Category Archives: Review

Anne- Episode 1 – CBC

 

I wasn’t sure I going to review this and then I thought “What the hell, it’s Friday, and this was a great episode”. For those of you who don’t know, I am originally from the Maritime on the east coast of Canada. Many of you may only know Pop culture and the Maritimes in one specific context……..The Trailer Park Boys. Now this is a fine , classy show, but there is one other icon of that particular geographical location that also has a rich history in TV and cinema. Her name is Anne……of Green Gables.

I’m not going to delve too much into the 107 year history of Anne of Green Gables which has included, first, world renowned and beloved books, and later much loved TV series and movies which made a star(In Canadian terms  anyway) of Megan Follows.

This review will focus on the new Show which premiered last Sunday night called “Anne”. To me, it’s a re-imagining of “Anne of Green Gables”. Showing a much more realistic look at life in those days and how life as a child in an orphanage was sometimes very dark. The actress who plays Anne(played brilliantly by young actress Amybeth McNulty) brings both a sense of innocence and intense personal pain to the character .I realized 20 minutes in she was going to be one of the main reasons this show was going to be a success.

The brother and sister who Anne is placed with (through an unfortunate series of errors that turned out to be a blessing in disguise) are played by actors Geraldine James(Marilla Cuthbert) and R.H Thomson(Matthew Cuthbert).These decorated actors of screen and stage(R.H Thomson received the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award for Lifetime artistic Achievement in 2015)played these characters wonderfully.

Matthew Cuthbert, the soft spoken , quiet, wise farmer within minutes endears you (My wife said the character reminded her of her dad, which is high praise in of itself)and brings a strong sense of warmth and country living to the show. Marilla Cuthbert is the stern head of the household who has no time for sentiment but I think sees a bit of Anne in herself and slowly begins to see the potential of the child if someone will simply care for her.

I suppose I am a bit biased on this show. The scenery and cinematography showcases Prince Edward Island beautifully even though due to cost logistics a bulk of the show was in fact shot in Ontario. HOWEVER, much of footage of the coastline and of Anne and Matthews horse buggy ride is in fact P.E.I. Some things you cannot replicate. If a continued success, I suspect this will be a boon for P.E.I tourism.

I’ll be watching the second episode to see where this story goes next. It airs Sundays on the CBC. Starts May 12th on NETFLIX.Trailer Below.

 

 

 

DC Comics- Batwoman #1 – Review- A Few Thoughts

 

I have to admit , even though she’s been around for almost 10 years now, this is my first Batwoman book that I’ve actually read. By “She” I mean of course this incarnation of Batwoman in the form of Kate Kane. The book itself is not a bad jumping on point for new readers. The story  does focus on some events from a previous series, but they don’t overly impact where the story goes in its 1rst issue.

James T Tynion IV & Marguerite Bennett have plotted and written a pretty good first chapter that has very much a globe trotting feel to it with just a tinge of James Bond .The interaction between the characters and the characters own inner dialogue flows well and they even manage to bring in a bit of domesticated banter concerning the dishes that worked in the moment.

I was left with more questions than answers with this book and I’m not sure if that was by design, or not having access to back history of the character. If by design it was well done, if not,” meh”, that’s my fault for not getting here earlier.

The art by Steven Epting was fantastic. I have a soft spot for his work, as I really loved his run on the Avengers in the early 90’s.His run with Ed Brubaker on Captain America also stands out as a fav of mine. He knows how to draw the world of shadowy espionage and his style was well suited to this book .

I’ll probably end up picking the 2nd issue up off the shelf as I have to many books in my pull list now, but if the 2nd issue is as well done I’ll probably end up adding the series.

I did find it a bit odd that the series was listed as “Teen plus”….there’s no blood letting or cursing. Is this due to her being………a badass? A Lesbian Badass? Either way, if you’re previous fan this series seems off to a good start, or if you’re looking for a book with a strong female lead this might be for you. Cheers.

Writers- Marguerite Bennett & James Tynion IV

Art – Steve Epting

Colors – Jeremy Cox

 

 

 

Kingpin- Book 2-Marvel Comics – Review

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed the first book in this series, and had been looking forward to reading the follow -up. Matthew Rosenberg(writer) continues to flesh out the characters at a steady enough pace to move the story along, while giving the readers a chance to see a side of the Kingpin that we may not have seen yet. We know he had a strong emotional attachment to his wife Vanessa, but we may not have seen his sense of almost “Robin Hood’ like charity to those less fortunate, and his connection to them. We all have a wounded child inside of us…..even the Kingpin.

