dressed quite formally while it looked you were wearing gym clothes (presumably to get ready for an endurance HOH). Did you know you were safe?

PN: Well honestly, in the Big Brother house, you never know when you’re safe. You’re only safe for… Like you’re only safe either when you’re HOH or when you have the Power of Veto. Those are the only reasons you know you’re safe. So my fellow houseguests told me I had the votes and I knew I had them. I… I believe that… I took their word for it and so I knew I was staying unless there was any twist thrown at us. So that was the only… the only reason I would think I would be leaving the house but other than that, I knew I was staying. I didn’t know yet that it was going to be a Double Eviction. If I had known that, I would probably done something different maybe. I don’t know. But yeah, I knew I was staying in the house for sure.

MJ: Was there any time in the game where you felt that turning on the Diaper Alliance and joining forces with Sarah and Brittnee might be a good move?

PN: I mean it could have been. I don’t know but I’m happy that I stuck with the Diaper Alliance. I was loyal to them. I didn’t want to turn my back on them. I trusted them. In the Big Brother house, it takes a long time to trust someone. Like trust is earned in there. You don’t join an alliance just to be in an alliance. You have to start trusting people and then you become part of the alliance. You can’t just get thrown in an alliance… it doesn’t work that way. So I chose to be in the Diaper Alliance because I know I could trust JP, Zach, Ashleigh, and Kevin. So I chose to stay true to them. I was loyal to myself and to my alliance, of course, so I have no regrets for not being in an alliance with Brittnee and Sarah.

MJ: While it is bittersweet for you to leave the game, how excited are you to see Kevin in the jury house?

PN: I’m really excited! I’m not going to lie! I really like him. He’s a great guy. He’s such a great friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend in the house. We just created a great huge bond. We are so alike, like our personalities… I think that’s why we connected and we clicked so well. Yeah. I really like him and I hope we get to work things out after this whole thing but yes, I’m definitely looking forward to see him. He’ll be surprised but hopefully it’s a good surprise!

MJ: Do you see that relationship continuing after the show?

PN: Yes I see us working it out for sure. I mean we’ll see what happens. We’ll go with the… we’ll go with it. I can’t plan ahead of what’s going to happen. But we’re just going to… we’ll… we’ll… we’ll work it out. We’ll see what happens. But yes, I am willing to try.

MJ: I asked Kevin this question and I want to as you as well. Do you prefer your relationship with Kevin to be referred to as ‘Kevlar’ or ‘Kili?’

PN: I’m going to go for Kili. [Laughs].

MJ: That’s funny because he said Kevlar! Amazing!

PN: I knew it!

MJ: Thank you so much!

PN: You’re welcome. I appreciate it.

MJ: Thank you so much. I’ll see you at the finale. Thanks a lot.

PN: Alright. See you!

]]> 0 Here's my interview with Pilar! Here's my interview with Pilar! Inside Pulse no 8:34
The Classy Ring Attire Podcast #171: “Basically Anybody Who Plans to Stop Watching Wrestling Now is a Fool Sun, 24 May 2015 23:06:46 +0000 So we get a pretty quality Payback show, and that’s followed by a great episode of Raw that features the debut of Keven Owen. And not only that, but later in the week we got the amazing event that was NXT Unstoppable. Boy this would be just the worst time to swear of wrestling for a month or so.

]]> 0 So we get a pretty quality Payback show, and that's followed by a great episode of Raw that features the debut of Keven Owen. And not only that, but later in the week we got the amazing event that was NXT Unstoppable. So we get a pretty quality Payback show, and that's followed by a great episode of Raw that features the debut of Keven Owen. And not only that, but later in the week we got the amazing event that was NXT Unstoppable. Boy this would be just the worst time to swear of wrestling for a month or so. Inside Pulse no 1:20:00