Review Brew: Elektra #11

reviewWriter: W. Haden Blackman
Artist: Michael Del Mundo
Color Artist: Marco D’Alfonso
Reviewer: Ray Willis

The performance comes to an end…

When we last left Elektra, Cape Crow, and Kento, the group finds the leader of the Assassins Guild and come into conflict with the new revitalized Bullseye along with some pesky Hand ninjas. I really loved this issue but the end could’ve been better. The writing is really good focusing on what’s going through Elektra’s mind of her aging not through old age but the battles that she has been through.

The interaction of the few characters were subtle with focusing on Elektra and Bullseye. The back and forth between them is good and shows that Lester recognizes Elektra can best him on any day but now the tables are turned. Some may not like the ending of this issue which has the character in a situation of “go after the villain” or “save the person in distress”. It doesn’t bother me much since it’s a big cliche in most things but if Elektra had an extra issue, this arc could have been wrapped more smoothly. Also her coming back from the brink of taking a beating from Bullseye was a bit much.

Michael Del Mundo’s art is so great with action having Elektra battling Bullseye and The Hand ninja. Del Mundo shows us how Elektra is stuck in a really bad situation with dealing with her opponents and shows the battle damage Elektra takes and how it affects her mentally as well. The visuals are amazing and it looks like a very stylized movie. Seeing the battle between Elektra, The Hand, and Bullseye is amazing. Some of the panels are really up close and of Elektra battling the The Hand ninja. Even Bullseye gets to show off his playing card skills toward the end.The colors from Marco D’Alfonso really shines each time and brings the whole issue together. The colors really mesh well with the violence that is happening in this issue with the color red all over the issue.

The issue was a great send off to a great series from this team. The writing from Blackman is really good but with an ending like this, it could have been made a tad bit longer. The art from Del Mundo is fantastic and has been a great highlight in this throughout this series and ending it with a bang. The coloring from Marco D’Alfonso is really great and shows how dark this issue is and the violence that encompasses it. It’s sad that this series is coming to an end but it really was a great run.

4 out of 5 ElektrasPCU_LOGO_ReviewBrew

Review Brew: Epic #3

Writer- Tyler James
Artist- Fico Ossio
Reviewed By- John Amenta

At this point I feel that I have to come out and say that I am not in any way, shape or form affiliated with the good folks over at ComixTribe. The reason I feel the need to tell you this, loyal reader, is because when it comes to product being reviewed by myself from this small publishing house, I keep giving them glowing reviews. No giant bags of cash or jewels were ever handed to me for high marks. No expensive dinners nor rides in the corporate jet to sway my opinion. Nope. ComixTribe just puts out quality funny books, and I’m just getting you ready for another unbiased, yet positive review.

Epic is the most straightforward of ComixTribe’s titles, yet it is by far the most fun to read. Eric Ardor is a typical teenager who just so happens to have superpowers in Miami. Eric’s abilities are negated when he is around girls he finds attractive. In Miami this can be a bigger problem than in certain colder areas of the country. This is the central idea behind Epic, yet it does not define the book. Eric( in his costumed guise as Epic) and his tech savvy friend Beans work together to fight the ever-growing supervillain problem popping up in the city by night, and by day, try to understand why girls won’t talk to them. In this issue Eric copes with trying to find a date for the upcoming school dance, while the local steroid abusing football hero at school takes a superpowered dose of a new drug that turns him into a monster. Other plot threads weaved through the first two issues get some time, such as Beans going back to work for the mysterious Dr.Geneto, and more face time for the other superhero attending South Beach High, the newly transplanted Cali-Girl.

Tyler James has given us a book that right out of the gate feels relatable, and it’s universe feels fully formed. Epic has the feel of Ultimate Spider-Man, in the interaction between the characters, and the attitude of its hero. Friendships feel real, teenage woes real as well. Artist Fico Ossio is also a major league talent that is getting his due, recently providing art for IDW’s Skylanders series.

