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The Groovy Grab Bag 12/7/15

The Groovy Grab Bag

Coming to you each week from my prison of doom on the day of Monday. Each week I recount to you the recent (to me at least) media I consumed the previous week in the hope I survive till next Monday. As always, let me know what it is you’ve been consuming on your weekly daily diet. Be that in the comments, or on my Twitter handle.


Guardians of the Galaxy #2

The Fade out #11

Totally Awesome Hulk #1

Batman & Robin Eternal #8

Batman & Robin Eternal #9

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1

Invincible Iron Man #4

Daredevil #1

Vision #2

All-New Wolverine #2

Robin War #1

Howard the Duck #2

This week was a fairly large one, especially compared to the last. The standouts here were The Fade OutTotally Awesome Hulk, Vision, and Daredevil for anyone looking for a good entry point for people just entering comics. The Fade Out is bar none one of the best comics coming out at the moment, while it is one continuing story it is one worth following. Each issue is a master class in writing tense noir, and this one is no different. Even if you couldn’t stand Ed Brubaker at all, the Sean Phillips art alone is worth the price of entry, definitely worth that $3.50, in addition to the bonus articles.

In terms of other new books, The Vision has done it again with its exploration of the moral dilemma of what constitutes life beyond the flesh, what constitutes family in all its permutations, as well as how far one can go to defend the family. Tom King goes a long way in exploring just what makes the Vision tick, as well as making his family sympathetic despite their flaws. And as always: Gabriel Hernandez Walta deserves just as much of the credit for crafting such an unsettling book set around the Vision simply attempting to live a normal life. Definitely well worth it even if you aren’t a fan of the character, the craft alone will draw you in.

Totally Awesome Hulk and Daredevil are also great entry points as well for readers new and lapsed. While the latter jettisons a good chunk of the last 10 years of Daredevil continuity in favor of a new setup that owes more than a bit of its aesthetics and tone to the Daredevil Netflix show, the former embraces Hulk continuity as Greg Pak returns and brings his co-creation, the teen super-genius and Hulk fan Amadeus Cho to the forefront as the new Hulk. While those both work from countering impulses, they both achieve similar results in their own way. Ron Garney for example while very far away from Chris Samnee does a fantastic job of defining his version of Daredevil and away from what the Mark Waid run brought, and while I can’t say I’m a fan of a return to a grittier Daredevil, Charles Soule does a great job of getting into Matt’s head and setting up his new world. Greg Pak and Frank Cho go a similar route, opting for a more bombastic opening issue with Amadeus taking on monsters, and go far and away from Bruce Banner’s regularly tortured and rage-filled version of the Hulk. Amadeus is a teenager, and his world reflects as such with more fun and smashing rather than picking up rides on taxis.


Doctor Who: Hell Bent

The Man in the High Castle



Television was a bit of a smaller pond for me this week. Doctor Who’s final episode (if you don’t count the Christmas special of course) was basically perfect. While it’s as utterly heartbreaking as television can be, it is can’t-miss in terms of how to write farewells. I’ll discuss it more in the future… or if you’re impatient my review for it proper.

However, I have to say… while I haven’t read the novel by Phillip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle series is extremely intriguing. While alternate realities are a dime a dozen, the amount of thought and gray morality that keeps the show’s logic afloat is fantastic. And the characters all have their own desires that keep them from simply falling into basic “bad future” stereotypes. If you’re looking for an intriguing what-if, and to see yet another fantastic offering from Amazon before the new season of Transparent comes around, start here.

While I generally enjoy the Flash, I’ve never been terribly enthusiastic about Arrow. Even with the jump to a tone and world more in line with its spinoff, the show seems to have less time for fun than the Flash, and that shows in the latter half of the crossover. While the idea behind the crossover is fairly Silver Age, the Arrow half of the crossover simply doesn’t seem to fit in. It doesn’t help that being network television, there’s a point where even what seems to be a considerable amount of creativity in depicting a superhero world seems to run out.

While I appreciate that the show went with the Golden Age origins with Hawkman and Hawkgirl, the flashbacks dragged the show down considerably. From the lack of appropriate actors that actually look Egyptian, to the very cheap looking sets. It doesn’t help that Falk Hentschel looks and acts bored as Hawkman. Vandal Savage doesn’t fare better with Casper Crump on the helm. While Vandal Savage is more of a chess master in the comics, his ability to take on both casts of superheroes is ill-defined beyond his vague magical powers, the way he’s taken out even moreso. Crump doesn’t sell the idea of Savage having an endless amount of time to have picked up and taught skills to others over the centuries and falls into pantomime villainy more than anything else, a vague threat to introduce the Hawks. While it was a clever bit of writing to tie him into their traditional origin, it doesn’t help sell him as a threat for the episode. That said, I can’t say I’m not looking forward to the Legends of Tomorrow spinoff.

Thanks again for all your time and eyeballs folks, see you next week with what I hope is a superb week of pop culture.

About soshillinois (294 Articles)
What's there to say about me? Well I'm an avid fan of comics, video games, tv shows, and movies alike. I love to read, consume, and discuss information of all kinds. My writing is all a part of who I am.
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