We’re reminded that even though the Kingpin may want to present himself in a different light , many vestiges of his past may not want the world to forget exactly who he is. They come in 3 forms in this 2 nd chapter. The underworld around him, the politics around him and the hook for the next issue. This hook comes in the form of an appearance I was hoping would be held off for a few more issues. I suspect this may have been a corporate decision to go in this direction so soon and I was looking forward to this book having a more “solo” feel to it for just a bit longer.

One of the main characters of this book “Sarah” is showing more depth in 2 issues then some other Marvel characters have been receiving in 10 issues thanks to Rosenberg’s attention to character building.It seems she’ll be playing a lead role for quite some time, so the fact she is being fleshed out so well is good building on Rosenberg’s part.

Ben Torres art once again helped convey a well written story .Subtle changes in facial expressions from panel to panel can say so much. Especially where more complex emotions have to be conveyed instead of, for example, just a simple toned battle scene. When you can feel emotions changing panel to panel that to me is a sign of good work.

I noticed Colorist Johnathan Boyd used more Black and whites and fleshier tones when colouring the panels this time. Gave it kind of “Sin City” vibe to it which matched the story subject and surrounding subplots.

If there was one small critique of the book I could find it would have been the use of the “Underworld” figures that they did use, and in the context that they used them. Would have liked to have seen that confrontation on a more private level.

Still, a very good outing and I’m enjoying the series very much so far. Looking forward to the next issue.

Writer: Matthew Rosenberg

Artist: Ben Torres

Color Artist: Johnathan Boyd

Letterer: Travis Lanham

 

Elektra #1 – 2017 Marvel Comics Review.

 

 

elektra

Writer: Matt Owens

Pencilled: Alec Morgan

Cover Artist:(Special mention) Elizabeth Torque

 

 

I’ve always been a fan of #1’s when they introduce a villain who was NOT a main stay of this hero’s gallery of Rogues. It gives a chance for the book to go in a fresh direction I think. Gives it a chance to explore new skills, relationships and memories of our lead character. Marvel did that with this #1.To the best of my knowledge Elektra has not faced off against this multi issue story arc villain.

However one of main problems with it was anyone who even a had average knowledge of Marvel history, could have guessed the mystery of who this villain is in the first few panels. Great for new readers…not so great for us Vets:).Before I go any further I should state I loved this cover. Feminine yet rugged. Great effort by artist Elizabeth Torque.Really Well done .

The story itself was one of getting lost in lights of sin city and realizing you picked a hell of a town to try to get away from the corruption of humanity. It’s touches on depravity that goes on in shadows that most of us never see…….it also was a lot less dramatic than I’m making it seem. Matt Owens never really pulled me in with this story. There was nothing new that I didn’t feel that I hadn’t heard before in other storylines. Some of the characters seemed far more over the top then they should have been, and the hook to have me come back for issue two just wasn’t there.

The pencils on this issue also left a bit to be desired for me. If there was such a term as Mannequinish(there’s not, I checked)I would probably place hold it in  a bit here. I suppose I should state in full disclosure that I could not draw a bath, BUT, to me a well drawn character can say so much without saying much at all. A cocked, eyebrow, A furrowed forehead, the stretch of crows feet when a character smiles , a quivering lip, a watering eye all are able to convey sometimes more emotion then 20 words. I felt not much of that from the art here. Alec Morgan told the requested storyline in a correct manner for sure but his character features seemed almost blank to me. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder though I suppose

If you enjoy a fresh take on this character you will probably like the journey this issue is beginning.

I might pick up the second issue later on down the road but it’s not going in my pull file for now.

 

 

Grimm Fairy Tales – Steam Punk – Alice in Wonderland – 1 Shot Review

steampunk%20-%20alice%20in%20wonderland%20001-001

 

 

Writer: Ryan Fassett

Artwork: Noah Salonga(1-7) & Fritz Casas(8-29)

Colors: Robby Bevard (1-7) & Erick Arciniega(8-29)

Letters : Taylor Esposito

I honestly had no idea what to expect from “Steampunk- Alice in Wonderland”. I had a vague idea what the term “Steam punk” meant and had heard it referenced to WWE wrestler “Becky Lynch’s” style of dress, but other then that was not overly familiar with the term. Steampunk is a blending of historical setting , time appropriate tech and a great sense of adventure. This book lived up vividly to that description.

Alice in Wonderland has been told several times obviously, but this re imagining had more grit to it then a lot of the others I have seen. Alice seems a more independent lass this time around who simply wants to make the world better through her inventions. She doesn’t want to be the belle of the ball, or the center of attention. I can respect that……

The story itself flows well and is actually a relatively complex read which I enjoyed thoroughly. Writer Ryan Fassett caught my attention and held it on this book. At times it felt like a scene spanning trilogy instead of the 1 shot that it was. To me ,the more story the better so it worked on that level. My only critique of the writing was what almost seemed like 20th century slang in 17th century Victorian Britian. It just seemed out of place in this story.