In the mood for a new superhero tale not muddied by decades of continuity and crossovers and 100 page special issues? Looking for a fun read that will satisfy that itch for quality entertainment? Pick up a copy of Epic, it’s only three issues in. See if ComixTribe can continue to ride the streak of good product. They are on an early Pixar like tear currently, with no Cars 2 on the horizon either.

5 Tri$has of 5

Note: Advance copy reviewed, issue on sale April 1st.

TV Review: iZombie

 

by Tony Ortega

When I heard that the CW was going to do a television adaptation of the I Zombie comic book series previously published (and cancelled way too soon) by DC Comics’ imprint, Vertigo, I was somewhat hesitant to jump on another Walking Dead bandwagon. However, since most of the shows that I watch are on the CW (don’t judge me), I figured I would give it a shot. Plus, Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars fame, was at the helm of the show.

Disclaimer before I begin my review: nothing makes me more excited than to watch or read something where the main character has to overcome some horrible adversity and then turn said adversity to something great. Keep this in mind as you read on. Also, SPOILERS (using my best River Song voice).

Readers of the comic were introduced to Gwen Dylan, a female zombie who works in a graveyard, providing her with a steady supply of brains to consume as she will convert into a mindless zombie without this rather peculiar Paleo diet. The consumption of the brains gives her flashbacks of the person’s life and she sets off to resolve their murder and/or any unresolved issues prior to their death along with her sidekicks: a ghost and a were-terrier.

Viewers of the TV show were introduced to Liv Moore (Rose McIver), a promising hospital resident (paging Christina Yang of Grey’s Anatomy), who had the perfect job and an oh so handsome fiancée Major (Robert Buckley). Liv attends a boat party where a zombie outbreak occurs thanks to a new designer drug. A rapid zombie scratches her, throws her overboard, she is tagged by the coroner as dead, only to be “reborn” as one of the undead. The show flash forwards to five months after that fateful night where she now has a head of white hair, pale skin that would make the Cullen vampires jealous, and employed as a morgue assistant, which also provides her with a steady supply of brains to consume. Like Gwen, Liv must consume human brains to stay intelligent, however, the side effect of her diet is that she receives flashbacks of the person’s life, which she uses to solve their murder.

Five months later, we see that Liv has abandoned many dreams after being reborn as a brain eating zombie: quitting her job as a resident and breaking up with hunky Major, for fear that her secret will be uncovered. She lives in abject fear that someone will find out her secret and have nothing to do with her, or a far worse fate. Her family even stages an intervention as they are concerned that she is suffering from PTSD, which in their minds, would explain why she has gone through such a personality overhaul. We also see a very human side of being a zombie as Liv talks about having to eat anything with major hot sauce for her to feel any gustatory pleasure. I thought that was a great little tid bit of info.

The show has a very Veronica Mars flavor to it as we have a very strong female lead solving crime who narrates to the audience throughout the episode. What differs from VM is that Liv doesn’t really want to solve crime. She is sort of forced into doing so by her mortician boss, the only one that is privy to her secret. Her partner (of sorts), Officer Babinaux. While Officer Babinaux is initially hesitant to work with Liv (as she explains to him the reason for her flashes is because she is a psychic), he comes to rely on her flashes as well as her tenacity to solve the series premiere murder. Ultimately, while having solved the case, Liv came to a startling epiphany: “Life’s short and then you die. And then, then you have to make some decisions. You can skulk around lamenting all that you’ve lost, try to keep yourself numb and isolated. Or you can embrace who you are. I wanted to do something with my life. I wanted to help people. Not necessarily as a zombie psychic who eats murder victims brains. I’ve spent five months bemoaning all that was taken from me. It never occurred to me that I’d have something to give; a way to contribute. All I needed was some hope that there was a future that I fit into somehow.”

