Superheroes

Tue
22
Jan

Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt is a Total Ripoff of Watchmen -- and That's Cool!

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt

Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, was one of the set of Charlton characters used as the basis for DC Comics' WATCHMEN series. Doctor Manhattan was supposed to be Captain Atom. Nite Owl was supposed to be Blue Beetle. Rorschach was supposed to be The Question. Comedian was supposed to be Peacemaker. Silk Spectre, Nightshade. And Ozymandias, the smartest man in the world, was supposed to be Peter Cannon.

So going into the comic book, PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1, from Dynamite Comics (and Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard), there's a natural bias to thinking, "This character reminds me of Ozymandias."

In fact, there are three phases the reader will go through when reading this comic:

1. Gee, this is kind of derivative of WATCHMEN.

2. Oh for crying out loud, they're just ripping off WATCHMEN.

3. HOLY SHIT! CALL THE POLICE, THEY JUST TOTALLY ROBBED WATCHMEN AND IT WAS GLORIOUS!

What do we mean by that? Watch and see...

Wed
16
Jan

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 510, "The Flash & The Furious"

Flash 510

THE FLASH has been having some really great episodes in this fifth season.

"The Flash & The Furious" is not one of them.

This mid-season premiere introduces us to the Silver Ghost (GABRIELLE WALSH), whose meta-tech ability is...a key fob that controls any car. She's a car thief.

And when she steals a Lamborghini while Barry Allen (GRANT GUSTIN) is supposed to testify in court as a CSI for the trial of the Weather Witch (REINA HARDESTY), he gets paged to deal with it as The Flash.

Let's reiterate: a CAR is stolen, and because it's faster than a standard issue police cruiser, S.T.A.R. Labs thinks it's important enough to buzz in a pair of superheroes.

What next? Shining the Batsignal in response to a stickup? Firing up Jimmy Olsen's signal watch for a kitten in a tree?

Sun
13
Jan

Captain Marvel: Better Than All The Avengers Together

Captain Marvel #1

Captain Marvel -- Carol Danvers -- is back from outer space, just in time for the debut of her appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

No sooner does she arrive than she has to battle a groping Kraken (tentacles=symbolism), prove herself the equal of not just any Avenger but all of them, and take on misogyny personified in the form of Nuclear Man.

Heavy handed? A little bit. There's some nice dialogue, however, and it's pretty to look at in places. We're already putting bets down on how the 'shipping is going to go.

For our full review, here's the video livestream from our YouTube channel. (Be sure to subscribe and ring the bell.)

 

Fri
11
Jan

Young Justice #1 a Gorgeous, Lazy Mess

Young Justice 1

When DC rebranded it's teen sidekick group as Young Justice (as opposed to Teen Titans, which is really what the group was), it became a fan favorite. All the action of the Teen Titans comics with the mix of humor that made it something apart from that, unique to itself. Consisting primarily of Robin II (Tim Drake), Superboy (Conner Kent, the clone from Reign of the Supermen), Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark), and Impulse (Bart Allen), the group soon expanded to include many other young characters, all with distinct personalities and fan followings.

Sat
05
Jan

Heroes in Crisis: $%@# This

HiC 4

The mystery of who massacred literally dozens of metahumans -- some of them very high profile -- at the therapy retreat known as Sanctuary continues, without a single clue (maybe) coming to light in this fourth issue. The readers may get a clue, but it's a very slight one, and it has to do with why Harley was able to get past Booster Gold's shield when she hit him.

Other than that, what we really learn is just how $%@#'ed up our heroes are. And how much they all like to say "$%@#" in this issue. Which is understandable -- they should all be more distraught, angry... hell, they should be pissed off. But they're inhumanly restrained.

Tue
01
Jan

January Bombshell, Kelly Poynter, Hits Bulls-eye with Worthy Cosplay

Bombshell 2019 01 - Green Arrow

Wow. 2018 has just flown right by! Hard to believe we've seen twelve incredible cosplayers already, and with our January 2019 Critical Blast Bombshell, it looks like there's no end to the creative people who are out there making our heroes pop out of the pages and screens and into the real world!

And every once in a while, you find a cosplayer who does a character you not only merely recognize, but whom you would swear was lifted right out of the medium and placed into the world. This month's Bombshell is definitely in that category, and one month in is already on target to be our Bombshell of the Year for 2019. (Granted, he's in a field of one right now, and we'll be adding eleven more to the competition before the year is out -- but for the next 31 days, the odds are definitely in his favor!)

So let's draw back the curtain on a new year -- and a new cosplay Bombshell feature -- as we proudly present to you, our readers, the...

 

Tue
25
Dec

Dynamite's Project: Superpowers Built on What Makes Superhero Comics Great

Project Superpowers 5 2018

P:andora has arrived on Earth, and worldwide people ask two questions: Is the combined might of Project: Superpowers enough to stop him? And how the heck do you pronounce a name with a colon in it?

