Superheroes

Mon
03
Aug

Apocalypse Then: The Umbrella Academy 2 Drops into 1963 Dallas on Netflix

The Umbrella Academy Season 2

In the first season of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, the quirky sibling superhero group failed to prevent the world-shattering apocalypse that they themselves caused, leaping through time at the last moment through the powers of their brother, Five (Aidan Gallagher), to wind up scattered across the early 1960s in Dallas, Texas, with the last of them arriving in 1963, days before the Kennedy assassination. Diego (David Castañeda) sees this as an opportunity to prevent the assassination, but somehow -- a mystery for the season -- this leads to yet another world-ending apocalypse of global nuclear war. Diego ends up committed to an insane asylum. Luther (Tom Hopper) is forced to become a bare-knuckle brawler for Jack Ruby. Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) settles into a marriage to a local civil rights activist, Ray Chestnut (Yusuf Gatewood), Klaus (Robert Sheehan) starts a cult, and Vanya ends up without her memories living on a farm with a family raising a disabled child.

Wed
22
Jul

Generation Justice: Stargirl Episode 110, "Brainwave Jr."

Stargirl 110 Brainwave Jr

There's a lot happening in this episode of STARGIRL, and the title -- "Brainwave Jr." -- is a promising one. I've been hoping that Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker) was going to come out a hero instead of following in the villainous footsteps of his father, the Injustice Society's resident telepath, Brainwave (Christopher James Baker), and I was right. Sort of.

But before we can deal with that, we are thrown into the family chaos that has erupted in the Whitmore-Dugan household. Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart) has seen the cosmic staff in action, and now it's up to Pat (Luke Wilson) and Courtney (Brec Basinger) to tell her the truth about what Stargirl, and Barb does not take the news well at all. In fact, she's so angry she makes Pat leave for the night. Mike (Trae Romano) overhears, and decides to go with his dad to spend the night at the repair shop.

Tue
21
Jul

Lobdell, Marques Pack Action into Dynamite Comics' Latest Green Hornet Launch

Green Hornet 2020 #1

The Green Hornet is possibly one of the earliest legacy heroes in comics, his grandfather having been the Lone Ranger. (Yes, I know The Phantom is older, but The Phantom is more of a mantle than a legacy.)

Britt Reid is a man of action, whether in his civilian identity as a crusading newspaper publisher, or at night when he's the wanted criminal, The Green Hornet. Yes, criminal -- he's wanted by the police. But that's a double-cover, because he establishes himself in that identity to infiltrate actual criminal gangs and take them down from the inside.

We're throwin right into the middle of the story with the opening shot, that includes a gorgeous 2-page splash across pages two and three. The plot pits the Green Hornet against the U.S. Army, for reasons that will be established as the story unfolds. And the story is a strange one indeed, because the Green Hornet is pretty much used to fighting thugs and mob bosses -- street level and corporate level evil.

Wed
15
Jul

Generation Justice: Stargirl Episode 109, "Brainwave"

Stargirl Episode 109. Brainwave

We've mentioned before just how much fun it is for comic book geeks to watch STARGIRL. The references to the original Justice Society, the hints and easter eggs, are all things that make our inner comic nerds grin from ear to ear.

And tonight was no exception. In fact, they ratched it up to eleven early in the episode.

Courtney (Brec Bassinger) barely survived her battle with Shiv (Meg DeLacy) -- her high school classmate, Cindy Burman, and daughter of the villainous Dr. Ito, the Dragon King (Nelson Lee). Dr. Ito is thought to have died a long time ago, but Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) believes differently. He fought the Dragon King several years ago -- alongside a completely different team of heroes: The 7 Soldiers of Victory!

Yes, if you are a long-time comics fan, you may now take a moment to squeal.

Wed
08
Jul

Generation Justice: Stargirl Episode 108, "Shiv Part Two"

Stargirl 108 Shiv Part 2

When we reached the end of the previous episode, Courtney, as Stargirl (Brec Bassinger), had been locked in a fight with Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy), whom viewers know to be the daughter of Injustice Society member and mad scientist, Dragon King (Nelson Lee). The fight was interrupted, but not without Courtney sustaining injuries.

Her stepfather, Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson), rushed Courtney to the hospital and told them she'd been in a car accident. To cover his story, he then went out and purposely wrecked his vintage Buick, blaming the accident on his giving Courtney driving lessons.

Mon
06
Jul

Stargirl Renewed for Second Season

Stargirl

Good news for fans of DC Comics on the small screen: CW has released a statement verifying that STARGIRL -- the show you should be watching -- has been renewed for a second season!

The statement from CW reads:

July 6, 2020 (Burbank, CA) – The CW Network today announced it has renewed the hit new series DC’S STARGIRL for a second season.  The CW will become the exclusive in-season home to the breakout superhero hit next season, airing on The CW Television Network and streaming the next day on The CW’s free, ad-supported streaming platforms.  The first season of DC’S STARGIRL is currently airing Tuesdays (8:00-9:00pm ET/PT).