While I don’t hold much hope for more than a season or two of IZombie (because America would rather watch reality TV), I was quite moved with the writing, pacing and the characterization of the show. It definitely holds a lot of promised as long as Mr. Thomas and his gang maintain the momentum of the series premiere. Yes, I will continue to watch this Veronica Mars/The Walking Dead with a dash of Grey’s Anatomy (seasons 1-10 only) show. You may come to realized how you contribute to the world despite any affliction.

The 10 Greatest Undertaker Moments

Today as the Undertaker turns 50, it’s time to take a look at his storied career.  He has the longest win streak in Wrestlemania, he has battled titans, and he is one of the most decorated wrestlers to step in the squared circle.  This Sunday may be his last Wrestlemania as he steps in the ring with Bray Wyatt so we don’t know what to expect.  But today, let’s take a look at some of the most notable moments of his career.

The Chokeslam to Hell

I know it may be a weird place to start, but let’s face it, if there ever was an OH SHIT moment was this one from 1999.  Undertaker vs the Big Show and then out of nowhere, a chokeslam but…’Taker goes through the ring!

Undertaker vs Vader…and Mankind?

Vader terrorized the WCW for many years before coming to the WWE.  Then he ran across the Undertaker.  Vader was pretty much beaten in this match before a surprise got the best of the Undertaker.  But the Undertaker would not be denied, even in defeat!

Undertaker vs Undertaker

Probably one of the weirdest matches ever in that you have to find someone who matches Undertaker’s height and physique (this was Brian Lee). This was one of the craziest SummerSlam matches of 1994.

Undertaker vs Brett Hart

if you didn’t hate the Undertaker enough early in his career, this did it.  Brett Hart had the Undertaker locked in with a submission but in true heel style, Undertaker cheats to win.

Undertaker meets Kane for the First Time

Many may not remember it but at Badd Blood 1997, this was the first ever Hell in a Cell match.  It featured Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels. Undertaker is about to put the wraps on this match when baby brother appears and the rest as they say, is history.

Undertaker vs Edge

The Title vs The Streak.  Nothing more can be said.   This was a hard fought match and probably the closest time before last year that the Undertaker almost lost.

Remember that time Undertaker died and went to “Heaven”?

In the Royal Rumble 1994, it took nearly 10 other people to help Yokozuna to put the DeadMan down but…as they say, some things don’t stay dead.

The First Title Win

This match was the foundation of The Undertaker’s legacy as he beat Hulk Hogan at 1991’s Survivor Series.  Nothing is is as sweet as the first title.

Undertake vs Kane Feud

Undertaker has faced Austin, The Rock, Triple H and so many others.  But in 1998, Undertaker vs kane had one of the biggest feuds happening at the time.  Things lit on fire, people being burned, you name it, it happened. But the lightning bolt hitting the casket and Undertaker walking thru the flames of hell was one of the highlights

Undertaker throws Mankind from the top of the cell in the Hell in the Cell match.

Nearly 20 years later, this match is still talked about as it really breached the veil between fantasy and reality.   A bunch of us gathered to watch this match as the moment when Mankind went over the side, we really asked ourselves if that really happened.  For those that attended, if the crowd went quiet there, the TV crowd was even more silent. More shocking was that the match continued and the thing that wasn’t supposed to happen (which many of us found out later) in which the top of the cage broke and the MATCH STILL CONTINUED.  In my opinion, this still was one of the best Undertaker moments ever.

 

So I know there are plenty that was missed including matches Undertaker vs Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels and many others, not to mention Undertaker choke-slamming a mini-Taker,  so feel free to list in the comments below some of your favorite Undertaker moments on this, his 50th Birthday.

Dark Legacy: The Rising Shuffles the Deck Brings both RPGers and Card Gamers to the table.

So one of my friends, Bryan Tillman has a card game called Dark Legacy which can be purchased here.

This is what he has to say about the game:

Alexandria, VA – Kaiser Studio Productions has released a tabletop card game with broad appeal called Dark Legacy: The Rising. It mixes the best elements of current collectable card games with role playing and strategic properties, wrapped up in a sci-fi/fantasy story. Dark Legacy has something for everyone; for the novice, the game is easy to pick up while the potential for a variety of strategic scenarios will engage experienced players. Dark Legacy can be played one-on-one or in team battle.