A bit  of Alice’s brief origin gave us a good starting point and several aspects of the re-imagined Alice in Wonderland was introduced at well paced intervals within the story. This story is the stuff that’s sourced for material for TV series. I know that’s a big leap, but this story worked that well for me. Strong, well written, female characters sell. I hope they continue Alice Liddles story in a future series.

The art also worked quite well. By using two artists you were able to succinctly create a visual border between Victorian earth and the Wonderland. Noah Salonga captured the essence of shadowy, arcane feeling of Victorian England quite well, while Fritz Casas take on this re-imagined Wonderland gave it the more opposing landscape visual appeal that it required. The attention to detail in their paneling really conveyed the frenetic of the story. One other thing I noted was the fact that Alice dressed a bit more conservatively. Good characters don’t NEED to be bursting out of their corsets. Save something for the variants 😉

Like the art, the color was also broke down by worlds. Robby Bevard brought some lovely shades to emphasize the royal feel of Victoria, while Erick Arciniega built up Wonderland  using shadowy browns , blues and shade of orange. Great job done here

I hope there is a follow -up series to this book. There’s more story to be told.

Book was released Feb.9th and is on shelves on now.

 

 

 

 

Riverdale- Netflix Series / CW Network – A few thoughts

Riverdale -- Image Number: RVD_KeyArt_1.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Camila Mendes as Veronica, Lili Reinhart as Betty, Ashleigh Murray as Josie, Cole Sprouse as Jughead, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl and KJ Apa as Archie -- Photo: The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

Archie comics have done a lot of growing up over the last few decades. To grow as their market was growing up, certain Archie comics began to have a more adult edge, tacking issues and social norms they had never tackled before. I had paid a bit of attention over the years as some of the issues made it into the press.

When “Kevin” was introduced as Archie comics first gay character it drew a bit of furor from the ignorant tight ass club that probably stopped reading Archie years ago. Afterlife with Archie also caught my attention after they dropped the comics code authority  in 2011, and this was the first title that went a little darker than the normal fare …plus y’know. Zombies.

So when it was announced that CW was introducing a new show called RIVERDALE I was kind of intrigued. Like any good comic reader I wondered if they could do the source material justice. How different would it be? Could I still relate to it? Did I still have the same crush on Veronica Lodge that I did when I was 8 years old(I do)

I was pleasantly surprised by the first two episodes. It really did seem unlike much else out there. A cross between the “Wonder Years”, “Sweet Valley High”(My wife made that comparison….emphatically. So she’s earned a spot here), and a little 90210 built in with a great mystery that binds it all together. Except for Luke Perry, I recognized 0 of the actors yet with two exceptions(Fuck you, Reggie you bully),everyone played their characters very well and I’m looking forward to episode 3 .If you’re looking for some well written , nostalgia feeling drama with an edge of mystery please check this show out.

…………….oh, and Betty and Veronica kiss in Cheerleader uniforms(in a parallel universe 13 year old me just semenated the ceiling)

Trailer below.

 

 

Legion -FX – Episode 1- Not really a review, review

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Before I sat down to watch this, I knew it was going to be a bit of a mind trip.  It was “broken” legion from the comics after all. I have to admit I had not read the solo series Marvel released so my POV on Legion was a bit dated.

My litmus test for this series was actually going to be my wife’s reaction as we watched it. She’s a casual “comic movie fan” and if she could get on board with what I suspected was going to be a psychedelic episode I knew FOX could go somewhere with this.To be completely honest I can think of about 40 different characters that they could have done a series with, and Legion wasn’t on that list.

Within the first 5 minutes I heard “This is doing nothing for me so far” as the delusions of a fractured psyche played out across the screen in front of us. Then something happened. Dan Stevens begin to act….and it got better from there.

If anything can make this series a success I suspect the acting chops of Dan Brown and Rachel Keller can help with that. I feel terrible saying “acting chops” there, as both of them have extensive professional training with names like “Carnegie” and “Cambridge” attached to it, and I made them sound like street carnie. For the record , there is an excellent little dance number in the episode that I thought showed a range of these actors right out of the gate.

The story itself had a nice pace to it and I did do a little internal fist bump when the name “mutant” was talked about with a fear I had not felt since the 80,s-90’s.They gave me enough to be interested ,but not too much to think they hot shotted the storyline which is become rarer and rarer in todays TV universe. I’m going to watch the first 8 episodes(full season) for sure and go from there.

Trailer is below and the series airs Wednesdays on FX.