Rob Williams and Sergio Davila weave an action-packed and dynamically-presented superhero yarn that pulls out all the stops and includes all the things we love about the classic comic book story. Where else can you see an 80-story giant get swatted down by The Might Samson by using a skyscraper as a baseball bat? Where else can you find an American Flag with a life of its own that seeks to bind with a human host and become an entity powerful enough to stand against evil? 

Sun
23
Dec

Cyko KO Third Issue Wraps Up Current Mini

Cyko 3

Rob Feldman's miniseries, CYKO KO, from Alterna Comics, finishes its three-issue arc with the titular hero facing off against the fiendish foe who killed his father -- the Devil Spider!

CYKO KO is a hero that's part Madman, part Ambush Bug, part Freakazoid, and completely all-ages friendly. The art and coloring are done in a flattened style reminescent of 1970s comics that adapted cartoons from television like SUPER FRIENDS. This actually broadens the appeal to younger readers who will fall in love with the antics and interactions of Cyko, Peachy, and Karate Bot -- and the newly introduced interdimensional uber-fan of Cyko, Blipso Facto aka Cyko Jr, a being from a dimension where everyone has modeled their lives after the adventures of Cyko KO.

Here's more of what you need to know:

Fri
21
Dec

DC's Super Team Fights Real Nazis in Freedom Fighters 1

Freedom Fighters 1 2018

I was a huge fan of the FREEDOM FIGHTERS comics in the late 1970s. These books featured the Quality Comics characters acquired by DC -- Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Doll Man, The Ray, The Human Bomb, and The Red Bee -- and formed them into a team of heroes, banded together to fight the Nazis on Earth X, a parallel dimension where Germany won World War II and conquered the United States.

There have been various attempts to revive the team with a more modern angle to them. This newest version from Robert Venditti and Eddy Barrows, however, succeeds by sticking the closest to its roots. The book opens in 1963 with what remains of the Freedom Fighters planning an assault on a Nazi robot-making factory. However, their plans are foiled by an infiltration of Plastic Men (or PlaSStic Men, with the SS done in the Nazi SS style), and they are captured and summarily executed. Only Uncle Sam remains, barely escaping the Plasstic Men by pulling a Jedi death.

Fri
30
Nov

Heroes in Crisis #3 Returns to the Scene of the Crime and Offers Clues

Heroes in Crisis 3

The schedule must be getting tight on the 20-page comic (remember when they were 22 pages?) HEROES IN CRISIS, because the former lead artist, Clay Mann, was only able to turn in the first page and the last page of this issue, which were basically the confidential confessional pages. Lee Weeks picks up the rest of the in-between, where Tom King's plot doesn't move the action forward from the previous issue (or even the issue before that).

That's because this issue is done entirely in flashback, to fill in the gaps and answer some of the questions about what Sanctuary was and how it operated.

Fri
30
Nov

Batman Beyond 26 Heralds Return of the Joker

Batman Beyond 26

I’ve gotta say, the Joker of the future is looking pretty spry for a (very) white guy.

The Clown Prince of Crime has been hinted to still be alive during the time of the BATMAN BEYOND comic book series, which has this reviewer questioning whether or not the animated movie BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER has any bearing on the comic book canon, which seems to be an anchor-point in actual DC Comics future history. At the end of the previous issue, he brought down a high-rise owned by Bruce Wayne, although nobody as yet knows he’s responsible. He only took credit for it when he confronted Barbara Gordon, surprising her in her office and narrowly missing her with a bullet.

Wed
28
Nov

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 507, "Oh Come All Ye Thankful"

Flash 507 Come All Ye Thankful

It's Thanksgiving on THE FLASH, and the parallel themes running triplicate through this plot are all about fathers and daughters, and the relationships that build between them.

Fri
09
Nov

Just in Time for Christmas -- DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments

100 Greatest DC Superheroine Moments

Following up on his chronicling of the Justice League's 100 Greatest Moments, comics historian and science fiction veteran Robert Greenberger manages to top himself with DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments. And while I wasn't particularly fond of the artwork selected for the packaging, finding it not particularly attractive, there's an adage about "books and covers" that comes into play.

This beautiful hardcover book isn't one that you rush through. You linger over each page and, if you're like me, you find yourself in one of two places: you're either recalling happily the first time you saw this event happen, perhaps when it was new to everyone, or you find yourself discovering something you've never known happened and now have something to seek out and add to your collection.

Tue
06
Nov

Christmas Comes Early with Batman: The Complete Animated Series on Blu-ray

Batman Animated Series

The year 1992 marked a turning point for animated superhero adventure. After years of shows like SUPER FRIENDS and THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN AND ROBIN, the time was ripe for the Dark Knight to return to the screen, especially after the second coming of Batmania that followed the Tim Burton film starring Michael Keaton. Rumors began swirling on the prenatal Internet (BBSs in those days) of an animated Batman in the works, and there was even leaked a writers bible for the series written by J.M. Straczynski.  