In the current storyline of Dark Legacy, the planet Titan is at war. The Kaiser, an evil battle-mage, is bringing this world to its knees. Anything is possible here and anyone can become a legend. No longer just bystanders in battle, players participate as war generals within one of six different factions. Equipping themselves with weapons, armor and relics, players can become whoever they imagine themselves to be. They must destroy their opponent armies by building a deck of magic spells that no one can withstand, rolling the d20 in their favor and strategically summoning their army to be the strongest.

Dark Legacy was designed for ages 10 and up, with an average play time of about 30-40 minutes.

The game can be purchased from ThinkGeek or from the dark-legacy.net site

The game was developed by me, story, characters, mechanics, layout everything. I did about 90% of the art the other 10 percent was done by fellow artist that wanted to let me get some sleep towards the end. The card are is all done in a comic book style. The next set of Dark Legacy is in development and is set to release by the end of July.

Watch the video below for a demo!

Detective Comics (DC Comics) Cinematic Universe – Suboptimal?

by Josh Jennings

In the wake of Marvel’s roaring success in creating a cinematic, and later crossed with a televisual and comic tie-in, shared universe, DC has now picked up the ball and starting running the race as well. Unsurprising, considering the amount of commercial fodder at their disposal with their own equally expansive properties. The commercial (if not exactly critical) success of Man of Steel only served to further cement what looks like an unmissable opportunity. After all, if Marvel can do it, why not them? Which is fair enough, especially considering the one major key difference between the two companies: DC’s studio producers, Warner Brothers, have the legal copyright ownership of all their intellectual properties, whereas Marvel has to circumnavigate Fox and Sony.

This here is the key opportunity within the opportunity, that they can bring all of their properties under one roof in a single cohesive shared universe without having to dodge around armies of lawyers. Leaving aside Man of Steel, they so far have running continuities in the form of the television series Arrow and subsequent spin-off The Flash, Constantine, and Gotham, with iZombie, Supergirl, and Static Shock slated for release further down the track. Obviously the possibility of overlapping continuities has occurred to DC already and according to Geoff Johns, DC’s Chief Creative Officer, they’re not ruling out anything just yet. Furthermore, Guillermo del Toro, who’s been slated to direct a Justice League Dark movie (Dark Universe), has gone on record stating that said movie won’t conflict with the current Constantine series and that he’s happy to consider meshing it with the film and/or casting the same actor depending on the direction of both.

So it’s not by any means out of the question, no, the question is simply whether they will do it or not. And they should. At the moment, the idea being floated around is having different universes stacked against each other and all concurrent within a single multiverse. Which while perfectly workable, is neither necessary in itself nor particularly desired by the fan base. The multiverse idea is great for the comics because they are a sprawling set of kudzu vines endlessly growing and expanding and tangling together in a mash of stories and characters. Eventually it even got the point where they had to take a nuke to most of it, in the form of Infinite Crisis in the 70’s, just to simplify things again.

And that’s fine. It’s great. But it’s not needed for the screens, big and small. Having a vast array of characters and stories all growing and spiralling off in every direction is not practical outside of comics, books, and games. And even if they kept it small, having a universe crossover worthy crisis is going to require a villain or villains of epic proportions, something along the lines of the Anti-Monitor or Parallax. Whose focus is then going to extend far beyond the two or three universes that the audience has been watching and identifying with this whole time. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but it is going to be a big leap from just some Earth based shenanigans mixed with various aliens to cross-universal level threats spanning all of time, space, and reality everywhere. Even Darkseid is too small for that (almost).