Sun
05
Jul

Duel Identity Assumes Readers Know Where They Are

Duel Identity 1

Every comic book is someone's first comic book.

That's been a truism handed down from the founding fathers of the industry. You can tell the writers who adhere to it. You can pick up one of their books, no matter the issue number, and within moments you are pulled into the story with a comfort level where you don't feel like a stranger, and where you can enjoy learning the things you still don't know. Those are the writers who leave behind lasting books, and thankful fan bases.

Elaine Lee is not one of those writers.

Wed
01
Jul

Generation Justice: Stargirl Episode 107, "Shiv Part One"

Stargirl 107 - Shiv Part One

Week after week, STARGIRL continues to impress, and after seven episodes I realize that I've never expressed just how much the overall soundtrack of the series contributes to its appeal. The music is just as much of the show's Americana as are the classic automobiles and clean-cut teenagers.

In this episode, two more characters make themselves known -- one of them in the very title of this two-parter. "Shiv" is the villain name given to Cindy Berman (Meg DeLacy). She's Blue Valley High's queen bee and HBIC of the mean girls. But more than that, she's the daughter of Dr. Ito, the Dragon King (Nelson Lee), whose approval she desperately seeks. Cindy is the only child of the Injustice Society legacy who knows about the ISA, and wants her seat at the table. She's the girlfriend of Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker), but only because she's been assigned to him by her father to keep an eye on him until he exhibits his psionic powers.

Wed
01
Jul

Our July Bombshell is a Real Cosplay Booster: BoosterGoldNY

Bombshell July 2020 BoosterGoldNY

Every month the staff at Critical Blast combs the cosplay community for up-and-coming cosplayers who deserve to have a broader audience for their work, taking into account not only costuming skills and spirit, but also how they use that ability in service to others. Through this, we've not only met some talented cosplayers, but also some fine human beings.

As the summer months heat up, we found ourselves a cosplayer who brings back the cool of characters that don't get a lot of attention in the cosplay community. (If you've gone to a convention and lost count of the Harley Quinns, you know what we're talking about.)

So light those fuses and get ready for fireworks, as we move into yet another hot month of cosplay. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our...

 

Fri
26
Jun

Magic and Monsters Collide when Shazam Makes LEGO Debut

Shazam - Magic and Monsters

We saw this hinted at in the last LEGO BATMAN animated movie, FAMILY MATTERS. It was more than just an Easter Egg when Batman received assistance from a young boy named Billy Batson, as was revealed in the movie's after-credits scene that showed Billy boarding a mysterious subway car that whisked him away.

Fri
26
Jun

Green Lantern 80th Anniversary Shines, But Dimly

Green Lantern 80th Anniversary

The GREEN LANTERN 80TH ANNIVERSARY 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTULAR is yet another prestige-bound release this month celebrating eight decades of a DC Comics brand. But whereas the anniversary issues for Catwoman and Joker focused on a single character, with stories viewed through the lens of some of the particular eras, this release is different. Because there is no single Green Lantern, but there are in fact a few thousand plus.

That's where this issue disappoints, because almost every story takes a different Green Lantern as a focus, turning this collection into something less "spectacular" and more into something that could have been just about any issue of TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS. That disappointment is compounded when you see the stories doing things like trying to retrofit the Golden Age Green Lantern's sexuality, or deliver yet another tired retread of the "people in red baseball caps are racist terrorists" trope.

Thu
25
Jun

Generation Justice: Stargirl Episode 106, "The Justice Society"

Stargirl Episode 106, The Justice Society

The team comes together in the latest episode of STARGIRL, aptly titled "The Justice Society." After having successfully recruited Yolanda (Yvette Monreal), Beth (Anjelika Washington), and Rick (Cameron Gellman) as the new Wildcat, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Hourman, Courtney (Brec Bassinger) is busted by her stepdad, Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson), for having absconded with all the JSA paraphernalia. The weaponry is simply too dangerous, and he charges Courtney to go get everything back from her friends.

Her friends, unsurprisingly, disagree. Yolanda finds hope for renewal in the saga of the first Wildcat, Ted Grant. Rick has a connection to his father and a way to hunt down his killer. And Beth has a rather cringey and uncomfortable connection to the A.I. that runs through her powered goggles.

Sat
13
Jun

When Sequential Art Stories Eschew Both Sequence and Story: Legion of Super-Heroes #6

Legion of Super-Heroes 6 2020

The Legion of Super-Heroes. A group of teens with powers, one thousand years in the future, inspired by the legend of Superman and brought together to show teamwork and unity among the citizens of different planets. Over the years, I've been there for the classics. The death and resurrection of Lightning Lad. The sacrifice of Ferro Lad. Reflecto. The Great Darkness. The Cockrum era. The Grell issues.

You might say I'm a bit of a fan.

Fri
12
Jun

Shallow Hell: Death-Defying Devil #5 Wraps Longest Lunch Ever

Death-Defying Devil 5

The Devil has gone to Hell...and taken his readers with him.