Thu
01
Nov

Heroes in Crisis #2 Raises More Troubling Questions Than Just Whodunit

Heroes in Crisis

For the most part, Tom King does a fantastic job delving deeper into the mystery of HEROES IN CRISIS, leaving us with more clues but coming no closer to the truth of who massacred all the heroes (and villains) who were being treated at Sanctuary, the pscyho-therapy institute created by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman for super-people to come to deal with their post-traumatic stress.

A crucial clue to the mystery is discovered during an autopsy conducted on Commander Steel by the Trinity. Batman extracts an object (that apparently Superman couldn't detect with his x-ray vision) that would almost clearly indicate Harley Quinn commited the crime. But when they close in on her, she maintains her claim that it was actually fellow patient Booster Gold who did the deed -- and she gets away after casting serious suspicion on Batman that the other two cannot ignore.

Wed
31
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 504, "News Flash"

Flash 504 News Flash

Sometimes I watch an episode of THE FLASH and I'm all excited about the cool things that happened in the story. And then I catalog them in preparation for reviewing, and I thing, "Yeah, it was great except for this... and this... and this..." Eventually, I've picked it apart enough to realize that maybe I didn't like the episode as much as I initially thought I did.

Which is why "News Flash," in retrospect, is such a stinkeroo.

Here's what you need to know: When Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) and X/S (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) punched The Thinker's satellite into smithereens, those smithereens -- all infused with the same dark matter that once bathed the city at the beginning of the series -- fell where they had consequences. One of them created Cicada and his lightning-bolt dagger-of-power-dampening.

Wed
24
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 503, "The Death of Vibe"

Flash 503, Death of Vibe

I'm going on the record right now declaring that this episodes title is (a) a lie or (b) better be a lie.

This season's big bad, Cicada, wants to finish what he started with Vibe: killing him. Why he picked Vibe over Flash, or even Elongated Man, we can't say. Guess a man's got to have his priorities. Meanwhile, Team Flash is on the hunt for Cicada, who we learn from XS is a sort of metahuman serial killer -- who was never captured; not by Team Flash, the Legends, even the League (yes, that's a reference to a future Justice League).

XS's plan to find Cicada involves bringing in a detective. And it's not Ralph, which has to sting. No, it's time to approach... the Council of Wells. Yes, the WORST idea ever to inhabit the Flash Writers' Room is back -- or at least one of them is back. And he refers them to yet another Wells we've not yet met: Sherloque Wells, consulting detective with a string of ex-wives to whom he owes alimony.

Wed
17
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 502, "Blocked"

Flash 502 Blocked

The fifth season of THE FLASH makes it two-in-a-row with some great storytelling. With Team Flash now knowing that Nora (JESSICA PARKER KENNEDY) is not trapped in this time period but here because The Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) never returns from his disappearance in the Crisis that sits five years down the road, Barry settles into the role of mentor to teach his future-daughter how to become the best Flash she can be. But XS is too eager to prove herself, and takes chances that put both her and her dad in danger.

It takes a conversation with Joe (JESSE L MARTIN) for Barry to realize what XS is doing, with the understanding that all the knowledge of her father comes to a museum built in tribute to him. So he takes the time to show her some Season 1 highlights where he made mistakes on his path to becoming a capable hero.

Wed
10
Oct

Catching Up: The Flash Episode 501, "Nora"

Flash 501, Nora

If you’ve ever wanted a practical demonstration of Einsteinian relativity, you can always rely on the man’s simple explanation: “An hour spent talking to a pretty girl can feel like a minute. A minute touching a hot stove can feel like an hour.” For us fans of THE FLASH, a summer waiting for the new season to begin can feel like an eternity, and the hour we spend watching it can go by in a second.

We pick up immediately where Season 4 finished: with the family and friends all gathered at the West home, when a young lady shows up claiming to be Nora West-Allen — Barry and Iris’s daughter from the future. She’s also a speedster who goes by the name XS. This, and a throwaway reference to Lightning Lad means the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes is closer than we thought. It also means there’s a Legion on this Earth — or is it the same Legion we saw on SUPERGIRL last season?

Wed
03
Oct

Green Arrow a Hero in Crisis as the DCU Attends Roy's Funeral

Green Arrow 45

DC's latest crisis has just kicked off, and the first repercussions of it are felt in the pages of GREEN ARROW #45, as Oliver Queen and the various members of the Justice League, Titans, and Birds of Prey attend the funeral of Roy Harper -- aka Arsenal and former sidekick and ward to the Green Arrow.

The ceremony takes place on a remote butte, where friends and family give their eulogies while Oliver continues to blame himself -- and the Justice League -- for everything that happened to Roy, from his addiction problems to his ultimate murder at the Justice League's so-called Sanctuary where heroes go to get help and support for their personal problems. Ollie's upset enough to throw a punch at Clark, and threaten to use his ultimate trump card against the Justice League.

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