Plus, it’s simply unnecessary, when you take what’s come out so far into consideration, specifically that none of it really contradicts any of the individual continuities. Gotham’s even set in the past (kinda, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it’s set but it’s presumably before everything else). Arrow and The Flash already openly share a continuity, which just leaves Constantine. But Constantine mostly operates throughout the American Midwest it seems, while Starling and Central City are east coastally based or close to. Plus Constantine’s happenings are fairly low key and not widely publicised, the supernatural being treated as, well, supernatural (i.e. not real to the unexposed). Even Flash up until very recently was still technically largely an urban legend more than anything else, leaving only Arrow publicly acknowledged as being real.

There’s also no reason as yet that young Bruce from Gotham can’t grow into Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’s eponymous character, and if Man of Steel is simply set further into the future than all of the current TV series, then you have a perfectly workable shared continuity. The only potential spanner in the works is the upcoming Supergirl series, as she sort of makes an appearance in Man of Steel in regards to a stasis pod having opened by the end that is alluded to as belonging to her. Something that’s then further complicated by it being dated as 20,000 years old, which makes it difficult to imagine how she’d be his cousin in any capacity. Still, if Krypton’s destruction occurred 20,000 years ago as measured on Earth, with Kara’s colonist group leaving sometime beforehand, then a simple matter of time dilation (20,000 years passes relative to Earth but it only seems like say a week or so using the transdimensional phantom drive) fixes the problem.

But only inasmuch as the series recognising the events of Man of Steel having occurred, because if it doesn’t then the only way around it would be Kara waking up out of suspended animation prior to both the series and the movie, closing the lid of the pod, coming back for something post Man of Steel, and subsequently leaving the lid open this time. So I wouldn’t let it be everything getting too much further along or even Geoff Johns’ skills at unravelling continuity snarl-ups won’t be able to make it work.

Movie Review: Gunman

by Aitch Cee

 

**Warning, there are minor spoilers ahead**

I can honestly say, I really like Sean Penn. He has done some great, gritty movies including Milk, Mystic River, and Carlito’s Way. Unfortunately, Gunman  is not one of those movies.

The plot itself is nearly as generic as it comes. A group of mercenaries are designated to take out a mining minister in the Congo. The main shooter, Terrier (Penn), must leave the country ASAP to avoid retribution from the locals. This mission was supposed to only be between the members of the black ops mission but one by one, they start dying. Terrier is nearly killed himself but he survives and now he races to find who wants him dead.

This movie is from Pierre Morel who is known for such popcorn flicks as Taken and District B13 and it shows. The problem Morel has with this movie is with the location and plot he is given, Gunman can’t identify what it wants to be; action or thriller. The actors he has on this film,  are wasted. Javier Bardem, who, if judging by the ads is the bad guy, barely lasts beyond the second act and you find out he is nothing more than the man who becomes the husband of Terrier’s ex-love interest played by Jasmine Trinca. Most people, probably came out to see Idris Elba who was cast as DuPont, an Interpol agent.   If this was the selling point of the movie, ( Elba was listed second in the credits as well)  it was a deceitful one as Elba has maybe 2 scenes that lasted less than approximately 10 minutes and all towards the end of the movie. Ray Winstone made the most of his time onscreen as Stanley who was helping Terrier as he tries to stay one step ahead of assassins.

Gunman tried and failed to be an interesting thriller in the vein of the Bourne series or a very lightweight James Bond movie.   Penn pretty much stayed in ‘intense mode’ for most of the film.   There were some cool action scenes in the movie but nothing really memorable until the final scene with the stampeding bull. Given credit where credit is due, Penn was in good physical form for this movie but it’s just a shame that the plot was so threadbare and he deserved so much more. It’s like Penn’s character is poised to go on a rampage and just when you think he’s about to, he gets held back.

The movie also can’t hide its political message about some of the bad exploitative stuff we do in Africa but after watching this, who cares?   When the credits role, (if you stuck around long enough) you realize the movie wasn’t smart enough to be a good political thriller and too boring to be an action-flick.

This movie was so bad, I needed to watch the Bourne Identity to wash the stench out of my mouth.

1 out of 5 Stars

A place for all things geeky including comics, movies, gaming and more. Contact us at pcupress AT gmail DOT com.

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