The fifth and final issue of Dynamite's DEATH-DEFYING DEVIL pits the masked hero against the ultimate evil -- The Devil. But the father of lies has slipped a little over the eons, having fallen over the edge of the abyss into a bottomless pit of banality as he gets into a street brawl with Bart Hill, the Death-Defying Devil. Or, in this case, the Devil-Defying Devil, which someone must have thought was a cute idea.

Let's recap the last year of issues succinctly: Bart Hill awakes in a strange house populated by a handful of random people who talk his ear off and serve food. The street gang outside that harasses them constantly are actually demons, sons of Lucifer, and he wants a soul.

Where is this house? Who are these people? Why are they there? How did Bart get there? For that matter, does good triumph over evil, and see the righteous rescued from the clutches of the demonic hordes?

Thu
11
Jun

Has Everyone Figured Out the Bad Guy is The Joker...Again?

Batman 92

Batman is having a very long night. With Catwoman finally having filled him in on how The Designer met with the four major villains in Gotham and helped them work out their most nefarious plans, Batman went on to fight Deathstroke while Catwoman and Harley Quinn battled their way through a squad of zombied police officers (and we still don't know how these zombies operate or how The Designer sees/speaks through them; it's just comic book magic).

Having gained nothing from his fight with Deathstroke, Batman now finds himself challenged -- and I used the term loosely -- by The Riddler, who walls off the city (a feat that would challenge even the Wayne fortunes) into a crossword puzzle grid. Batman has to solve the clues for each block, and wrong answers will trigger bombs. And to make sure Batman doesn't cheat, he blocks off all electronic transmissions to Batman's cowl.

Wed
10
Jun

Generation Justice: Stargirl, Episode 104: "Wildcat"

Stargirl Episode 104, Wildcat

The ranks of the new Justice Society of America expand by one this week with the induction of Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal) into the role of Wildcat. Yolanda's backstory is a heartbreaking cautionary tale that rings true to the viewer, making her instantly both sympathetic and heroic as we see how a young girl who only three months prior was outgoing, vivacious, and a leader in the student body go to being an outcast and introvert.

Tue
09
Jun

Red Rooster a Comic Worth Crowing About

Red Rooster #1

The comic book chase of 2020 isn't the search for BATMAN #92 or HELL ARISEN #3. Rather, it's the Quest for Allegiance, the upstart comic book company that bypassed the direct market and instead brokered a landmark distribution deal with the corporate juggernaut, Wal-mart. Mitch Breitweiser and his team have released four comic book series -- NORAH'S SAGA, BASS REEVES, THE FUTURISTS, and RED ROOSTER -- to the ubiquitous retail chain, complete with its own endcap display to highlight the item.

But it wasn't the smoothest launch. Not every Wal-mart put the books out, and since the books weren't typically displayed with the rest of the books and magazines, they were difficult to find in the store if that store had them in the first place. They were frequently in the toy department, and we have one report of them having been found in the electronics section.

Mon
08
Jun

That's a Stretch: Hartley Sawyer Fired from The Flash for Tweets of Misogyny, Racism, Homophobia

Elongated Man Hartley Sawyer Fired from Flash

The Hollywood Reporter has just announced that Hartley Sawyer, who playes Elongated Man on The Flash on the CW Network, has been fired over tweets that have been deemed misogynistic, racist, and homophobic.

The tweets, dating from 2011 through 2014, were all posted before he began his stint on the DC Comics supehero show about the Fastest Man Alive, and read:

Sun
07
Jun

Catwoman 80th Anniversary: Not Purr-fect, but Better Than Expected

Catwoman 80th Annivesary 100 Page Super Spectacular Adam Hughes cover

2020 sees a number of 80th anniversaries for major -- if not titular -- characters within the DC Universe, and if these 100-Page Super Spectacular releases are even moderately successfuly, we should start seeing the release of 85th anniversary issues in 2024-25.

What's interesting about getting to do this with Catwoman is that she has, of almost all the longstanding DC characters, gone through the most changes in her published life. She's gone back and forth over the line of hero and villain on more than one occasion. In the 80s she had become an ally to Batman until the Joker drove her insane and made her a villain again. Then she was given a reboot with Frank Miller's BATMAN: YEAR ONE, and a tragic backstory with Mindy Newell's miniseries that eventually launched Selina Kyle into her own iconic, long-running series with Jo Duffy and Jim Balent.

Fri
05
Jun

Generation Justice: Stargirl, Episode 103, "Icicle"

Stargirl Episode 103 - Icicle

STARGIRL continues to scintillate for the DC television universe, aka the Arrowverse, and this third episode shows the series has no intention on dimming any time soon.

Having confronted Brainwave and leaving him in a coma, Courtney (Brec Bassinger) is eager to confront the rest of the Injustice Society of America. Now, I'm sure you may be thinking that the "Injustice Society of America" is a bit on-the-nose for a gang of criminals. But in this episode we are made privy to the notion that the group was formed to confront perceived injustice, not create it. In this instance, it's the Icicle, Jordan Mahkent (Neil Jackson) who wants to fight the injustices that gave his wife cancer and took her from him and his son.

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